Free Podcasts for Christmas

...just in case you're interested.

Amplify’d from

Short stories podcasts: 12 tales for Christmas

Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe

Saturday's an exciting day for us in the audio department. We're launching our new series of podcasts, but podcasts with a difference. We've invited some of the country's top authors to read us their favourite short story by another writer. So you'll hear Philip Pullman reading Chekhov, Rose Tremain reading Yiyun and William Boyd reading JG Ballard, and then discuss why they chose those particular stories.

We're running 12 of these from Saturday every day until Christmas. But it's been a project that we've been working on since the summer, when the Guardian's Review editor Lisa Allardice came up with the idea. She says: "We're familiar with audio books, but with writers choosing their favourite story they bring something of themselves to the reading.

Producer Tim Maby was surprised at how authors are now so used to reading aloud they even move the microphones to where it best suits them: "Anne Enright, for instance, likes to hug it." Tim says Rose Tremain commented that all writers like showing off, while Philip Pullman revealed he loves talking in to a mic.
these recordings really show why podcasting is so much better than radio: they will remain on our website and on iTunes and be a resource for people forever. You don't have to be sitting next to your wireless at a certain time to catch them.

Saturday 11 December: Philip Pullman reading The Beauties by Anton Chekhov

Sunday 12 December: William Boyd reading My Dream of Flying to Wake Island by JG Ballard

Monday 13 December: Anne Enright reading Fat by Raymond Carver

Tuesday 14 December: Colm Tóibín reading Music at Annahullion by Eugene McCabe

Wednesday 15 December: Margaret Drabble reading The Doll's House by Katherine Mansfield

Thursday 16 December: Jeanette Winterson reading The Night Driver by Italo Calvino

Friday 17 December: Rose Tremain reading Extra by Yiyun Li

Saturday 18 December: Julian Barnes reading Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway

Sunday 19 December: Tessa Hadley reading The Jungle by Elizabeth Bowen

Monday 20 December: Helen Dunmore reading My Oedipus Complex by Frank O'Connor

Tuesday 21 December: Ali Smith reading Conversation With My Father by Grace Paley

Wednesday 22 December: Helen Simpson reading The Kitchen Child by Angela Carter

Each podcast will be published at

Lights, Solar, ACTION! Even the BBC recognise the influence of this in their History of the World in 100 Objects

Lights For Learning have just returned from installation projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Official feedback from their previous trip has shown that in just ONE YEAR a particular school's pass rate increased by 540%.

Enrolment rates have increased by up to 20% due to the need for children and adults to tend land and take their wares to market during the daylight hours. It really feels like a different world.

Countries like the UK have developed away from this challenging way of life.

Quite literally and metaphorically, Lights For Learning are working toward a brighter future.

Download this if you want to hear from the people talking about the sorts of challenges they face and how LFL are helping...

Visit if you'd like to donate. All money goes directly to lighting installations.
Amplify’d from

Solar-powered lamp and charger


A History of the World in 100 objects

There are around five billion mobile phones in use around the world todayThis lamp is powered by the small solar panel connected to it. As well as providing light, power from this panel can be used to charge mobile phones. This object has been chosen to reflect the ingenuity, and the challenges we face in the twenty-first century. The kit uses a range of new materials and technologies, including silicon-chip technology, which can also be found in computers and mobile phones. Here it is used in the solar photovoltaic cell, which converts sunlight into electricity. Exposing this cell to eight hours of bright sunshine provides up to 100 hours of lamp light.

How is this technology changing lives?

There are currently 1.6 billion people across the world without access to an electrical grid. In these areas, objects such as this allow people to study, work and socialise outside daylight hours, vastly improving the quality of many lives. Additionally, households using solar energy rather than kerosene lamps are able to avoid the risk of fire and the damage to health that kerosene can cause. Once purchased, this kit costs very little to run, making it a very efficient option for many people living in the world's poorest countries.

