Nov 2021 Podcast Recommendations

These are some of the shows I have been listening to lately.

Saltgrass is a world class podcast about the climate crisis from a grassroots perspective. It is a fortnightly radio show on Main FM, a thriving community radio station on Djaara country in Central Victoria. I started listening to Saltgrass because I wanted to hear both sides of the debate over a proposed bioenergy plant in Castlemaine. I arrived at this podcast late, they are already in their fourth season, so I will spend my summer binge listening to the archive. Hosted by Allie Hanly, whose skilful delivery reminds me of Rachael Brown’s, the host of the Trace podcast. This is perfect radio.

Longform Podcast is a weekly conversation with a non-fiction writer about how they tell their stories. Episode 63 is an interview with Jon Ronson, the Welsh journalist known for his 2004 book The Men Who Stare at Goats and 2011’s The Psychopath Test. ‘What’s bad, what to me is the worst journalistic sin, is ridiculous polemicism.’

Speaking of ridiculous polemicism. I just found an old mash up I made after I was interviewed on ABC southwest radio about my article Between Farmers and then all the rightwing slags in the Wheatbelt phoned up and complained about me! ‘This Sarah is so one-eyed the journal that she writes for isn’t worth the paper that it’s written one.’

The Dave Chang Show fills the gigantic gap left in my life since Lucky Peach magazine folded. Lucky Peach was a quarterly journal of food writing published by McSweeney’s and created by chef Dave Chang and journalist Peter Meehan. The Dave Chang Show has the same offbeat humour as the journal. This episode is a lighthearted romp through Chicken-Fried Steak, Garlic Knots, and Green Tea. ‘The worst version of that is the over-the-top matcha lover. You know, the person who is doing the whole whisk every morning.’ Dave Chang also has two shows on Netflix, Ugly Delicious and Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

NPR’s Throughline has exquisite production values. Co-hosted and produced by Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah, the podcast contextualizes current events by exploring the historical events that contributed to them. Afghanistan: The Center of the World is told through an insider’s perspective and features amazing music from Ahmad Zahir and Kishore Kumar.

The Experiment is a show out of WNYC public radio in New York. It bills itself as ‘a show about people navigating our country’s contradictions.’ The Original Anti-Vaxxer shows just how far back vaccine hesitancy goes.

Law Report is a long-running Radio National legal current affairs show. Presented by Damien Carrick. A recent episode ‘Body modification’ on trial digs into the trial of self-proclaimed body modification artist Brendan Leigh Russell. Carrick was originally the show’s producer and in 2001 became the presenter.

Bad Blood: The Final Chapter is a true crime podcast written and hosted by John Carreyrou, the journalist who broke the Theranos Inc. story and wrote the 2018 book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. The show features a lot of compelling audio recordings of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes grifting Silicon Valley investors. (She has such a weird voice.) With Holmes currently on trial for fraud, this is a timely listen.

Data Journalism Conversations is produced by the team at DataJournalism.com. Episode 38 is an interview with Pierre Romera, CTO from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Romera is part of the massive team who released the Pandora Papers, a 2021 data journalism investigation into the hidden owners of offshore companies and secret bank accounts.