Photo: Timeline Images / Timeline Classics
My life changed entirely a few weeks ago when I rediscovered my long forgotten iPod Shuffle. Like most people, I enjoy listening to music whilst training at the gym. But, I was not entirely happy: Maneuvering the iPhone and headphones between weightlifting and the treadmill wasn’t seamless; searching the library for some good music while exercising; adjusting the volume if somebody talks to you; getting distracted with posts and tweets and incoming calls (no, I don’t use the flight mode). Listening to my beloved Hans Zimmer soundtracks (That organ in “Interstellar”!) or the podcasts from “Bayern 2”, a Munich radio station known for its superb coverage about arts & culture, was becoming painfully stressful.
Until this wonderful tiny iPod machine came back to my life. No internet connection! Just a few buttons! And the best: I can conveniently attach the iPod Shuffle to my T-Shirt with a clip!
Now I’m sharing my iPod story with you, since podcasts are the hidden champions of entertainment. Entertainment Weekly wrote in October last year: “Podcasts – yes, podcasts! – are the freshest and most addictive form of storytelling today.” In a recent feature, The New York Times covered the US podcast phenomenon “Serial”: “Podcasting used to be a novel way of distributing audio programming over the Internet, but it is up 25 percent year-over-year and almost 40 million people listen to some form of podcast. It gained traction with the introduction of the iPod, hence the name. “Serial” is arguably the medium’s first breakout hit.” And: “Podcasts have moved beyond being nerd centric (…) it has become one more push-button technology, allowing consumers to download an app and listen to audio programming at a time of their choosing.”
Actually, I go to the gym now because of podcasts, not anymore because of fitness! Here’s is my podcast list for the gym visits in January:
- A Museum for Your iPod: The world’s finest cultural journalism is on “Radio BBC 4” on iTunes. My favorite podcast series are the British Museum’s “A History of the World in 100 Objects” (I saw the wonderful touring exhibition last summer in Abu Dhabi) and “Germany: Memories of a Nation” (a recent exhibition). Director Neil MacGregor takes you in the episodes on a tour of knowledge and wonders. The British Museum and the British Broadcasting Corporation have set standards with this original blend of a museum and a radio show.
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- Cinema for Your Ears: “Hardcore History” by Dan Carlin. I will not write much here. You need to check it by yourselves on iTunes. Dan Carlin is the Cecil B. DeMille of podcasts.
- The Who is Who of Hollywood: is gathering in “Q & A with Jeff Goldsmith”. Subscribe to this unique, charming talk show. Not only for cineastes. A “must hear” is the 20 December episode with “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn. I discovered this podcast series when recommended it on Twitter.
I am proud to say that in our Tutankhamun exhibitions, we deliver a podcast-like storytelling experience – the voices of three actors guide our visitor through the exhibition (included in the admission fee).
Paid audio tours in museums and exhibitions are definitely out, dear colleagues, and on that note, we are happy to tell you that our upcoming Munich exhibition (from 3rdApril at the Olympic Park) will include a free podcast. Upon leaving the exhibition you’ll be able to download an exclusive story about the Golden Boy for your way home.
Entertainment Weekly declared in its January 9th issue “The Golden Age of Podcasts”. Certainly, you can listen to a podcast on your PC or your smartphone or tablet, but that’s not comparable to the authentic iPod experience. Period. Entertainment Weekly’s Ray Rahmann even recommended to keep the iPod classic – the vintage device now sells for $ 1,200. I will never sell my iPod shuffle, not for all the money in the world.
With my best wishes for the New Year:
Yours, Christoph Scholz
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Listening to my favorite podcast series