Podcasts: inspiring, entertaining and informing

Digital, Featured, Science, Technology 2019-09-27

Bored on your commute? Podcast. Want to relax in the evening? Podcast. Need a distraction while exercising? Podcast. With genres ranging from wellbeing to comedy to our favourite at Notch, science and technology, it’s safe to say there is a podcast for not only every situation but every taste too. And the general public would agree. According to Ofcom, nearly 6 million people in the UK listen to a podcast every week, with half of these listeners being under 35.

The term ‘podcast’ has been bandied about since 2004, when the words iPod and broadcast were merged. In the 15 years since, these episodic audio files have transformed how we consume media – they are typically free to download and can be played back at a time that suits the user. The shift in user habits was demonstrated last year when the BBC rebranded the ‘iPlayer Radio’ as the ‘BBC Sounds’ app. This was to better reflect the high number of people listening on mobiles and listening to specific audio episodes via downloading or streaming. What’s more, with the rise of voice-enabled technology creeping into our everyday lives, podcasts may become even more of a mainstay.

Podcasts have also made a huge splash in the world of science communication. They are a great way of storytelling, helping to make often complex research digestible and accessible. Podcasts also provide an opportunity for researchers to directly speak to an engaged audience, where the public can be informed about exciting work straight from the horse’s mouth. Moreover, they allow brands to promote thought leadership to a wide audience, such as an industry expert discussing an important or trending topic. For example, as part of our ‘Voices in Chemistry’ digital supplement in partnership with Chemistry World, we were delighted to include a podcast about the growing issue of microplastics.

Podcasts can be informative, engaging and entertaining. If you’ve never listened to one before and don’t know where to start, then fear not! Read on for some podcast recommendations from the Notch team!

Lizzie Harrett – Content Manager

I’m a real true crime fan, so I really enjoy listening to ‘Casefile’. When I have my science hat on, I don’t think you can go wrong with ‘Ologies’, which asks scientists silly questions! I find it hilarious!

Pranika Sivakumar – Content Director

The most addictive podcast I’ve ever come across has to be ‘Serial’ (specifically season 1). This had me hooked more than any TV show! Episode by episode you join the host in unravelling this real-life murder mystery. What better chance is there for releasing your inner detective from the comfort of your own home?

Lauren Robertson – Science Writer/Editor

The podcast I listen to most would probably be ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ hosted by Brian Cox and Robin Ince, which I love because it brings together a panel of both scientists and comedians to chat about really diverse scientific topics. One of my favourite episodes was about forensic science – a subject of morbid curiosity for me – in which they discussed some really intriguing things about forensic botany. I’d also recommend ‘Español con Juan’ for anyone who wants to practice their Spanish with a little bit of comedy thrown in for good measure – although, to my shame, I’ve neglected to listen to this in a while…

Charlotte Radley – Junior Account Manager

I love ‘Desert Island Discs’! I particularly like it when they interview notable scientists in fields that I wouldn’t otherwise know much about (such as physics).

Lauren Martin – Account Director

‘A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management’- I like this one for some inspiration and to help think about things differently! ‘Marketing Week’ is a good one to hear from thought leaders on industry trends and channels. This helps me keep up to date with what’s going on in industry and how channels and tactics are evolving

Kate Whelan – Chief Operating Officer & Head of Notch Scandinavia

‘Partially Examined Life’, which focuses on philosophy, philosophers and philosophical texts with a format of an informal roundtable discussion.

Ingela Loell – Scientific Writer/Editor

‘Making Sense with Sam Harris’ – it’s a humble approach to everything from medical intelligence to human behaviour.

Helen Elmes – Senior Account Manager

My current podcast obsession is ‘The Guilty Feminist’. They cover all sorts of topics (recent favourites include Women in STEM and climate change) with a comedy spin – it’s had me laughing out loud on my walks home! Science: Disrupt is also fantastic for learning about exciting innovations and the people behind them.