Confession time. I am a woman. I am a woman who LOVES talking. I am also a woman who loves podcasts. In fact I am a little bit obsessed by them. In fact, I am a LOT obsessed by them. So this list of eight superb podcasts by women was, quite frankly, a little obviously 'me'.
Next confession. My obsession is nascent - the podcast repository on my phone is woefully slim. Serial, My Dad Wrote a Porno, Case Evidence, RuPaul's What's The Tee (featuring Michelle Visage - OH YES!). Although my love may be in its first flush of youth however, my reasons for loving podcasts are firmly rooted in middle-aged nostalgia, talking to my need for a slower, less crowded, quieter world.
*Mutters - can't those millennials stop for one minute and turn the noise down!?*
In a world when everything runs at 100 miles a minute, where, almost before we have taken a breath in, we find the air being punched out of us, I adore the sonorous length of a podcast. I love the slow build; the space we have to carve in our lives to enjoy them; the extravagance of hour long episodes which defy binge listening. I marvel at the control of the producers who release episodically, week by week, teasing us with glimpses of ankle long before reaching the thigh. In downloading we are forced to slow down, to listen, absorb and be in it for the long haul. A gift so rarely given.
Everything today is so public. Its about engaging, being in tribes, joining communities. Our very existence seems to be validated by likes, shares and views.
So the privacy of podcasts stands in stark contrast. And not just the privacy of how we consume them - body folded into a tube, phone in pocket, earphones on, eyes closed, our mind catapulted to another world - but also in how they are recorded. Conversations, between friends (and colleagues), often over kitchen tables, in gardens or bedrooms make up so much of the content. These are intimate, even if knowingly shared, moments. They work because they are human and real, and as a listener we are invited to join in. The effect is powerful.
This is also a medium which forces us to listen, and listening without visuals opens our mind to so much more. It unleashes creativity and sparks connections. Conscious listening is a skill, a skill many of us (me included) need to practice more. By freeing us from the passive watch, and wash, of a screen we actively focus and, quite simply, hear more.
Every day, it seems, I am seeking ways to bring podcasts into my working life, listening of course, but also producing. To invite clients to take the long view in their story telling, to think episodically in how they engage.
Meanwhile, you must forgive me, but I must go and download this list of eight must listen to podcasts from funny, brilliant, investigative, honest, rude, open women before I board my next tube!
For a long time, it seemed as if podcasting was a male realm, but no longer. Sure, there are lots of men doing podcasts, but women are voicing a lot of the form’s biggest hits. Serial, the podcast that made podcasts a phenomenon, was narrated by a woman. Then Starlee Kine lit up the iTunes charts with her sorely missed Mystery Show. And that’s before we get to NPR and BBC stalwarts, such as Terry Gross and Kirsty Young. The podcast revolution has taught us that women’s voices aren’t just pleasurable to listen to, they are essential. Here are the can’t-miss-podcasts produced, reported and performed by women in 2017: