I feel like I don’t need to remind you, but I will anyway. There’s an American election just around the corner and even though we don’t get to decide who wins, whoever America chooses will certainly have an impact on all of our lives for the next four years.
With less than a month to go, here’s a round-up of some great podcasts tracking the US Election. There’s the BBC’s Americast, hosted by Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis and US Editor Jon Sopel, a podcast that has understandably gone just about daily in recent weeks. ITV News has launched a podcast series simply called Will Trump Win, hosted by ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt and their Washington Correspondent Robert Moore.
From Sky News, there’s Divided States, featuring analysis, interviews with pollstars as well as those pivotal in this election: undecided voters. The Economist has Checks and Balance, where their US political team dive into the details. If you’re just looking for the latest headlines, The Guardian’s Today in Focus have been releasing regular updates whilst the FT News Briefing tells you what you need to know in under ten minutes.
Interesting Guests on Podcasts This Week:
- Catherine Opie and Noel Fielding are the latest guests on Talk Art
- James May joins Observer food critic Jay Rayner in this week’s Out To Lunch
- Diane Abbott MP is one of the latest guests on Growing up with gal-dem, a podcast where guests look back at their younger selves.
- The Modern Mann, hosted by Olly Mann, features an interview with Ali and Sara (whose names are changed), whose lives were ruined due to The Post Office and their computer system. You may have read about it in the news this week.
- In Writer’s Routine, Dan Simpson interviews a different author each week to understand their daily schedule and how they craft their stories. This week, Matt Haig talks searching for humanity, trusting the process, and getting the first draft done.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
Twenty Twenty: A Pop Culture Podcast – What I’m finding fascinating about this year is how we’re all looking back at the noughties and realising that actually, some things have not aged as well as you might have expected. Also, how familiar that decade feels, but actually it’s quite different culturally to where we are today, yet it was a time that sparked trends and talking points that still resonate to this day. In this new podcast, presented by Observer film critic Simran Hans and gal-dem music editor Tara Joshi, the presenters delve and re-evaluate notable cultural moments from twenty years ago, starting with an episode that looks back at the impact and legacy of one of the decade’s biggest groups: Destiny’s Child. It’s an enjoyable listen, simply down to Hans and Joshi’s enthusiasm for the subject matter.
A Bit of the Stretch – The Podcast – Books turning into podcast series flogging the book have been a recent trend in podcasting, but this is one that does it really well. Chris Atkins, a documentary maker, was imprisoned for tax fraud back in 2016. He wrote a successful book about his experience, which brought to life his experiences as well as the testimonies of those he served alongside. The podcast features more interviews and testimonials, covering some of the basics of prison life that you might know nothing about, from what they eat, how they shower and what exactly they do all day. It’s surprising how little you know.
Spotify Podcast of the Week: GIANT, Spotify’s flagship football documentary series dropped an absolute belter of an episode this week – they spent the day with Iqra Ismail, a true footballing trailblazer. Iqra was the first ever captain of the Somali women’s national team, and the team spoke to her about the creation of community and hope that made this seemingly impossible feat possible. Iqra is also the founder of NUR, now known as Hilltop FC, a West-London based team made up of BAME women looking for a safe space to play football. A truly joyful 20 minutes of audio and well worth your time. This is the 9th episode of the current season of GIANT – episodes drop every Thursday, exclusively available on Spotify.
CHRIS EVANS – HOW TO WOW – If, like me, you’re finding motivation just that little bit harder because of the doom and gloom in all the news, this podcast by (the British) Chris Evans might be up your street. The broadcaster believes that “if you dream big, put in the hours and keep up showing up amazing things will happen,” so has enlisted the help and wisdom from people who have made a name for themselves to prove his point.
Ten episodes are available to listen to now. Guests include Sir Rod Stewart, Cat Deeley and Alain De Botton. I got sucked into the Richard Osman episode, which ends up being a rich conversation into the history and power of television. Part of the joy of this podcast is the fact that it goes down rabbit holes and doesn’t get tied to the format. Please be aware though, there is unexpectedly quite a bit of swearing.
The Frost Tapes – And finally, a good series delving into the archives of the work from the late and great Sir David Frost, who passed away in 2013. The journalist and broadcaster was renowned in both the UK and the US for his interviewing skills, not only with President Nixon (so expertly captured in the play and film Frost/Nixon) but also with countless other leaders, thinkers and household names. He kept an archive of his work in storage units across two countries, an archive spanning up to 10,000 interviews across five decades. Now his son Wilfred Frost has been sifting through it, coming up with this limited podcast series exploring his work, asking whether aspects from history are currently repeating itself. It’s a labour of love. “Essentially in the last few years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours with my dad again,” he says.
If there is a podcast that you think we should be featuring, fill in this short form and we’ll take a listen and you are still looking for some more podcast recommendations, on BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Podcast Radio Hour this week Amanda Litherland and I talked about some of our favourite podcasts of late. They include Great Scot!, The Mid•Point with Gabby Logan and Coming in from the Cold.
We also spoke to BBC Radio 5’s Chris Warburton about his podcast Ecstasy: The Battle of Rave and Dr Rangan Chatterjee on the new series of his podcast Feel Better, Live More.