ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top Five Spoken Word Podcasts and Radio Shows

Updated on July 5, 2015

When done well, spoken word on the radio has immense power to inform, entertain and influence listeners. There are more voices than ever on the radio waves and online. Here are some I regularly tune into.

The Moth, 'True Stories Told LIve.'

The story telling event that started in the living room of writer George Dawes Green now runs in venues across the country and has a huge audience for its radio shows and podcasts. The stories are sad, surprising, funny, moving but always true and told in front of a live audience without notes.

Famous writers, comedians, artists and entertainers have told stories on The Moth, as have members of the public from all walks of life who have stepped up to the mic and told stories which have drawn audiences in like moths to a flame.

Details on how you can listen to The Moth, attend an event, and tell your story can be found on the website

The Truth

The Truth is produced by an innovative team of writers and actors who use a variety of writing and production techniques to create what they describe as ‘movies for your ears.’ In these days of 3D cinema, HD and special FX The Truth demonstrates the power of radio and proves that the most powerful images are the ones in your mind.

The Fug

A weird selection of micro-fiction, poetry, dialogues and sketches from Brighton based Fug Press. The one hour shows are accompanied by an eclectic and lo-fi music selection. It's a show reminiscent of some of Ivor Cutler’s radio programmes.

This American Life

This American Life is like a sun round which other speech based shows orbit like planets. Indeed I first heard The Moth and The Truth on TAL. Ira Glass is a genial host with an engaging personality. At the start of the show it feels as if he is striking up a conversation with the listener. He usually launches straight into an anecdote or interview that makes up the prologue section. The rest of the programme is divided into acts: pieces of fiction, non-fiction, reportage and investigative journalism that focus on a particular theme. The content is sad, serious, funny, lighthearted, thought provoking and always well done.

It has expanded beyond the airwaves onto TV and into cinemas with live broadcasts of dynamic stage shows.

You probably know it already but if you don’t or you haven’t listened recently sign up for the podcast and catch up on past shows in the archive here:

Radio Lab

Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich's slightly unorthodox show on WNYC explores life's big questions turning up some unexpected answers and huge mysteries yet to be solved. It delves into the complexities of science, mathematics and philosophy whilst remaining accessible and entertaining. Shows cover vast topics like space and everything and focus on rare individuals such as a premature baby, the inventor of the Heimlich maneuver and celebrated psychologist Oliver Sacks.

Always entertaining and educational.

Also recommended...

I have tried to include a range of programmes in my top selection but there are many other worthy contenders. Radio veteran Garrison Keillor still brings the News From Lake Wobegon in a weekly free podcast. The Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy Podcast brings you the best British satire. I even broadcast a bit of spoken word myself on my fortnightly show on Cambridge 105. You can listen here. I hope you enjoy listening to these shows and please let me know about any of your favourites.

I've updated the selection with shows currently broadcasting. Former entry Evening under lamplight is no longer on air but it's worth checking out the archive of programmes still available at the address below.

Robert Louis Abrahamson presents music and spoken word on a different theme every other Sunday on Choices of music vary from classical to gangster rap but regularly include favourites Bob Dylan, and Ray Davies and The Kinks. He gives beautiful readings of poetry and short stories from sources as diverse as Shakespeare and Play Boy but always from namesake Robert Louis Stephenson.

But Robert Louis does not simply read words and play tunes. He invites listeners to ‘attend.’ Each selection is accompanied by a commentary that picks through the words line by line highlighting their significance, nuances and hidden meanings. He leaves listeners with an appreciation of what they have heard that goes beyond the momentary enjoyment of listening to something nice on the radio. It is a well-crafted show with each word chosen and delivered with the utmost care. The show is currently off air but previous episodes can be enjoyed at any time on Mixcloud.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Patrick Widdess profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Widdess 

      5 years ago from Cambridge, UK


    • Megtom profile image


      5 years ago from Utah

      Cool, I'm definitely gonna check some of these out!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)