It was not so long ago that every podcast article started with an explanation of what a podcast really is: how to find a person, the distinction between a podcast and a radio programme … At last, in 2017, these explanations are plain. Podcasts are mainstream. The most long-standing shows have fans who have listened for a decade or more; and listeners, who binge for days till they’re all caught up are constantly garnered by podcasts. News stories are broken on podcasts, legal scenarios changed: Serial 1 reawakened interest in the 1999 cold-case murder of Hae Min Lee; S-Town, this year’s Serial, has had legal repercussions, too.
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True crime, particularly murder that may be re-examined, step by step, from the podcast producers (along with the listeners), is currently a potent genre. And interestingly a few the most prosperous shows of the year gave it a twist and took whodunnit element, the crime. The show wasn’t for me — Simmons made it clear he didn’t want to be discovered, which made me uncomfortable to enjoy it — but it was a huge success. The wonderful S-Town had a small-town murder because its kick-off, but expanded into something much greater. Much like many of the better fact-finding podcasts, S-Town borrowed techniques from theatre and novel-writing to help tell its story, also, journalistically, carefully walked the tightrope between revelatory and exploitative. Great podcasts get the interviews, you note. No camera at an interviewee’s face, so they’re less inhibited; so there is more intimacy, the microphone is up.
Audiences for podcasts are enormous and growing rapidly. In the US, 67 million individuals above age 12 hear podcasts at least monthly; in the UK, 24 percent of individuals aged 15 and over have listened to a podcast at least once. However, you don’t need statistics to understand podcasts do nicely. Since the boys have started splashing money, you know it. ITunes has been there for years; today Spotify and Audible are currently moving in. In 2016 Spotify began offering its subscribers selected podcasts like Reply All and Pod Save America beneath its Shows group; this season it started making its own podcasts, such as the news-based panel series We Need To Talk About. Also this season, Audible brought out Jon Ronson’s show on the pornography industry, The Butterfly Effect, plus The Home Front, a series on the US participation in the second world war, introduced by Martin Sheen, and Bill Bryson’s Appliance of Science, made in partnership with the Science Museum, roughly unsung innovations that changed the world.
These motions have caused some ructions in the tradition globe that was indie. There’s money behind these displays, and it costs to hear them (Spotify has its no-adverts, paid-for service; Audible requires you to cover after you’ve uploaded just one series). They have a capitalist ethos which appears to go contrary to the sense of many podcasts.
Nevertheless, the indie kids had better get accustomed to the money sniffing around podcasts are getting to be TV shows. Aaron Mahnke’s Lore, the horror podcast, has just made its debut as an Amazon Prime TV series. Chris Miller and Phil Lord, founders of The Lego Movie, are adapting Serial 1 for the display. Whether these will prove more successful than the pictures-in-your-head podcasts remains to be seen.
Because, regardless of the hoo-ha, the guarantee of dramatisations and visualspodcasts are the most successful. Any podcast involving Dan Savage or even Helen Zaltzman will always be worth a listen. Podcasts have wormed their way into my life and thoughts for the past ten decades. This supplement aims to guide you to the ideal.
Serial & This American Life
True offense is 2017’s route to a surefire podcast strike, but this much anticipated offering from the manufacturers of Serial is a lot more. You have probably already listened to it twice and found something new each time but, when you haven’t, S-Town appears to be the story of clock-mender and carer John B McLemore. He emailed This American Life to ask the staff to analyze corruption and murder in Woodstock, Alabama (the “Shit Town” in question) and producer Brian Reedturned sleuth to explore. It grips in the opening moments and then spirals as the narrative spins into a different league. S-Town is complex, atmospheric and an exercise in scratching beneath the surface, that quickly gained its “better than Serial” tag. Binge it but it’ll leave you wanting more.
Craig Parkinson (gravel-voiced corrupt cop Dot Cottan out of Line Of Duty) prods some of the UK’s best TV actors to talk about their art from the most un-luvvie manner potential with these one-to-one interviews. It is honest, unstructured about how hard it’s to find a rest should youn’t happen to be born with plenty of money, and also also a brutal lesson. Highlights include a Vicky McClure speaking about being detected by Shane Meadows, the Lauren Socha’s shock at getting a film function, also Joseph Gilgun opening up about the way his nervousness kicks in. It is hard to envision Parkinson without his face on, but the affable host brings out the very best in his interviewees over a cup of tea. It is even though it should not be refreshing to listen to a range of different accents on a podcast.
