Invasion of the Pod People: Radiolab, Risk and Genius: Jad Abumrad and Andrew Denton
Radiolab is one of the world’s most popular podcasts. Admired for its gentle explorations of big questions, the show – which was collecting listeners in their millions long before podcasting arrived at the mainstream’s door – has won many significant awards. Abumrad himself has been awarded a prestigious MacArthur Genius Grant, and his incredibly labour-intensive sound designs complement killer editorial instincts and an elegant, accessible sense of curiosity.
In Melbourne for the first time, Abumrad chats with veteran broadcaster Andrew Denton. Perhaps best known for his landmark interview show Enough Rope, Denton’s first podcast, Better Off Dead – produced in partnership with the Wheeler Centre – topped Australia’s iTunes chart, drew widespread acclaim and stirred passionate public debate about voluntary assisted dying in this country.
Hear from one of the world’s foremost storytellers about creative discomfort, Australian inspiration, the music of language, the challenges now facing podcasters and communicators, and the hot, curious power of the uncertain.
'There's no room for serendipity in podcasting for people who don't agree with you. Unless you're one of those people who seeks out disagreement; those people are rare.'
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Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of Radiolab, a public radio program broadcast on 524 stations across the US and downloaded more than 9 million times a month as a podcast. Most days, Radiolab is the second most popular podcast, just behind This American Life.
Abumrad did most of his growing up in Tennessee, before studying creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. Following graduation, Abumrad wrote music for films, and reported and produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs.
In 2002, Abumrad began tinkering with an idea for a new kind of radio program, an open-ended radio 'laboratory'. Radiolab has since evolved into one of public radio’s most popular programs. Abumrad hosts the program with Robert Krulwich and also serves as its lead producer, composer and managing editor.
Alongside his radio work, Abumrad continues to work as a composer and remixer. His music is currently being performed across the country.
Andrew Denton is widely recognised as one of Australian media's genuinely creative forces.