There are several podcasts out right now that are educational in nature AND popular on the iTunes charts … Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Stuff You Should Know, Planet Money, Freakonomics Radio, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and the list goes on. I typically like to get lost in a storytelling podcast, but one of my other favorite genres is this crop of educational programs that teach me something. It helps me communicate with other humanoids and gets me out of my mom/engineer world.
I’m also fascinated by what people actually do in their jobs. Sometimes you ask someone what they do and they tell you their title, or say “I’m a doctor.” But I’m curious what fills up your day, what the challenges are, and what skill sets they need to do that job. How did they get into it? Are they on call? What’s good and bad about the job? These are the things I ask people when I’m trying to get to know them.
Slate’s Working combines a few genres of podcasts – interview, educational, and storytelling – and tries to answer the above questions about how people work by simply asking someone in a given profession, “What do you do?” In addition, they try to pull out of the interviewee how they feel about their job, which adds a nice emotional and storytelling side to the podcast.
Episodes are typically 20-30 minutes which is a good length for the content. Readers – you know one of my primary judgment areas for an interview show is THE HOST! This podcast’s hosts seem to be entering the revolving door and quickly exiting. I don’t know why and it causes a lack of continuity. If they rotated the episodes with different hosts that would be fine (like Planet Money) but there will be 9 with one person, then the next 15 will be with another host. I can’t even find information on who the hosts are. Also, the production value of this show is seriously lacking. Episodes tend to just stop abruptly. It’s like the timer went off and OH! It’s over! I like the content, but feel the effort is kind of half-assed. My Mike-Rowe-in-Dirty-Jobs goal as producer of the show would be to sprinkle in more totally fascinating jobs with some of the every day jobs and get that download rate up. I want to hear the day in the life of a high level drug dealer, an air marshal, a CEO of a mid size company, and a shepherd.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (5 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (1 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (3 / 5)
The hosts are a problem on this show. Some are great, but they seem to not stick around long enough for me to enjoy them long term. It’s as if the hosting spot is filled by a temp or an intern. Some of the hosts are really awful, with unclear radio voices and who seem to be reading directly from a script. I guess if that’s the job then sure, you can have an intern do it. But the show could benefit from a little more experienced hosting as it could draw out more thoughtful questions a la Terry Gross.
Flow & Production Value (2 / 5)
Poor transitions and it always seems like there is a lot of background noise. Assuming this is paid for primarily by Slate, its production value is significantly inferior to many podcasts who are basically completely independently produced.
Humor (2 / 5)
Investigation (2 / 5)
Storytelling (3 / 5)
Makes Me a Better Person: (2 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (2 / 5)
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