2007 - 2022

Listen Up

Bella is exploring how to produce a really high-quality regular podcast after various botched attempts in the past. So we’re scouring the globe for the best. Some of them are like old -school radio programmes, some are just conversations. It’s not so much the content as the form we’re interested in, if you have any examples of podcasts you love please tell us. Advice on best platforms, formats and styles welcome.

Here’s three we really like…

Zero Squared is the podcast from Zero Books, hosted by Douglas Lain, a laid-back lugubrious lefty who exudes a charming scepticism and is the perfect host. Here’s a couple of recent episodes.

Zero Squared #165: The Crucifixion of Alex Jones


Zero Squared #161: The Meaning of Trump.


SLATE magazine has The Good Fight podcast, here covering the rise of the new right in Sweden…


Or here’s Mothers of Invention, “Climate change is a man-made problem — with a feminist solution!” with Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins.


or here’s the US imaginative left discussing its own futures …

Revolutionary Left Radio

Demand Utopia & PopMob: Art, Imagination, & Coalition Building on the Left Coast.


Comments (10)

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  1. MrPeace says:

    The Corbett Report does a good job of making the most important structural, technical and historical issues relevant and interesting. What I particularly like is that the format is specifically based on utilising the medium of the internet. Corbett’s stated aim is to link to all sources of information used and stated in the podcasts so even if you don’t agree with the presentations you can see what it is built on. See the latest episode here:

    “How did the war in Afghanistan start? And how did NATO become involved in this conflict? These details are never discussed because they have for nearly two decades been hidden behind a shroud of secrecy. But now, after nearly two decades of lies, the remarkable truth about the secret documents that helped launch the Afghan war can finally be revealed. This is the story of The Secret Lie That Started the Afghan War.” – https://www.corbettreport.com/afghanwar/

  2. Jim Bevington says:

    Great idea. Scotland definitely needs a good quality podcast. Here’s some thoughts:

    Make the most of the ability to do long form chats and get into the meat of an issue.

    Avoid the annoying matey banter style – a la Radiolab – that many UK podcasts are copying from the US.

    Most importantly: don’t make this a lefty talking shop. Have proper debates between people of opposing views. Get some right-wingers on there to argue with. This is the main problem with the Novara Media. Most folk on it agree so nobody has to make a real effort to make a convincing argument that might win hearts and minds or simply keep their arguments sharp.

    1. Thanks – all good ideas – and around the direction we were thinking.

      1. Jamsie says:

        Er Mr Ed right wing views?
        Are you being serious?
        I do enjoy a bit of banter but some of the Indy trolls on here don’t know how to behave!

  3. N Briton says:

    Intercepted from the Intercept

    1. Sam McLean says:

      Until Medhi Hasan took over…

  4. Erik says:

    I would use Podbean, and remember you need at least three episodes uploaded before Spotify accepts the content. Also Apple conducts a quality control system so I guess, if you’re conducting an interview remotely, make sure the audio of the interviewee is listenable i.e make sure they’re using a hands free audio device in a contained room ideally (not a big reverby tenement) and, if all else fails, hire a freelancer on say… Upwork, to clean the audio for you or master it (Eqing). This can cost between 25–30 bucks or 100 bucks for half a dozen at a time with the right freelancer. Good luck!

  5. Wul says:

    I heard some good conversations on the Radio 4 series “How to Disagree”.

    One good feature was the use of a pro-actively neutral chair/ devils advocate between two strongly opposing viewpoints. Almost like a mediation style intervention, it encouraged each “side” to reflect on the arguments of the other and took the heat out of the debate. The beauty of this approach was that it takes the listener on a journey between the two sides, back and forth, deepening understanding.

    Good microphones are a must, no room reverb or mouth noises, Keep any introductory jingles very short and bland. I’m not sure how podcasts are packaged but a nice graphic or photo to go with each episode makes it more likely I’ll click on it.

    It’s a good idea, best of luck.


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