Podcasts are back. We’ve been scouting around looking for the best in class examples. The below aren’t simply a list of the most charted, most listened or newest, rather, they’re instances of the podcast form at its very best. So take a read, then take a listen.
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We’ve mentioned them before and gosh darn it we’ll mention them again. Rinse FM do very little wrong. Their podcasts are direct recordings from their radio shows. This means they’ve got that live element to them – the mic dips, the chatter, the general momentum of both music and an obviously amped presenter – all of which give the shows a relentlessly upbeat vibe.
In our previous article on making your own podcast we discussed the importance of having a theme. Gilles Peterson is a master of sorts at this. His shows are amazingly eclectic. Some with plenty of chatter, some without. Some live, some not, and a spectrum-crossing diversity of music to go with it. Yet his podcasts are formidably popular, simply because they work. There’s a kind of magical tempo, some sort of story narrative that just holds each show together. Take a listen, and draw some inspiration. Programming at its best.
Recorded – you guessed it – live, Drumcode’s podcast is a study in the industry’s leading techno. Small wonder then that the show itself is incredibly well organised – plenty of idents, guest mixes and chatter at the intro from the host Adam Beyer. All of which makes for delivery as consistent as Beyer’s own sets.
As with Drumcode, Defected have a straight up formula show to show which keeps listeners locked. We’ve mentioned them here as their music selection and general show persona appears geared more to the Friday and Saturday pre-drinks crowd than the all-in approach of Drumcode. Take note. Podcasts may be available at any time, but it’s worth considering when you think most of your crowd will listen to the mixes you put online.
Radio 1 MiniMix
It’s by no means the newest mix series out there, but props to Radio 1’s Mini Mix for creating a show built on an entirely niche format and getting such a wide range of artists involved. The Mini Mix show raises questions and conversations about the blur between production, DJing, mixes for radio versus mixes for live, not to mention that the mixes on the show are consistently brilliant. Listen here.
Helper is a series of free downloads, releases and mixes featuring tough, US hip hop from emerging artists. It gets an average of half a million listeners per installment. The overall theme? Each track must mention food. Seriously…
I’ll Name This Podcast Later
The rest of the podcasts we’ve selected are all non-music. Why? These are worth taking a listen to, purely from a production and planning perspective. Joe Budden’s podcast is all about music, without playing much music. A talk show about US hip hop in a studio style set up. There’s been shows about music before but this one’s less pretentious and far more, well, listenable.
The podcast that helped bring the format back to mainstream attention, Serial actively plays on the idea of weekly episodes, ending on cliffhangers, built on the idea you have to listen to all of them, and programmed to get people forming their own opinions, detective story style. They’ve also get a very simple, very slick website that’s worth a look. Note: First series much better than the second… Listen here
It’s one of the most read, most respected news sources in the world. It’s not pretentious, but it has zero interest in dumbing down the facts to the mainstream either. Why is it on this list? Because in an age of 24 hour news, ever more elaborate infographics and animations and news footage that’s regularly pumped and spun to look a certain way, this high-end news weekly regularly uses voicemails and untreated skypes for its shows.
Which for us kind of sums up the point of podcasts and their return. The best ones are well researched, well organised but above all, simple. Listen here.
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