By Peter Wells

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Subscribers: 4
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Episodes: 28


Meta is a podcast about podcasts. Each week Meta will interview the best podcasters in Australia and overseas to find your next favourite show.

We'll take you behind the scenes of your favourite podcasts to hear hosts as you've never heard them before.

Find out what motivates podcasters, and how much work is involved to get the shows you love to your headphones.

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Episode Date
Spotify's Hybrid Podcast Model

Late last year, streaming music service Spotify gave podcasters the chance to blend published music into their shows. Spotify’s podcast creation tool, Anchor, lets creators embed songs from the streaming service’s vast library of music. 

While there are hundreds of services offering royalty free music for pods, only shows as popular as This American Life can afford to license commercial tracks. 

One of the best examples of these new blended podcasts is the Australian hip-hop podcast, A1: The Show

Hosts Jade Le Flay and Jazmine Nikitta, two Australian hip-hop podcasters and djs, are joined by producer and co-host 24 Karat Kev. A1: The Show is based on a playlist of the same name that highlights the most played hip hop tracks in Australia and overseas. While an algorithm chooses the music, humans craft the show around it. 

The show’s format follows that of a traditional weekly radio program, with news, interviews and general banter between the tracks; but Nikitta says they try “to stay in the podcasting lane.”

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Mar 29, 2021
Get Fucked Gary - Industrial Relations with Urzila Carlson
Industrial Relations with Urzila Carlson

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Mar 16, 2021
Peter Kafka On Digital Media

Peter Kafka has been speaking to the most important people in media for the last decade.

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Mar 07, 2021
A Labor Of Love And Beer Money

Think your podcast is niche? The Mac Admins podcast speaks to a tiny group of professionals each week - it has done for five years now.

The show has gone from a weekly catch up has turned into "some beer money" - thanks to the hosts understanding and communicating with the community.

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Feb 25, 2021
Scott Galloway Wishes He Was Australian
Scott Galloway is one of the smartest thinkers with a microphone. Im so glad I was able to speak to him

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Feb 18, 2021
Accidental Podcaster Fiona Reynolds On Her Hit Show, Accidental Celebrity

In her long career as a journalist, Dr. Fiona Reynolds reported on the Thredbo landslide, interviewed Bruce and Denise Morcombe, who sacrificed their privacy to appeal for help in the search of the son Daniel, and spoke with Rosie Batty, who became the face of change in the move against domestic violence after an unfathomable tragedy.

 “I had seen many, many people throughout that time suddenly go from being anonymous to an overnight headline; their lives poured over, their personal lives made public.” says Reynolds. 

“And I'd started to wonder whether these people had anything in common, whether there were any similarities, and how their experiences may have differed. 

The idea became her thesis, and led her to interviewing ordinary people who became household names in Australia. When her thesis was complete, she knew she wanted to share these stories.

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Feb 14, 2021
Declan Fay on The Sweetest Plum and Cross Bread

Declan Fay has been podcasting for a decade.

in 2021 he is close to celebrating 200 episodes of his podcast The Sweetest Plum, an indie comedy pod.

We also talk about Cross Bread, one of my favourite pods of 2020.

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Feb 04, 2021
The Hardest Word - A Pod about apologies

The host of The Hardest Word was an early adopter of the podcast medium, creating podcasts Hootville and The Anglican and the Atheist in 2004. He was a young kid with a pocket full of pod-dreams.

Alas the dawn of podcasting's golden age was a decade away and the podcasts withered along with his ego. 

Since then Brett has strutted stages as a speaker and emcee. When not basking in the limelight he consults on marketing and communications via his agency Hootville Communications. 

He lives with his partner and their wirehaired dachshund Archibald in Melbourne, Australia. Brett feels he is due many more apologies that he is likely to receive. Brett also launched and acts as spokesperson for the global campaign Giving Tuesday Podcasts in 2020 to help promote under-appreciated podcasts.

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Jan 29, 2021
Kellie Riordan On Leaving The ABC And Going It Alone

As head of ABC Audio Studios for the last decade, Kellie Riordan was responsible for some of Australia’s most loved podcasts. Riordan championed a diverse slate of shows, from the true crime series Unravel, Ladies We Need To Talk, and an unflinching look at someone experiencing a mental health crisis, No Feeling Is Final

“I've had the privilege to make, or be part of the making of a lot of great shows over the last few years.” says Riordan. “To see the escalation in the amount of great podcast content in the Australian market over the last few years is, it's great. It really makes me super proud.” 

