Media Perspective: Open staff's ears to the best informative podcasts around

As you wander the veal-fattening pens of your newly open-plan agency, you've probably noticed that many of your staff are hunched at their desks with headphones strapped tightly to their ears.

You tell yourself they're all diligently working through the audio book of Trout On Positioning, or listening to their computer reading out contact reports, but we all know that's not true. They're listening to Nu Rave.

So my mission today is to suggest some advertising/media-related podcasts you can bring to their attention instead: headphone material which will educate and inform. You'll find all these by searching in iTunes.

If I had to pick only one, it would be "American Copywriter": the granddaddy of advertising podcasts, produced by two seasoned and hilarious creative directors in Kansas City (which as we all know is not in Kansas but Missouri). At irregular intervals, they'll get together over a beer and chew the fat on the advertising issues of the day. They offer advice for junior creatives, critiques of ads, philosophical musings about the nature of the business, stupid jokes and full-blooded swearing.

It's an essential listen, which is made more listenable because it's not full of the tedious advertising gossip from New York or Chicago. Why isn't anyone in the UK doing this? Or have I just missed it?

My second choice is a bit of a cheat, since it's really a radio programme, but I bet none of your employees listen to Radio 4, so get their listening gear wrapped around the excellent In Business.

The BBC is famously terrible at business coverage, but this is the honourable exception. Peter Day makes the arcane and unwieldy aspects of business clear and compelling and he has a good instinct for what's coming next. Listening to In Business would give your people a broader education about the world their clients are living in.

For a look at the UK media scene, it's also worth checking out The Guardian's "Media Talk" podcast. All the week's media news discussed and debated, with a little hint of the insidery gossip that makes you feel like you might know something slightly secret. ("Media" here means what people out in the real world call "media" and not The Huge Global Business Formerly Known As The Media Department.)

And while we're on a media tip, I should also point you at On The Media, made by WNYC in New York. It's a weekly hour of news and analysis of media stuff. There's a bias towards US material, but one of the presenters is Bob Garfield of Advertising Age, so when they cover advertising and marketing, they tend to do it well.

And that's it. Enjoy. Let me know if there's anything else we should all be listening to.

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