Five podcasts we listen to and actually learn stuff from — really

Podcasts. Everyone and the milkman’s got one. The barrier for entry is relatively low, they’re simple to distribute and even easier to consume.

As such, you have to snuffle through the dirt to find the real truffles. But when you do stumble upon the right ones, they’re worth the search. Here are five podcasts that have kept us at Velvet informed, entertained, and on occasion, just a bit confused.

The Intelligence

Published every weekday by The Economist’s radio arm, The Intelligence is the perfect companion for your morning coffee or dog-walk. Condensed into just twenty minutes, each episode takes a topic from the news agenda and gives you everything you need to beat someone in a game of wits. Just this week, we’ve had everything from the Turkey fires to US vaccine mandates and the IPCC report.

The Business of Fashion

For all things fashion, whether it concerns the supply chain, in-store experiences, the outlook for post-pandemic retail or something else entirely, BOF’s weekly podcast has you covered. Bursting with special guests like the managing director of Selfridges and, um, Simon Sinek, there’s always a new perspective or fact to be uncovered.

Nick Abbot on LBC

Squashed into podcast form like the rest of LBC’s radio shows, Nick Abbot’s Friday and Saturday late-night slots play back like a series of fever dreams. It’s current affairs and hard news like you’d hope to expect from a broadcaster called ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’, sure, but with loads of laughs and trivia thrown in. The focus on the listener and their experiences — sometimes given very short shrift by Abbott — combined with the samples, noises and Nick’s cheesewire-sharp wit results in a genuinely fun, yet informative, take on the news with the odd curiosity thrown in.

More or Less: Behind the Stats

Even more bite-sized than The Intelligence, this weekly podcast is so slight. Last week’s edition clocked in at just nine minutes, but BBC’s More or Less makes every second count: it’s essentially a statistics round-up anchored around a specific theme. The most recent episode unpacked the numbers behind COVID-19 vaccination fears, but it’s not all doom and gloom — last month, the podcast dug into just how many descendents of the Mayflower are alive today.

Stuff You Should Know

Does what it says on the tin, to be fair. It’s the biggest podcast on this list and for a reason: hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant walk you down a light-hearted, fact-packed lane of information you never knew you needed. Everything from how landslides work to a deconstruction of Humpty Dumpty is covered, and coupled with Josh and Chuck’s warm, matey rapport, it’s impossible to not get sucked in.

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