Five podcasts that will make you smarter

August 5, 2016

Video might have killed the radio star, but their podcasting progeny has taken over the airwaves, or wifi waves, or whatever. 


These are 5 podcasts you have to listen to. 





1. Chat 10 Looks 3


Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales, need I say more? 


Chat 10 Looks 3 is nothing but two of Australia’s most prominent journalists discussing the media, politics, baking, Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks, their favourite TV shows and how one might go about jellying their breastmilk. They also give a delightful insight into their jobs as journalists. 


In their post-election episode they dwell on most memorable moments of being chained behind the ABC election desk well past midnight. Sale’s fondest moment of the night was:


“My favourite moment, and I thought I was about to dissolve into a Chat 10 like bout of complete cry hysterics, was when I said, ‘Oh word has just come through that the Prime Minister has left his residence at Point Piper and is en route to the Wentworth Hotel, that’s about a ten minute trip for those of you not from Sydney, so we should be seeing him imminently’. And then you muttered into my ear ‘unless he’s catching the bus…’” 


Through a flurry of cackling and snorting Crabb adds, 


“I was envisaging Malcolm standing on Oxford St noodling around, ’where is the 333? It says here there should be one at 12:06. I don’t see any Lucy.” 


These ladies have, on more than one occasion, forced laughter out of me so loud so as to disturb an entire train carriage. 


This is well worth a listen and in their own words; think of it as time well wasted. 



2. This American Life


This American Life is the Seinfeld of the podcasting; it is undeniably a show about nothing. Despite its often random content this show is podcasting genius and is a testament to the potential of the medium in the twenty first century; I mean this show is almost as old as I am. 


Now almost at it’s 600th weekly show, This American Life focuses on a given theme for each show and collates anecdotes, interviews and field reporting. The show would be a shadow of itself if not for its host Ira Glass


“When I put the show on the air I thought, well everyday on the daily news shows there’s some story and you can’t get out of the car and you get caught up in the people. I thought somebody should just make a show that’s just that, that’s the stuff we all love, that’s the stuff we listen to the radio for. And I really thought I’d better get to this idea fast, because if I don’t somebody else is going it, it’s such an obvious idea,” says Glass.


His conversational and personal style of presenting makes it feel as though he's simply storytelling off the top of his head. What’s more, Glass makes you feel as though he’s speaking directly to you, not to two million of the show’s weekly listeners. 


“I think a radio show where the presenter exists as a person, there’s a lot more to listen for," he said.




3. Like I’m a six year old.


Mornings were never the same when Tom Ballard left Triple J Breakfast; in fact there was a deep rift in my radio listening schedule. 


Luckily Ballad threw together a podcast in the following months, which filled the void that he left behind.


His podcast involves interviews from prominent people on range of topic like politics, the arts, comedy, sexuality, gender and the media. But if that sounds a little heavy, don’t fret, Ballard approaches his podcast like he's a six year old. No BA in politics required for this show, Ballard take big topics and makes them comprehensible and more importantly funny. 


It’s kind of like Kitchen Cabinet, except Tom can’t cook. 


4. Hack


Hack is more radio show than podcast but it is Australia’s biggest twenty something focused radio show. Broadcast every night on Triple J it explores the issues that matter most to young Australians. 


From sex, drugs and popular culture to politics, the environment and the world at large, Hack covers anything and everything from the perspective of young folk just like us.


Tom Tilley, the presenter, has a difficult role in bringing hard hitting topics to the music loving and at times disaffected listeners to Triple J.


“The thing about Hack is that it’s half an hour of current affairs program that is jammed between music shows. So you do have to be conscious of the pace and timing of the show.” he says. 


“The most important thing is getting our audience and understanding them. Knowing what’s important in their lives and what matters to them, what’s going to get them listening and reacting. I think it’s also about getting the tone right as well, coming at the topics that feels real and relatable.” 



5. Rear Vision


Finding yourself lost in the torrent of the 24 hour news cycle is never much fun. When you find yourself thinking ‘how the fuck did we get to this?’ then Rear Vision is your go to.


If you know diddly squat about Brexit, the death of The Great Barrier Reef, the historical Sykes-Picot division of the middle east, or Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff’s recent impeachment, check out Rear Vision


It puts current social and political affairs in their historical context. 


If you could give a toss about these things, then listen anyway; twenty somethings have a duty to be informed. 


Michael collates and exhibits his idle thoughts on Or you can find him on facebook, twitter, instagram etc.  @mjforno

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