In 1978, British music group The Buggles wrote and recorded a superhit called ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. It was the single that MTV, with no small amount of smug irony, chose to launch its new channel in 1981. It’s a song we all know and can sing along to, even today. Its lyrics mourn the end of the golden age of long-form story telling on the radio – where a single voice and nothing else could hold a captive audience of millions, week after week, year after year. The rise of the visual spectacle (the video) killed this art form (the radio star). And, for decades, this lament held true… Until 2004. The Buggles could not have predicted the rise of the internet, and with it, the revival of oral storytelling in the form of podcasts.
You can’t keep a good idea down for long, and there is something truly magic and wondrous in the spoken word – it is intrinsic to the very nature of our being. So, really, it’s no surprise that the modern iteration of this has become so popular. Statistics released by tech giant Apple reveal that there are currently over 500,000 active podcasts with around 18,000,000 existent episodes. If something has been thought, there’s a good chance it has been vocalised on some podcast, by someone; somewhere. There are podcasts like the Joe Rogan Experience that began commenting on the zeitgeist but are now a part of it – a cultural commentary that has become a bonafide cultural influence. The true crime podcast Serial has, as of witing, over 340 million unique downloads. It seems that a whole lot of us are, as The Buggles sang, lying awake intent on tuning in.
There is something for everyone in the world of podcasts. The subject list is as limitless as our imagination. In this series, I’ll be looking at what I believe are some of the most beautifully poignant examples of the genre – that have the power to transform your way of thinking or illuminate new perspectives you’d never considered before, or just really bloody interesting things you’d feel gladder for knowing. And, in keeping with the subject, I’m going to be doing so through my own mini podcast.
I’m starting with Heavyweight by Gimlet Media, which you can listen to here. [hyper link to https://www.gimletmedia.com/heavyweight]
Happy listening! 🙂
Produced and mixed by Dirk Markham (who also made the intro theme) -check out his website here – [hyperlink http://www.digitalinberlin.de/]
His radio show here: http://www.digitalinberlin.de/radio/
And his music and mixes here: https://soundcloud.com/dirkmarkham
– Imogen Giles