Earworms: What the industry’s been listening to this week

The greatest podcasting debate on a controversial topic

This week, PodPod hosted its second-ever roundtable discussion with a number of industry experts including leaders from Fresh Air, Dave, and Google, and in this week’s Earworms, they give their recommendations for which podcasts they’ve been listening to lately. 

Freshly dropped podcasts this week range from a fully AI-developed narrative podcasts that tests the limits of what this technology can do for audio, to the return of HBO’s hit Succession companion podcast officially marking the start of the series’ final season. 

What’s in the industry’s ears?

Neil Cowling - Founder and managing director, Fresh Air

I think the recent two-part series on the Iraq war in The Rest is Politics is one of the most fascinating, surprising, and engaging pieces of content I've probably ever heard. I don’t think I’ve heard a conversation about such a controversial topic, gone into so politely and intelligently before and for me, it really personifies why podcasting is special. 

Danielle Rice - Marketing manager, Dave 

Mine are quite comedy based, I’m quite biassed that way. Stuff like Parenting Hell with Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett, My Therapist Ghosted Me with Joanne McNalley and Vogue Williams, The Therapy Crouch with Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch. I think the benefits of those podcasts is one, they make me laugh, but two, you kind of feel like you’re part of the discussion in a way, and I just find them really entertaining and they kind of lighten the day. 

Lucy Ferguson - Head of content, Google 

Working in the tech industry, things are changing very quickly at the moment and there’s lots of launches and lots of announcements being made all time so I’ve really enjoyed listening to the Hard Fork podcast by The New York Times. It's a slightly irreverent but very informed look at this week’s tech news.

Sophie Hind – Managing director, Voiceworks Sport

A lot of my podcast listening is dedicated to sport content but something I find myself coming back to especially when I’m travelling is Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, from Pushkin Industries. It throws a spotlight on some of the overlooked and misunderstood moments from our past and asks the question – did we get it first time round or do we need to think again?

Jake Warren - Founder, Message Heard

I've really enjoyed series two of I’m Not A Monster and the way in which Josh Baker has explored this story with delicacy and nuance whilst retaining journalistic integrity at its core. In one of the most polarising cases in modern times, mostly positioned with a black or white answer, Josh through a human lens has revealed the true shades of grey.

Freshly dropped

Bad Dates with Jameela Jamil 

The creators behind the award-winning Smartless podcast with actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes, have launched their first original podcast under their new media company - Bad Dates with Jameela Jamil. The podcast features the actress in conversation with a number of celebrities and comedians including Hayes and Conan O’Brien talking about their worst dating experiences. The first two episodes are available for early access with ad-free listening to Amazon Music subscribers and will roll out weekly for free starting 27 March.

Movers & Shakers 

A group of six former BBC journalists have formed a friendship group and created a podcast titled Movers & Shakers in which they gather at a pub in Notting Hill to talk candidly about their experience living with Parkinson’s disease. The weekly podcast debuted 18 March and has already received nation-wide praise, quickly reaching number 3 in the UK podcast charts. 

Synthetic Stories 

The Distorted production team has conducted an experiment testing out Open AI technology to create a narrative podcast series titled Synthetic Stories in just 24 hours. Every aspect of the podcast is created using AI, from the script and voice-over to the artwork and promotional press release. The podcast launched on 15 March and will continue to roll out twice weekly. 

HBO’s Succession Podcast 

With the final season of HBO’s hit series Succession premiering 26 March, its official companion podcast - HBO’s Succession Podcast - will also be returning just after the episode drops with journalist Kara Swisher as the host delving into behind-the-scene stories and interviewing crew members, as well as real-life experts talking about how accurate the world of Succession really is. Episodes of the podcast will continue to come out weekly until the final season comes to an end on 29 May. 

Intelligence Squared - Iraq: 20 years on

Intelligence Squared, the leading global forum for discussion and debate, has launched a new podcast series, Iraq: 20 Years On, on the history and aftermath of the Iraq invasion on the week that marks the 20th anniversary of the war. The series is hosted by investigative journalist Manveen Rana, project director of the Iraq Initiative at Chatham House Renad Mansour, and also features an episode from a live event that Intelligence Squared hosted in London in March 2016 which put Tony Blair on trial. The podcast released episodes four times weekly, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.