Recently, I’ve been getting myself back into listening to podcasts, as I’ve really fallen behind on listening to them since being at university. There’s so much music to discover, and films, TV shows and YouTube videos to keep up with that I let podcasts fall to the side for a while, but I’m determined to catch up with the shows that I loved six months ago, as well as listening to new podcasts, and ones I’ve always meant to start listening to.
I also recently reviewed Trends Like These for the student newspaper and really enjoyed writing the review, so I thought I may as well write more. This will hopefully be the first in a series of ‘Recommend & Review’ and hopefully there will also be follow up posts with different categories of podcasts that I enjoy listening to, as I listen to a few comedy podcasts and light-hearted chatty podcasts.
Trends Like These
The first podcast I want to mention is the aforementioned Trends Like These. Trends is hosted by Brent Black and Travis McElroy and often features guest hosts. Released regularly on Fridays, Black and McElroy catch listeners up on all the week’s trending news, going much more in depth than most click-bait articles, and providing well-researched and detailed information. The first segment, post-introduction, is Beyond The Headlines, where the biggest trending headlines are discussed. A special segment usually follows, either a recurring segment such as Terrible Men, or a one-off segment to cover a particularly large story. The following Politics Round-Up is Americentric, but still useful, as the nuances of American politics are very confusing and constantly changing, yet snippets still tend to reach British ears, and if it weren’t for Trends, I would be constantly confused about all the news stories churning out of the White House. A Tidbits segment regularly follows the Politics Round-Up, where smaller news stories are given coverage, and finally, a celebration of positivity – the WiFive – is provided to end the podcast on a lighter note.
Trends Like These is my main source of news now, as a student who does not possess a TV license, and I always find the episodes well-delivered by charismatic hosts, who are also consistently thoughtful and considerate, especially when dealing with heavier topics. Occasionally it can be a little heavy listening, and sometimes the nuances of American politics can be rather tedious, especially for non-Americans whom small changes are unlikely to have an impact on.
Episode length varies, but usually falls around the 90 minute mark, but can be easily broken up into multiple listening sections thanks to the different segments providing natural breaks.
Travis McElroy can be found on Twitter @travismcelroy
Brent Black can be found on Twitter @brentalfloss
Sexplanations, The Podcast
Another educational podcast I’d like to give a shout out to is Sexplanations, The Podcast, with Dr. Lindsey Doe. Host Dr. Doe rewatches old episodes of the YouTube show Sexplanations, also hosted by Dr. Doe, and provides further commentary on the episodes, suggesting things she would like to have done differently: more information she would have liked to include, or changes to production and delivery. She also provides high quality sex education, with special guests, who talk about sex-positivity and different aspects of sex. The podcast was developed as a response to viewers of the YouTube channel, who requested a podcast version of the show, and Dr. Doe has commented on the importance of making the show accessible to the visually impaired and how the podcast form allows this.
I find Sexplanations to be a fascinating, as well as educational and inclusive podcast, and commend it for its dedication to providing accurate and useful sex education for people of all identities. The show is also judgement-free, and I have to say, I do love listening to people talk about sex education in a judgement-free, inclusive manner.
Episodes are generally around 45 minutes long, so considerably shorter than Trends Like These, meaning it’s easier to find a time slot during which you can consume an entire episode.
The YouTube show can also be found here.
Sexplanations can also be supported on Patreon.
Holy Fucking Science
Holy Fucking Science is a science podcast that is not designed for children. Brought to you by the team behind SciShow on YouTube, four panellists sit down and attempt to stun one another with facts about science so much so that someone else says ‘Holy Fucking Science’. Each episode has a theme, and the panellists each bring a detailed fact to the table linked to the theme. The facts are not discussed between the panellists beforehand, creating organic responses, and meaning there are occasional overlaps, or someone will have already heard the fact being told. The panellists change weekly, but regular panellists include Hank Green, Michael Aranda, Ceri Riley and Caitlin Hofmeister. Holy Fucking Science also has a YouTube channel where the episodes are posted in video format.
The show is designed to be humourous as well as to educate, and the diverse topics and detailed, bizarre facts certainly provide both entertainment and education. Sadly, Holy Fucking Science is just finishing its run, but a backlog of episodes are still available and remain as relevant as they were when they were posted, with the exception of a few seasonal episodes, which will be topical again as soon as the season rolls around.
Episodes generally come in at around one hour, and can easily be broken down into smaller segments by taking breaks between each of the four panellists presentations.