For this week's blog we're celebrating the podcast that everyone's talking about: 'Serial' (from the creators of 'This American Life') by selecting our favourite spoken word programmes.Read more
This week American podcast 'Serial' became the fastest-downloaded podcast in the history of Apple's iTunes store, proving very much that there's still an appetite for podcasts with the right formulas.
The show, currently on its 8th episode, revolves around This American Life reporter Sarah Koenig investigating the 1999 murder of school student Hae Min Lee in Baltimore, Maryland, and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed.
The podcast has amassed over 5 million downloads on iTunes alone and has reached the No. 1 spot on iTunes stores since it was launched.
If you're looking for something to listen to over the weekend, we've come up with a list of our favourite spoken word based programmes that might just fill your listening void.
Click on each title to listen
"I love spoken radio, particularly spoken radio that tells a story, they do this the best in America. One series I absolutely love is '99% Invisible', it is a radio show and podcast produced by Roman Mars that each week tells a story about a piece of design that often goes unnoticed or unappreciated. There are podcasts that tell the story of everything from Ikea Hacking and Flag Design to the shot clock in Basketball and the invention of the barcode. Some of the subjects may not sound that exciting but the way they are told and produced brings a whole new appreciation to these designs. Plus each one is only usually 15/20 minutes, so you end up binge listening to them. My favourite one they have done is called 'Breaking The Bank', which is all about Bank Robberies and the design of the banks that provide the obstacles to doing it. Well worth a listen!"
"'Serial' is amazing - I was really interested to see how Sarah Koenig, a producer who's worked so much on This American Life, would do something totally different, and I've been completely blown away. I haven't ever really heard anything like it before - so wonderful to hear long-form audio with such depth and rich detail.
In terms of picking my favourite podcast - I could easily go for TAL, or Radiolab, or 99% Invisible, or RISK! or Stuff You Should Know or any number of amazing US speech radio shows who've really changed the way I think about documentary making and using audio in a clever and creative way. But I'm going to go closer to home and pick the South London Hardcore podcast. It's presented by two guys based, unsurprisingly, in South London, and deals with all sorts of social and cultural themes through super warm and friendly interviews and bits about local places and things of interest - a recent episode with Miranda Sawyer was one of my favourite things I've heard all year."
"What can be said about Desert Island Discs… other than the fact it is amazing? Sometimes the simple ideas are the best and I think Desert Island Discs is the prime example of that. There are hundreds of episodes of it but one that really stands out for me is the legendary Sir David Attenborough on the 70th anniversary edition of the show, talking about his amazing career."
"I first heard/saw this illustrated interview clip at a BBC Radio 4 commissioning round meeting a couple of years ago, and it was a bit embarrassing because i had tears rolling down my cheeks by the end of it (I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one). And each time I've watched it since then, it has exactly the same results. Maurice Sendak sadly passed away a year after this interview. As he says at the end "Live your life.... Live your life... Live your life."
"This podcast explores how we remember information, things that have happened and even poetry through memory. It's really interesting and definitely worth a listen this weekend!"
"Iggy Pop's John Peel Lecture is honest, funny and insightful. He talks about music, money and radio, looking back, forward and sideways to give a thought-provoking lecture about the way he sees free music working in a capitalist society. His lecture is my favourite spoken word piece of recent, because it creates a little contemplative space to reflect on the way that music is shared, distributed and appreciated today..."