Opinion, Uncategorized

Ra-Tan Lines – The Unmade Podcast

The basic premise of “The Unmade Podcast” is that Brady Haran and his friend Tim discuss ideas for podcasts that they probably will not make. For the benefit of Hello Internet fans: yes, this is the same Brady Haran and yes, Tim is the actual name of the co-host. The discussions often lead to long tangents about the lives of Brady and Tim, which sometimes help the hosts enhance their podcast idea, and sometimes don’t. The tangents are without a doubt one of the main attractions of the show. This is a Two Dudes Talking podcast, leaning almost entirely on the charisma of the two dudes.

The podcast ideas themselves range from the simple (keeping track of coin tosses) to the complex (famous moments that someone coincidentally missed). There are some very mundane topics (a collection of simple, wholesome moments) and very grand ones (listening and reviewing national
anthems). Some of the ideas seem highly commercial, others are practically art installations. The key point is this: the one rule for the podcast is that Brady and Tim will explain ideas for podcasts. Thing
is, Brady Haran is a man who knows that rules are meant to be broken.

There are many special episodes of “The Unmade Podcast”. Some are actual pilot episodes of the ideas discussed in normal episodes: the “Wholesome”, “Trash or Treasure” and “Tommyball” podcast ideas have all received this treatment. Brady also uploaded an audio diary of his trip to Antarctica to the podcast feed. Some episodes involve both Brady and Tim travelling to some strange location, for example, the episode recorded on the island of Steep Holm.

Unlike certain other discussion-focused podcasts, “The Unmade Podcast” has quite a few guest episodes. Brady Haran is a fairly well-connected person, perhaps thanks to his many travels, work as a journalist, and all the interviews with academics in his various YouTube channels. The guests tend to blend in pretty well, suggesting podcast ideas alongside the hosts. A recent episode featured Hank Green, and it was fine. However, in my opinion, the most fascinating episode so far has been “15: The Narrowboat Episode”, where the guest is Brady’s friend Jono, who also lets Brady and Tim travel in his narrowboat through the English countryside. Since I had no knowledge of narrowboats and narrowboating culture, it was actually educational. It also counts as an episode in a strange location, although for all I know there could be a whole genre of podcasts recorded on narrowboats.  If you particularly like Brady’s interactions with guests, you might also enjoy his “Numberphile” podcast, which is apparently more casual than the YouTube channel (also run by Brady) of the same name.

The key thing about the guest and travel episodes is that they don’t feel gimmicky (unlike the pilot episodes, which are inherently gimmicky). The conversations aren’t scripted, they’re just heavily
edited, so every particular portion is something resembling natural. The core premise of the podcast, discussions about making podcasts, is broad enough that anyone from any walk of life could potentially talk at length about it. After all, since a discussion can be a podcast, anything that can be discussed can be podcasted. In fact, “The Unmade Podcast” might discuss your podcast idea… if you subscribe to their
Patreon and send them your concept. So far, most of the fan ideas were provided by Canadians, so you, dear reader, are in a good position to submit one. Of course, you could aim higher and actually make your podcast idea a reality, but not all ideas have commercial or celebrity potential.

Some do, though, which leads to the weirdest part of all this: ideas discussed on “The Unmade Podcast” which have actually been made. Episode 1, released on the 22nd of August 2017, featured a concept titled “Podcastology” wherein each episode focuses on a different field of study. On the 4th of September 2017, Episode 0 of the “Ologies” podcast by Alie Ward was released, including some short audio clips from future episodes. It is a beautiful coincidence: the episodes actually seem too close together for the latter to be inspired by the former. Another idea from episode one of “Unmade” was to watch the film “Groundhog Day” every day and record a discussion about it every day. At the time of release, Tim Batt and Guy Montgomery had already watched “Sex and the City 2” once a week for a year, and probably finished doing the same for the Zac Efron vehicle “We Are Your Friends”. This probably just indicates that the Australian hosts of “The Unmade Podcasts” aren’t paying attention to Kiwi comedy. As mentioned earlier, the podcast medium is vast. With so many people attempting so many different podcasts, it’s a wonder that there are any unmade ideas at all.

If you want to start your podcast before Brady and Tim think of your idea and discuss it, the time to act is soon. There is a new episode of “The Unmade Podcast” once or twice a month, and “normal” episodes are usually around forty minutes or even an hour long. There are currently only 22 episodes, but given the potential of the premise and the sheer productive might of Brady Haran, there will likely be many more to come.

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