Over the past couple of years, podcasts have matured into the storytelling format du jour – with a little help from a certain sensationally popular true crime serial (ahem). Yet the surge of interest and excitement around audio features and podcasts has been gaining momentum for several years, propelled by a diversity of formats.
Take the narrative artisanship of This American Life or the sonic vivacity of Radiolab; the topical deep dives of Slate’s Culture Gabfest or Phillip Adams’s Late Night Live; the animated storytelling of The Moth or Snap Judgment; or the intimate conversations found in Lea Thau’s Strangers or WTF withMarc Maron. The influence of these and countless other shows can be felt in today’s most interesting podcasts (insert shameless plug for the Wheeler Centre’s own successful forays into richly-produced feature-making, including Andrew Denton’s Better Off Dead, and The Messenger,here).
Beloved for their sense of proximity, their active listenership, portability and in some cases, ambitiously-crafted audio, podcasts have a unique ability to keep listeners in the company of their own choosing – and to render mundane tasks bearable. And since design show 99% Invisible’s record-breaking Kickstarter campaigns – podcasts have also shown promise in otherwise dim times for media businesses. What’s next for podcasting – and how could it be done better?
In celebration of all things audible, we’re bringing you some of podcasting’s best and brightest to share their thoughts and insights on the art (and business) of listening.
Explore the 13 previous events from Invasion of the Pod People.
Is monogamy dead, or just taking a nanna nap?Do terms like ‘right wing’ and ‘left wing’ still have meaning today?Should there be a citizenship test to buy property in Australia?Should the public really have a say about ‘marriage equality’?Is compulsory voting bad for democracy?Is there one truly superior way of hanging the toilet roll?Are we really ready for self-driving cars?Have smartphones really damaged our relationships – or are they just a scapegoat?Has science ever verified a psychic's abilities?Is there such a thing as 'first world problems'?Should we add plaques to monuments or dismantle them?Would moving Australia Day to 8 May reflect our values, or perpetuate a problematic tradition of 'mateship' in Australia?Can history ever really be past?What happens so many users have passed away that Facebook becomes more of a memorial site, than a social one? Which international leader do you respect, and why?Are tenured teaching positions a dream of the past?What does the Gough Whitlam dismissal say about the limits of Australian foreign and domestic policy?What's to blame for the Australian public's aversion to progressive policy changes?What role do your parents play in your political ideology?What was the last book which caused you to miss your stop?How are we going to solve our plastics recycling problem?Will we ever not be completely weird about sex?Are mobile phones warping the way we interact with the world?How do we learn to daydream again?What's wrong with being in our own bubble? Why should we have to talk to people we don't agree with?Is all this 'woke' talk engendering a new era of empathy – or just crippling productive conversations?Is sadness more productive than happiness?Aren't open ended questions pointless?Is the eight hour working day extinct?I'm pro high levels of immigration, but I still want a big backyard; can I have both?I only pray when I need something … does that make me religious, or just opportunistic?Is it OK to lie to the bank?When did people forget to hate real estate agents?Is our culture childphobic or childcentric?Is honesty more important than compassion?Does anyone actually want to change their mind about anything – really?Given that climate change has arrived, why are humans so hellbent on trying to turn the clock back – rather than looks for ways to adapt (socially and technologically) to the new paradigm? Should Australia be renamed from 'Commonwealth of Australia' to 'Corporation of Australia'?Aren't we all just fictional versions of ourselves?