Just to prove my esteemed colleague wrong I’ve been out there in podcast space looking for a wireless moment that will outclass the impact, the fascination, the compelling authority of much (though not all) of Radio 4’s daily output. Of course, there’s a lot of good stuff being made but how do you discover what’s worth spending time with? It’s hard to make a serendipitous discovery by surfing the web. There’s no equivalent to the simple switching of a button and that instant connection, our attention held, communication created, imagination fed. You have to work hard to find a podcast that has edge, knowledge, aural style; all you can do is research online, picking up tips on Twitter or Facebook, and listening to a lot of duds.
Love Me, a new podcast from CBC (Canada’s elite broadcasting corporation), launches on Monday and is made by some of the team behind WireTap, which for ten years took us into the mind of Jonathan Goldstein and the quirky people he came across in search of a good story. From a sneak preview, Love Me, ‘a show about the messiness of human connection’, is sharply produced with engaging voices and vivid storytelling, but do we really need yet more first-person narratives about falling in love?
The setting was unusual — a journalist flies out to Haiti to cover the aftermath of the earthquake and meets a French soldier. He speaks only French, she only English. They ‘fall in love’ via Google translate. It was cleverly done and kept me listening. But everything is beginning to sound a bit the same in podcast space. That determinedly cheery delivery, the constant presence of a background beat as if we were in the cinema watching a film, the sense that we are being manipulated to keep on listening by cliffhangers, spoilers, a heightening of the drama.