ConFab Fridays – a note on podcasts

ConFabs take place every Friday, and every one is different. So far we’ve had DJs, cakes and pottery, a creativity workshop and a live music set. Last week at ConFab Friday we heard from Colin and his relationship with podcasts. Here’s a little more about what went down:

Podcasts have been in existence since the early 1980s. It used to be called audioblogging. But it wasn’t until the internet got its claws into our lives that they became popular – sources say the real growth in popularity started in about 2004.

I was a late bloomer.

I never got podcasts. I couldn’t figure out WHERE to listen to them. I know some people listen in the car, or while they’re running or working out. But those two options don’t work for me. I don’t spend enough time in my car and … when I did run and work out (back in the day) I preferred not to listen to anything.

Then one day about two years ago my friend and colleague Josh Nuttall posted a link to a podcast and I thought I’d give it a listen. Josh is a podcast fanatic. He makes and listens to some amazing stuff so I thought he’d be a good resource.

So anyway, I set some time aside and listened to the podcast. It was about buses – of all things. And I loved it! It was totally random and completely nerdy and right up my alley.

And that was that. I didn’t engage with podcasts again for quite some time. I was just too busy.

Until one night I was battling to sleep. You know those nights when things are spinning around in your head? So I thought, let me try listening to a podcast. I went onto the podcast app on my phone and typed in the name of my favourite non-fiction writer, Malcolm Gladwell. His podcast is called Revisionist History, and I listened to an episode about golf courses – again, completely random and nerdy. But it stilled the voices and I fell asleep soon after the episode was over. And that was me. Podcasts had become my sleeping pill.

Within a few weeks I had listened to every available episode of Revisionist History. I thought back to the bus podcast, which was on a show called 99 percent invisible. Pretty soon I’d devoured all of that content. Then I added The Last Archive, Overheard on National Geographic, The Moth, Cautionary Tales, Radio Lab and The Intelligence from The Economist.

Now, every night I have 45 minutes to an hour of listening before I go to sleep. Admittedly sometimes I wake up in the morning with an ear bud under the duvet because I’ve fallen asleep while the podcast was still playing. But that’s ok – you can listen to the same episode more than once if you like.

I subscribe to eight podcasts:

  • Revisionist History
  • 99 Percent Invisible
  • The Last Archive
  • Cautionary Tales
  • Overheard on National Geographic
  • The Moth
  • Radio Lab
  • The Intelligence

What they have in common is the element of storytelling, because that’s what floats my boat. You may enjoy motivational talks, or business tips, DJ sets, or specific topics like cycling or rowing or knitting or meditation… there really is something for everyone. Radio dramas, true crime, fitness, religious programmes, parenting… I could go on. But I won’t because I’d like you to watch the recording of the ConFab session, which contains a portion of a podcast from The Moth entitled Doctors, Judgments, Dictators. I have trimmed it to just over half an hour. There are three stories which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

So let’s take a listen…

That was just one of millions of podcasts that are out there. I would love to hear from you about your podcast journey. Perhaps we can do another ConFab on podcasts soon.

This week we have a very exciting ConFab – same time, same place, different link. Our friend and quizmistress extraordinaire, Danielle de Grooth, will be running a quiz for us. Danielle’s quizzes are always great fun. Hope you can join us. 4pm on Friday 20 August. See you then.

Colin is our resident wordsmith. He can write absolutely anything and loves to read, too. He even has his own book club.