20 January, 2013

Favourite Sites: A Slew of Podcasts (I)

I'm a great fan of podcasts. Even before they were called podcasts there were a few radio shows who would put some of their weekly programs online. (BBC was one of the forerunners.) I'd like to write a series of posts with short descriptions of My 10 Favourite Podcasts*. Today's post will be about This I Believe and On Being.

Here goes:

This I Believe

"This I Believe is an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives."

Listening to This I Believe podcasts is a guarantee to make me feel grateful for the gift of the day. They are moving, thoughtful reflections by people both famous and not. They write about their personal beliefs and not just their opinions. Even if some of the authors write about core values very different to my own, their essays give me insight into how they live their lives.

This I Believe has been going since the 1950s, when it was a radio show hosted by Edward R. Murrow (one of my all time heroes). You can read the essays or hear them spoken. I love to hear the authors read their essays out loud. It lends a special dimension to their thoughts.

 On Being

I don't quite know where to begin singing the praises of On Being with Krista Tippett. Perhaps I should just start with two examples of marvelously interesting people conversing with Krista on her program:

A Wild Love for this World 
"Joanna Macy is a philosopher of ecology, a Buddhist scholar, and an exquisite translator of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. We take that poetry as a lens on her wisdom on spiritual life and its relevance for the political and ecological dramas of our time."

Words That Shimmer
"Elizabeth Alexander shares her sense of what poetry works in us — and in our children — and why it may become more relevant, not less so, in hard and complicated times."

It is possible to listen to the unedited and edited versions of the show. I nearly always start with the unedited version, then go onto the edited version, and then go to the site and look at the extra material. Crazy. I know. But the ideas shared are just that good!

In these times where everything is being whittled down into easily digestible bites, On Being is a pioneer in Slow Thoughtful Conversation. The program editors are masters in preparing savoury many-course meals for happy consumption.

If listening to podcasts is not one of your regular past times, I can only encourage you to give it a try. They are highly enjoyable, informative, contemplative and there are no commercials! Pure entertainment.

*As you may have noticed, the list includes public radio program podcasts. There are many excellent amateur** podcasts that are as good as the ones I mention.

For example, if you are interested in finding about news in the tech world, I'd venture to say the amateur podcasts are the places you should be going to.

**Amateur: not in the sense of lacking in quality or not being professional... rather... Amateur: filled with passion, zing, and commitment, but not under public radio contract.

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