Move aside Netflix, and make room for the new Gen Z obsession: podcasts.
With the help of smart phones, accessible content, and a sprinkling of constant boredom due to COVID-19, young people are opting out of bingeing TV series and are reaching for podcasts instead. It makes sense in this day and age, as capitalism continues to convince us that we must always be moving, we may feel more entertained and maybe even more productive listening to a podcast rather than lying on the couch. You can listen to podcasts while cooking, exercising, on the horrid commute to work, or even to escape small talk from your roommates and co-workers. Really, what’s not to LOVE about that?
But when did everyone stop zoning out from the hustle and bustle and tuning in to the world of podcasts? It’s estimated that about 26% of the population, or 5.6 million Australians, tune in weekly to listen to a podcast. That’s a 53% increase since the same study was conducted prior to the first COVID-19 lockdown.
It seems that the pandemic, which forced us all to shut ourselves in, gave anyone the opportunity to start their own podcast and for everyone else to start listening. I have definitely listened to more podcasts since Covid, so much so that I have a weekly rotation of my favourites that release new episodes on each day of the week.
My Spotify wrapped from this year was truly shocking; I realised I essentially wake up and fall asleep listening to podcasts. I clocked in just under 39 674 minutes of podcast listening. So, I think it’s safe to say I’m across most Australian podcasts and for that reason I have given myself the highest honour of compiling a list of stellar podcasts for you in no particular order. If you aren’t a fan of these podcasts (first of all, what’s the matter with you) don’t worry, there is such a variety out there, I’m sure there will be one that will definitely pique your interest.
1. Just the Gist – Australian comedian Rosie Waterland and her best friend Jacob William Stanley give you Just the Gist on what you need to know about stories they think are interesting enough to tell at a dinner party. They take it in turns each week to reveal from start to finish a shocking true story that you have either never heard of or are slightly murky on the details. While every episode is amazing, my personal favourites (and episodes I recommend as a gateway) are the stories of Elizabeth Holmes, Stuart Semple vs Anish Kapoor and The Great Emu War.
2. Shameless – A pop culture podcast for smart people who love dumb stuff hosted by Melbourne writers Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald. Every Thursday they wrap up the week that was in pop culture so you don’t have to give the Daily Mail any more clicks. They have also brought out a new segment where they revisit infamous scandals in pop culture history including the marriage and divorce of Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt, and even the making and breaking of Marilyn Monroe.
3. The Hamish and Andy Podcast – You know them, you love them, it’s the podcast version of their radio show. I cannot stress enough though that you need to start from Episode 1 otherwise some parts really won’t make much sense.
4. Old Boys Club – Two women break the glass ceiling that is Australian politics by discussing and analysing the big stories circling around the political news cycle. The two Melbourne based journalists, Justine Landis Hanley and Matilda Bosely, rebrand Australian politics to make it more understandable and palatable for young people.
5. House Warming – The podcast that will make you feel seen and not at all neurotic about your share house squabbles and pet peeves. Two comedians, Nat Demena and Marty Smiley, interview guests and talk to listeners about all the highs and lows that come with renting in a share house.
6. Ladies, We Need to Talk – An ABC podcast for women by women, hosted by Yumi Stynes, that delves into the grit and glitter of what it means to be a woman in today’s society. The show discusses sometimes uncomfortable and taboo topics that we are often told not to talk about. This podcast is an inviting warm hug for all women (and men!) who want to learn more about the female experience and the difficult topics that are typically shrouded in shame.
7. Hamish and Andy’s Remembering Project – A great podcast for avid listeners of the Hamish and Andy radio show back in the day. This show winds back time to remember some of the most iconic and outlandish events that happened in their 11 years of radio.
8. I Weigh with Jameela Jamil – The actress, most known from the hit Netflix show The Good Place, Jameela Jamil interviews a wide array of celebrities to discuss their relationship with their body, mental health and the body positivity movement. The principle of the show is to elevate marginalised voices to talk about their own unique experiences and celebrate progress over perfection.
9. You’re Wrong About – With a similar concept to the Australian podcast Just the Gist, American Journalists Mike and Sarah go back through the archives of history and pick apart a story piece by piece. Some stories can have as many as 8-parts, highlighting the depth and research that goes into each episode to give an accurate analytical account. My personal favourites are the episodes about Princess Diana and OJ Simpson. There is so much more to these stories that often gets overlooked!
10. Mum Says My Memoir Is a Lie – Hosted by Rosie Waterland, this podcast is the audio version of her bestselling book with the same title. Each episode Rosie reads the next chapter of her book and then discusses the content with her mum. It is a confronting glimpse into her traumatic childhood mixed with an excruciatingly painful conversation with her mum that makes you want to yell into your phone. Rosie’s candour and grace shines through this podcast leaving you with a sense of her resilience and ambition to overcome the troubles of her youth.
11. Love Etc. – Brought to you by the same women behind Shameless, Love Etc explores the titillating and scandalous stories of love. Episodes range from nightmare breakups to women who hate sex and what it’s like to swing in your twenties. There is bound to be an episode where you will be able to relate to from your past or something that you might be going through right now.
12. Behind the Bastards – The podcast that reports beyond the standard Wikipedia page of some of the worst humans in history. It unveils the bizarre realities of their lives that is often missed or glanced over in documentaries. They discuss Hitler’s obsession with YA Fiction to the secret pornography that was found on Osama Bin Laden’s hard drive. It’s everything you could hope for and more.
13. The Happiness Lab – Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos takes you through the latest scientific research that will alter your perception on happiness and the surprising ways to achieve it. It delves into topics including the paradox of choice, the pitfalls of nostalgia, and the pressure that comes with grading achievements. Everything you think you know about how to live a happy life could actually be the opposite, as this podcast reveals.
14. She’s on the Money – Australian financial advisor, Victoria Devine, explains the easiest ways for millennials to experience financial freedom. It breaks down the complexities of investing, buying a home, loans, superannuation and how to properly commit to a budget.