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Podthoughts: The Faroe Islands Podcast

Vital stats:
Format: interviews with the movers and shakers of an archipelago you probably haven’t heard of
Episode duration: 15-45m
Frequency: 2-5 per month

When I first heard of The Faroe Islands Podcast [RSS] [iTunes], I heard it as a sort of punchline. “Oh man, this archipelago off of Europe? That only has 50,000 people? The Faroe Islands? There’s an entire podcast about it.” But really, how far does this separate it from so many other podcasts? This show covers all aspects of life on the Faroe Islands, and going by its episodes on Faroese broadcasting, any media pertaining to the place manages near-automatically to draw the attention of a sizable chunk of the population. A reasonably successful podcast about, say, one particular Doctor Who Doctor might attract five or ten thousand listeners. But a Faroe Islands news broadcast pulls in an astonishing fifty percent of the viewership. More than a few of those 25,000 — or of the English-speaking fraction of that 25,000, anyway — would, I wager, want to take a listen to The Faroe Islands Podcast, a production about a niche country in a niche-friendly medium, even if only out of curiosity.

This narrow focus has another advantage. Listening the show’s 182-and-counting episodes, I kept thinking back to, of all books, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In it, Pirsig relates a story from his alter ego Phaedrus’ teaching days at Montana State College. One of his students wants to write “a 500-word essay on America” but can think of nothing to say. When Phaedrus suggests she write about just the city of Bozeman instead, she still comes back empty-handed. He then tells her to write just about Bozeman’s main street, but she again comes back without a paper. He finally suggests she write only about the front of Bozeman’s opera house, beginning with its upper-leftmost brick.

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

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