Podcast recommendation

Here’s a podcast recommendation for you.
It’s BBC 6 Music’s BBC Introducing Mixtape. And here’s the direct podcast link.

The problem with a lot of music-related podcasts is copyright. Basically, that means that even if you’re listening to an interview with an artist, and even if they’re discussing their latest release: the lyrics, the chords, the harmonies, you don’t then get to actually listen to the music because their record company says that it can only be played in certain countries. To avoid any complication as to where people can and can’t download stuff, the radio station cuts all the music out of the podcast so as not to annoy the record company. It’s frustrating and kind of defeats the object. There are ways around it, apparently, but I’d imagine that they are extremely naughty and illegal so I certainly wouldn’t recommend that you try them. Not even a little bit.

But the BBC Introducing Mixtape is different because there are no record companies involved – these are unsigned artists. And thus, there are fewer rules on where their music can be shared and played. This is a good thing. and the music isn’t bad either. Although we seem to be heading vaguely towards a folk-rock sound, there are glimpses of other stuff – really good stuff.

Like So&So, for example. His Down The Crown [soundcloud] is quite fun. I know that it’s considered poor form to say “he sounds like…”, but it’s inevitably, parallels are going to be drawn to Mike Skinner and The Streets, and that’s no bad comparison.

And a bit of RoBoTaLiEn – I can’t forgive the way it’s written, but the music is a bit Carter USM with speedy rhythm almost drowning out the lyrics. I was bouncing in my car.

Best bit (possibly, anyway) about the whole thing is the lack of interruption, save for the reminder that you can find the tracklisting and band info at freshonthenet.co.uk, so you’re never going to miss out on the stuff you want to know.

Exploration starts here.

Trying Serial

Despite my veritable smörgåsbord of podcasts, I’ve found myself a little short of listening material of late. I’m not sure if I’m spending more time listening or more time in the car or even if the podcasts in question are getting shorter.
Maybe it’s a combination of these things, maybe it’s none of them. Like I said, I’m not sure.

Either way, it seems that I am short of podcasts. And that’s something that needs remedying.

Step forward, then, Serial – the podcast that everyone is currently talking about. As far as I can work out, Serial is popular because it’s popular, rather than any other reason right now. It’s very not me, but I’m going to give it a go with an open mind because I’m fed up of downloading crap and then having the choice of either sitting through the crap or not having a podcast on. And I’ve been very careful to not read about what Serial is about, because then I won’t be swayed. There are now eight episodes downloaded onto my phone and there’s a weekend of Cape Agulhas to play them at.

I’ll let you know.

Podcast Update

A recent chat about podcasts reminded me that I should probably let you know where I am with my podcast selection.

Here’s what’s currently on the Podcast Addict front screen:

  • Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio [link]
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 [link]
  • Guardian Football Weekly [link]
  • Justin Moorhouse About 30 Minutes Never More Than 45 [link]
  • Radcliffe & Maconie [link]
  • The Bugle [link]

Frank Skinner’s show is the ±75 minutes of talking from his Saturday morning radio show. He’s joined by Emily Dean and Alun Cochrane. It takes a while to get into their personalities and the clique of the whole thing, but once you’re there, it’s often amusing.
Friday Night Comedy alternates between the brilliant Now Show (Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis et al.) and the News Quiz with Sandy Toksviki and Jeremy Hardy. Always funny. As comedy should be. 30 minutes per week.
The Guardian Football Weekly with C4’s Football Italia guru Jame Richardson, has two 45 minute episodes each week. This season, they seem to have taken the decision to move to a more relaxed format, and it’s better for it. Very informative and enjoyable.
Justin Moorhouse is what I think of when I think ‘podcast’. It’s hugely informal: just him, a Northern comedian, going about his weekly business, chatting to friends and family. I think the title tells you how long each weekly episode is.
Radcliffe and Maconie’s BBC 6 Music show is condensed into 25 minutes a week: it’s interesting, but it’s too short and leaves you wanting more.
The Bugle is John Oliver and Andy Salzman’s online audio comedy vehicle. It’s very, very funny, very topical and often quite near the knuckle.

In addition to this, I’ve been downloading Nemone’s Electric Ladyland shows from BBC 6  Music. 2 hours of brilliant, brilliant electronica each Saturday night. It reminds me of recording off the radio onto your TDK C90s. Hashtag Old Skool.
It also stands as a reminder of just how bad music radio is in South Africa. Which isn’t so great.

Excluding the Nemone shows, that’s around 4 hours of podcasts each week, which is just about enough for my sitting in the traffic. All other audio moments are filled in with Nemone and/or music on the iPod. Anything to avoid 5fm and Cape Talk 567.

I’ve settled into a happy place with this now, but still, as ever, please share any recommendations below.

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.