Podcast Picks

Headphones sit on a phone in Calgary on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Many people listen to podcasts on mobile devices. (Photo by Rorie Stannard)


Podcasts are more popular than ever. Why not make your morning commute a little more interesting with one of the following recommendations? These podcasts provide something different, whether you’re interested in news, education, or sports.


Educational: Philosophize This

Philosophize This is a fantastic introduction to basic philosophical concepts and the brains behind them. In this podcast, Stephen West takes us through the chronology of philosophers, from the 6thcentury BC all the way up to present day philosophers. It’s best to listen to this podcast from the beginning, as a lot of the earlier concepts lay important groundwork for future topics in the podcast. The early episodes are long, with run times around 50 minutes. As the show progresses, Stephen West cuts them into more digestible, 25-minute episodes.

This podcast describes the events that led to specific ways of thinking, such as how the bubonic plague spurred individualistic thinking among the public. West relates old ideas to modern day concepts in a way that makes them applicable to everyday life. Philosophize This comes off as a little bit DIY in early episodes. The sound quality hasn’t improved much since the podcast’s conception. However, it’s not bad to the point where it’s distracting.

One criticism Philosophize This facesis that West is not himself an academic philosopher. He also doesn’t bring in any academic philosophers on the show. Initially, West released a podcast every one to two weeks. Recently, it has been quite sporadic. Releases happen once every month to month and a half. This is a very informative podcast that offers a ton of well thought-out ideas and, it deserves to be on everyone’s list.


News: The Daily

The Daily is one of the most popular podcasts out currently, and is produced by one of the world’s most reputable publications, The New York Times. Hosted by Michael Barbaro, The Daily comes out with new episodes Monday to Friday.

Each 20 to 30-minute long episode usually focuses on politics. Usually the topics covered are U.S. current events, however, The Daily is not beholden to that. This podcast also covers current events from around the world.  The production of The Daily is some of the best production around, and it’s evident that The New York Times has a large and capable team backing the podcast.

The Daily provides long-form journalism with great narratives and clear story arcs. The short episode length, the frequency of episodes, and subject of this podcast make it ideal for a morning commute. Listening to this podcast is a great way to stay caught up on current events and is a must-subscribe for anyone with an interest in the news.


Sports: Don Cherry’s the Grapevine

Don Cherry has resurrected his old TV show The Grapevine, and rebranded it as a podcast with the help of his son, Tim Cherry. The podcast comes as a result of an on-air debacle where Don Cherry criticized people in predominantly non-white communities of the Greater Toronto Area for not wearing poppies. His gross generalization sparked a lot of attention across the country, and led to his firing from Sportsnet.

I’m going to abandon my journalistic practices for a minute and speak from a personal level. It’s my opinion that Don Cherry’s remarks were divisive, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I also believe that those sorts of remarks have no place on national television, especially on a program which was publicly funded for so many years. Don Cherry has been known for making off-handed comments before, and odds are he’ll probably continue. That’s why I want to be cautious while recommending this podcast. Part of me is worried that having full autonomy over his podcast could lead to more frequent outbursts like the one on Coach’s Corner.

There is another part of me, however, that sees his value as a hockey commentator. He has been in and around the game longer then most people have even been alive. He is rooted deeply in Canadiana and has also done a lot of charitable work around Canada. Cherry’s podcast, as of Nov. 20, reached number one on Apple podcasts.

This, and its relevancy to current events, are exactly why I’ve chosen this podcast for the sports category. Tim is there to facilitate the conversation, to keep the ball rolling, and to act as a fact checker. Don talks about old stories, current events in the NHL, and, of course, about his dog Blue. There’s a small sample size to pull from, but it looks as though his podcasts are going to have an average run time of 20 minutes.

It looks like they’ll be releasing episodes weekly, with mini episodes coming out on days with breaking news stories. The production is fine, and the content is par for the course. If you miss Don Cherry’s booming voice talking about “good Canadian kids,” old-time hockey, and the state of the game today, you’re going to want to give it a follow.

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