Monday, May 14, 2007

In our time

Talkradio is dead, podcasting is alive, long live Talkradio reincarnated. Radio stations understand the power of podcasting and deliver a pick of their programs after broadcast to the podcast community. One such station is the cream of the crop in media land: the BBC and among the podcasts they deliver is the great radio four rubric In Our Time.

On the site is plainly says: "Melvyn Bragg and guests investigate the history of ideas." However this could mean anything. Bragg is a well informed and well prepared host and receives in this program great scholars who generally do a wonderful job at bringing the peak of their understanding into the discussion. Just the perfect setting for discussing the history of ideas. Nine out of ten items are truly interesting and beyond.

The only minor point being, given that this basically is radio and not podcast, the show lasts some 40 plus minutes, not a minute more. If you look at similar high level podcasts you will see that up to eighty minutes can keep you bound to the pod with such stimulating conversation going on. So, quite invariably I am left with some sense of having nearly scratched the surface and missed out some truly worthwhile remarks from the guests, but all in all, In Our Time is a beacon in my week of podcast listening.

Every Thursday I urge my reader to get updated on the feed asap and when download starts, I am a man giddy with anticipation. And when by Friday morning I come round listening and I hear the opening voice, an upper-class British accent announcing: "This is a download from the BBC," I am one happy man.

And the latest edition? On Victorian Pessimism. Sounds boring? I admit I didn't expect much myself -- though I should know better. Victorian Pessimism could be current pessimism. The subject comes to life, you forget it is about the nineteenth and not the twenty-first century.