The queue

This isn't a hipster claim, but I've been listening to podcasts for almost ten years now.

It started when I got myself an iPod. Well, I didn't get it; my parents got it for me, a graduation present. Despite the fact that we still had dial-up Internet I decided to subscribe to a couple, just for the heck of it. One was This American Life, because that was the default. The other was Answer Me This!, because I read about it in a magazine. There soon was a third: Wiretap, because it was being promoted on the iTunes Store at the time.

I've listened to a bunch since, although not a lot of them. I never was the guy who went subscribe-happy. I am subscribed to eleven podcasts, and that's already on the high end. It's usually at around eight, seven. (And eleven is only manageable because a bunch of them upload new episodes twice a month, or once a month, in the case of Answer Me This! And then there are the shows that are currently off the air, whatever "air" means in this case.) I try new podcasts but then I unsubscribe whenever it doesn't really spark my interest after three listens, which means Live Wire Radio could only introduce me to Christina Tosi and cereal milk, and nothing more.

I try to listen through all new episodes in a week; I hate a backlog. I think only now do I have a backlog: it's the whole second season of Sleepover, and only because they decided to upload everything before it went on the radio. I never quite understood that decision.

Well, I guess you also listened to podcasts too before. Only now did it become cool, when Serial came along. Yes, I subscribed to that, but by association: it was from the people behind This American Life, and I trusted Sarah Koenig enough. I knew this was a thing when I found myself in a Facebook group with friends who also listened to Serial. Claud called it "Serial-icious", although interest in the chat flagged after the second season, and barely went up after S-Town. But then it's perhaps because we're busy now - but not busy enough to come out and say you listen to podcasts now, because it's sexy and no longer nerdy. You have a car, you can plug your device in, and you can forget those idiots on the radio ever existed.

So what else is on my queue? I'm still a bit tethered to the radio, so there's Chris Moyles, and there's Bang On. There's Crimetown and Heavyweight, both off-season, although the latter is returning in four weeks, which is good. I've just subscribed to Adrift, despite me never being able to catch Geoff Lloyd and Annabel Port when they were on the radio - past midnight my time, then geoblocking, stupid geoblocking. Oh, and Alec Baldwin interviewing people.

I had a thought about my list when I got into a discussion about podcasts with a colleague. She's a senior manager at a multinational company and, perhaps whenever she can, she listens to Masters of Scale, this podcast where tech giants are interviewed.

My interview podcast is with artists. It's the Alec Baldwin one. Maybe that says a lot about why I am where I am? Why I have feelings of inadequacy? Why I'm not in the upper echelons of the world's movers and am instead stuck doing the leg work, appreciated but never promoted?


The other thing I realized is, I really could never listen to local radio anymore. I've been away for so long, streaming foreign stations - the podcasts are restricted to when I take public transportation, really - that when I listened to local (music) radio today, I was surprised to hear that it has not changed a bit from when I really listened. That was... ten years ago. The same promos, the same approaches, even the same music. No wonder we're all here.

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