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Podcast spotlight: The Rereaders

Established in 2011, The Rereaders is a fortnightly literary and cultural podcast that has been described as Melbourne’s answer to the Slate Culture Gabfest. Each episode is hosted by culture critics Dion Kagan and Mel Campbell, and produced by Areej Nur and associate producer Thanh Hằng Phạm. ‘Podcasting is exciting because it is independent and accessible, which is exactly what community radio is and has always been,’ Nur said about the appeal of the format. She spoke to Books+Publishing for our ‘podcast spotlight’ series.

For new or uninitiated listeners, describe your podcast in under 50 words. 

The Rereaders is a fortnightly literary and cultural podcast based in Melbourne.

The rest of this is off-script, but I am fortunate as the executive producer to be in the studio every fortnight watching Dion Kagan, Mel Campbell and our wonderful guests think deeply and lovingly about all manner of issues. Whether they love, hate or love-to-hate those topics, our presenters are always thoughtful and critical, and I learn something every single time.

What makes your podcast unique? 

It’s local! The Rereaders is committed to discussing Australian literature, film, music and everything else. It is easy to find US-based podcasts critiquing mostly US films, TV shows and books but The Rereaders is actively local and I think that is a reason why people are drawn to it.

When and how did you get started in podcasting? 

I have been podcasting since I started broadcasting on community radio station 3CR six years ago. I have always known community radio to be at the forefront of podcasting in Australia because of how much we share content across a station or between stations. Podcasting is exciting because it is independent and accessible which is exactly what community radio is and has always been.

Where and how is your podcast recorded (and how big is your team)? 

We record The Rereaders in-studio. We hire out a beautiful little studio at 3CR for a couple hours a fortnight and record the show in there. Our team is not huge, I am predominantly a technical producer and of course Dion and Mel present and research their topics. We have just welcomed a wonderful new member to our team, associate producer Thanh Hằng Phạm, who is working on both technical and editorial producing.

What kind of listeners does your podcast reach? 

We reach a variety of listeners. Often our beloved local literary family, but also anyone who is interested in discussions on literature and culture.

What have been your most popular guests or most memorable episodes? 

All of our guests are popular, exciting and very cool; I could not pick the most popular. The most memorable episode for me was our 2017 Halloween episode where our audio was mysteriously distorted …

What recent trends have you noticed in podcasting? (Do you have any predictions for this format in the future?) 

People have finally realised how wonderful podcasts can be. I predict more fiction-based podcasts and radio plays. There is a rise in the consumption of audiobooks and I wonder what a bit of music, sound effects and extra voices could do for an audiobook or audio-play.

Why do you think people are drawn to this format?  

Technically, podcasts should be anyone’s game. Of course, creating and maintaining them requires a number of skills, but if people have the time and interest we could each produce and present a podcast. There is also something special about curating your own listening experience and choosing when and where to listen to what you love.

What plans do you have for your podcast going forward? 

Our plan is to keep getting our amazing guests through the door and keep creating exciting and fun shows.

What other bookish podcasts should we be listening to, Australian or otherwise? 

I don’t know about bookish podcasts, but my favourite podcast of all time is a two-hour-long weekly black pop-culture podcast called The Read, which is recorded out of New York City. You should also be listening to The Nod from Gimlet Media, Curtain by Amy McQuire and Martin Hodgson, and About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

(Photo credit: Paddy Bridges)

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Category: Features