Getting started on podcasts to avoid Grant Nash

Note: This post is mainly aimed at Android users, but obviously the podcasts suggested are available across all platforms.

With the surprise departure of Gareth Cliff from the 5fm Breakfast Show, you’ll have been hoping to find something nearly as good to occupy your morning drive to work. Sadly, until their “relaunch” at 5am on the fifth of the fifth (read: “We weren’t ready for this. At all.”) you’re certainly not going to get it, as Grant Nash, one eighth of the much-loved Grant and Anele duo* “fills in” for Cliff and the team.

No thanks.

I’ve decided to try podcasts, given that the other radio options are rather limited in desirability. And I should mention that we’re in SA here, where digital and satellite radio are as likely to be seen in the next few years as that hoverboard from Back to the Future. In addition, we’re still battling with the joint foes of Grant and Anele slow internet and high data costs, which means that, for many people, streaming – especially on mobile – is a non-starter.

Podcasts are things that I have previously pretty much ignored, but Gareth’s departure and Grant’s arrival twixt six and nine have pushed me to explore a bit. And it’s not (quite) as daunting as I had imagined.
Basically, all you need is a podcast manager app and a willingness to explore a bit.

For the former, I chose Podcast Addict [QR code], simply because it had the best reviews on the Play Store and I’ve already found that it’s pretty easy and intuitive to use. Also, it’s ad-driven, so it’s free (although if you find that you are going to be using it full-time, you can chuck R30 at the developer to lose the ads).
Next, I had to decide which podcasts to try. This is obviously a very personal thing, but the internet can help with some starting points: here, here and here, for example. I looked at some comedy, some topical stuff and some educayshonel things. It’s worth noting that the BBC has a HUGE repository of podcasts on just about every subject. The only downside is that almost everything involving music can only be downloaded in the UK, because of copyright laws. And yes, I’m well aware that there are ways around this, but that’s your indaba, innit.

Something else I found were video podcasts. Hundreds of them. This might not suit though, because a) bandwidth and b) driving. However, if you have unlimited data and/or cash and you’re brave enough to take public transport, this could be for you. At two hours from Kenilworth to the Waterfront, God knows you’ll have the time to watch them. It’s worth noting that PodcastAddict’s search feature allows you to choose to look for audio, video or both. Typically, you’re looking at about 1MB per minute for most of the audio podcasts I’ve seen, so it’s “doable”.

So, what did I end up starting with? Here’s my list:

Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio
Alex Horne Breaks The News
Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1 (unsigned artists and DIY labels = no copyright issues)
Justin Moorhouse About 30 Minutes, No More Than 45 and
A History of Britain In Numbers

I also tried Stuff You Should Know, but I thought that it was a bit rubbish.

Early days, sure, but I’ve enjoyed my journeys with my podcasts and I really don’t feel that I’m missing out on much given the live alternatives available. I’ll keep you informed and updated on how things are going.

Meanwhile, if you have any thoughts on this subject or have any podcasts that you want to suggest, then please let me know in the comments below.

* approximate calculation based on BMI.

15 thoughts on “Getting started on podcasts to avoid Grant Nash

  1. You should also try “This American Life”, “RadioLab”, and “The Moth Podcast” for general storytelling; “Science for the People” has some interesting stuff too. I also enjoy “99% Invisible” and the BBC’s “The Why Factor” and finally if you are into history and stuff: “A History of the World in 100 Objects” (BBC), &”Revolutions” (by Mike Duncan).

  2. The Guardian’s Football Weekly is superb, and funny.This American Life is sometimes a bit jingoistic, but more typically one of the best produced narrative-style podcasts out there. The Savage Lovecast is very good for a non-pc take on sex and relationships, as well as occasional Pope-bashing. Philosophy Bites for some, erm, digestible philosophy. Kermode on Mayo on Film (BBC5) if you start enjoying movies – but they’re very witty (hence the nickname, Wittertainment, for their brand). I suspect you’d like Melvyn Bragg’s “In our Time”, BBC4, on history and the history of ideas.

  3. I also started with podcasts, but these days I just listen to audiobooks. About R200 a month depending on what the dollar is doing, and Audible has enough books for most tastes. I barely listen to radio any more, I prefer books much more, and can get more reading in this way.
    Something you might want to try is Welcome to Night Vale, it’s a surreal comedy show about a small town in the American desert.

  4. Flip. Looks like I’m way behind the curve on this one.

    Tara > Thanks for the advice. This American Life gets two mentions already. Got to be worth a go. I’m reticent to get into science stuff because it’s either going to be too basic or too much for my 30 minute drive to work.

    Jacques > Wow. Plenty there to get my teeth into, thanks. And I really need to bush up on my erm, digestible philosophy for an upcoming dinner date, so timely too.

    Mandarb > People have mentioned audiobooks on twitter too. It’s something I might consider in the future. Thank you.

  5. The Bugle podcast is essential. Kak funny.
    Friday night comedy from BBC Radio 4 is great. Alternates between the News Quiz & your old mates from the Mary Whitehouse Experience in the Now Show.
    The Iain Lee podcast on BBC 3CR is as funny as it is weird.

  6. Darth > Ah yes – I got the R4 Comedy ones – I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and Sandy Toksvik this week. Lovely stuff. Iain Lee used be great on the 11 O’Clock Show. Bugle podcast, I don’t know – I’ll go look. Thanks.

  7. * approximate calculation based on BMI. <– this footnote completely cracked me up 🙂

  8. Guardian football podcast… excellent if you haven’t listened already… BBC Mark Kermode film review podcast…. Mark Maron and… aaah i see Jacques has beat me to this…

  9. NPR Wait Wait Don’t tell me! Podcasts have greatly improved my metrorail trips (not brave, cheap). I’ve enjoy your blog for awhile now so thanks!

  10. craiglotter > He’s VERY thin.

    Adam > Yes, Guardian footy one now added, thanks. Mch love on twitter for Kermode as well, but I’m not a movie fan.

    Pikwe > I tried, I really tried. And yes, the price is the good bit. Glad to have you along for the ride, anyway. 🙂

  11. I actually made myself a mix cd for my morning drive into the office. Like burned one, in the CD Rom drive of my computer. I feel like I’m in the 90’s again.

  12. Jeremy > That’s like a nod to Gareth’s Old Skool. Spectacular. But Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That, each day :).

  13. Got to add my recommendation for Football Weekly too. Can’t recall his name but one of the semi-regular panelists is a Blades fan. I’m sure he’ll be wheeled out next week to preview your six-goal cup final victory over hapless Arsenal.

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