New year, a new podcast list.
Whether you’re looking for a light-hearted accompaniment to your work day or to expand your understanding of the universe, here are 11 divergent podcasts to tune into in 2022.
Khosh Bosh with Anita and Sarah
Khosh Bosh with Anita and Sarah gives creatives living in the UAE the chance to talk about what moves, troubles and inspires them.
The podcast was launched in August last year and has since featured artists, writers, curators, researchers and art collectors. Guests have included artists Hashel Al Lamki, Mays Albaik, Mohammed AlShaibani and Anna Bernice among others.
The show derives its name from a Turkish-Farsi phrase popularised in the Arab world, and which refers to a close-knit relationship uninhibited by formalities. Conversations in the show live up to the title, offering an intimate and transparent view of the UAE's creative scene.
A podcast that brings on stars to talk about stars. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the show brings on celebrities and scientists to discuss subjects from space travel and extraterrestrial life to the role science plays in our daily lives. The podcast is now in its 12th season and, according to Tyson, is for “people who never knew how much they’d love learning about space and science.”
As the show has already aired a few hundred episodes, it can be dizzying to pinpoint where to start. A few of our picks would be the season 10 premiere with Anthony Bourdain, which was recorded before the celebrity chef’s death in 2018. Other noteworthy episodes include the Globetrotter’s Guide to the Galaxy, which explores physics phenomena with the Harlem Globetrotters, and the AI, Autonomous Vehicles, and Race − Oh My! episode, which looks at how self-driving cars affect our psychology with Malcolm Gladwell.
Freedom of Peach
Freedom of Peach is a podcast that flips the script on the interviewer/interviewee dynamic.
Every episode podcaster Hysum Ismail brings on a guest to debate topics that range from dating in the Muslim world to picking a safe massage parlour, except it's usually Ismail himself that is in the hot seat. His guests pull no punches, which makes for surprising and thought-provoking discussions. The show launches its second season later this month.
Another podcast of Ismail’s to check out is Switch/Flicks, which he co-hosts with Omar Abbas. Like Freedom of Peach, the show is a Dukkan Media project, but instead of subverting celebrity interview podcasts, it puts a twist on the film review format.
In Switch/Flicks, the reviewers’ opinions are starkly-contrasted and mercurial. Every time one of the two podcasters yells “switch!”, they have to change their opinion of the film in question. The podcast is as much a film review show as it is, to quote the programme, “a game of wit and sabotage".
Beyond the Headlines
A podcast by The National’s foreign desk that dives deeper into the biggest stories from around the world. Beyond the Headlines brings together experts and those living the news to provide a clear picture of the region’s changing social and political landscape.
The podcast has published more than 240 episodes. Its most recent episode was released on January 7. It explores the nuances of the ongoing Iran nuclear talks with host Leila Gharagozlou looking at what negotiators in Vienna must contend with to strike a new agreement.
Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee
“Health has become overcomplicated. I aim to simplify it,” British physician Rangoon Chatterjee says of his podcast. The author of The 4 Pillar Plan meets with industry experts and researchers to debunk health myths and giving listeners the insight to transform the way they eat, sleep, work and relax.
The show has released more than 200 episodes since it launched in 2018, and alternates full length two-hour features and bite-sized episodes that provide tips on managing daily stresses and improving productivity.
The Maris Review
Cultural critic and Slaughterhouse 90210 author Maris Kreizman talks with writers from around the world about their own works as well as the books that inspire them.
The podcast, launched in 2019, has featured a range of authors including Susan Choi, David Sedaris, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Rivka Galchen, Zakiya Dalila Harris and Alexander Chee.
The Dukkan Show has become a staple podcast in the UAE and wider region. Hosted by Omar Tom, Reem Hameed and Mohamad Akkaoui , the show has aired more than 200 episodes since it launched in 2016, and has featured a range of luminaries including Minister of Culture and Youth Noura Al Kaabi, Obey artist Shepard Fairey and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.
If you’re looking to add local podcasts to your daily rotation of content consumption, Dukkan Show is a no-brainer.
The Last Podcast on the Left
You can’t have a decent podcast list without at least one spooky entry, and The Last Podcast on the Left will satiate your appetite for the morbid and macabre, but with a healthy dose of comedy.
Hosted by comedians Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski, as well as researcher Marcus Parks, the podcast draws its name from the title of the 1972 film The Last House on the Left, and tackles real and paranormal horrors, from serial killers and slashers to UFO sightings and ghost stories. The podcast brings a beam of dark humour to the true crime genre. Launched in 2011, the show releases two episodes every week.
Entitled Opinions (About Life and Literature)
A talk show hosted by Stanford literature professor Robert Harrison. Entitled Opinions covers a wide range of topics from French novelist Marcel Proust to thermodynamics. The podcast also reflects on the ways we read older texts in light of new global experiences, such as how the pandemic sheds a novel light to The Decameron, a collection of novellas by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio, who was witness to the effects of the Black Death, which caused the deaths of up to 200 million in Europe alone.
Entitled Opinions is one of the longest running podcasts on this list, having been launched in 2005.
As one of the world‘s most influential business hubs, the Middle East requires expert attention. Business Extra provides those experts, as well as news and insights from The National‘s team of business editors and reporters.
Updated weekly, the podcast’s most recent episode looks at how how health care, aviation, education and dining industries are scuffling to meet the staff shortages brought about by the Omicron variant. Geopolitical futurist Abishur Prakash joins co-hosts Mustafa Alrawi and Kelsey Warner to talk about how robots and automation are becoming a necessity in the midst of a capricious labour market.
Hosted by Dubai’s food tour company Frying Pan Adventures, Deep Fried is the much-needed local offering to your inner gourmand. The podcast, which launched in 2017, features food talents from around the country, such as tea sommelier Haiya Mughal of Haiya Tea; Christopher Gunson, founder of Dubai’s dedicated udon noodle shop Maru Udon; and Yulia Belal, founder of Organic Dumplings Dubai.
The show highlights staple regional recipes, such as in the episode Three Palestinian Dishes with Haya’s Kitchen, and teaches you how to cook international dishes with a twist, like in the episode Middle Eastern Turkey by Carnistore.
The show's most recent episode was in November 2021, and while host Arva Ahmed mentioned that it was not certain Deep Fried would return for a fourth season, the show has more than 90 episodes in its archive and is an important resource for discovering the food scene in the UAE.