In an ever-changing and scarily fast-paced world, the fact that podcasts are so popular comes as a nice reminder that simplicity is key.
It’s not podcasts are easy to make or are necessarily less complicated than other media, but when faced with 3/4/5D films, virtual reality gaming or choose your own adventure TV shows, nine times out of ten, I’d plug in my earphones and put on a podcast.
You can listen while commuting, cleaning, cooking, walking, running, staring into space – even when you’re going to sleep.
At The Southern Star we have our own catalogue of high-quality podcasts. The weekly Star Sport Podcast focuses on all things sport in West Cork with great interviews from the areas best sportspeople.
Our In The News Podcast takes an in-depth look at the most important issues in West Cork.
These are some of my favourite offerings from around the world, but there is a podcast for literally every subject under the sun, so the world is your oyster.
The Blindboy Podcast
One of the most important podcasts for men in Ireland (and everywhere else) to listen to. Blindboy has been part of Irish culture for years at this stage, first through The Rubberbandits and now through this.
Settling down for a ‘podcast hug’ as Blindboy describes it, is a soothing feeling. You float along on a series of hot takes, mental health discussions and fascinating interviews. No two episodes are the same, but each one feels familiar.
To understand the variety in topics just look at some of the most recent episode titles: Teenage Margaret Thatcher Turtles, A post lockdown mental health plan, Addiction and Prison with The Two Norries. Listen here.
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
What started as an extension of his late-night chat show has become the replacement to his late-night chat show, as Conan O’Brien interviews a range of guests in his usual hilarious manner.
If you’re not a fan of Conan on TV, you won’t be a fan of the podcast as he turns everything up to 11. While always joking, his interview style helps guests open up and leads to candid conversations.
Highlights include episodes featuring Jeff Goldblum, Norm Macdonald, and both Barrack and Michelle Obama. Listen here.
The podcast for any sports fan – fanatic or not.
Subscribers get access to a minimum of five shows a week of some of the highest quality journalism/analysis/conversation across all sports. Equal parts light-hearted and serious, the tone is always spot on and they cover important social issues alongside the ‘regular’ sports news.
Come for the sport, stay for the laughs, wild predictions, audiobeds and more.
The Rest Is History
There are almost as many history podcasts as there are years in history, yet somehow this one manages to stand out.
A recent discovery for me, The Rest Is History is a sprawling look at a variety of topics throughout the world as historians Tom Holland (not that one) and Dominic Sandbrook detangle fact from myth, and often analyse the present as well.
There is a back catalogue of over 200 episodes to get through on subjects such as George Orwell, the American Civil War, Stonehenge, the Roman empire, and Watergate – and that’s just in the most recent 20 offerings.
Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware
There may not be a more infectious sound than that of Jessie Ware and her mother Lennie cracking up at each other.
Chatty, interview podcasts are as common as anything, so when a good one comes along it stands out. The Ware’s speak with a variety of guests at their kitchen table, and it feels like a casual chat – because it is.
You’ll never want to go round a stranger’s house for a gin and tonic more than after listening to this. Listen here.
You’ve heard of Desert Island Discs – the popular BCC show where guests choose which songs they would take to a deserted island – now comes Off Menu, a podcast where comedians James Acaster and Ed Gamble force guests to choose their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert, and drink.
Like most of these shows, the genius comes from the hosts, who are – in the nicest way possible – ridiculous. It’s a funny and at times heart-warming celebration of food and why we love it.
When something goes wrong, we all want to find out one thing – who’s to blame. We love pointing a finger, and The Alarmist is the podcast that does the hard work for us.
Host Rebecca Delgado-Smith dives into history’s greatest tragedies to figure out what went wrong and who’s to blame.
The Central Park Five, the Aberfan mining disaster, and the Jonestown cult massacre are among the subjects under the microscope – spoiler: it’s not always who you think.
Fans of radio plays or audio books should enjoy Wooden Overcoats, a fictional podcast about Rudyard Funn and his equally miserable sister Antigone, who run their family’s failing funeral parlour.
They are the only funeral home on the island, until they’re not, and a competitor threatens to destroy their business.
It’s one of the funniest sitcoms available, and you don’t have to glue yourself to the couch to enjoy it.
Film nerds rejoce, for Filmspotting is the only podcast you need.
There are more entertaining, more light-hearted film podcasts out there, but Josh Kempenaar and Adam Larsen are two of the most articulate and engaging film critics around and review the latest films with skill.
Episodes are long (up to 2 hours) and feature top 5/10 lists alongside the new reviews.
The passion each host has for film is infectious – and it helps that they don’t always agree - listen here.
I’m only a couple of episodes into this one but love it already.
Dead Eyes follows actor Connor Ratliff as he tries to find out why he was fired from HBO’s Band of Brothers almost two decades ago – and what Tom Hanks meant when he said that Ratliff had ‘dead eyes.’
A jokey premise leads to more internal reflection on the entertainment business and – spoiler alert – Tom Hanks eventually joins to explain himself. I can’t wait - find out what happens here.