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Jan 20, 2021
Tracking The Far Right In Australia

Yeah Nah, Pasaran is a weekly show dedicated to putting fascism and the far right under the microscope. The independent podcast has become a must listen for those wishing to track the organisation of far right movements in Australia.

The podcast takes its name from the anti-facist rally cry ¡No pasarán!, popularised during the Spanish Civil War, and gives it a wonderful Australian spin. Hosts Andy Fleming and Cam Smith have been investigating facist and far right movements in Australia for years on Melbourne Community Radio 3CR.


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Jan 07, 2021
Greg Larsen On Valuing Your Work

Greg Larsen tells a familiar story of life as a comedian during 2020. He had a show ready to debut at the Melbourne Comedy Festival when covid cancelled the festival. But rather than scramble to move his work online, Larsen had been podcasting for some time, and had built a loyal audience. 

“I was doing a one man play. And it was probably the most ambitious show I've ever done. And I spent a lot of work on it, a lot of time on it, and then it was cancelled. Okay.”

Before I had a chance to offer condolences, Larsen was quick to point out “people working on a check out counter or in a distribution centre” have had a worse year than he has. 

“I’m in two minds about it, to be honest, because on the one hand, there's been a lot of shit stuff that's happened and a lot of work that's been lost. But on the other hand, it's actually been quite good for someone like me, who makes podcasts, to do that more.”

Larsen’s podcast The Grub, is a sketch comedy podcast with Anne Edmonds and Ben Russell. When the pandemic hit, the group moved many of their episodes behind a Patreon paywall.

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Dec 23, 2020
Behind the Scenes of A Red Hot Australian Christmas

Red Hot Australian Christmas is a darkly funny 45 minute radio play set during last year’s devastating bushfire season. It’s the story of Heather, a matriarch trying her best to ignore the fires and host Christmas for her extended family. She stays strong even as the mercury rises and smoke starts to engulf her homestead in Maffra, Gippsland, until a code red is called, and all are forced to evacuate. 

The play was written and directed by comedian and author Tegan Higginbotham. The radio play is semi-biographical, and appears in the feed of Paul Verhoeven's Loose Units

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Dec 17, 2020
Oh No! It's Ross and Carrie!

You know that meme of the girl sitting beside the ice cream sign, "this is what its like to listen to podcasts"?

That's me whenever a new episode of Oh No Ross and Carrie drops.

If you've never heard their show, you're in for a treat, there's so many amazing episodes in the archives to explore.

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Dec 10, 2020
Marc Fennell on Stuff The British Stole

Marc Fennell is the busiest man in podcasting. Beyond his weekly technology podcast, Download This Show, Marc has made a series of short run series for Audible, and is now back at the ABC with Stuff The British Stole. 

Marc shares how he came up with the show, from development to pitch, and then how the hell do you record a podcast that takes the listener to all parts of the globe when the world is locked down? 

Marc is always generous with his time and incredibly entertaining when talking about a passion project like this. 

Check out Stuff The British Stole wherever you listen to podcasts

You can also read the article over at SMH.

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Dec 02, 2020
The Storytelling Matrix and Days Like These

Days Like These, the latest podcast from ABC Studios, will feel immediately familiar to podcast fans. The series has the structure and tone of classic non-fiction podcasts, like This American Life, while still sounding completely Australian and unique.

Producers Rachel Fountain and Ian Walker are happy with the comparison, and cite Reply All and Heavyweight as further inspiration for the show.

Ian and Rachel tell us about putting a podcast together remotely, and how they created a very firm storytelling structure they could apply to stories of almost any genre.

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Nov 09, 2020
Tim Ross On Life's Rich Tapestries

Podcasts can be incredibly niche affairs, allowing creators to indulge in their obsessions without chasing mass market appeal. Case in point is comedian Tim Ross' latest, House Stories; a short run series on the rarely seen tapestries of the Sydney Opera House.

When I mentioned how niche the subject matter was, Ross laughed and pointed to the recently wildly successful Netflix documentary, My Octopus Teacher, as evidence that "a great story is a great story, despite what it’s about." - read more at SMH

Tim and I talk about modern art and architecture, the Opera House, his podcast, and the Sirius towers in The Rocks.

..and that f**cking Octopus movie.

