Podcast Picks (September 2020)

Time for some more podcast picks.

Before we start – please subscribe to the Hansen’s Corner podcast

Two great podcasts from the BBC to give a try:

Listen to the podcast at the top for why I chose these two podcasts.

Why should I prep for my radio show or podcast?

Heard of the phrase "fail to preprare, prepare to fail"? It is a phrase that can warn you for, well, pretty much anything in life. School, college/university, job interviews, visa applications, holidays, etc.

This phrase is especially true for radio shows and podcasts.

From my experience preparation can make your show sound like either: a slick, entertaining and memorable event; winging that best man’s speech or sound like you’re quoting Encyclopedia Britannica syllable by syllable.

I’ve seen/heard many radio shows and podcasts over the years, with very little or literally no prep at all. On the other hand I’ve seen/heard many radio shows and podcasts over the years with so much prep that it sounds stilted, dry and bland.

For me show preparation is like a see-saw. Both extremes can produce undesired consequences.

So my formula for good prep is:

My good prep formula

So how do I prepare?

There’s no right or wrong answer on how to prepare. You have to find the best preparation method that works for you and your show, much like swotting up for a school exam complimenting your learning style.

For The Feelgood Lounge, which has the additional complication of being presented remotely and I don’t do the technical operation myself like I would in pre-COVID times, the following components are:

Running order

I prepare a running order with timings, segment details (feature or link and it’s intended length), song details and next item cues. The last is very important since there’s no visual indicator for my engineer.

Piece of the running order from show 14 of the The Feelgood Lounge that keeps me on track.


Alongside the running order I also have my notes for links and features which I keep in very short bulletpoints. This acts something like cue cards that can be read at a glance.

Other things that help

  • Throat lozenges with menthol, for me it helps to clear my nasal passages and therefore clearing my voice.
  • Large bottle of water (typically 2 litres) to keep hydrated and obviously wet the whistle. Keeping your voice in good condition is critical.
  • Skyping my engineer prior to the show so I can go over any important details, discuss anything technical issues I need to be aware of and also create a mental fence where I enter "the zone" and not think about anything else.

Good prep of course is no guarantee your show will win a Sony award or it’ll enter radio folkore; but it can minimise the chances of your show becoming an on-air tragedy.

How do you prepare your radio show? Any tips of what and what not to do? Do you think that prep is essential or a waste of time? Feel free to share in the comments below.

The Feelgood Lounge, Thursday evenings, 2000-2200 UK time on Southern Sound (Channel 8 in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and southernsound.org.uk)

Presenting from home during lockdown

I lived alone during lockdown so for me there were two pluses: Concerns of the virus being brought into the flat by others was non-existent and being left to my own devices.

What also helped me get through this tricky time was my radio presenting.

Access to SunnyG and Southern Sound studios were (and still are) off limits as soon as the virus took off in Glasgow. For many it brought a temporary pause to their volunteering.

Thankfully my home studio (ok, mic on a mic arm, mixer, some cheap duvet for soundproofing in a tiny cupboard) saved the day. However there’s no air conditioning, light fixtures and the only way my laptop, which acts as my recording/streaming device, could be placed was outside the studio. It wasn’t perfect but hey it works.

My home studio, circa December 2019, during recording session for the Monday at Six Christmas special.
The home studio since lockdown. Much tidier and compact isn’t it?

Cupboards and walk-in wardrobes in my opinion are good for home studios/home recording booths. Especially if there are fittings, the headroom is lower and the space is more confined which can act as partial soundproofing. I also have £6’s worth supermarket duvet at the back of my mic just to be sure.

This has been my setup for recording The Feelgood Lounge and even before the pandemic, the Monday at Six Christmas special for SunnyG and the Hansen’s Corner podcasts.

I miss presenting radio shows live – sadly my “studio” currently doesn’t have the technical capacity to fully broadcast live other than down a Skype line and the technical operation handled by someone else.

Besides such a setup is expensive and would cost hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to be compatible with the station’s existing playout infrastructure.

Nevertheless such an activity gave me another purpose during the lockdown. In this case, to provide some kind of distraction for the hospital patients who not only have to worry about their own health but also that vicious virus.

Having such a purpose inspires me and reminds me that I’m actually lucky to be in a position to do so.

Podcast Picks (July 2020)

Podcast picks are back! Here I share three podcasts you should try.

Before I do so – please consider subscribing to the Hansen’s Corner podcast by heading here. You can subscribe via Spotify, Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts and wherever you listen to your podcasts.

The Guardian Long Read

  • Similar to the Curio app – audio versions of their long read articles on theguardian.com.
  • Good variety of voices – some by the writers themselves others voiced by a wide range of voice actors.
  • Long read articles covers various topics – The environment, AI, COVID-19, the rise of ALDI supermarkets (a favourite of mine)
  • Great passive listen – while working or relaxing
  • Easy listen in terms of voices
  • Not for those looking for a short podcast to listen to
  • Search “The Guardian Audio Long Read” in your podcast app or search engine.

WTF1 Podcast

  • Podcast by Formula 1 website wtf1.com
  • First discovered them on YouTube
  • Race reviews, F1 news and features
  • Features including “That Time When” – discussing key moments in F1 history, my favourite.
  • Different style to other F1 podcasts
  • WTF1 – aimed at – mainly – the millennial generation
  • Nice, approachable style
  • Roundtable format works nicely
  • Primarily Hosted Matt Gallagher – about to co-commentate for F1TV and the F2 World Feed this coming weekend.
  • Search for “WTF1 Podcast” in your podcasting app or search engine

Nick Abbot Habit

  • Podcast by UK talk station LBC
  • Presented by Nick Abbot – formerly of Virgin Radio and Talk Radio in the 1990s among other UK stations.
  • Best bits of his Friday and Saturday night shows
  • Personally selected by Nick
  • Dry sense of humour and sarcastic – my kind of humour
  • Around 30 minutes long
  • Zany style with clips from his soundbox and mocking silly callers
  • Search “The Nick Abbot Habit” in your podcast app or search engine

More podcast picks next month but in the meantime, a quick reminder to check out the Hansen’s Corner podcast (anchor.fm/hansenscorner) and subscribe.

You can also subscribe to the blog via RSS, copy and paste this into your feed reader: hansenscorner.com/feed

Next musings post and podcast on Wednesday, have a great weekend!