There are around five billion mobile phones in use around the world today


Africa bound once more

LittleSmasher is gearing up for yet another podcast expedition into the deepest depths of Africa.

Yes, we'll be going to places without electricity in order to install solar powered lighting systems into schools for a client called

LittleSmasher will be there to witness it and to produce podcasts for this charity to use and distribute to donors and potential donors in order to evince the work that is being done out in the field.
"It's like having our own journalist documenting how people's money is spent and the unbelievable difference in makes on many people's lives out there" said a spokesperson.
LittleSmasher will be accompanying LightsForLearning to Zimbabwe and Zambia.  To listen to previous work for this client please feel free to download and listen to these episodes:

Worth every penny... 67p/month per household for the website and only a couple of quid a month for radio #bargain

I never knew how the licence fee was split up... but, thanks to some aimless time-waste surfing before lunch, I do now.
Amplify’d from

The licence fee

The annual cost of a colour TV licence is £145.50 (as from 1 April 2010). A black and white TV licence is £49.

How the licence fee was spent in 2009/2010

Between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 the cost was £142.50 – the equivalent of £11.88 per month or just under 40p per day.

The BBC used its income from the licence fee to pay for its TV, radio and online services, plus other costs, as shown below.


£7.85 per month per household

Television costs


£2.01 per month per household

Radio costs


£0.67 per month per household

Online costs

Other costs

£1.35 per month per household

Other costs

About the licence fee

Everyone in the UK who watches or records TV as it is broadcast needs to be covered by a TV licence. This includes TV on computers, mobile phones, DVD/video recorders and other devices.

The Government sets the level of the licence fee. The most recent funding settlement was in January 2007, when the licence fee was agreed for a six-year period, as shown below. The fee has to be approved each year by Parliament. The licence fee for 2012 will be fixed as part of the next funding settlement and the expected maximum is given below.
Date from Colour licence Black and white licence
1 April 2007 £135.50 £45.50
1 April 2008 £139.50 £47
1 April 2009 £142.50 £48
1 April 2010 £145.50 £49
1 April 2011 £148.50 £50
1 April 2012 £151.50 maximum £51 maximum

Smartphones increasing podcasting opportunities?

It seems more and more people are getting smartphones, and more and more of those people are downloading podcasts to those phones allowing them to listen to those podcasts wherever and whenever they choose. encode their podcasts to optimise smartphone 'downloadability'. - The Journalism and PR exhange
Radio listening via a 'smartphone' is becoming ever more popular, according to figures released today by the organisation that monitors radio listening behaviour in the UK.
Says RAJAR, some 20 per cent of smartphone owners - or 1.4 million people - have downloaded an application that enable them to listen to a radio service via their smartphone. The survey also reveals relatively high levels of people aged 15 and over listening to radio via the internet and also downloading a podcast: 31 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.
Among the main findings of the survey:
* 71 per cent of those 'listen again' listeners (and they listen again to an average two programmes per week) say the service has no impact on the amount of live radio they listen to.
* 15 per cent of the adult 15+ population have downloaded a podcast. Almost half (47 per cent) of podcast users claim to listen to podcasts at least once a week but only 25 per cent of users find the time to listen to all the podcasts they download.
* The typical podcast user subscribes to just under five podcasts, and spends about an hour per week listening to them. As in previous surveys, comedy and music remain the two favourite genres.
* 77 per cent of podcast users listen to podcasts at home, and 45 per cent listen in the car or on public transport.
* Podcasting appears to have a positive effect on radio listening, with 36 per cent of respondents saying that they now listen to radio programmes to which they did not listen previously, up from 32 per in November last year.
* 20 per cent of smartphone owners have downloaded a radio app and, of those, over half (53 per cent) use their radio apps at least once a week.

