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BBC Podcast Survey and Review

This is a “comprehensive” survey and review of the podcasts offered by the BBC.

I value podcasts that “make me better”.   Podcasts that are not relevant six months from now are excluded.  In general my emphasis is on technology and economics.

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If a podcast is not included in this list I have judged it at first glance to be superfluous.

Overall BBC podcasts look to be of high production value.  The Brits do have a tendency to meander and chatter though.  This IMHO has spoiled podcasts that may have been good.

The BBC looks to be publishing just about anything in podcast format.  It appears that there are many new podcasts just starting.  It also looks like they are publishing podcasts that will be a limited run.  I applaud this.  I think limited run podcasts keep the media tight and to the point.

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One last point before I start my list.  I sampled the sports podcasts.  They are high quality, just not educational.

I also ignore news since I feel that the best news source is The Economist.

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**Ratings system key

More or Less: Behind the Stats (Undercover Economist – Tim Hartford)
9 star
In the style of planet money or Freakonomics podcasts.

In Our Time Archives
Overall very good.

Material World
8 star.
Science news.  One of the better ones I have listened to.  Reasonably information dense.

Arts and Ideas
7 star
Think NPRs fresh air.

Best of Natural History Radio
6 star
Good but in a mainstream format.  This type of thing is better on video.

The Radio 3 Documentary
6 star?
It is new and there is only one episode.  It could become very good or become superfluous.

Documentaries
6 star
Good but very much mainstream media.  Think 60 minutes.
All episodes are archived
There also is a Documentary of the week.

The Art of Monarchy
5 star
Historic but at times meandering and information sparse.

Shakespeare’s Restless World
5 star
Great in places but overall slow.

A History of Mozart in a Dozen Objects
5 star
Ok, much like the above Shakespeare podcast.

Witness Archive 2010
5 star
“History as told by the people who were there.”
Nice but information sparse.

Excess Baggage
4 star
Some are about travel and are great.  More often though they are conversational commentaries on a region.

A Point of View
4 star
An editorial.  Overall very superfluous.
I did though rather like the ones by David Cannadin.  He speaks more to history then to opinion.  I expect tough that listening to Lisa Jardine talk about Email Etiquette would be a large waist of time.

Desert Island Discs Archive: 2005-2011
4 star
A celebrity interview.  Superfluous.
“Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.”
Also for rights reasons they only play a short segment of the song.

Thinking Allowed
3 star
So so, very meandering.  The title is accurate.

60 Second Idea to Improve the World
3 star.
Mostly editorial.  Often superfluous.

Reith Lectures Archive: 1976-2010
1 star
Very information sparse.  Mostly bullshit.
A sad betrayal because they are labeled as lectures.

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