Today in Focus takes you behind the Guardian's headlines – podcasts of the week

The Guardian’s new daily show aims to tell the paper’s stories in a fresh and engaging way. Plus Limetown returns, and a look at the best jazz podcasts

Talking points

Now fully operational is the BBC’s new Sounds App. An attempt to “lean in to the podcast revolution”, according to the corporation’s director of radio and education James Purnell, it replaces the old iPlayer Radio app and will feature 80,000 hours of BBC audio.

Alarmingly, it seems that Logan Paul is planning to move into the world of podcasting. The controversial vlogger told the Hollywood Reporter that he plans to leave YouTube behind and set up a new pod called Impaulsive. Be very afraid.

Picks of the week

Adam Buxton
Adam Buxton: strongest when he’s catching up with old friends, such as Louis Theroux. Photograph: James Drew Turner/Guardian


The first season of mystery podcast Limetown has had more than 10m downloads and is being developed for a Facebook TV series, in which Jessica Biel will play investigative reporter Lia Haddock. Now season two is here and Haddock has gone missing after getting too close to the truth about why 300 people went missing from an isolated neuroscience lab in Tennessee. It’s realistic, understated and, despite being a work of fiction, delivered in a style that is not a million miles away from Serial. Hannah Verdier

The Adam Buxton Podcast

He may have snared interviews with the A-list likes of Greta Gerwig and Paul Thomas Anderson in recent times, but Adam Buxton’s podcast is never stronger than when he is catching up with old friends such as Joe Cornish, Garth Jennings and, in a recent episode, Louis Theroux. Ahead of Theroux’s new BBC Two documentary series, the pair discuss life, death and the credibility of a gruesome urban myth involving Mick Jagger and some baby chicks. Other recent interviewees include David Sedaris and Tim Key. Gwilym Mumford

In depth: jazz podcasts

Thundercat: the jazz bassist’s work is explored oon Song Exploder. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Jazz has shed its chin-stroking, snobbish reputation in recent years. With the rapper Kendrick Lamar enlisting trumpeter Terrace Martin to produce his No 1-charting 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly, and homegrown nights such as London’s Jazz Re:Freshed and Steam Down enticing younger audiences, now is the perfect time to discover the genre and delve into some of its finest podcasts.

For the anoraks among you, the niche but encyclopaedically detailed Jazz Beat on NPR is the best place to go for an all-round grounding in the greats of jazz. Hosted by broadcast veteran Tom Reney, the podcast series distils his three decades of experience into episodes covering the likes of legendary drummer Max Roach and New Orleans blues pioneer Fats Domino. NPR has also archived its excellent documentary series Jazz Profiles, including rare interview recordings with the famously reticent pianist Bill Evans.

If the jazz tradition seems too stuffy to get into first, there is the newly launched Supreme Standards podcast instead. Hosted by DJ Tina Edwards, this weekly pod dissects the latest developments in the UK’s jazz scene, with episode one featuring an interview with jazz-influenced poet and songwriter Sampa the Great.

Jazz isn’t just limited to jazz artists though. Season one of Spotify’s Dissect podcast tackles a track-by-track analysis of Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, taking into account his complex lyrical references, as well as Terrance Martin’s jazz influences. And the ever-popular Song Exploder’s episode on bassist Thundercat’s Them Changes is a bitesize introduction to the sampled legacy of jazz. But perhaps the only way to truly understand and appreciate jazz is to play it. To this end, the unimaginatively titled Learn Jazz Standards Podcast is an invaluable insight into how you can play jazz, recruiting experts to talk about everything from adopting the correct posture to chord progressions. Ammar Kalia

Guardian pick: Today in Focus

Today in Focus
Today in Focus Illustration: Guardian Design Team

Today in Focus is the new daily podcast from the Guardian, hosted by Anushka Asthana. Available from 6am every weekday, the podcast takes you behind the headlines for a deeper understanding of the news. “Our job is to showcase Guardian journalism by telling its stories in a fresh and engaging way,” says Asthana. “Sometimes it will be reacting to immediate stories and at other times we will take a deeper look at the issues dominating the news cycle.”

The show captures the distinctive voice of the Guardian, with each episode tackling one major story as well as featuring opinions from commentators from within and outside the organisation. The aim is to give audiences a unique take on the big issues that matter, in an easily digestible format, and provide an alternative to existing broadcasters.

Asthana is excited by the new challenge, having most recently worked as joint political editor for the Guardian. “Today in Focus is a work in progress while we experiment with format, style and tone,” she says. “In time, we will find the voice that we believe works best for us and as a platform for the Guardian. Give us just 20 minutes of your time each day and we promise to entertain you with something interesting and new.”
You can subscribe to Today in Focus on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts

Your picks

Tim McInerney and Naomi O’Leary of The Irish Passport Podcast
Tim McInerney and Naomi O’Leary of The Irish Passport Podcast Photograph: Tim McInerney and Naomi O’Leary

The Irish Passport

Hosted by the journalist Naomi O’Leary and history lecturer Tim McInerney, The Irish Passport acts as a guide to current events concerning Ireland, using Irish history and culture to put them into context. It’s incredible how accessible they have made this show; no matter what your level of awareness of Irish history is, you will always come out with some new understanding of the topic at hand.Recommended by David Mcguire

Women Belong in the House

Jenny Kaplan tells stories of the remarkable women who are running for the US House of Representatives this November, and encases candidate interviews with context on why gender parity is so damn elusive in the States. I finish the episodes feeling armed with facts and also totally fired up. Recommended by Perri Gould

If you have any podcast recommendations email


Hannah Verdier, Gwilym Mumford, Ammar Kalia and Anushka Asthana

The GuardianTramp

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