Audio documentaries have been around a while, especially with platforms like Radio 4 and BBC World Service, but once the iPod was invented in the mid-2000s, the podcast market began to grow. Being able to listen to informative or entertaining audio shows on the go widened the market to a new generation of people who want to absorb as much information as possible. You can find a podcast on just about any subject by now – from true-crime to economic discussions to fishing. Anything.
At FINDRA, Helen and Susan are avid podcasts listeners, particularly during a commute or a run. Podcasts are perfect if you’re too tired for a book or your hands are busy in the kitchen, relaxing in the garden, driving or on a plane. So here are our top 5 podcasts recommended to us by members of Team FINDRA, and also how to get started if you’re new to the podcast game!
1./ Of Mountains and Minds
“Of Mountains and Minds was born out of a drive to share stories of perseverance. In our British culture, sometimes we struggle to talk openly about the things that matter and connect us to others.”
Caroline McKay doesn’t shy away from asking the tough questions to her guests, bringing together her own life experiences to really engage the conversations. Episodes are longer, usually just over an hour, so they’ll certainly pass the time if you’re out on a long run.
Listen to Of Mountains and Minds here.
2/. No Such Thing As A Fish
For comedy, you can’t get much better than this podcast from the QI elves. Each week they bring to the table their favourite facts and chaos ensues. There are nearly 300 episodes available and they sometimes go on tour for you to experience the podcast live; it’s definitely worth trying to get tickets for that spectacle! Susan says, “a bit of comedy softens the blow when I’m not in the mood to go out for a run but I think I must get funny looks when I am laughing like a loon on the trails”.
Listen to No Such Thing As A Fish here.
3./ Tough Girl Podcast
Sarah Williams is the host of the Tough Girl Podcast and she begins every episode saying that it’s “all about motivating and inspiring you” and there’s no doubt that she succeeds. Every week she interviews incredible women doing brilliant things to raise the profile of adventurous and strong women in the media. Over four years she’s interviewed hundreds of guests creating a huge library of hour-long episodes.
Helen says, “On my bike tour, I think I listened to every single episode of the podcast and the stories of these amazing women would always inspire me to keep pedaling”.
Sarah also does her own challenges and adventures, most recently cycling the Pacific Coast Highway and before that, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 100 days. If you’re ever feeling low on inspiration, this should be your go-to podcast!
Listen to the Tough Girl Podcast here.
4./ Death in Ice Valley
The true-crime genre of podcasting has exploded in recent years, especially since the success of the 2014 podcast Serial – an investigative journalism series by Sarah Koenig which sparked a retrial of Adnan Syed, a boy accused of murder. Whilst most podcast recommendations will (rightfully) have Serial listed, we’ve got another for you. Death in Ice Valley tackles the mysterious death of a Norwegian woman in 1970. We won’t give any spoilers, but the producers are hoping that members of the public can help identify her.
One thing noted by Susan is, “this is a particular favourite but not recommended in creepy forests or on a night run!”
Listen to Death in Ice Valley here.
5./ Women on the Road
This is another podcast built on stories but focuses on women who live the #vanlife.
“Honest experiences of life on the road told from the perspective of women who’ve lived them firsthand. Whatever you drive, and for however long, this is a podcast for those drawn to road travel. Interviews, in-the-field recordings, and listener voice submissions range in topic from helpful tips to get started to the inspirational experiences that get and keep us out there.”
Listen to Women on the Road here.
How to listen to podcasts
If you’re just listening at home, each podcast will have a website you can stream from just like in the links above. However, if you have a smartphone and want to listen on the go, there are a variety of free apps which will stream your podcast of choice. Apps such as Stitcher allow you to create playlists of your favourite podcasts to make finding an episode easier. Helen tells us she creates playlists by theme (e.g. crime, comedy, travel etc) and picks a playlist, then a programme, depending on her mood. You can also choose to download an episode while you’re at home on WiFi and listen later, so as to save your data allowance.
Alternatively, you can go straight to the source of podcast production and download their own free app. For example, a big producer of investigative journalism podcasts is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and they have their own app (CBC Radio). It’s the same thing with BBC World Service which host all their podcasts in the BBC Sounds app.
We’d recommend using one app for all your podcasts as it keeps everything in one place – so go for something like Stitcher or iTunes. So now you know how it all works, download a free app and start searching! There’s a wealth of information out there waiting for you to listen.
To get you started…
Our very own CEO, Alex Feechan, was on the Mother of all Movement podcast recently. Take a listen by clicking play below!