I know this may sound a bit excessive but when we did a quick straw poll amongst the Corporate Podcast Production team, we figured out that on average the group listens to around 4 hours of podcasts per day. Some of the team only listen to one or two shows per week while others listen to two or three shows per day (it’s what you do when travelling or working out, I was told).
Here are the shows we enjoy most, in no particular order:
Let’s kick off the list with an Aussie show. This one is a favourite amongst all the CPP crew. It’s a weekly show, unless you are a “Plus” subscriber, in which case you get 2 shows per week plus additional bonus content on the end of the regular show.
It’s an irreverent look at fringe science and the unexplained (I guess Mysterious Universe really is a good name for it!). The boys – Aaron, Ben and Dan – cover topics as diverse as the singularity, wearable tech, cryptozoology, ghosts, UFO phenomena and men in black.
By far, this is the longest show any of us listen to. It regularly comes in at over 90 minutes (sometimes even two hours) but, somehow, week after week they just make it work.
A bit of a polarising podcast around the office. Our production people love it (possibly because it is a highly produced show)
Read almost any round up of podcasts and you are going to see this show featured. Serial was the show that made podcasts mainstream, with over 100 million downloads according to some estimates.
It was the first podcast (according to Apple iTunes) to hit 5 million downloads. The first podcast to win a Peabody award, the first podcast to be referenced in a comedy sketch on America’s Saturday Night Live, and the first podcast to have its content made into a TV show.
The narrator and person behind Serial, Sarah Kroenig, is a revered figure amongst podcasters. That’s because of the way she (and her team) crafts every episode, showcases journalistic integrity with her probing questions and leaves the listener wanting more.
Serial is up to Season Two now but, seriously, if you haven’t listened, start right back at Episode One Season One… you may even become a binge listener.
Quite a few of the picks on our team’s list come out of the NPR (National Public Radio) house or feature people with an NPR background (like Sarah Kroenig).
Planet Money is an NPR podcast with relatively short shows (between 15 to 30 minutes) that focus on the story behind a story. For instance, one episode followed what happened to a tshirt that a reporter donated to charity. The story (and the tshirt) ended up halfway around the world in Africa. You might not think it would make for a compelling listen, but with the way the Planet Money team pulls it all together, it does.
Some episodes might see you drifting off without much interest while others (like Episode 575 The Fondue Conspiracy) will have you leaning in to listen.
This podcast was the rebirth of “GE Theatre” and the first podcast (that I’m aware of, anyway) to be completely funded and sponsored by a major corporate company.
I can’t really tell you much without giving the story away, short of saying it’s a 7 part podcast telling a sci-fi story (think X Files). Each episode is short, clocking in at around 12 minutes but it showcases brilliant storytelling.
Another offering from NPR. Each week Ira Glass and his team of around 40 people bring the stories of average American people to their podcast audience. The episode always has 3 parts, meaning each week you hear 3 different stories.
This American Life has a fabulous way of using words and music to make you feel like you are sitting around someone’s dining table listening to them talk (which is often actually the case).
The team works often 12 – 18 months in advance on story development and will track down any other people who might be needed to give the story depth and texture. This American Life is one show that can have you laughing out loud, wringing your hands with anxiousness, yelling at your device or crying… it really engages the emotions of the audience.
When Alex Blumberg decided to leave NPR (National Public Radio) to create his own media platform, he also decided to create a podcast about his journey. That is the premise of StartUp Podcast.
Over the first season we listened as Alex tried to pitch (badly) for investment, had arguments with his business partner Matt Lieber, and shared the struggles with his wife Nazzim.
It was a no holds barred, fly on the wall documentary style show on what it takes to start a business from scratch, and everyone in the team loved it!
Second season was a bit of a miss for the majority of our team, but season one and then the mini season 3 they have put together is definitely worth checking out.
Oh, and everyone on the team agreed this is the only podcast where we actively listen to the ads instead of skipping ahead.
If you like QI or you like trivia then you are going to like No Such Thing As A Fish. Not the best produced show, it often sounds like someone stuck a microphone in the middle of a table while everyone talks at once. But the quality of the content trumps the flawed production.
Not for everyone, but it’s a fun listen if you’re looking for something mindless.