Dear Radio: The podcasts that should be getting your attention…
by Paulo Dias (@therealptp) With so much fanfare, around-the-clock coverage and a trending hash tags aplenty, there was no way that you could have missed World Podcast Day on 30 September 2016. In case you did, however, 30 September was World Podcast Day, a day when lovers of podcasts like me celebrate with day-long street parties, in complete silence, as we’re all listening to podcasts.
The merits of podcasts have been debated as long as podcasts have been around, with as many fans as there are detractors. Every day, someone new is podcasting for the first time as the way podcasts are distributed becomes easier…and starts making some sense…the producers of the podcasts become more mainstream or more-mainstream people start producing podcasts and the content becomes more niche, engaging and richer.
If you’ve not yet jumped on the bandwagon or are considering doing so any time soon, here are some of the podcasts, both local and international, in no particular order, that should be first on your playlist.
Take your pick. People are coming round to what CliffCentral is all about and I am glad. It’s audio content produced by and for very cool people. To paraphrase an ad campaign by a local streaming service, you want to hear about cars, there’s a show for that; you want to hear about sports, there’s a show for that; you want technology, self-improvement, comedy? There are shows for that, and more being added all the time. The people at Cliff Central want to eventually be running a show for every niche audience out there and they have a mix of experienced presenters alongside new blood who are trying different things all the time, which means a listening experience unlike anything you’re used to.
You’re not going to get through a list like this without bringing up the podcast game-changer. Do a quick Google Search to find out about the social impact this podcast series made when it was first released, then listen to it to understand why.
In the mid ’90s a high school student, Adnan Syed, was arrested and eventually jailed for the murder of his girlfriend. Years later, Sarah Koenig picks up the story and unravels it for us. It seems like an open-and-shut murder case and, by the end you may feel that it is, but on the way — you’ll meet a range of colourful characters and a set of bizarre circumstances, and question who exactly this podcast is all about.
Serial is podcast lingo-bingo — Sarah Koenig, This American Life, Adnan Syed — three names you can utter to come across as a podcast know-it-all.
Season 2 was the difficult second album but it is harshly treated by being compared to season 1.
If you don’t listen to any other series on this list, make sure you get some Serial in your life.
If you love audio, you’ll love the craft and care BBC put into its productions. Love letters from the Front is an interesting series that tells the story of a WW1 soldier through love letters between him and his love back home.
Well-written, beautifully performed and produced, and just an all-round guilty pleasure.
Podcasting is seen as a challenger to the traditional linear way of radio broadcasting that tries to be all things to all people, so it’s welcoming that one of South Africa’s traditional broadcasting powerhouses enters the game with an offering such as Life.
Bringing you the same quality you expect from its on-air stations, particularly 702, Life commits time and energy to longer form storytelling and coverage over a number of topics.
The Adventurers by Sam Cowen and Pippa Green’s History for the Future are particular highlights.
The only commercial entry on this list but also a series that features strongly and regularly on SA podcast rankings.
Old Mutual use Old Mutual Live as a way of highlighting its sponsorship properties by offering real useful advice and engaging content relevant to listeners interested in running, mountain biking and wine.
Brad Brown, Gerald de Kock and Jenny Cryws-Williams are the experienced presenters behind the mic, giving the range of Old Mutual podcasts real gravity and offering a product as strong as anything heard on-air or online.
If you’re in to mountain biking, running or wine — you can’t go wrong by adding these to your playlist.
Disclosure: Ultimate Media supplies the presenters and manages the recording.
There are very interesting things happening in tech across Africa, which give Andile Masuku and his team on the Africa Tech Round-up loads of content.
Well-researched and -produced and a real rich sound, this is a podcast with a truly African feel that is getting lots of attention around the globe due to subject matter and production value.
Paulo Dias (@therealptp) is the head of creative integration at Ultimate Media. He works closely with the programming teams at leading radio stations to help implement commercial messaging into their existing formats. He contributes the regular column, “Dear Radio”, looking at the changing radio landscape in South Africa, to MarkLives.com