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Cheers for your Ears (Part 1)

I posted 3 podcast recommendations previously and some people mentioned they found it useful. As I have so many I'd like to pass on, I thought I might as well sling out a few more every now and then. Feel free to reciprocate and shout out to me about any that you love. If you do listen to these shows and like them, please tell them on social media and tag me too. Links for the show below their recommendation.


When a podcast makes me think, I'm IN. When I finish the episode and I want to have conversation with someone about what I've learned, I'm SOLD. When a podcast does those things AND makes me smile in a sitcom length time then I hit "SUBSCRIBE" quicker than a Trump fan does shots of Domestos.

Professor Dan Cable and comedian Akin Omobitan compliment each other brilliantly - even during the lockdown when they are recording remotely the repartee is clear. Each episode they flag up an academic topic and then unpack what it means, what they think about, and how it relates to our everyday life. It's a simple but engrossing premise and it reminds a little of how 99% Invisible podcast takes a topic you would probably never give a second thought to and then make it vital and fascinating. It's so lighthearted and funny in places that it feels like sneaky learning - surely this is too much fun to be educational? Recent episodes about how our charitable intentions can be influenced by our sense of mortality, and one about our inability to resist fake news are both ace, but the one I'm going for here is about how customising products helps improve our performance. I found this one particularly thought provoking as I consider my work in education and am now pondering how I can get kids to personalise their stationery and/or where they sit. Listen to it here and get subscribing. You wont regret it.


As with my previous podcast recommendation, I've thrown in a new one. So it must be good if I'm recommending it so early. It also must be good as I have tried and failed to be hooked by a number of music based podcasts over the years. My trust was cemented early as hosts Anne Frankenstein and Eamon Murtagh are reassuringly consummate professionals. Their easy chat and experience as DJs is ideal for this show as they're a joy to listen not just in terms of the timbre of their voices but also because of warmth of their chat. They also know the value of less is more and it never feels at risk of descending into a prolonged ramble between mates. The magazine show format is punchy and they breeze between topics about the music industry, interviews with guests from all areas of music - bouncers, fans, producers - and of course, clips of the music itself. A real delight for me listening to this show is discovering new music and having people with broad taste select some appetising morsels to suit every palate. Episode 2 is out now so take your pick but go for the first one right here to set you up for the rest to come.


Choosing one of the biggest, well known, and an acknowledged tour de force of the podcasting world might seem like a bit of a cheat. And it is. BUT. It sometimes helps to be reminded how brilliant Radiolab is and to share the majesty of one episode in particular - Space. I can still recall where I was when I listened to this episode and how I was late getting to meet someone because I had to finish listening to it.

Radiolab episodes often have this effect as they use a question - usually around some aspect of the scientific world or a theory - to jump start a wild ride picking up experts and witnesses and participants and then pit-stops with hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. The two are like academic versions of Cliff and Norm in Cheers in that they they clearly love and respect each other and show that through honesty and the odd quip and barbed comment. There's an easiness to their patter but unlike our drinking buddies from Boston, Jad and Robert's childlike inquisitiveness and thirst to find answers and ask "why?" means there's not much time for mentally staying in one place. Although I do now like to imagine them perched on bar stools with a pint whilst they record. Unlike some duos in the podcasting world who can't help but fall into a self indulgent ramble, Radiolab is edited and produced with an attention to detail that carefully and thoughtfully navigates the story they need to tell and the people you need to hear from.

The episode Space essentially tells the story of the Voyager expedition but in the tradition of the best Radiolab episodes it travels around the universe to end up back reflecting on the most human of qualities and our question about our place in world. Another huge part of Radiolab is the gorgeous soundscapes they use to carry and bring to life the stories. If you have the option to find a quiet place to listen to this with your headphones on then strongly urge you to take it. If you can so whilst looking up at the night sky then all the better.

This episode was recently re-broadcast and you can listen to Space here or find it with your usual podcast app.

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