Studio: BBC World Service
Category: News & Politics
What It Is
A round-up of the significant news stories from Africa by the BBC.
Five days a week, Monday through Friday, there’s a new episode on the day’s stories. Episodes range from fifteen to twenty minutes. Stories come in from a variety of correspondents on subjects ranging from political upheaval to social change to sports to music and theater. On Fridays, there’s a comedy routine from a couple of comedians called The Resident Presidents. Seriously. The archive goes back a month from the current date; past that, you’re out of luck.
What About It
Africa isn’t a continent that gets much coverage in the United States, not even when you listen to the public radio station; listening to any other station, it gets exactly none, unless people are rioting in the streets or Mandela just died. This show is short, but still feels like you’re getting a good deal of information about the stories. Plenty of music and lots of different reporters, so the show doesn’t feel at all stale. I particularly like the interviews with African artists, from singers to painters to playwrights. As to The Resident Presidents, the conceit is that the two idiotic characters are presidents of small African nations (one of them recently lamented the hard decisions he faced as a leader: “jailing opposition leaders, shooting protesters . . . these things aren’t POPULAR, you know!”). The humor is resolutely un-PC, generally bitingly satirical and often incredibly low-brow, but I admit that they make me laugh pretty hard sometimes. I have a lot of friends in Africa (charity workers, missionaries, etc.) so I find the podcast pretty interesting, though, given the sheer volume of great podcasts out there, it isn’t one I can listen to on a daily basis. But when the mainstream media mentions a story from Africa in passing, it’s a great cue to go download a few episodes of this podcast so you can get the real, full story. But the connection I have via friends is a good bench-mark for this one; your interest in this podcast and your personal ties to the continent will be pretty well equal, I’d guess.
You’re an African expatriate.
Avoid Like the Plague If
You’re David Duke.
Best Entry Point
With news podcasts, my general advice is to get the most recent one. There’s a bit of a twist with this one: get the most recent Friday episode. Might as well start with an episode featuring The Resident Presidents; most of the news isn’t good, so it’ll be nice to start with an episode that at least ends with a laugh.
Next time, I want to tell you about a comedy podcast that’s sadly ended its run; luckily there’s an extensive archive, if you’re in the mood for raunchy, laugh-out-loud comedy.