Fortean Times - - Reviews / Podcasts - BRIAN J ROBB

As a medium, pod­casts have been en­joy­ing some­thing of a boom over the past few years. The democrati­sa­tion of qual­ity me­dia pro­duc­tion through high-spec­i­fi­ca­tion com­puter equip­ment has al­lowed a plethora of pre­vi­ously marginalised voices their own ac­cess to what were once quaintly called ‘the air­waves’.

In the past, broad­cast­ing (reach­ing a wide au­di­ence from a sin­gle source) was heav­ily reg­u­lated and con­trolled, mainly through fre­quency scarcity: only those au­tho­rised or li­censed to have ac­cess to the air­waves were al­lowed to broad­cast. In UK terms that, ini­tially, meant the BBC, with com­mer­cial sta­tions com­ing along in the 1960s.

In terms of ra­dio, there have been am­a­teurs since the in­ven­tion of the medium, reach­ing a crescendo with the off­shore ‘pi­rate’ pop sta­tions of the 1960s that ul­ti­mately led to the BBC launch­ing Ra­dio 1. For the long­est time, Ra­dio 4 (or NPR in the US) has been the de­fault home of qual­ity ‘spo­ken word’ con­tent, whether that was drama, cur­rent af­fairs, or doc­u­men­tary ra­dio.

Now, any­one with a mi­cro­phone and an iPad, lap­top, or com­puter and the right soft­ware can pro­duce a de­cent pod­cast and launch their work onto a wait­ing world. Not all of them are good, while many are far bet­ter than you might ex­pect, some­times sur­pass­ing the pro­duc­tions of ‘le­git­i­mate’ broad­cast­ers like the BBC or NPR. When it comes to fortean top­ics, there are a host of pod­casts out there, rang­ing from the pol­ished and com­pelling to the am­a­teur­ish and down­right weird. SOUNDS PE­CU­LIAR is your in­sider guide to the best of the cur­rent pod­casts deal­ing with fortean top­ics: all you have to do is sit back and lis­ten...

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