Survey Reveals Increased 'Smartphone' Radio Listening

July 14 2010 11:57

Milenge Lights

Download here

Featuring interviews with Bethwell Masumbuko and Mrs HS Kalenge, the Head Teachers of Milenge High & Milenge Basic Schools respectively. They talk to us about the impact the lights will have on their pupils and teachers.

11 year old Ludia tells us about what she wants to be when she grows up while 15 year old Emmanuel helps string the lights across a classroom.

Teachers Nuyemba Royd and Kayombo Justine share with us how they think the lights will benefit the school.

And we hear from the Lights For Learning volunteers Nick Dye, Jan Power, Cathy Russell and Vanessa Sherwood about their experience installing the lights.

LittleSmasher Delves into the World of Social Work

Another LittleSmasher podcast, this time for an audience who have been given an offer of a place on the Social Work course at Brunel.  We hear lecturer, Dr Jean Clarke talk about the course and we hear from first year students Moeed Malik, Tsungai Tawanda and Nicky Blake who also tell us what they think of their experience on the course so far.

"The podcast message was not only very interesting to hear but also very motivating and encouraging." - Brunel Social Work Candidate

"It's great to hear the our podcast is making a positive impact. Well done all!" - S.R-R, Brunel Social Work Marketer

"As others have said this is great stuff. This is the way to go. We are good. We need things like this to make sure people know." - Professor P.B.

:LittleSmasher moves into the World of the Postgraduate

LittleSmasher goes all Postgraduate on us as the podcasting company was commissioned to produce two episodes for the Graduate School at Brunel University.

Episode 1
Episode 2

Find out more about postgraduate life at Brunel from current Master’s and research students.

Hear about the career support services on offer, and find out about how the Graduate School can help you to make the most out of your postgraduate experience.

Dr Steve Mullins talks to us about the financial issues you might face and we learn about the scholarships and funding that are available. 

  • Dr Kate Hone, Director of the Graduate School; 
  • Dr Steve Mullins, Assistant Registrar for Graduate Studies;
  • Jane Standley, Director of the Placement and Careers;
  • Rebecca Main, Job Shop Manager;
  • Nkechi Izuchukwu, Brunel International Scholar; and
  • Gaia Di Castro, Isambard Research Scholar.

Another LittleSmasher release: An Award Winning Inventor at Brunel

Click here to download.

LittleSmasher hears how Business Management with Marketing student Trisha Motah's week has been going and talks to final year Product Design Engineering student Tanya Budd who is already an award-winning inventor developing her potential at Brunel. Hear how Tanya has made Seafaring safer with the HypoHoist [].

Schools and Colleges Liaison Amanda Hall also pays the podcast a visit to tell us what students coming to Brunel might expect from the University.

You can visit Brunel University now by navigating to the Virtual Open Day via the website or by visiting

Lights for Learning at Rotary International

LittleSmasher talks to Lights For Learning's Roger Mugridge at the Rotary International Conference held in Torquay.

We find out why the charity is manning its stand at the Riviera International Conference Centre and what they hope to achieve.

Hear here.

Podcasting in the Philippines

LittleSmasher visited Bacolod City on the island of Occidental Negros in the Philippines to shadow a charity called Lights For Learning.  Lights For Learning joined forces with the national movement of Gawad Kalinga in helping villages provide facilities for education.

The resulting podcasts now sit on the Lights For Learning website and are downloaded by donors and potential donors, bringing them a little closer to the actual work which their money funds.

The first episode can be found here.

Another LittleSmasher release: Business at Brunel

This podcast episode takes it's regular look at Student Life at Brunel University with Final Year Business Student Busola Sanusi.

We talk to Award-winning graduate, Adam Sumar, and we hear what Brunel's Director of External Affairs has to say about an exciting new building to house the Brunel Business School: Andrew Kershaw will be talking to us about the Eastern Gateway.

And for this series of podcasts, Brunel University are trying to push their Virtual Open Day via the podcasts. Indeed listeners are informed that they can visit Brunel University now by navigating to the Virtual Open Day via the website or by visiting