Picture: Pexels
Picture: Pexels

Remember dinner parties?

At some point during those quaint, un-socially distanced gatherings from a bygone era, one friend, usually the one wearing a T-shirt with ironic wording, started telling everyone about the podcast we haaaaad to listen to.

Intrigued, the next day we would have opened our podcast app of choice to look for that podcast among the literally million others that haaaaad to be listened to.

There are as many podcasts as there are opinions, and for people new to the medium, where do you even start?

Hopefully I can help you with that.

Every few months I will recommend podcasts that are worthy of your attention no matter what your interest. Not only will I try to bring you podcasts with engaging content, I will look for SA podcasts that help define our own podcast story, or at least international podcasts we can learn from.

But first, a disclaimer. I am in no way affiliated with any of these podcasts. I happen to know all the producers, but I will not benefit financially or otherwise from promoting or recommending them. My aim is to give readers a launching point into podcasts that will convert them to the medium.

Successful SA podcasts do not sound like what is already out there; they are unique to our sensitivities, environment and preferences.

The podcasts I recommend this month also stand out for me as their way of distributing content flies in the face of what we think podcasts are –  or your snobby friend wearing the T-shirt with ironic wording thinks they should be.

First up, Mzansi music fans need to listen to “Podcast and Chill with MacG’’. I’ve known Mac since his days at 947, and I always thought him to be a broadcaster ahead of the game.

He’s proven that fact with one of the country’s most listened-to podcasts. He sits down with the likes of Nasty C, Rouge, Kelly Khumalo and many more for no-holds-barred-PR-unfriendly conversations about everything.

The content is fascinating, but what’s more, it’s not even a traditional podcast. The whole show is on YouTube and breaks the idea that watching people do ‘’radio’’ is boring. Being on YouTube makes it easy for even the novice listener to find. From Mac’s point of view it is so much easier to share and monetise content on YouTube than on any other platform.

We often think that a podcast can’t be visual, as we do something else while listening – but ‘’Podcast and Chill’’ proves that a podcast can be your main entertainment.

Find Podcast and Chill here.

An SA podcast produced from afar

If it’s happened in SA podcasting, Jayne Morgan knows about it, or probably did it. I am a fan of everything she has done in the space, and all that graft has culminated in what I think is her best series to date.

“The Friendship File” podcast does what it says on the tin. It talks to friends about their friends by recording what they answer, on their own and without conferring, to the same 17 questions (such a: “Describe the first moment you met’’, “What about them drives you mad?’’ and “What have they done that has surprised you?’’).

Imagine the scenario with your own best friend!

Each group of friends is warm, loving and engaging and we instantly understand why their bond works.

The podcast is distributed in loads of clever ways. The one I like most is via WhatsApp.  I’m fortunate enough to be part of that group, and just being one of the first people to get a new episode makes me feel a part of this intimate friendship circle. It’s a small detail, but an important touch that encompasses the feel-good nature of this whole series.

The world needs content like this right now.  You can find all the episodes here. And if you can leave a review on Apple podcasts, please do, so that we can get a great SA podcast to the feeds of listeners around the world.

Beauty and brains. Mostly brains.

If you’re a marketing professional – and I assume you are if you’re here – you need to add “The Brain & Brand Show” of Timothy Maurice to your playlist.

The show explores human and brand behaviour, the power of persuasion in marketing as well as things that are way more complex than this simple wordsmith can comprehend.

There are very few podcasts that involve neuroscientists, MIT professors and erotic massage. Timothy’s skill is in condensing these complex thoughts into, for the most part, short episodes. It offers concise listening in a style that only he can deliver.

This podcast regularly charts on Apple Podcasts in its category and is worthy of your time. Find it on here

I realise that I have just played the role of your T-shirt-wearing friend, recommending podcasts of my own, but these podcasts are really interesting in an SA context and perspective. The creators have not only considered their content but also looked at their audience, where that audience needs the content, and how best to get it to them.

It’s radio 101 – what’s in it for the listener. And if a podcast can spend so much time on elements you will never even be aware of, you know that they’ve put the same amount of love into the content.

Happy listening!

*Paulo Dias is head of creative at Ultimate Media, the radio convergence specialist agency.

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