I just wanted to write a quick post to recommend to you readers a favorite podcast of mine: Middle East Week. It’s not exactly a weekly podcast (perhaps this is to emulate a Middle Eastern take on time), but I wish it was because every episode is stellar.
The podcast nails all the essential elements of a good podcast: topic, guests, host, and sound quality. The topic of course is the eponymous Middle East with each podcast varying considerably depending on the guest. If you’re reading this blog, you are probably interested in the Middle East, so this should check that box for you.
Each podcast (like most podcasts) brings a new guest with their own specific expertise, whether that be Israeli elections, humanitarian aid in Syria, or the Saudi war in Yemen. The guests are top tier and I even wonder a bit how this little podcast manages to attract them (though I am very glad they do).
But I’ve listened to other podcasts where excellent guests wasn’t enough to keep me engaged and that’s where the host comes in. Karl Morand consistently asks thoughtful, captivating questions that show his level of knowledge in the region as well. Another podcast in the natsec world that will go unnamed has a certain host who will repeatedly ask his honored guest, “I’m curious about [insert hugely broad topic here], can you tell me a little about that?” It’s dull and borderline insulting. Morand on the other hand is always prepared and a joy to listen to.
Finally, a podcast is nothing without decent sound quality. The sound quality is always quite good with no tinny phone interviews. No complaints from me.
If you’re looking for a new podcast or a way to learn more about the Middle East while multitasking (driving, doing chores, hitting a new PR at the gym, etc.) then give Middle East Week a try. I think you’ll like it.