1. Guardian Football Weekly
The Guardian’s Football Weekly is the don of football podcasts. It’s hosted by James Richardson, who may be familiar from Gazzetta Football Italia, a TV show about Italian football on Channel 4 (UK) in the late 90s – early 00s. There’s a rolling cast of pundits, including Michael Cox, Jonathan Wilson and Raphael Honigstein, as well as Barry Glendenning for comedy relief. The format works and it does everything you could want from a regular football podcast. And it comes out twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays)
Have a listen! http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/series/footballweekly
2. The New Yorker Political Scene Podcast
I enjoy most of the New Yorker podcasts, including the “Out Loud” podcast, hosted until recently by the excellent Blake Eskin. But I’ve gone for the Political Scene. For sheer insight into the madness and machinations of the American political machine, you can’t beat it. Hosted by Dorothy Wickenden, it often includes fellow Brit John Cassidy, who seems to know everything about everything (yet crucially doesn’t act like he does). Well worth a listen if you’re interested in US domestic politics. Usually available weekly.
3. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews
Kermode and Mayo have become a bit of an institution in the UK, and this can lead to their lengthy weekly show being rather overrated. The bickering between the two can grate, while the show’s interviews with top actors and directors are rarely that interesting or probing. Having said that, I happily listen every week for Kermode’s reviews of the latest releases. Kermode knows his movies, and isn’t afraid to stake out a view that doesn’t always tie with mainstream opinion. And it’s certainly preferable to the Guardian’s Film Weekly, which is too hard to listen to due to the irritating Jason Solomons. Listen and see if you like it.
Have a listen! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lvdrj
4. In Our Time with Melvin Bragg
In Our Time features discussions on an eclectic array of intellectual topics, from philosophy to science to history. To give you a flavour, recent episodes include: The Measurement of Time, Benjamin Franklin, The Kama Sutra and 1848: Year of Revolution. It doesn’t dumb down – some of the topics really require you to keep up (for me the science ones in particular) – while the slightly grumpy but lovable Melv is there to hurry things along if the assembled academics dither for too long.
Have a listen! http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/
5. Japanese Baseball Weekly
A new one for me. There’s finally a decent podcast about Japanese baseball – Japanese Baseball Weekly, available, err, weekly, from iTunes or via the RSS feed link on Japanesebaseball.com. It’s not as professionally produced as the others listed here, but I wanted to give it a shout-out thanks to the help I got from John Gibson when I had trouble listening, and also because, like I say, there is literally NO other podcast option for Japanese baseball (don’t take this the wrong way – Gibson and Allen certainly don’t just win by default!).