I’ve recently found myself with a bit of a problem: I only have two ears.
I spend a large amount of my time in vehicles, either my car or the van at work. I used to listen to BBC Radio 4 all the time. My work day would start with Today in the morning, and usually ended with PM in the evening, and yes, I did listen to Woman’s Hour! This would feed my thirst for knowledge, and I knew what was going on in the world.
Then I started to listen to BBC Southern Counties Road, which is my local station. This again provided me with a good stream of information, predominately about my local area. However this meant that I didn’t get my fix of Radio 4. I knew what was happening in Sussex, but not the rest of the world.
Then I discovered podcasts. For the past six months or so I have spent most of my driving time listening to various podcasts, probably about 20-30 hours a week! These range from technology to history and from astronomy to documentaries. Whilst this has been enlightening and I’ve learnt a lot, I haven’t been listening to the news (local, national or international) and so I haven’t kept up with current affairs. This became apparent the other day, when I overheard a discussion about something that had been going on involving the Government and I didn’t have the slightest idea what they were talking about. Not good.
So the problem I have is how do I listen to all these interesting podcasts, and still listen to enough radio to know what’s going on and get a good fix of general knowledge?
I don’t want to cut back on the podcasts (in fact I keep find new ones that I think will be interesting and informative!). After all if it wasn’t for them, I probably would never have joined twitter, and started blogging, and made the many friends I know have spread around the world. But if I don’t keep listening to the radio, I start to feel left out of the loop. I love knowing “useless information” of the kind you only get by listening to a wide range of radio programs. I would rather know a little about a lot of subjects than a lot about a few subjects.
I suppose the only way around this is to spend more time listening. So if you see me and I’ve got earphones in, don’t assume I’m listening to music or being antisocial: I’m just getting my daily fix of information.
For the record, here’s an incomplete list of the podcast I regularly listen to:
Daily: The Daily Gizwiz; Tech5
Weekly: The News from Lake Wobegone; This Week in Technology; Security Now; Windows Weekly; Digital Planet; Science in Action; Material World; From Our Own Correspondent; Astronomy Cast; The History Network; In Our Time
Monthly: BBC History Magazine; The Jodcast; Methodist Church Of GB
Other: Slacker Astronomy; British History 101; Chequered Flag; Historyzine; The National Archives; The Royal Society; Stephen Fry’s Podgram;