Tag Archives: podcasts


Podcasts, shows and films – Putting new locations on the map

As frequent travellers, many of us will know where to look for inspiration for our next holiday – it might be the pages of Instagram influencers, travel brochures or a wanderlust article we see online. However, how do you find out about a new destination before it becomes a tourist trap? Simply look towards your entertainment – podcasts, TV shows and even films are putting new locations on the map, making them all the more enticing with a fascinating narrative you can’t stop listening to or watching…

Audio platform and podcasting app Acast looked into this phenomenon to find the new ‘it’ locations that have appeared on the world map and are likely to become exciting spots for travel lovers.

S-Town: Woodstock, Alabama (US)
Most of us would have listened to, or at least heard of, this podcast and the amazing story that it unearths. From the creators of Serial, S-Town follows the story of John B. McLemore – controversial, obsessed with the environment, tortured and brilliant. The podcast, which achieved a massive 16 million downloads in its first week has definitely put the town of Woodstock, Alabama on the map. The popularity of Woodstock has been such, that its locals have spoken about it to national media, pilgrims have travelled the town in search of John B. McLemore’s infamous house. Interestingly, the maze discussed in so much detail on the podcast is marked as a Museum on Google Maps. If you are a fan, the town is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are travelling through the beautiful landscapes of the Southern States. Who knows, you might be the lucky visitor who discovers John’s secret stash of gold…

Spår: Kalamark (Sweden)
Many Swedes might not know this place, meaning that if you aren’t from Sweden yourself, it is unlikely that you have ever heard of Kalamark before. If you Google the name, you won’t be able to find much information beyond Kalamark’s location on Google Maps – no Wikipedia page, no tourist board. However, what you will find is extensive, worldwide coverage of an unprecedented case – a man convicted for murder, being set free, in part, because of a podcast. The Spår show might be impossible for English listeners to understand (being in Swedish), but the podcast’s investigation resulted in new evidence, a retrial and an innocent man being set free. If you want to see Sweden and its raw nature, Kalamark might be the location for you – winters are magically snowy, incredibly cold and dark (the sun barely rises). The summers are warmer and the days are endless, as the sun barely sets.

Unexplained: Island of Iona (Scotland)
The unknown, mysterious and sometimes dangerous holds a certain dark charm over a lot of us, especially those who listen to podcasts like Unexplained, which looks at the mysteries and events that human logic can’t explain. One of the episodes focuses on the remote Scottish Island of Iona. Known among the fans of the occult, the Island of Iona is believed to be a ‘thin place’, where the boundaries between the human and other worlds almost disappear. This episode of the podcast talks about the mysterious death of Norah Emily Fornario and her search for the spirits rumoured to abide in this remote area of Scotland. The popular podcast put this place on the map for those who may be curious about the unknown, or those who simply love beautiful scenery.

My Dad Wrote A Porno (MDWAP): Epsom, Yorkshire, The Petra… (UK)
This infamous podcast has taken the world by storm across both sides of the Atlantic. The hosts, Jamie, James and Alice spend each week reading a chapter of Belinda Blinked, an erotic novel written by Jamie’s father. While the humour of the podcast and its roaring success cannot be denied, neither can the fact that Belinda Blinked has put some interesting locations on the map, for US and UK listeners alike. While in the UK, we will be familiar with landmarks like the Grosvenor Hotel in London, the Petra, where some of the book’s characters go for a ‘business lunch’ is a novelty for most fans of the show.

To US listeners, locations like Epsom (known for its horse racing in the UK) might be new revelations. From a travelling point of view, MDWAP jumps across different locations, from Amsterdam, Belgium and Texas to Yorkshire, providing plenty of amusing travel inspiration.

Unexplained: Dyatlov Pass, (Russia)
As mentioned above, Unexplained is a podcast that jumps from location to location, and one of the more unusual ones was the episode focusing on the Dyatlov Pass in Russia. This episode of the podcast focuses on the well-documented mystery of hikers in the Ural mountains, who all died under incredibly suspicious circumstances. The destination was first put on the map through extensive coverage of the story in the early sixties and conspiracy theories surrounding the incident in later years. However, the podcast renewed interest in the location, known for harsh weather conditions and beautiful scenery, prompting more hikers to visit the Death Mountain.

