Since I’ve got podcasting on the brain these days, I thought I would take inventory of the disability-related podcasts I listen to. There are really only three I listen to regularly. It amazes me a bit how few active podcasts there are by people with disabilities, on disability topics. True, podcasting requires more equipment and technical skill than blogging. However, it’s a lot easier now to develop your own podcast than it was just two or three years ago. These are the three I follow at the moment:
BBC hosts Rob Crossan and Kate Monaghan both have disabilities. Each of their “Ouch!” shows covers a couple of disability topics and disabled people in depth, usually with interviews. They also run through shorter disability news stories, with the help of topical “correspondents” … ordinary disabled people who listen to the show, and call in with brief bits on topics that particularly interest them. This makes “Ouch!” an impressive combination of professional radio and grassroots podcasting. Rob and Kate have a lovely, hilarious chemistry together, which helps keep the show from falling into sentimentality. Most of the content is centered on the UK, but they occasionally talk about disability trends in other countries, including the United States.
Cheryl Green interviews disabled writers and thinkers who contributed essays to her disability culture anthology, “Criptiques”. This is an occasional podcast that’s only had three interviews so far, but each of them was amazing. Cheryl is a terrific interviewer, with a great sense of humor. I get really excited when I see a new interview has been posted.
I just started listening to this one, another podcast by Cheryl Green. I’m pretty convinced it will become part of my regular lineup, because I love Cheryl’s interviews, the topics align with things that interest me most, and because it’s in iTunes, so I’ll get new episodes automatically.
I just did an iTunes search, to see if I am missing anything new. I found a few podcasts that have been inactive for months or years, and a few on side topics only slightly related to what I’m looking for, but nothing I’m likely to add to my podcast-listening routine. I would love to hear about any new disability-related podcasts. I need more good stuff to listen to, and most of all, I need disability podcasting role models to help me develop
Update: January 7, 2017
It’s been awhile since I posted about disability podcasting. That’s partially because there is still surprisingly little of it out there. What I mean by “little of it out there” is that there are few podcasts by disabled people posting episodes regularly. My own podcast’s checkered, inconsistent history is a good example. I also get the feeling that the same creative impulse that prompts people to do audio podcasts is being channeled more into making YouTube videos. Still, there are a couple of newish disability-themed podcasts I listen to that are worth your time.
Emily Ladau and Kyle Khachadurian are friends who have different disabilities, and subtly different ways of thinking about disability and disability issues. Actually, sometimes the difference isn’t subtle, though their disagreements never become unfriendly. Basically, this is the podcast to listen to if you want to explore the pros and cons of different schools of thought on disability. It sounds serious, and it is in intent, but the dialog itself is fun and surprisingly light. This is a great podcast for anyone in the disability community, but maybe especially for people just beginning to think about disability issues in a deeper way.
I have only just started digging into this podcast’s back catalog, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to learn at lot from it. In Sickness + Health explores what you might call the chronic illness sector of the broader disability community, focusing on how we actually think about and relate to our bodies when they don’t work as designed … or when they actively rebel against us. I tend to gravitate more towards the social, political, and practical aspects of disability culture, yet my own disabilities very much fit into the more medically involved chronic illness zone. So this podcast is probably perfect for me. At the same time, it also seems to do a good job of connecting the very personal physical and emotional aspects of disability with the social and political dimension. Basically, I am very intrigued. I’ll be listening more in the near future.