Podcasts are the media I consume the most (apart from social media, ahem) – they’re like free audiobooks for a short attention span, or radio without a schedule. I listen to them when cooking, running, tidying, walking, driving… I listen to a lot, and I like variety. I’m not always in the mood to listen to an educational in-depth podcast about Animal Rights Law – occasionally I just want to listen to intelligent people making making fart jokes (thanks Standard Issue). When I was preparing for my Mountain Leader Assessment, I managed to convince myself that I was revising while cleaning at work by listening to podcasts about peat, pylons and moss!!
The sheer volume of work out there can be pretty overwhelming when you first look into podcasts, and a few people have asked me for recommendations. After I sat one friend for well over an hour enthusing about all of my subscriptions (sorry Zoe), I thought it might be best to write em down. I’ve split them into the categories of comedy, sport, social justice and general, with some suggestions as to which episodes to try first. I’ve put asterisks next to my ten favourites just in case you don’t want to download all of them immediately.
Podcast use 101:
- Download an app/use iTunes. Podcast Republic is my weapon of choice.
- Subscribe to some. Check your settings aren’t set to download all episodes! You can use my list, the charts or simply search a hobby or interest, e.g. ‘mountains’, ‘Portuguese history’, ‘radio 4’.
- Download (or stream) one or two episodes of each podcast you’re interested in
- Get listening! I have my app set to automatically delete podcasts once played, unless I ‘favourite’ them.
*Answer Me This!
A well-established podcast that answers listeners’ questions in a brilliant, pedantic and funny way.
Haven’t actually listened to this one in ages, but had to include it because they do ‘pun runs’.
Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4
Try: a recent episode of Museum of Curiosities, The Now Show or The News Quiz
*Made of Human with Sofie Hagen
Interesting, thoughtful, amusing interviews with cool people, by a brilliant comedian.
Try: 66. Hari Kondabolu – There is nothing wrong with the fetal position
8. Sara Pascoe – But why are you angry with Kim Jong-il?
*No Such Thing As A Fish
From the QI elves – lots of facts and humour.
*Standard Issue Magazine
Set up by Sarah Millican – well-known public figures (mainly comedians) sitting around being intelligent and funny.
Try: the gig episodes.
No meat athlete
Try: 15 Rules to Live By (Update and Replay)
Running on Om
Try: ROO #212: Sally McRae on Training Your Mind and Racing Against Yourself
Run, Selfie, Repeat
Try: 86: Race Day 101 with Coach John Honerkamp
Science of Ultra
If you need more geekery or method in your running (ultra or otherwise), this is your podcast.
Try: 39: Athlete Spotlight: Stephanie Howe Violette, PhD
38: What is Training?
The Pocket Running Coach
*Try: Episode 12: Speed work (get your shoes on!!!) – My go-to speed workout. 10x 90 sec on, 30 sec off, with coaching, music and applause!
Trail Runner Nation
I have a love-hate relationship with the two presenters – sometimes they get on my nerves a bit (oddly this seems to be a reoccurring theme with running podcasts – and why British Trail Running and Talk Ultra aren’t on this list!), but they deliver on content and guests (Candice Burt, Sally McRae and Ann Trason being my faves). While still listening to the following episode, I ordered two books online including the title one, which is awesome and invaluable to how I’m approaching training and races.
Try: Brave Athlete – Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion
ARZone (Animal Rights Zone)
Try: ARZone Intersectionality Interview 24 – Christopher Sebastian
Try: 35: Are you waiting on other people to be the change you want to see in the world? Zero Waste Guy
38: Is compassion and empathy at the heart of ideological change? Christian Picciolini, founder of Life After Hate (“leader of America’s deadliest neo-Nazi gang”)
*The Guilty Feminist
This is one of my favourites (“I’m a feminist but…”). Deborah Frances White works to be inclusive while being super relevant and funny.
Try: Us and Our Mothers with Charlotte Keatley.
*Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack!
These two have so much to offer. They pour their hearts and souls into every episode, and each recent one has an awesome joke in the middle. Nichole and Callie are uncompromising but welcoming. Start with more recent episodes and work your way backwards if binge-listening, as they’ve changed a lot over time. Contains lots of wonderful swearing and some well-needed tearing apart of treasured movies!
Try: 135 Imposter Syndrome: Getting Real about Feeling Fake
For some mind blowing history try: 114 Voting in the United States: 1776-2016 followed by
117-118 The Injustice of Mass Incarceration & Why Vegans Should Care
Not Your Milk Podcast
Interviewing pillars of the vegan community.
Try: Episode 28: Fiona Oakes, world record holding endurance runner.
Like a true crime TV series, but for your ears.
Try: Episode 59: In Plain Sight (a couple escaping from slavery)
One of the first podcasts I started listening to – looking at various aspects of society from an economist’s perspective in a really engaging but not patronising way.
Try: These Shoes Are Killing Me!
I’ve actually only got round to listening to one episode (5: Sofie Hagen, who does the Made of Human Podcast), but wanted to put this on the list as Bethany is someone I vaguely knew at uni who is super cool, smart and funny, and I love the premise of the podcast (interviewing interesting friends).
Try: How to Become Batman – “the surprising effect that our expectations can have on the people around us”
No Such Thing As A Fish
From the QI elves – lots of facts and humour.
Philosophy: The Classics
Listen to 13 minutes of a podcast and you can pretend you’ve read John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism. Was invaluable for my A Levels and degree.
Philosophy Bites (see also: Ethics Bites)
Philosophers talking about normal life and highly intellectual ideas.
One of the most popular podcasts of all time. More true crime, unbelievably gripping.
Try: Season 1, Episode 1: The Alibi
Try: The Green Book – a fascinating insight into post-Jim Crow era USA.
GCHQ: Minority Report
Do Pass Go – a fascinating look into the resurgence in popularity of boardgames
Stuff You Should Know
Try: How Moss Works (seriously, try it. Even if you don’t like moss as much as I do.)
TED Radio Hour
TED talks around one topic, edited together with interviews with the speakers.
Short and sweet – Helen Saltzman (of Answer Me This fame) talking about etymology. Fascinating stuff.
Try: 37. Brand It
The Vegan Option: The Story so far
Exploring different aspects of veganism including a history series which shows that veganism is not as new as you might think.
*Try: Science Fiction and Animals: from Jonathan Swift and HG Wells to Star Trek
Vegan Cheese: Casein, Casomorphins, and the Daiya Redwoods Vegusto Taste
Try: 002: Technology
If you’ve got any recommendations for me, get in touch! I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts.