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Late! But I would never let you down.
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Things to look forward to in the days ahead.

This coming Monday, 7/17 is definitely one that I've got marked on my calendar, since it is when Gimlet's brand new program The Nod will be hitting podcatcher feeds. The Nod is a show celebrating black life and culture from hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings.

I first encountered Luse and Eddings back in late 2014 through their podcast For Colored Nerds and instantly fell for the show. That show operated from a similar point of view as The Nod, offering up, in the hosts words, "the conversations that black people have when white people are not in the room." On the face of it The Nod feels like a natural progression of For Colored Nerds, but with a bigger budget and the time to record and produce longer segments of audio journalism and storytelling.

For Colored Nerds is a show that hooks listeners straightaway, no doubt because of the vibrant chemistry between Luse and Eddings, often times adversarial and consistently hilarious. Even more though it is achieved through the pair's thoughtful and impassioned explorations of the issues and culture that come with being black in America. The pair's closeness and candor goes a long way in simple conversation, so I can't wait to see what they're able to do with a full cast of producers, editors, and sound designers. 

Both Luse and Eddings have worked with Gimlet in the past, Luse as host of the sorely missed podcast-about-podcasts Sampler, while Eddings is a producer on the excellent Chris Lighty documentary series Mogul.

Subscribe to The Nod today so you'll have it first thing Monday morning.

Australian podcast The Real Thing uses its powers for good, travelling to the mostly Aboriginal  community of Wilcannia for a six-part series of genuinely positive stories.

Perhaps the most beautiful and redeeming aspect of podcasting is the way it shrinks the world, making it eminently more accessible and understandable. Over the past week and a half, radio producers Timothy Nicastri and Mike Williams from Australian podcast The Real Thing have engaged in a project that has done just that and the results are nothing short of excellent. The point of the undertaking is a simple one, that Nicastri and Williams set out to document all the positive stories they can find about the tiny New South Wales town of Wilcannia. If it seems a bit of a curious and random quest, there's a very good reason behind it. In January of this year the town of around 600 people was profiled as part of a BBC documentary series fronted by actor Reggie Yates seeking to tell a positive story about Aboriginal life. When it was at last released there were no traces of the positivity the production had originally promised. Instead, the footage shot was used to intentionally misrepresent the people of Wilcannia, causing the BBC to eventually retract the documentary entirely. Thus, The Real Thing sought to set the record straight and give Wilcannia and its people their due.

In all there are six episodes that make up the series, titled “Positively Wilcannia!” and they live up to their name in both Nicastri and Williams’ approach, as well as the stories they collect. They run the gamut from the way that Rugby League fandom is being used to help ensure that Wilcannia’s men get regular free health screenings. Or it could be the way that the Indigenous Barkindji language is being brought back through a series of dedicated speakers. Or in the way the elders ceaselessly fight to ensure a positive future of the children of the town. The undoubtable centerpiece of the episodes though comes in “Still Down The River,” where the pair tell the tale of The Wilcannia Mob, a group of pre-teen boys who recorded a rap that went viral,  and brought the boys an unbelievable amount of fame, eventually ending up on an M.I.A. album.

The “Positvely Wilcannia” series is just something so refreshing. To listen to all six episodes has the effect of transporting the listener on a sonic vacation to the town. There are so many moments of levity, pride, and genuine interest. Though the work that The Real Thing has done for the town feels wonderful, it sadly won’t have the same reach as the BBC’s fraudulent documentary to fully undo the harm. But for those who take the time to listen to the program, it is a chance to learn more about a very intriguing and vital community that seemingly hasn’t gotten a fair shake from the outside world until now.

In case you missed it, this week I have been thinking about the burgeoning genre of the podcast musical.

If you're new to the newsletter, have a stroll through our archives! 

Let's get better acquainted! My name is Ben Cannon, and I have spent the last 3 years covering podcasts for The A.V. Club. I started Constant Listener to help usher in a new era of critical discourse about this vibrant medium. 
Copyright © 2017 Constant Listener, All rights reserved.


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