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The best podcasts for your daily commute


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The podcast scene continued to grow and diversify in 2017, with a whole host of new broadcasters offering stories and discussions on everything from green economics to folk music to European tech.

Choosing what to listen to in a scene literally dominated by voices has become increasingly difficult, but fear not: this list has you covered. These are five of the best podcasts available to download right now, featuring everything from gender issues to film debate.

Ear Hustle

Ear Hustle focuses on the lives of prisoners inside San Quentin jail: California’s oldest prison with over 3,000 inmates. It is co-produced by inmates Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, giving the podcast a palpable authenticity and realism. Earlonne and Antwan share anecdotes on a variety of issues regarding prison life: including finding ‘cellies’ (roommates), the ‘shu’ (solitary confinement) and racial divisions among inmates. Their stories, honest and uncompromising, succeed in demystifying prison life for the outsider, encouraging us to see inmates as human beings rather then mere prisoners.

The Gender Knot

The Gender Knot is hosted by BBC reporter and presenter Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, and aims to “untangle the new masculinity and femininity”. Episodes cover a range of gender issues in depth: from the crisis of masculinity to workplace sexism to LGBTQ+ voices in politics. Her guest speakers are consistently engaging and bring relevant, nuanced points of view to the discussion.

Song Exploder

Song Exploder is one for the music nerds. Famous musicians are invited on to dissect their songs, giving an insight into their lyrical inspiration and the production process. It has featured artists from Björk to Solange to Iggy Pop. Unsurprisingly, their songs often have fascinating backstories, and the podcast helps to add a more personal dimension to our consumption of music.

The Canon

The Internet has long been lacking a credible podcast devoted specifically to film, but it has arrived in the form of ‘The Canon’: a weekly debate on film history chaired by Amy Nicholson from MTV. On the show, Amy and her guests discuss whether some films have earned their place in cinema history, and which have been unfairly ignored. Listeners can then cast their vote on the week’s film on the Earwolf forums, so if you care passionately – like I do- about the sacred reputation of The Matrix then you can make your voice heard.

Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd

As the ‘Milifandom’ mourned his absence from the shadow cabinet, Ed Miliband would embark for pastures new, including the world of podcasts. Combining a depthless knowledge of British politics with an underappreciated, warm sense of humour, Miliband provides political commentary that is simultaneously entertaining and astute. Ed broadens his discussion beyond Westminster, tackling everything from transphobia to air pollution: showcasing a genuine passion for social justice. Co-host Geoff Lloyd is also a good foil for Miliband, keeping the discussion on course during Ed’s occasionally complex rambles and asking important questions. It is not to be missed for anyone even vaguely interested in politics and big ideas.

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