I have a confession…

Donna Duggan – Marketing Consultant, has something to get off her chest…

I have a confession. I‘m addicted to podcasts.

My surprise at this turn of events knows no bounds. As a rule, and unusually for a marketer, I relish silence. At the end of the day when left to my own devices, I turn off all of my devices.

Up until recently silence has been golden. I run without ear phones, read a book before bed and generally prefer to lessen the din at every turn. But the unassuming podcast has me enthralled. It’s an intimate experience, a soft whisper in the ear, a sharing of secrets and knowledge.

Admittedly, I’m behind the curve on this one. It was last year that podcasts seemed to hit their stride. And in case you’re too embarrassed to ask podcasts are actually just digital radio shows, audio files that are available on the internet to stream or download to a computer or mobile device. You can access podcasts via iTunes, your iPhone with have a dedicated app, or through Google Play on Android.

You can choose from a 20 min deep dive into a topic of your choice. Or a more leisurely amble through the life of an author or celebrity you admire if you have an hour to spare. There are comedy podcasts, news podcasts, family podcasts, documentary podcasts. I’ve even found podcasts on managing bereavement. But the best thing about them? You can listen in your own time and they keep you informed. Spend 30 mins catching up on this week’s news instead of three hours reading the Sunday papers. And that’s what makes them so addictive to the person juggling work and home life.

Here are 5 that I currently can’t live without:

The High Low

Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton are where it all started for me. Both freelance journalists living in London their weekly news roundup takes in the highbrow headlines as well as the tabloid tat (hence the title).  They chat through topics injecting their own views along the way. There’s always a feminist slant to each show and they have spoken in depth about #metoo and #timesup. They are intelligent, witty and strangely sound exactly the same as each other. Thrown into each episode are also books they’ve read, articles they’ve loved and Netflix series they’ve binged on. The High Low is currently on maternity leave but will be back in April. Panda & Dolly, you rock!


Song Exploder

This is a short one folks but its genius and one of the finest podcasts of all. Musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made to interviewer Hrishikesh Hirway. The main theme to cult Netflix hit Stranger Things won an Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music and was composed by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon of the band Survive. Michael and Kyle talk about how they got involved with the show and the library of music that they sent over to the show’s creators for consideration. They were looking for a mysterious and ominous sound which Survive created by using an old synthesizer from the 70’s. Think they found it, right?! A quick plea to also listen to the show featuring Grammy award singer Lorde. Hear how her song ‘Sober’ from second album ‘Melodrama’ started by listening to the original demos!


Desert Island Discs

I know, I know, this is what your Mum listens to on a Sunday morning on her Roberts Radio right? Wrong. Please do take a dive into their wonderfully diverse archives, you won’t be disappointed. I have literally welled up at the Tom Hanks recording as well as the Sheryl Sandberg interview. The CCO of Facebook talks about her rise through the ranks, the phenomenal success of her book Lean In and also the unexpected and devastating loss of her much loved husband. I also enjoyed the recording of activist and author of God of Small Things Arundhati Roy and also that of David Beckham where he speaks candidly of his life, career and the Manchester United Class of ’92.


TED Talks Daily

I’ve been a fan of TED Talks for years so imagine my delight on discovering TTD – a weekday serving of their latest talks in audio format. If you’ve never listened to a TED Talk I defy you not to find one that you’re interested in. There are thought-provoking shows on everything from AI to the power of a single decision and everything in between. I listened to an archive episode recently given by author of Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert in 2009. She was talking about a radical idea that instead of the rare person ‘being’ a genius, that all of us ‘have’ a genius. Inspirational.

We_love_ted_talksHow I Built This

Have you got a curious mind? As Doyennes I presume you have. Then tuck in to this interesting podcast on how businesses got built. Some of my favourite episodes have been about brands such as Spanx, Instagram and part shoe/part philanthropy business TOMS. Having a foot in the travel sector I also enjoyed the episode on the incredible rise and rise of AirBnB. If any of you have used this service you’ll enjoy this chat with co-founder Joe Gebbia. The ‘air’ part of AirBnB comes from Joe hosting the very first guests of the service on air beds in his own apartment. Sound crazy? The best ideas usually are…


I’d love to hear if you’ve discovered podcasts. Got any favourites or are there any industry shows that you’ve subscribed to? Let me know.

Donna Duggan is a freelance marketing consultant with experience in the music & travel sectors.

You can get in touch with her here.

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