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2020, the year we’d all like to forget, is now past tense. If you want to start 2021 with new podcasts, you’ve come to the right place.
We asked some of the presenters and producers at ABC what they mentioned on their podcast apps.
From unexpected pop song explainers to slow news and a comedy mystery with a twist, this list has it all.
I love documentaries – audio and video. First-person narration, in their own words, vérité – real human stories.
Birds Eye View is a collaboration between Darwin’s Story Projects and the women of the fourth sector, the Darwin Correctional Center.
This 10 episode podcast was created over two years through storytelling and recording workshops. Over 70 women took part along the way, with 12 women being introduced.
The stories focus on three key questions: Who are we really? How did we get here? And where to go next
Aside from the personal, we learn about life inside – what it’s like to be a mom in prison, how to measure time, when you have time, paying off, finding love, and finding beauty hacks.
Described by a US Senator as « a series of tubes », the Internet is the largest archive in human history. Sure, it’s mostly commercials, porn, and the « Hot or Not » website of a former Harvard student that has gained the power to undermine global democracy, but Finding Desperado shows that there is still a lot of weird going on inside the tubes discover there.
The premise is: while leafing through his childhood copy of the Guinness World Records, comedian and film nerd Cameron James is intrigued by the entry for the youngest director of all time.
13-year-old prodigy Lord Sydney Ling appears to have had a remarkable life and then disappeared. Cam’s international film contacts have never heard of him and only a few traces and bizarre stories remain in internet forums.
Together with his co-host Alexei Toliopoulos, Cam sets out to find Lord Sydney and his first feature film, Lex the Wonder Dog. Her investigations span the world: from blogs from the early 2000s to the artist communities of Ibiza to the Dutch B-movie scene of the 1980s.
Finding Desperado is an exploration of pop culture and does what true crime should do – a real mystery to uncover and solve. Contrary to most true crimes, the hosts are not pompous. And most of all, they’re funny.
2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. Do you know who’s great at turning crappy experiences into wonderful art? Musician! Song Exploder takes you deep into the songwriting process and reveals the backstory, pain, joy, multiple paraphrases, and production that are behind your favorite songs.
If you are interested in learning about other people’s creative processes (and so am I) this show will make you feel inspired and in awe of what creative minds can do. The buttery soft voice of host Hrishikesh Hirway is deeply soothing to hear.
With an average running time of around 20 minutes, episodes are like a quick hit of musical meditation. Who doesn’t need that after this crazy year?
Featured artists include Billie Eilish, Run the Jewels, Fleetwood Mac, Vampire Weekend and many, many more.
Bonus: After a few years only as a podcast, Song Exploder is now also a Netflix series. But listen first, then watch.
Sana Qadar is the new host of All In The Mind, an ABC podcast about the brain and behavior and the fascinating connections between them.
I’m obsessed with work, especially how to work better or enjoy my job more. While my recommendation is not your real crime, it has helped me in my quest for humanity at work.
Hostess Krista Tippett was awarded the National Humanities Medal by US President Barack Obama in 2014 because she « ponders the mysteries of human existence ». «
In every episode Krista creates the space for deep and reflective conversations about the core questions: What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be with each other?
Her guests included the poet Mary Oliver, the cellist Yo Yo Ma, the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, the social researcher Brene Brown and the philosopher Alain de Botton.
Your supporting website is an incredible resource too. If you’re new to On Being, this is the place to start.
Lisa Leong is the host of ABC’s This Working Life, a podcast to help you navigate tough times.
Sometimes it is best to look back to move forward. Little Bad Thing is a podcast that is all about looking back at times when we weren’t our best selves. It is a philosophical and journalistic examination of decisions that people would not have liked to have made.
The stories presented by master philosopher and storyteller Eleanor Gordon-Smith are frustratingly understandable, rich in people, and remind us of the complex inner workings of other people. Every unfortunate decision has a story and every bad deed leaves a scar.
Little Bad Thing is both thought provoking and therapeutic. It’s the dose of empathy you need to forgive those around you and the shot in the arm you need to be a little better in 2021 than in 2020.
Matt Beard co-hosts Short & Curly, ABC’s ethics podcast for kids and their parents.
Moderated by journalists Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes, they look back on a person, event or phenomenon and bring with them some much-needed nuances and contexts. And really, if we don’t greet 2021 with nuances and context . . . why is?
Long-time listeners will know that Sarah and Mike met because Sarah wrote an article about Tonya Harding and Mike loved it so much that he emailed her. No wonder, then, that in its episodes of re-examining infamous women (and the moral panic surrounding them), the show really shines.
A highlight for me was her book club series – including Michelle Remembers (1980), Jessica Simpsons Memoir Open Book (2020) and Nancy Grace’s Memoir Objection! (2005) – and like the best book clubs, you don’t have to read anything to participate.
Tortoise is an independent news agency based in the UK that was founded a few years ago on a membership funding model. Their slow news show delivers really fantastic weekly episodes that hit the sweet spot between intense investigative coverage and heavy storytelling.
Episodes last about half an hour and cover stories that are just outside the constant onslaught of the daily news, so you have useful context and loads of detail.
I’ve learned a lot in the past few episodes about how the world resolved the ozone layer problem and the strained relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and Alibaba founder Jack Ma. But where this podcast really shines is in the miniseries, which they drop into the feed so that a story can unfold over a few episodes.
Start with the brilliant four-part series My Mother’s Murder, which is about the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb outside her home in 2017.
The series is hosted by Paul, the son of Galizia, who is now a journalist himself and lives in pseudo-exile in London, as he understands the extent and depth of corruption in Malta (despite being an EU member state) and his family takes into account a great loss.
Right now I’m making my way through her miniseries about Happy, an Asian elephant kept by the Bronx Zoo and the subject of a recent court case to get her out of captivity because elephants are « extraordinarily complex. » « are creatures », personality should be granted.
Elizabeth Kulas is the host of Days Like These, an ABC podcast that tells great Australian stories.
What better way to say goodbye to a year marked by a global pandemic than with a podcast on diseases?
Hosted by two epidemiologists named Erin, TPWKY explores the history, biology, and current state of the diseases that have plagued us through the centuries … including the actual plague.
When I started listening, a modern day pandemic was a creepy mind exercise, not something lurking around the corner. But in 2020 I realized how well this pod prepared me for what’s to come.
I had learned about the origins of epidemiology from the episode on cholera. from tuberculosis to aerosol spread; from smallpox and polio to vaccine development and clinical trials.
And from the episode about malaria, I learned that the word « abracadabra » was once considered a cure for the disease.
Oh, and for anyone who thinks they coined the term « Quarantini » for 2020 Lockdown Drinks, you didn’t. Since 2017, the Erins have been mixing quarantines for each episode together with non-alcoholic placeboritas (placebo, Geddit?). .
Tegan Taylor is co-host of ABC’s Coronacast podcast and is a regular contributor to the health report.
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Podcast, Song Exploder, Hrishikesh Hirway, Netflix
EbeneMagazine – AU – « Episodes are like a quick hit of musical meditation »: The best podcasts for 2021