Ever since we got our Pekingese fur-kid Chloe, I’ve walked her every morning and evening for 30 minutes to 1 hour per excursion. Our vet commented on how fit Chloe is at 10 years old. The impressed vet held Chloe’s haunch and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Now this is how a dog should feel!!” I couldn’t help but think (though I buttoned my lip) “You should feel my haunches – I’ve walked every mile with her!”
Aside from the health benefits, dog walking can get pretty repetitive, quite quickly. To while away the time, at first I listened to the radio, but then I discovered the enriching and diverting world of podcasts.
Most podcasts are freely downloadable to your music player or phone, but other podcasts make their most recent podcast free and then charge for older broadcasts. My favourites are from BBC Radio (UK) and National Public Radio (USA) although CBC Radio has some excellent ones, too.
I’ve learned a lot from podcasts! They’re educational and fun. Most television and radio newscasts are too brief and unsatisfying. A podcast has the time necessary to drill down into a topic in greater depth. It also allows one to focus on areas of interest rather than just recent sensational news bytes.
If you’re a podcast listener, please share your recommendations by commenting. Note: many of these can also be viewed on demand but I prefer audio.
Now here are my top picks…
• This American Life (WBEZ Chicago Public Radio)
Favourite episode: “The Super” In 1980′s New York City, rent is rising: it seems out of control, and residents struggle to keep up. So Jack Hitt helps organize tenants, and threatens a rent strike. This does not go over so well with his building super, who, as it turns out, is a very dangerous man. (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/323/the-super ) Note: You can get a new episode every week for free, but archived episodes like the one above will cost you a dollar.
• The Moth Podcast (USA) “True stories told live and without notes”
Favourite episodes: This is hard! I know I’ll forget some (and upon searching it appears many are not available or listed online) but I’d say they are the following:
Dan Kennedy: And How Did That Make You Feel?
Edgar Oliver: The Apron Strings of Savannah
Wanda Bullard: Small Town Prisoner
Teri Garr: Wake up Call
Irene Pepperberg: Alex and Me
Eric Konigsberg: Crying Uncle
Michaela Murphy: All Star Game
Leonard Lopate: The Rocket’s Red Glare
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels: Angel
Bokara Legendre: Mummy Was a Wild Game Hunter
Joe Limone: The Magic Nail
and many more…
• Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4) The most difficult question is asked of this show’s guests. Find out which 8 records people would take with them to a desert island! I liked listening to the shows with Debbie Harry, Vidal Sassoon (and many others). There’s even a great show in which they reveal the results of a poll of UK listeners.
• Planet Money (NPR USA) “Meet economists and regular folks trying to make sense of our global economy”
This one really deserves a shout out for two main reasons. First, in our current economic situation we should all be keenly aware of how the economy works and what’s going on globally. And second, you might think you’re not interested in the topic of economics, but I’m pretty confident that this show will win you over because it’s so fascinating and relevant!
• The Invisible Hand (CBC Radio show on economic theory – unfortunately only a dozen episodes were made.)
History and Education:
• Witness (BBC World Service) “History as told by the people who were there”
Favourite episode: Ishi, the “Last Indian” and many more…
• Four Thought (BBC Radio 4) “Recorded live, talks are given by a range of people with a new thought to share”. I call this one “Ted Talks without Powerpoint”
• A History of the World in 100 Objects (BBC Radio 4)
• Learn Japanese Pod (Japan)
Technology / Business:
• TedTalks (audio only is available)
Favourite episode: Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture — call them the 6 killer apps — that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2011, July 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Duration: 20:20.) http://blog.ted.com/2011/09/19/the-6-killer-apps-of-prosperity-niall-ferguson-on-ted-com/
• ReCivilization by Don Tapscott - unfortunately only 2 episodes were made
• Spark (CBC) by Nora Young
• Marketing Geeks http://www.marketinggeeks.ca/about/
• iPM: Share What You Know (BBC Radio 4) “The news programme that starts with its listeners”
• Woman’s Hour (BBC Radio 4) “Interviews and news affecting women around the world”