Twin Peaks and the Twilight saga: Washington State (US)
Moving away from podcasts and into other mediums, Washington state in the US has seen an increase in tourist numbers and even resulted in guided tours, due to series, books, films and even slightly morbidly, serial killers. The State was first made famous by the serial killer Ted Bundy and continued on a noir trajectory ever since. In the 90’s, the state came to prominent attention through the phenomenon that was David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Despite the fact that the town is fictional, tourists floked to Snoqualmie, a town near Seattle, where the show was filmed. A 2017 revival of the series is guaranteed to once again increase tourism and place Washington on the map for new fans.

Moving from series to films and books, the Twilight saga created an unprecedented interest in the quiet town of Forks, also located in the state of Washington. The town previously relied on timber to support its economy, however, since the books rose to popularity, it has also seen a steady trickle of tourists who want to visit the town where Bella Swan and Edward Cullen first fell in love.

Vikings, Downsizing and Star Wars: Preikestolen / Fossmork (Norway)
A stunning location in Norway, Preikestolen is famous amongst hikers, who trek up the cliff for amazing views over Lysefjord. However, the area has become famous worldwide through cinema, but also due to a very curious mistake by Google. First to film – Matt Damon filmed the Downsizing at the cliff, while the Vikings series show the finale of the second series in the same location. Now, the cliff is being eyed by location scouters from Hollywood, most recently for the next Star Wars film.

What is more curious is how Preikestolen and a nearby village of Lysefjorden burst onto the worldwide map. As mentioned above, the cliffside is notorious among hikers and nature lovers, many of whom used Google Maps to find the hiking trail. However, due to a Google map mishap in May 2017, Google map directed potential tourists to the small village of Fossmork, which is located across the fjord. This resulted in a huge number of confused tourists and greatly amused locals, who kindly informed the disgruntled hikers that the Preikestolen was around 40 minutes drive from Fossmork.


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Ten speeches to restore your faith in the Presidency

It’s fair to say that 2016 was a rollercoaster of a year for politics, and 2017 has gotten off to a pretty volatile start too. A lot of us are lacking faith, feeling a little lost, and are unsure about what to expect of the political landscape over the next few years, but let us not forget that America is a great country with a history of great strength.

To boost morale and remind you just how far America has come, the leading podcast platform Acast, has delved into the historical archives to launch a collection of 10 of the most inspiring presidential speeches from the last 70 years, to coincide with Presidents’ Day.

From Obama’s landmark first inauguration, to Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall” speech, this collection holds examples of great words from great leaders, all of whom helped to make America the powerhouse that it is today.

Here is the full list of presidential speeches you can listen to in their entirety on Acast:

President Barack Obama – In 2009, Barack Obama made history as the first Black President of the United States. Here you can listen to the first inaugural of one of America’s most loved Presidents.

President George W. Bush  – Love him or hate him, George Bush saw America through one of the toughest times in its history. Listen here as he addresses the nation to inspire unity and strength at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. on September 17 2001, just days after the harrowing 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

President Bill Clinton –  Bill Clinton was the first Democrat to be elected into a second term in six decades. His presidency had its fair share of scandal, following his impeachment in light of revelations about Monica Lewinksy, he led the nation to a strong economic period. Listen to his first inaugural address here.

President George W. H. Bush  – Credited with improving U.S. and Soviet relations, one of Bush Senior’s main focuses was foreign policy. Unlike his son, he only served one term as president, but his inaugural address stating “When America says something, America means it”, we can hear first-hand just why he was elected.

President Ronald Reagan – A former actor, Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. With Donald Trump currently trying to ‘build a wall’ listen to this inspirational speech that Reagan made in front of Brandenburg Gate as he asked leaders to ‘tear down’ the Berlin Wall.

President Jimmy Carter  – Jimmy Carter’s famous “crisis of confidence” speech, came 10 days after the 39th President of the United States pulled out of an Independence Day Speech. This speech, known as his “malaise speech” was a bold, thought-provoking one, chastizing the nation for failing to address the energy problem and criticized how Americans were living their lives.

