Podcasts: Sarah’s Favourites (Part Two)

Welcome back! I’m glad that you have returned to my multi post series on Podcasts and what it is I like to listen to.

In part one I talked about some history podcasts that I find interesting and enjoyable. History is such a rich source of content you can never really be disappointed by what is out there. But, of course, it’s only one in a vast sea of genres. What else is it that tickles my eras?

Well the other area of interest that influences my listening choice is Hollywood or on a broader scale, the entertainment industry. 

The Flop House has been going for a number of years and, as we are told at the beginning of each episode, it is a podcast where the hosts (Elliot Kalan, Dan McCoy and Stuart Wellington)  ‘watch a bad movie and then talk about it’. Each of the contributors has their own unique personality, perspective and style of humor which combines to deliver a very funny product. There are some recurring ‘events’ such as ‘Shocktober’ and ‘Gagemass’ (which relates to the king of bad movies Nicholas Cage although Mr Travolta is fast becoming a contender for that crown). And if there is one thing you will learn about the movie making industry after following The Flop House for a while, it is that Hollywood makes a whole lot of crap which is not confined to low budget flicks with z grade actors. There are plenty that star well known and highly paid figures. A secret fear I have is that a movie I love is one day going to appear as the subject of an episode. This is a multi sitting podcast (for me at least) as some can range up to two hours in length so if you want to listen to one all at once, find yourself a comfy seat!

If there is one podcast that I follow that is a must listen every week it is The Business (KCRW) which states of itself:

The Business is a weekly podcast featuring lively banter about industry news and in-depth interviews with directors, producers, writers and actors.

It has a great host in Kim Masters (who works for the Hollywood Reporter) who offers real insight into that industry. It is not a scandal sheet by any stretch. In fact some of the most interesting episodes have been those that talk about topics such as the ongoing dispute between writers and talent agencies, the #MeToo movement and the related issues of the working conditions for assistants as well as the campaign to stop the use of NDA’s to silence women who have suffered abuse that work in the entertainment fields. I find that behind the scenes information to be fascinating and somewhat illuminating of a business that appears on the surface to be glamorous and wonderful. Each episode is always 30 mins long so it’s a nice cup of tea interlude in the day.

Another in a similar vein is TheWrap-Up (TheWrap.com). It boasts that it will give ‘ … give you an insider’s look at the top stories in Hollywood…’. This podcast has only been going since April of this year so right at the beginning of the COVID crisis which has so heavily impacted Hollywood. At this stage it does appear to be doing as it claims, so it will be interesting to see how it beds down and develops. It has a longer running time per installment than The Business and tends to spend the whole episode delving into the stories of the week. So while covering much the same ground, it does put a slightly different perspective on them. One to watch going forward. 

Now as a book fan I am constantly on the lookout for reading related podcasts and one of the two that I currently subscribe to is called Book Riot – the Podcast. This accompanies their YouTube channel (which I follow) and website with the description:

…Book Riot – The Podcast is a weekly news and talk show about what’s new, cool and worth talking about in the world of books and reading …

I’m really enjoying it as it’s not just a review based show. It talks about news from the publishing and literary world and how that all ties into more mainstream current events so it’s very topical and informative. 

And partnering Book Riot’s podcast (for me) is Read or Dead, a … bi-weekly show dedicated to the worlds of mystery and thriller literature … so this one is genre specific. In fact one of the co-hosts of this is a contributing editor for Book Riot so there is some nice synergy there. Again this has a literary news section which includes what book adaptations to TV or movies there are being made or developed which is fun to hear about. I really like it as I can get the inside scoop on what’s good in the mystery/thriller world and I like the hosts so this is a winner for me.

I’ll probably keep scouting for more book related podcasts in the same vein but for now, these are great starters.

But of course, like everything in life, tastes and moods change so some podcasts have come and gone from my listening schedule. One of the best that I have taken a break from is Hollywood and Crime (Wondery). According to its blurb it is:

… a ground-breaking true crime series about the most infamous murders in Tinseltown history.

Some of the crimes profiled are the Black Dahlia murder and the Manson killings. While it is very well produced and staged (using dramatic recreations which are very entertaining), the content can be graphic and quite disturbing. This can be managed by consuming the material in small batches but even this can be too much depending what is happening in your life and the wider world at the time. If you find that the heavier content of a podcast like this does not affect or bother you then by all means check it out. It is fascinating stuff.

I have found all of these on Spotify as it seemed logical to group my music listening with my podcast listening but Apple Podcasts and iHeart Radio also offer a doorway to a great deal of podcast content. The alternative is to access episodes via individual producer apps.

My advice is, if you haven’t already, give podcasts a go. Some content will of course be better than others and if you are not sure you can always listen to an episode or two to get the feel of it. From there you can make a decision as to whether it’s one you want to continue on with. And there is so much variety that you are sure to find something that suits you. When you think about it, as a free form of entertainment it really can’t be beaten. 

Happy listening!

(Header Image: Sarah Kreig)