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Podcasts to keep in touch

Another school year has begun. Soon, students will be buried in papers, long hours of study and exams. With the business of university life, it can be hard to keep up with today’s chaotic world.  

But never fear! There’s a podcast for that!  

Podcasts are a great way to keep up with the news of today and explore new topics and ideas.  Podcasts can also be great self-care tools, especially for busy university students. Although internet access is needed to listen to podcasts, episodes can be downloaded onto a phone or tablet and listened to offline.  

There is a podcast for almost anything one can think of. Although most podcasts follow basically the same format – a digital recording of an interview or conversation, sometimes edited for clarity – you can find podcasts lasting several hours to less than a few minutes. They can come in daily, weekly or monthly installments.  

Local podcasts 

CKDU-FM is Dalhousie University’s own campus community radio station. Their podcasts keep listeners up to date on all things campus related.  

Recommended listening is Hali-facts hosted by Josh Hoffman. The podcast takes an in-depth look into current Halifax issues. Episode two, for example, explores the legalization of marijuana and the legalities of dispensaries.   

Another great CKDU-FM podcast is My Blackness, My Truth hosted by Jayde Symone. The podcast explores Black identity and history based around Symone’s experience of being a Black Nova Scotian woman. Check out the first episode: “Who is Jayde Symone?” 

Sickboy is another Halifax-based podcast and is hosted by three friends: Taylor MacGillivary, Brian Stever and Jeremie Saunders. Saunders lives with cystic fibrosis. The trio talks about health, past and present, and have regular guest speakers.

In this image: Someone holding a phone with the Sickboy podcast playing.
Sickboy is a Halifax-based podcast hosted by three friends. They discuss topics relating to health. Photo by Chris Stoodley

This is a great podcast for listeners who live with a chronic illness or have friends or family who live with chronic illness. The hosts talk very openly and honestly about illness and its reality. Check out episode 198, “My Entire Family Is Dead: Managing Grief w/ David Garner,” and episode 195, “Eye Cancer in Inuvik.” 

Keeping up with the news 

For up to date Canadian news and politics, the folks from the news site Canadaland has you covered. OPPO, hosted by Jen Gerson and Justin Ling, goes into all things related to politics in Canada.  

Some of the site’s other podcasts are a bit more focused in theme, like Commons: Crude, which delves into Canada’s dependency on oil. Thunder Bay is a must listen and is hosted by Ryan McMahon. “Chapter 1: There Is A Town in North Ontario” introduces you to the murder capital of Canada, the racial tensions and the loss of nine young Indigenous men.  

A Vox Media podcast, Today Explained, which is hosted by Sean Rameswaram, covers American news and politics of the day. Rameswaram and guests break down the news for listeners to really understand what is going on. For example, the Aug. 19 episode, “Do sanctions work?” 

Music, food and stories 

For music, Song Exploder is a podcast where each episode takes a song and has the musician who made it dissect it – the why and how of it. Recommended listening would be Bjork on “Stonemilker.”  

Turned Out A Punk with Damian Abraham is great for all things punk and music. Recommended listening is episode 206, “Johnny Marr (The Smiths, The Cribs, Modest Mouse).” 

For the foodies out there, Gravy by Southern Foodways Alliance is a great show that ties in food and community. There’s also Food52’s podcast Burnt Toast with episodes that can be digested in thirty minutes.  

A great listen is The Moth Radio Hour, a weekly storytelling series always told live and recorded. They have archives going back to 1997.  

Can’tlit, hosted by Dina Del Bucchia and Jen Sookfong Lee, is about all things Canadian literature. The hosts regularly sit down with prominent Canadian writers like Eden Robinson and David Chariandy and talk about new projects and writing practices.

All the podcasts listed above can be found on their own websites, or on platforms like Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Music, Soundcloud, AudioBoom and Google Play Music. Happy listening! 


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