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Oct 28, 2020
Productivity During a Pandemic with Amantha Imber

Dr Amantha Imber is an organisational psychologist, best-selling author, and founder of Australia’s leading innovation consultancy Inventium. Her thoughts have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Fast Company and she is the author of two best-selling books: “The Creativity Formula” and “The Innovation Formula”.

Amantha is the host of the number one ranking business podcast How I Work, where she interviews some of the world’s leading innovators about their habits, rituals and strategies for structuring their day. Every episode contains practical tips and insights on how the world’s most successful people manage their day.

Check out Amantha's podcast here:

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Oct 22, 2020
Nazeem Hussain Saved A Troll's Life

Nazeem Hussain was preparing for a month-long run at the Melbourne International Comedy festival, followed by a national tour, when COVID-19 upended his plans. Knowing all Australian comedians were in a similar situation, Hussain launched a podcast: The Survivor’s Guide to Coronavirus.

Hussain was buoyed by the "family spirit amongst comedians" who supported each other, emotionally and financially, while live venues shuttered across Australia.

Nazeem talks about life in Melbourne's lockdown, about appearing in the Victorian Government's public health campaign and the interesting feedback he received, and how Shane Jacobson and Susan Carlin taught him how to react to trolls online.

Read more at SMH

Nazeem's Survivor's Guide Podcast:

Rogue Son:

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Oct 19, 2020
Brianna Peterson On Entertaining Kids In Lockdown

Brianna Peterson may have one of the most recognisable voices for the under ten set. For the last two years Peterson hosted Imagine This, an ABC science podcast for kids, that answered the big questions like why we get hiccups, and why mosquito bites are so itchy...

Peterson has since gone independent, and her new podcast At Home With Brie is now available. The show is divided into day and night playlists; one to encourage kids to explore the world around them, the other to calm them down for bed.

Read more at SMH.

This was such a fun episode to record and edit. My daughter Penny is a massive fan of Brianna, so in keeping with the theme of At Home With Brie, I let Penny take the mic for some hard hitting questions. I think the whole damn thing is adorable, but I'm pretty biased.

Rate and review Meta on Apple Podcasts if you can, or buy me a kebab.

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Oct 14, 2020
Amanda Palmer Is Watching The Collapse Of America From New Zealand

American singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer was part-way through a world tour when COVID-19 shut the world down. As luck would have it, she was in New Zealand when her flights were cancelled.

"I think I won the jackpot on this one very much by accident, but I am really, really lucky, as an American and especially as a parent of a small child," Palmer says.

Palmer has spent her time in New Zealand finishing a podcast she started two years earlier. The podcast, The Art Of Asking Everything, has Palmer interviewing artists and activists, including Tim Minchin, Dan Savage and Tim Flannery. Palmer recorded interviews on tour, tracking down the thinkers she’d always wanted to speak to.

"I used the podcast as an excuse... to just go very very deep with someone I wanted to befriend anyway, and I use it as my excuse to talk to them and cut through all of the small talk and the bullshit," she says.

"I've recorded about 20 episodes of it, and it's just incredibly deep personal conversations with big thinkers. Mostly artists, but also psychologists and climate scientists and all sorts of people who were just great conversationalists."

Recording the episodes so far in advance, Palmer was "afraid that the episodes would get stale and wouldn’t stand up in a COVID world" but she was pleased the conversations are "much deeper than that, so they’re evergreen conversations".

And her fans supporting the project on Patreon have access to "live follow-up chats with all of the guests, to just check in post-COVID. Where are we, where is your work at, how was your lockdown?" she says.

"The painful paradox of the pandemic is that in times of crisis, we are instinctively called to move towards one another and to gather and to rely on our collectivism and our collective effort. And we've been physically unable to do that.

“That's the big one-two punch and the big paradox of this pandemic is that we've been separated and then separated again."

Palmer has been watching the civil unrest, protests and failed response to COVID-19 with horror – a completely predictable horror, but a horror nonetheless.

"It's devastating. I just feel like we are watching the wheels fall off the bus. I wake up every day and I read the news and listen to what's happening and there's … a part of me that shakes my head and thinks, 'This can't be happening. We live in a constitutional democracy. The President's not allowed to say that.'

"So I am doing what I think most Americans are doing, which is I am not trying to forecast, because I feel that that's probably a waste of energy. Instead Ir'm trying to batten down my emotional hatches and try as best I can to use my platform to get people to register and to actually vote."

