Netflix For Your Ears

13 February 2018

By Ina Weber - This week, I would like to introduce one of my favorite media formats: Podcasts. Although they have been around for over a decade, their popularity has only recently started to grow strongly. For media producers, podcasts are an interesting format since they have very low production costs and do not require highly specialized technology, except for a good microphone. Meanwhile, audiences can discover an extremely broad variety of shows: from exciting, hilarious or completely weird stories to interesting discussions about controversial topics, from fantasy to politics, from pop culture to history, from crime stories to fashion, technology or TV series - I’m certain there is no topic that is not covered by a podcast. It is a big advantage of podcasts that they can address nice topics which are too unconventional for mainstream media.

If you’re not hooked up on Podcasts yet, here are a few recommendations to start with.

 

  • 99 Percent Invisible |  This show is mostly about architecture and design. However, it is not a show that only experts in these fields can enjoy. As the name indicates, the focus of this podcast is not the obvious, but more the stories and thoughts behind what we see and take for granted every day.
  • Showcase from Radiotopia |  Showcase introduces new podcast series from emerging producers, each one about a completely different topic. Currently it features Secrets, a weekly six-part series from Sweden which explores the secrets we keep and how this affects our lives and relationships. The previous series tells the story of Polybius, a mysterious arcade game that has become a famous urban legend.
  • Conversations with people who hate me |  This is one of the most stunning podcasts I have discovered in 2017. Producer Dylan Marron is a writer and video maker with a focus on social justice issues. As you can imagine, he receives a lot of negative messages on the internet. In his podcast he calls some of the people who wrote those messages to ask them why, this way turning hate speech into interesting and often very deep conversations. New episodes are coming up in April.
  • Welcome to Night Vale | Night Vale is a nice little town somewhere in the dessert and this show is their community radio. Does not sound overly exciting? Well, Night Vale Is not like any other town since every conspiracy theory you have ever heard of seems to be true here and there is never only one mysterious event happening, but always multiple at the same time. In addition, the weather section is a great way of discovering new music and artists. Sounds a bit confusing? Just try it, Night Vale is impossible to describe in a few sentences.
  • Serial | Of course this introduction would not be complete without the show that has hugely contributed to the recent popularity of podcasts. Season one of Serial has been downloaded more than 68 million times. Host Sarah Koenig investigates the murder of an 18-year old High School student that has happened in 1999 and tries to uncover if the girl’s ex-boyfriend is really innocent, as he has been claiming for all the time since he’s been sent to prison. This is a real story about love and death, about justice and uncovering the truth and – warning – it is absolutely addictive!


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