Be A Voice: Pick of the Pods (December 2017)

By Senior Campaign Agent Luke Walpole

Note: views expressed are those of the individual and not representative of TalkPolitics.

Podcasts have never been more popular. Even the most cursory look at the charts shows you just how much there is to listen to. From true-crime documentaries through to three friends reading aloud erotica written by one of their dads (hilarious, trust me), the diversity is mind-boggling. 

Yet, it is also proving to be a platform for political discussion. At its best, political podcasting can provide an antidote to the quick-fire nature of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle, and allows you the opportunity to step back and appreciate the bigger picture. So, whether you listen on your commute to work, in the gym, or walking the dog, here’s Talk Politics’ pick of the pods. Search for them wherever you usually get your podcasts. 

Brexitcast

With more room to breathe than a one-minute piece to camera, the hosts of Brexitcast enjoy being able to mull over the ongoing Brexit saga. Featuring big hitters like BBC Political Editor Laura Kuensberg, the pod brings clarity to the minutiae. Thankfully, too, it brings some much-needed levity to proceedings. 

CapX

Providing financially-inclined news accessibly, CapX has proven to be an increasingly reliable source of content for politicos. Their podcast, too, features incisive analysis from editor Robert Colvile and his flotilla of top-rung guests. The episodes range in time, but often come in under the hour mark. Fundamentally, it’s intelligent people talking about interesting things. 

The Daily

Though Donald Trump’s war on the “failing” New York Times has peppered his Twitter feed, the adverse is more likely true. With online engagement and subscription numbers booming, the prestigious paper can also boast one of the savviest and concise podcasts available. It does what it says on the tin, providing a primer which gives you all the detail you need for the day ahead. 

From Our Own Correspondent

Hosted by the veteran reporter Kate Adie, this show once again allows reporters more time to present their stories. Each show features four or five relatively in-depth features (around 5 or 6 minutes) which delve into countries around the globe. For instance, though the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen took the lead in a recent podcast, there was also a feature on strawberry picking in Russia.  

Our Man in the Middle East

In many senses an extension of ‘From Our Correspondent’, this series is hosted by Jeremy Bowen, a reporter who has seen some of the most important events of the last quarter century unfold before his very eyes. A candid and emotional series, take a read of our own interview with Bowen for more info. 

Pod Save America

Crooked Media was set up by three ‘Obama Bros’; Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor and Jon Lovett. Between them, they served for almost the entirety of the Obama Presidency in the depths of the West Wing, and have now taken this expertise to the world of Podcasting. Released twice weekly, the Pod which started it all is unashamedly Liberal, but is not afraid of criticising Democrats. Expect passionate arguments, top-draw guests, and some of the funniest Ad breaks around. 

Pod Save The World

Save America’s sister podcast, Pod Save The World is hosted by Tommy Vietor. As a formed NSC Spokesman, Vietor is a dyed-in-the-wool Foreign Policy wonk, and uses his show to discuss a hot topic in Current Affairs. Vietor’s an engaging and earnest host who always gets the best out of his interviewees.  A good place to start would be his talk with Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who helped Edward Snowden publicise his highly-classified leaks. 

Political Thinking with Nick Robinson

A long-standing BBC journo, former Political Editor Robinson now hosts his show on a weekly basis. He brings his own experiences to the fore, as well as conducting interviews with figures from across the political spectrum. It isn’t beige questioning, either, as Robinson unsurprisingly seems to know every trick in the interview playbook…

Reasons to Be Cheerful

Milibanter, the Miliverse, Red Ed. Few politicians were able to elicit such a cult, if often playful, following. Yet Ed Miliband’s propensity for throwing shade on Twitter makes him an ideal co-host for this weekly pod. Also hosted by Geoff Lloyd, the show introduces a progressive topic (such as universal credit, or transgender rights), and evaluates the positives and pitfalls ahead. The show also lives up to its title, and invites a comedian on every week to suggest ways in which the world could be a better place.  

The Spectator Podcast

Recently described as a publication for Daily Mail readers who can also answer a string of University Challenge questions, The Spectator does carry a reputation for being ever-so-slightly snooty. However, their podcast does provide a counterpoint to the more liberal leanings of some of the other titles mentioned in this piece. 

Further Reading