President Gerald Ford  – Following President Richard Nixon’s resignation, Gerald Ford is the first and only person to serve as both the Vice President and President of the United States without being elected to either office. In these remarks, following taking his oath of office, Ford addresses the Watergate scandal that forced Nixon to resign, and asked America to pray that Nixon “who brought peace to millions, find it for himself.”

President Richard Nixon  – In his inaugural address, Nixon invites us to share with him “the majesty of this moment”. His presidency was chequered with scandal and the infamous Watergate brought to light many illegal activities undertaken by the Nixon administration however, he was offered a pardon by his successor and attempted to rehabilitate his public image in later years.

President Lyndon B. Johnson  – Johnson assumed office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In this important speech, Johnson addresses the right to vote and states that every man regardless of race, ethnicity, or position, should have the right to vote. Listen as he asks congress to assist him in passing legislation that allows all to vote.

President John F. Kennedy –  JFK is undoubtedly the most famous president in modern history. Serving just two years of his presidency before his tragic assassination in November 1963, In his inauguration this much loved president hopes to address the issue of poverty in the United States, and asks America to think what “together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Caitlin Thompson is the US Director of Content at Acast the world’s leading technology platform for on-demand audio and podcasting. 

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How the podcast industry changed in 2016 and will change more in 2017

Combining the intimacy of radio with the on-demand nature of modern media forms, podcasts are not only the last mass medium to emerge, but also one of the fastest-growing.

In 2016, podcast consumption rocketed. The range of listening options, the variety of ways that consumers can access and consume podcasts and the diverse range of people that are using this medium to ensure that their voice is heard, or to listen to a wider range of diverse voices, has meant that more and more of us are tuning in to our favorite podcast at home, on our commute or at the gym.

So who are the people that are listening to these shows? A recent survey by Acast showed that in 2016, the typical podcast listener is not the tech savvy 30-something man you might assume, but in fact a woman, working full time and aged between 25 and 34.

I’ve reviewed how the podcast landscape has changed in the last year, and shared my observations, as well as my predictions for the year ahead, below.

The typical podcast listener in 2016 was a young woman

Let’s focus on women for a second; The typical podcast listener in 2016 was a woman, aged between 25 and 34, in full time employment.

These women are not just looking for shows that help motivate them to work out, eat better and meditate more, they want content that they can relate to, that speaks to them and that means something to them.

In 2016 we welcomed Work Wives, Joblogues and The Broad Experience, to the Acast platform. These shows are hosted by real, everyday women, talking about real, every day things. From relatable (and amusing) office chat with your work wife about pubic grooming and cohabitation, to real, frank career advice from the girls at Joblogues, these shows are made for, and listened to by, our core demographic.

These female podcasters share our listeners’ interests and everyday challenges, but might also be able to teach them a thing or two.

Also read: Six podcasts to make you better people in 2017

The podcast audience is becoming more diverse, and so is the way that we access podcasts

The podcast audience is becoming more diverse overall, and with a more diverse audience, comes new platforms for sharing audio content, as new ways of consuming podcasts emerge.

We’ve seen a significant change in the route that the audio consumer of 2016 takes to the discovery of a new podcast, and this change is likely to become a continuous trend in 2017.

Consumers are moving away from services like iTunes and other streaming services and apps, instead they are discovering new podcasts in their own social media feed, through communities that they are part of, or through other media.

A recent example of this trend is the audience of the podcast ‘Ask A Clean Person’, whose host writes a regular column for men’s lifestyle magazine, Esquire. Fifty per cent of  ‘Ask A Clean Person’ listeners have discovered the podcast by following her Esquire column, or coming across her shareable cleaning advice elsewhere, rather than by having actively searched for the podcast in an app or via a streaming service, and many of these listeners are ones that do not usually listen to podcasts.

Listeners want a 360 experience

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons, and Gretchen Rubin’s Happier are both the podcasts of bestselling authors, with dedicated fans and inspired communities.

The majority of the listeners of these two podcasts are great examples of communities looking for a multi-platform offering, a 360 experience which allows them to properly commit to and engage in the things that they love. Listeners of these shows can communicate with the hosts on social media while also reading their book and discussing their work with friends via a dedicated fan forum.

