Podcasts that are more interesting to listen to than your co-workers

One of my favourite things about the holidays is the sound of nature and catch ups with great folk; the sounds of laughter, glassware clinking, the oohs and aah over tasty treats and sometimes just the peaceful silence. So can you blame me if my senses feel a little assaulted getting back to the sounds of the commute, then back to the office with the sounds of computer keys clacking, phone calls and work talk?

Sure there is music to listen to but I need help with working out whether I want to rdio or spotify! And this year I am keen to learn new things. To broaden my mind and knowledge of the world. To be really honest, it’s started to worry me in recent times how narrow my knowledge has become: the languages that I’ve forgotten, the facts that I thought would always be in my head, melting away in favor of mundane activities in my every day like a new recipe for Wild Plum clafoutis that I played with over the holidays- but I wonder what other piece of information in my brain was lost to make space for it!

Podcasts are a convenient way to learn about what’s happening in the world. A podcast is essentially a radio program that you can subscribe to via your smart phone that you can listen to at your own convenience. I love being able to tap into engaging content that brighten up my work commute, drown out the sounds of colleagues or even just when out for a walk. Unlike music which I find I need to play up loud for full effect, podcasts allow just enough ambient noise so that you can still hear when someone calls your name or oncoming traffic; making it generally a safer option.

How to listen to podcasts

If you have an iPhone it’s pretty easy to listen to podcasts! Simply download the “Podcasts” App from iTunes; it’s free.

If you have an Adroid, get the “Stitcher” App from GooglePlay.

Don’t have a phone? Many podcasts have their own site which you can play the podcast from or even download to your computer.

Podcasts vary in length from as short as 15minutes to around an hour. I find that I like to tap in and out of them as I would pause a film or TV show that I’ve recorded and it’s easy to rewind if you need to re-cap and find your place.

My favourite podcasts

my favourite podcasts

There are so many podcasts out there, here is a round up of my favourite to date. Simply click on the headings to be taken to these podcasts.

so you want to be a writer valerie khoo allison tait

So you want to be a writer?

Who: Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait
Duration: around one hour

Regular BusiChics will know that Valerie Khoo is a personal hero of mine – an ex-auditor-turned-journo who established the Australian Writers’ Centre to provide practical steps for anyone to get published. Val has teamed up with fellow writer Allison Tait and the two share their experience, knowledge of what’s happening in the world of writing and publishing as well as interviews with writers across a range of genres, editors, publishers and the like. These women have such great personalities, making the podcast incredibly engaging and as if you are listening to your own friends. Heading into its second year, Val tells me that the podcast will be “interacting more with listeners, providing even more value with competitions, exclusive offers, and featuring lots of exciting authors, journalists and bloggers on the podcast. ”

so you want to be a photographer gina milicia

So you want to be a photographer?

Who: Valerie Khoo and Gina Milicia
Duration: around one hour

Valerie is also behind this brand new podcast (just launched last week!) with celebrity portrait photographer Gina Milicia. Representing the photography enthusiast and professional, respectively, Valerie and Gina have kicked off the podcast by bringing episodes talking about the fundamentals that any photographer needs in their kit as well as imparting knowledge from their 20+ years in the publishing industry; Val was a picture editor at one stage and I’ve appreciated her insights from the client-side of things as I progress my own work as a photographer. The co-hosts are also BFFs which makes their conversation engaging and fun to listen to and I also particularly enjoyed Episode 3 where Gina shares a number of Macguyver-esque photography hacks that I am keen to try out!

design matters cover

Design Matters with Debbie Millman

Duration: 30-45minutes

Ever wondered what a creative career looks like? This podcast show that has run since 2005 is hosted by Debbie Millman, a design professional based in New York City who podcasts her interviews with her own design heroes. Millman’s dulcet tones and engaging conversational interview style draw out wonderful stories, insights and advice from her subjects. I’ve often not heard of those she interviews but after listening, I have new perspectives, new-found appreciation for design and more creative professionals to admire. Recently I particularly enjoyed an interview with Emily Spivack who amongst many things, writes “Threaded”- the sartorial blog for The Smithsonian.


npr is a national syndicator of radio programs in the US and the source of some of the most popular podcasts in all of the lands. Do not go past This American Life, its spin-off  Serial which became a phenomenon in its own right or the newcomer Invisibilia that is about the invisible forces that rule our lives. Each show is compelling and the voices of each of the hosts are positively hypnotic; I find that I can’t get enough of them! That said the one I find myself harping on about the most is the Planet Money podcast which runs for around 20 minutes. If like me you take delight in learning intensely about things like how Japan plans to help its women join the workforce by creating robots that can clean and babysit or the lengths that neighboring makers of musical bells went to differentiate their products – you’ll love this!!

StartUp and Reply All

Duration: 30-45 minutes

Alex Blumberg used to work at This American Life and has created StartUp – the behind-the-scenes of what it takes to create a start-up that is recorded and shared in real-time. It’s harrowing, it’s exciting, it makes me tired just listening to all of the energy and resources Blumberg puts into his thing which is to be THE producer of quality podcasts. I particularly enjoy listening to episodes where he and his wife talk about the impact that the start up is having on their own life – it’s that real. The first podcast show that his company, Gimlet Media, has produced is called ReplyAll – a show that looks at all facets of the internet and that is wonderful too.


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Melbourne in Fashion

And lastly – in case you missed it, I co-host the Melbourne in Fashion podcast with fellow personal stylist, blogger, photographer and sometimes hair-twin Meagan Harding of StyleFarm. Our show is back today for a brand new year taking you behind-the-scenes to meet the players in the local fashion industry that we are big fangirls of!

In Episode 52 that is out today I interview Tom Riley, Head Tailor at P.Johnson. I really loved talking to Tom about how he and his team work to make suiting relevant to Australian men – so listen in and let us know what you think!

Do you listen to podcasts? Which are your favourites and why?


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