Podcasting has come to the Czech Republic in a big way. Czech podcaster Dan Trzil runs the České podcasty platform, a catalog of Czech podcasts. He says that even over the past six months he’s seen a noticeable increase in the popularity of podcasting in the Czech lands.
“Research tells us that 11 percent of Czech people know what podcasts are so while it hasn’t gone totally mainstream people still know about it,” says Trzil who estimates that there are roughly 700 Czech podcasts though at least 300 of them are radio archives.
His own Proti Proudu podcast, in which he interviews a host of Czech movers and shakers, is one of the country’s most well-known. He believes the interview format is common among Czech podcasters and those just starting out.
“We don’t have advanced genres like true crime etc.,” he says of the Czech podcast style, “Not a lot of narrated storytelling, but a lot of people are doing interviews or monologues, talking about topics they are interested in.”
While Trzil’s Czech Podcast platform doesn’t offer much for English speakers with an interest in Czech life, he does recommend a podcast hosted by Czech teacher Zdeněk Lukáš that’s aimed at helping foreigners learning Czech (there’s also an English version of the podcast).
When it comes to the recent proliferation of podcasts Trzil says, “In the Czech Republic starting a podcast is kind of like opening barbershop — everybody’s doing it.” These are some of the top English-language podcasts devoted to Prague and the Czech Republic that we’ve discovered; some of them brand new, some of them having developed a following over the years:
Tour guide company and food bloggers Taste of Prague launched this podcast devoted to food and travel in 2019.
“We thought it was a good medium,” says Jan Valenta co-founder of Taste of Prague. “Not many people cover food and tourism in Prague and we thought we could spread our views through a different channel.”
The experience has so far been a gratifying one for Valenta and his partner Zuzka Daňková who have grown a dual audience of both foreign and Czech followers. Episodes are regularly posted in both languages. Be sure to check out Episode #9, an interview with local Instagram favorite Brewsta of Czech Please, the anonymous foodie behind the Expats.cz annual burgers ranking.
Other shows have featured talks with Prague-based travel writers and Czech tourism experts. The podcast even hits the road from time to time, recently recording Paris-based episodes with Lindsey Tramuta and Wendy Lyn.
Peter Collman, an American technical writer with a radio background launched his Bohemican podcast in 2013 before podcasting was cool, though he tells us he considers his show among the “second-wave” historically.
“The frontrunners for the medium have been podcasting since 2005,” says Collman adding that since the debut of Bohemican “podcasting has exploded.”
With his partner Travis Dow, Collman has developed a mini-network of six shows, including the History of Alchemy podcast. Throughout its 80-episode existence, its flagship Bohemican podcast, boasting 2,000 weekly listeners from around the world, covers a nice cross-section of Czech-related topics.
“We talk about travel throughout the country, battle reenactments, food, language, etc.,” he says. Highlights of the podcast include a “Bohemican Bedtime Stories” series for kids as well as interviews with expats. The prolific podcaster, who is wheelchair-bound, is currently working on a new show Past Access that’s focused on his two-wheeled world travels.
Anyone familiar with Radio Prague’s extensive archive of interviews, known for distilling the essence of the country and its inhabitants, both Czechs, and foreigners, into skillfully edited audio segments, will want to add Prague Talk to their playlist.
This newly launched podcast makes the best of those interviews available for download directly to your device. Now streaming are interviews curated from previously aired One on One and My Prague segments, as well as interviews from In Their Word Own Words, a segment based on materials from Czech Radio’s extensive archives.
Many of the interviews now available for download were conducted by long-time Radio Prague journalist Ian Willoughby who has interviewed an impressive line-up of Czech personalities and cultural icons including the late great Czech musician Ivan Král and, more recently, Mirka van Gils Slavíková a judge on the Czech edition of the “Great British Bake-Off.”
This new English-language podcast (the first episode was released in January 2020) was created by veteran Czech journalist Vít Pohanka, a correspondent for Radiožurnál, Reflex, and Radio Prague International, and a former producer and senior producer of that Czech section for BBC World Service.
It delves into, in Pohanka’s words “the history, present, and future of Czechia and its people.” Pohanka’s 15-minute segments explore a diverse range of topics from the lighthearted — Czech ballroom dance and smelly Moravian cheese — to the more serious; the latest episode covers the debate on the Red Army monuments in the Czech lands.
For those who are proficient in the Czech language, Pohanka’s Czech podcasts, of which there are numerous episodes, are also worth a listen.
Listen on Spotify
PragueCast is a podcast produced by students at New York University in Prague. Episodes are created around single themes like “Walls,” “Night,” or “Animals,” that explore a variety of aspects related to Czech life, a wide swath of politics, lifestyle, culture, travel, and history.
The most recent edition “Death” shares some of the lesser-known stories surrounding the Sedlec Ossuary, or bone church, in Kutná Hora, while also touching on religious beliefs and the afterlife in Czech culture then veering into cemetery upkeep in Prague.
A highly-listenable mix of travelogue and social commentary backed by a jazzy soundtrack and informative interviews.
Listen on Soundcloud
While on scholarship at Yale, Tomáš Sedláček, one-time economic advisor to Czech President Václav Havel and author of Economics of Good and Evil, was named on a list of “Young Guns: 5 Hot Minds in Economics.” He also racked up several prestigious prizes for his philosophical contribution to economics.
Sedláček’s English-language podcast is just what you’d expect from an economist and philosopher, a mixed bag of political insights (“Schrödinger’s Brexit,” “Does Trump support Greta?”) and ruminations on artificial intelligence (“Will machines desire instead of us?”) that, while not particularly focused on the Czech Republic, certainly speak to the zeitgeist.
In Sedláček’s own words, the podcast offers “a thinking path to what’s happening in our lifetimes to us as human being.”
Tour guide Roman Paz takes the listener on a different kind of Prague audio tour one that focuses not on lengthy historical or cultural exposition but discovering the hidden-gem details buried in some of the city’s most-visited landmarks.
“Stories are the cornerstone of this podcast,” says Paz in the intro to his show, adding that mainstream guides are “too focused on names and dates.”
On a mission to create an alternative to guide books, recent episodes explore the “Green Dome” of the Lesser Town’s St. Nicholas church, the “Suicide Bridge” (a.k.a. the Nuselsky Bridge) or “Spa Girls” which highlights the overlooked paintings of the Old Town Bridge Tower.
The popular Instagram account Alien in Bohemia features the hand-drawn musings of a Soumik, a Bangladeshi student studying in the Czech capital.
The comics tackle both awkward and joyful expat moments from getting a haircut to ordering a párek v rohlíku to pronouncing the Czech “ř”. Soumik, with his co-host Mikey, is now getting in on the podcasting game with the recent launch of the Aliens in Prague podcast.
Streaming since December 2019, it already has a number of episodes under its belt, featuring interviews with foreigners in the Czech lands, chatting about “life in Prague as an alien…and their experiences in this unique and sometimes peculiar city.”
Have we missed your favorite podcast about Prague and the Czech Republic? Tell us in the comments.