Missing Richard Simmons
Envision if Serial took a lunch break, donned some Lycra shorts and started lugging round the area to Donna Summer’s She Works Hard for the Money. That’s Missing Richard Simmons. Superfan Dan Taberski’s hunt for the cult physical fitness guru who vanished from public life appears at various theories. Can he be held captive? Has he changed sex? Or has he detached himself? It is all done in painstaking detail and with much affection as Simmons’s buddies paint a picture of an inspiring man who encouraged them with soundbites such as “sweat is just fat crying”. After a raft of positive testimonials made Missing Richard Simmons a hit, a backlash followed. The New York Times called the search to track down a man who might not need to get found “morally suspect”, but Taberski’s love for his eccentric subject shines through.
Will Young and Christopher Sweeney
Initially billed as a LGBTQ+ version of Woman’s Hour, this podcast by Will Young and Chris Sweeney is all types of great. The two friends swing out of touchingly blunt to completely humorous and their laid-back meeting fashion elicits anecdotes and remarks that guests such as Russell T Davies, Owen Jones and Rebecca Root have never flown. Young knows the way to sprinkle the correct amount of celebrity stardust on the event, speaking about the business of accomplishing his position. Above all, he’s genuinely interested in what the guests have to say. The low-fi approach of Homo Sapiens, together with the yap of small dogs interrupting the stream and the hosts drifting off on a tangent to explore the virtues of Gladiators and cake, just adds to its charm.
Under the Skin Care with Russell Brand
This podcast is Russell Brand at his free-thinking, morality-pondering, fast-talking best. Now studying for an MA in faith in politics, Brand has calmed his inclination and show all the time off. Here, he brings together academics and celebrity guests to help him on his “voyage of learning”. It is a mixed bag: Frankie Boyle drops in to talk about nihilism and fatherhood, Will Storr offers a view on narcissism and selfies, and Billy Bragg offers a theory about art and why dirt is essential. The Brand knows when to remain silent, but also when to lighten the mood with simple way of describing a theory or an innuendo. With his ego firmly under control, his guests and he discuss an awful lot of sense.
“Super queer, super fun” pairing Kathy Tu and Tobin Low attract new, upbeat voices to their podcast about “all things LGBTQ and beyond”. They proclaim themselves the anti-Will and Grace before confessing they were enticed to call the show “Gaydiolab”, but this is not full of cliches. Starting with their stories, the duo can discover the laughs in even the most painful experiences. However they also know when to be serious: a totally pitched episode focusing on the Orlando shooting clarifies Pulse nightclub in spine-tingling detail and supplies a story. In another standout second, Master Of None’s Lena Waithe is billed “The Coolest Lesbian Ever”. She is a real deal, especially when she highlights the value of being “out as fuck, proud as fuck, because it kinda makes all those people living double lives uncomfortable”.
Gimlet’s dive into “the most under-explored corners of black culture” is a gem of a podcast. Hosts Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse possess the kind of witty warmth which can not be produced, which is no surprise because both lifelong friends cut their podcasting teeth with their party of everything uncool, For Colored Nerds. As “Blackness’s biggest fans”, The Nod sees them get down to the apparently shallow details of life that frequently prove to be vitally important. Whether Eddings is searching for grape juice in Brooklyn, or Luse is easing on down the street with her love for The Wiz, you will find purposeful laughs. Sometimes a podcast should go far too far into an conspiracy theory about Solange, maybe not Beyoncé, is the mother of Blue Ivy and teach the listener how. The Nod is the one for the job.
Behind the promise of a podcast packed full of stories about “strap-ons, divorce sex, dominatrices, love and marriage and babies” establishes a very smart man: Dan Savage. In every episode, the don of romantic advice brings together sharp clips covering just about every aspect of modern. So far, so amusing, but that which sets Hot Mic apart from the average comedy podcast is the way that Savage imparts his nuggets of information and own experiences with no ruling. Although the chat contained here is about as Not Safe For Work since it gets, it is delivered with significance.
The idea of a musical podcast starring Kristoff, the reindeer-centric hero of Frozen, does sound like it has been invented in the depths of ear-bothering hell, but 36 Questions convinced works. It stars Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton as a husband and wife who attempt to save their marriage by answering the New York Times’s The 36 Questions That Lead To Love. Occasionally it’s whimsical and tearjerking, especially when there’s a gigantic lie discovered smack bang in the center but it stays the right side of saccharine sweet. After three actions that sway between dysfunction that is harsh and romantic escapism, it’ll leave you wondering where the few are currently going . And considering your own response to questions such as: “If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?”
What should TED Talks were anonymous? That is the premise for this stunning and dangerously honest podcast that creates a “safe space” for people to acknowledge their deepest, most painful and career-crashing stories. Measure ahead a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley that unravelled with melancholy at the height of his success, a lady who recovered energy after being sexually assaulted and facing her attacker in court, along with a “midwestern mom” with a method to help others after escaping from a violent relationship. Each story is attractive and intimate and some are tough to listen to. Particularly haunting is Dr Burnout, who worries she’s caused a man’s death using a careless mistake: “I’d stopped seeing patients as people. They were just diseases, lab values, test results.”