This works on the flip side, too. Podcasters can now create a brand via their podcast, and can carve out really successful careers as their show gains momentum. The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno recently launched a book, and embarked on a live tour, where they carried out live shows.

The stresses of being exposed to the extreme amounts of content of these days on a daily basis, might explain the urge to fully commit to the things that we truly love. Another reason might be that the average podcast listener is in full-time employment and with a comfortable disposable income, allowing them to treat themselves to just that, fully committing.

Live podcasts are becoming the new music gigs

An increasing amount of podcast hosts have, in 2016, decided to take a step away from the studio microphone and instead entered the live venues – and the listeners are following!

Podcasts such as The Heart, Call Your Girlfriend and My Dad Wrote a Porno are just some examples of podcasters that, in the last year, with little to no effort, have managed to convince listeners to take their headphones out and, rather than going to see a live music gig, join them for a live podcast performance or recording.

Having proved so popular in the year of 2016, we predict that even more of us will be going to see our favorite podcasters perform live in 2017, and that this could become just as common as going to see a comedian or a musician live on stage.

Regardless of how the landscape evolves, the commitment of the listeners proves that podcasts are here to stay, and I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring.

Caitlin Thompson is US Director of Content at Podcasting platform, Acast

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Ten podcasts to broaden your mind

The revival of the art of the podcast is a splendid thing. All human life in in there, with the (relatively) low-tech delivery of the high falutin’. And for the user, it’s an effortless way to receive wisdom from some of the finer minds in a  variety of disciplines, academic and otherwise.
So you really can listen yourself smarter, and this little selection can help more than most. Subscribe to this bunch, and get your students to do the same, and you’ll be a better, conversationalist and you’ll be a downright polymath.
So get up to date with these and feel you mind expand.
Stuff You Should Know
Of course, with Google, you don’t need to know much, you can just find it when you need it, but that doesn’t make you very interesting. So imbibe it this way, via this outlet from the excellent How Stuff Works website. So if you need to know how Bitcoin, crack cocaine or almost anything actually happens, this is the one for you.
An award-winning journalistic radio show which looks at Big Ideas, and does so very well. They might look at human attempts to communicate with dolphins to the social experiments undertaken by Facebook, but they’ll always leave you enlightened.
A History of the World in 100 Objects
The (then) head of the British Museum has exactly the kind of voice you’d expect him to have (it’s an acquired tastes, therefore), but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything which teaches you more of what you don’t know about our collective history. From stone tools to lava lamps, this examines the objects which changed the way our world operates.
An erudite and entertaining ramble around old books. Well-read greybeards John Mitchinson and Andy Miller (Leavis and Butthead) take an amiable and amusing look at a neglected classic every fortnight, giving a greater depth to your reading while passing the best part of an hour in a very amiable way.
You’ll know the Freakonomics phenomenon (oh we really hope so), and this will take you on familiar journeys of unfamiliar connections and behavioural economics. You won’t fail to view the world in a different way each time.
Little Atoms
Arguably the most intellectual take on this page on all sorts of books, ideas, arts and politics. Not exactly over-produced, but that adds to the humour and charm. A whiff of the banter of a university lecturers’ common room.
The Pod Delusion
Brought to you via the British Humanist Association and with obvious references to Richard Dawkins, this is a determinedly rationalist approach to issues like daylight saving or NASA’s predictions of doom.
99% Invisible
Good design, like a good referee in sport, is often best when not noticed, hence the title of this exploration of product design, fashion, tech and architecture. As vivid a guide to the visual than the audible can deliver.
The Memory Palace
If you want your coffee break to be a more enlightening experience, then these pithy little vignettes are great. Covering allsorts –  from spy cats to the advent of the Sony Walkman, The Memory Palace is part short story, part audio poem and part oral history time capsule. There’s just not enough.
Oxford Biography
A very straightforward set of biographies from the daddy of such information, the UK’s Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Each episode gives a strictly factual account of one Briton’s life, with a strong sense of time and place. From Freddy Mercury to Piltdown Man, there’s instant familiarity here.

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