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Oct 11, 2020
Kara Swisher - Zuckerberg and The Road To Hell

Kara Swisher joins me to talk about her new podcast with the New York Times, Sway.

We also discuss her twenty year career on the tech beat, 500 episodes of Recode Decode, and discovering the big dog, Scott Galloway, for her podcast Pivot.

Along the way we talk about the importance of finding a mentor, doing what you love, Trump and Twitter, and answer the big question of the day, who is more destructive to democracy Rupert Murdoch or Mark Zuckerberg?

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Oct 07, 2020
Matt Bevan - Trump Is Not Playing Four Dimensional Chess

After three seasons of the ABC's excellent political podcast Russia, If You're Listening, host Matt Bevan is back with new episodes focused purely on the last four years of Trump.

Now renamed America, If You're Listening, the show will dive deep into a different defining moment in the US president's first term each episode, beginning with Hurricane Maria which tore through Puerto Rico in 2017. The official death count for this tragedy is 64, a number Trump repeated often, despite an estimated 3000 lives lost. To read a print verion of this discussion, head to SMH.

We recorded this episode a few weeks ago and joked at the time that 'you never know what's going to happen next with Donald Trump', and boy was that true! I can imagine Matt spent the weekend re-writing scripts, following the news that Trump has now tested positive for coronavirus.

Click to find America If You're Listening in all good podcast apps.

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Oct 04, 2020
Rachael Brown - Trace

Among the glut of true crime podcasts released post Serial, one series stood out. Trace, from ABC’s Rachael Brown, ignored the sensationalist trappings of so many true crime yarns, remembering the victim and her surviving family are real people, not binge-worthy characters created for our entertainment - you can read my interview with Rachael in the Sydney Morning Herald, but here's our full discussion.

Both seasons of Trace are fantastic, but you know that. Trace has been number one in Apple Podcasts since launch.

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Sep 30, 2020
Amy Donaldson and Hunter Mulcare - Two Shrinks Pod

Amy Donaldson and Hunter Mulcare host one of my favourite independent podcasts, Two Shrinks Pod.

The pair join me to discuss how the pod came to be, as well as mental health in the time of covid, is our government offering enough support to vulnerable people, and exactly what mental health issues does Dobby the house elf suffer from.

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Sep 27, 2020
Julia Gillard - A Podcast Of One's Own

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard joins me to discuss A Podcast of One's Own, her show exploring women in leadership.

Gillard's guests include Hillary Clinton, Cate Blanchett, Sally McManus and Deborah Frances-White.

Her podcast remains upbeat and empowering, despite the structural misogyny so often faced by her amazing guests.

Julia shares her favourite stories from the podcast, the new generation fans she has made from the show, and just briefly, the appointment of Tony Abbott as a trade advisor to the UK.

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Sep 20, 2020
Baratunde Thurston - We're Having a Moment, How to Citizen

Baratunde Thurston os an award-winning comedian, writer and activist.

In 2020 he has released two podcasts, We're Having a Moment, a short run series looking at the Black Lives Matter movement, and the US response to covid-19.

He is has recently launched a podcast How To Citizen, which champions local and community politics, and what it means to be an active participant in democracy.

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Sep 20, 2020
001 - Tegan Taylor and Dr Norman Swan - Coronacast

I spoke with Tegan Taylor and Dr Norman Swan of Coronacast on two occasions.

Once in June, when Australia's collective response to Covid-19 seemed to have sheltered us from the major health and economic effects.

I spoke to them again in early August, with my hometown of Melbourne deep in weeks of lockdown.

Both times the pair brought the facts, analysis and good humour that has made Coronacast a must listen for so many Australians.

Warning, there are some adult themes part way through the episode that I should've mentioned in my introduction.

The print version is available at SMH.

You can check out Coronacast at ABC.

Please rate and review Meta on Apple Podcasts.

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Sep 13, 2020
Meta Trailer

After a few months work, I'm so happy to share Meta, a podcast about podcasts.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who took the time to be interviewed.

Featured in the trailer:

Tegan Taylor and Norman Swan from Coronacast

Baratunde Thurston from How to Citizen

Monika O'Hanlon from Would You Rather

Patrick Radden Keefe Wind of Change

Cass Thorburn of Divorce Story

Ruby Jones of 7am

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Sep 08, 2020