So this is the first of what I expect will be a totally irregular and completely ad hoc series of podcast reviews. We are all stuck in strange rituals at the moment and need good stuff to keep our brains active and engaged.
I am going to start with the Ezra Klein Show. This has been around sine 2016 but has been a relatively recent discovery for me. The Ezra Klein Show is a great example of the slowly growing genre of long considered interview style shows, where time is really taken to explore complex issues, usually with a single guest.
This style of show is fast becoming one of the few places where complex ideas can be teased out and explored in depth in our culture: they are a great example of what podcasting can add that we are not getting in meaningful ways from other traditional and non traditional forms of media. If this form of media is not something you are familiar with, I would highly recommend trying to find a way to make it part of your weekly routine.
The show is run exclusively by Ezra Klein, a US journalist and blogger who co-founded the media site Vox and remains its editor-at-large. It is important to point out that this show is very US centric: Ezra is a political commentator who has worked for institutions such as the Washington Post and as such has a very Washington centric view of the world and the issues he chooses to address: he is very much an insider in the bubble of the political media elite. However, the upside of this is that he can attract a range of prominent and interesting guests. And have them spend substantial time with him: think Bill Gates, Elizabeth Warren. Although he is not at all afraid to express his own views, and often does so at length, he allows plenty of time and space for his guests to expound their ideas and addresses these sympathetically.
His views are made pretty clear once you listen to a few episodes. He comes from the left but by no means adopts a traditional left wing view of all issues: hearing Ezra explore the rationale for some of his divergent view points, and bouncing these off his guests, is often a very interesting aspect of the podcast. There is often plenty of space for these views as the podcast is predominately focused on political themes. However, it does stray meaningfully from politics, covering broader philosophical, scientific and social issues.
Recommended for: anyone with an interest in US politics and social issues. Listen if you enjoy in depth considered exploration of idea.
Where to start if you haven’t listened before: Toby Ord on Existential Risk (9/04/2020), Bill Gates on life beyond the corona virus (27/4/2020) (unless you think Bill is the source of the Corona virus!).
How to Listen: https://www.vox.com/ezra-klein-show-podcast or all good podcast apps