In this newsletter we regularly feature daily news podcasts, which help us make sense about this confusing world. But did you know that there are now many successful daily podcasts that aren’t about the day’s news at all?

One podcast that has been performing really well is History Daily, by Noisier podcasts. From the same production company as Real Dictators and Short History Of…

In each weekday episode Lindsay Graham delves into a different historical event and pulls up interesting facts and analysis. The series, which has been running for two weeks, covers a wide variety of topics: from Laika (the first dog in space) to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. There are also episodes coinciding with notable anniversaries, such as the signing of the Armistice at the end of World War One

Another daily podcast that relishes on highlighting notable anniversaries is The Retrospectors. Presented by Olly Mann, Arion McNicoll and Rebecca Messina, the episodes featured are far more widespread than just noting news events, with events in pop culture regularly celebrated too (there’s an episode on Scott and Charlene’s wedding in Neighbours in 1988, plus an episode on the history of emojis 💩 💩 💩).

Finally, if you’re needing a bit of positivity at the moment (spoiler: we all are) there’s Kate Cocker’s Everyday Positivity. A wellness coach, she provides 90 seconds of advice and wisdom daily on all manner of situations: from comparing yourself to others to how to cope with a bad day (“a crisis is not a disaster, a crisis is a turning point.”)

NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Things Fell Apart by Jon Ronson – Jon Ronson not only has one of the most distinctive voices and presentation styles in audio, he also has an impressive track record in thought provoking investigations looking at modern culture, from the implications of free pornography on the internet to the consequences of public shaming.

He’s now back with a new series on BBC Sounds, looking at the peculiar origins of some of the culture wars that dominate the news on a daily basis. The first episode explores how a set of avant-garde documentaries made off the back of landmark Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade (which protected the woman’s right to have an abortion) fired up Christian evangelicals after protests outside near empty screenings.

Doomsday Watch with Arthur Snell I know that this isn’t the most optimistic sounding podcast out there, but hear me out. Presented by former diplomat and international affairs expert Arthur Snell, this new podcast explores the geopolitical threats that mankind currently faces with clear, level-headed analysis from experts.

“The institutions that were established at the end of the Second World War to regulate global peace seem to be falling apart,” warns Snell at the start of his first episode. “Whether it is our failing forever wars, our relations with Russia and China or the challenges of the online world, we don’t seem very good at anticipating and mitigating the major risks to our society. And pandemic is a pretty good reminder that the biggest things we have to deal with can come out of nowhere.”

The podcast series tries to highlight problems the world faces, beyond just the usual ones you may know a fair bit about already. The first episode explores the consequences of the Trump administration on US democracy and how extreme partisanship in US discourse could threaten its own future, as well as global peace. “Where there is anger and polarised states, democracy may not work any more,” argues American historian and professor Jack Goldstone.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: Brydon & Chris & Rosie Ramsey – Rob Brydon has the pleasure of inviting two guests onto his show for the first time this week: comedy duo Chris and Rosie Ramsey of the infamous Sh**ged Married Annoyed podcast. You can hear how their gem of a podcast came about and how airing their intimate marital stories to millions actually keeps their relationship strong….

‘Brydon &’ is a great mix of hilarious anecdotes and stories of reflection and nostalgia with Rob’s friends and some of the biggest names in showbiz. Previous guests include Will Ferrell, Bob Mortimer, Noel Gallagher, amongst many other greats. This Spotify exclusive show, in partnership with the Talent Bank and Folding Packet, is released every Thursday.

The Long Time AcademyEver felt like you have been dragged down by everything? Or do you have a list of tasks to do, but are then distracted or dragged into unexpected tasks? This new podcast, presented by activist and storyteller Ella Saltmarshe, looks at the benefit of ‘timefulness’ (aka embracing the limited time we have on earth and becoming a ‘long time thinker.’)

Each well crafted episode features interviews with economists, artists, philosophers and more on their relationship with time and how we should approach ‘timefulness.’ The first explores the history of burnout, highlighting that the structure of work and recreation that were the norm between employers and employees through the decades have now been dramatically eroded because of the rise of email and our mobile phone use. 

“Now we choose to give our employers more of our time, it is horrifying,” says the author and radio host Celeste Headlee, who has written about her approach to time. “The worst countries now for overwork are the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. We donate billions of dollars to our employers by choosing not to take our vacation time.” Expect practical tips and advice, but also expect some perspective on your approach to time and the working day.

DefianceOur final featured podcast this week comes from a man who requires no introduction: Michael Johnson. In his new Audible series he delves into the history of protest within sport – from Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics to Colin Kaepernick taking the knee at the NFL in protest of police brutality. But he also highlights and celebrates many sporting figures who have taken a stand, jeopardising or ruining their careers in the process.

At a time when some commentators believe that athletes should only stick to their sport and shouldn’t speak out on anything else, Johnson disagrees. “Athletes have always been some of the most vocal leaders when it comes to change in society,” he says. “I have been around many of them, and I have seen it first hand. Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Billie Jean King, Gwen Berry – they all found their way of speaking truth to power.”

As like other Audible Originals, listening to this series is only for subscribers to their platform, but it will not take any of your listening ‘credits.’

Before we go, I was back on Podcast Radio Hour on BBC Radio 4 Extra this week with my picks for this month. If you haven’t heard the show before, it is where Laura Grimshaw and Chris Pearson talk about some great podcasts you should be investing your time in. I swing by once a month with my recommendations, many of which have been featured in this very email and we play excerpts from stand out episodes.

This month we feature the LGBTQ+ comedy podcast This Is Gay, witty Audible sitcom Car Crash, history series The Log Books and the data series Am I Normal?We also spoke to Nicola Coughlan and Camilla Whitehill, who write and star in the hilarious spoof play Whistle Through The Shamrocks

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Categories: Weekly Picks

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