Podcast land is now populated with presenters who have clout (even if some are still based in their garage).
And with its greater creative freedom than radio, podcasts have become the ideal medium for in-depth interviews – and increasing numbers of high-profile names know this.
If you want an absorbing hour-long interview to fill your next commute to work, hit subscribe on any of these.
For ramble-chats: The Adam Buxton Podcast
What is it? He may now be without comedy compadre Joe Cornish, but Adam Buxton’s own profile has enjoyed an upsurge lately, largely due to this podcast, which has been riding high on Apple’s podcast charts since it began a year ago. He indulges his own interest in comedy and television, bagging guests/celebrity pals like Richard Ayoade, Bill Hader, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Louis Theroux.
Why listen? Buxton makes full use of his new-found freedom outside of BBC restrictions: the interviews (or “ramble-chats” as he calls them) are long and well, “rambly”, and he adds his own playful style through his recorded ruminations while walking his dog, and some hilariously bad musical stings.
For something old skool: Hip Hop Saved My Life
What is it? Romesh Ranganathan is now one of the biggest names on the UK comedy circuit, and he turns his attention to his favourite music genre in his podcast debut. There are new guests each week on hand to discuss the rap game, from experts on the subject like Mikill Pane to comedians and hip hop fans like Frankie Boyle.
Why listen? Ranganathan is a natural, easy-going host, who delves into the world of hip hop without getting too nerdy about it.
For stand-up stories: Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast
What is it? Now a podcast veteran, Richard Herring has hit upon a simple formula: record a live interview on stage, upload it to iTunes. On his long-running Leicester Square Theatre Podcast he has hosted the biggest names in alternative comedy, including Vic Reeves, Armando Ianucci and his former collaborator Stewart Lee.
Why listen? The chat is as ego-obsessed and filthy as you’d expect from Herring, but frequently hilarious. It’s hardly the most innovative podcast in terms of structure, but it’s as close as you’ll get to a comedy club atmosphere without being in one, and there are some running jokes to reward loyal listeners.
For A-list stars: WTF with Marc Maron
What is it? Actor and comedian Marc Maron is undoubtedly the king of podcasts stateside. Who else could get President Obama to stop by their garage for a full and frank conversation? Maron’s LA location and Hollywood connections mean that he’s able to call upon guests like Jeff Goldblum, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ethan Hawke.
Why listen? Granted, Maron is an acquired taste, especially for British listeners unaccustomed to this style of presenting. But the fact is that he’s getting access to the most influential people in pop culture, and his interviews are far more in-depth than the late night talk shows.
For brain-melting science: The Infinite Monkey Cage
What is it? This is a radio show first and foremost, but it’s become one of the most popular podcasts in the UK. And for good reason: hosts Robin Ince and Professor Brian Cox have developed a rapport that allows them to deal with heavyweight science subjects in an accessible style. The panel of guests usually contains a mix of academics and comedians with an interest in the subject.
Why listen? For a schooling in quantum physics from Charlotte Church, or Frankenstein from Noel Fielding.
For the creative spark: Distraction Pieces Podcast with Scroobius Pip
What is it? The Essex spoken word artist and musician has turned his attentions to the podcast medium of late. In Distraction Pieces he corrals some of the most interesting creative minds for their take on subjects as diverse as mental health, social media or the creative process.
Why listen? For lively discussions with artists who know their subject, whether it’s rapper Killer Mike on race relations in the US, or the late Howard Marks on, er, drugs.
For geek kudos: The Nerdist
What is it? US comedian Chris Hardwick interviews stars as big as the likes of Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Harrison Ford, and Tom Hanks.
Why listen? It’s an interesting listen that delves into the greatest pop-culture phenomena around, with some wise-cracking comedians thrown in for good measure.
For football fans: The Big Interview with Graham Hunter
What is it? While most popular football podcasts have adopted the panel format, Scottish writer Graham Hunter uses a contact book honed by years of covering the continental game to draw in some of the most famous former players and current managers, including Gianluca Vialli, Harry Redknapp and Gary Neville.
Why listen? Hunter is adept at drawing fascinating insights and amusing anecdotes out of his interviewees. For anyone tired of the same old speculative chats about whatever story is making the tabloid headlines, this is a chance to sit back and listen to some of those who were there in the dressing room at key moments in football history.
Originally published on our sister site, iNews.co.uk