Here are a few sample episodes from my 2008 podcast series Multiple Choice. I had a ridiculous amount of fun doing these, even when I was chained to ProTools trying to get the edit just right. I came up with the concept of a show based on life choices after writing What Women Want Next. The book was about feminine fulfilment in a post-feminist world, and the conclusion I’d come to was that the challenge of choice – in all its profusion, diffusion and confusion – was the new “problem that had no name.”
Books like Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice, Hugh Mackay’s Generations and Gregg Easterbrook’s The Progress Paradox provided inspiration (and I interviewed both Schwartz and Mackay early in the series). But I was also after something specific stylistically in this podcast: I wanted to create a sound that was at once personal and quote-unquote political, and I wanted to feature real voices and real settings. Some segments were recorded in the studio. But the most interesting ones were done in people’s homes and workplaces and, on one memorable occasion, from inside a dumpster.
Susan Atkinson, the executive producer, taught me how to be real on the radio, and her demanding production standards were a huge pain, and a priceless lesson. Megan Woods (in the first season) and Gaby Linford (in the second) were my sound engineers, producers and partners in crime. I loved working with them, and learning from them, and laughing like an idiot with them.
This episode still makes me laugh – but in a good way! It features a very courageous middle-aged lawyer who is attempting an extreme sport called learning the violin. Gary’s story, like many others from this series, was broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters. Here is the episode in its entirety. As you’ll hear, it includes a surprisingly soulful story on shoe repair. Yeah, you heard me.
Choices around pest control – oh, the glamour of this podcast! first shoe repair, and now extermination?! – are the focus next. I love this show because it is one of the few times you will ever hear actuality from inside a person’s cupboard. We had mice, and I was trying to figure out what my options were – ethically and otherwise. I know it sounds random. Hell, it IS random. But listen anyhow. It’ll gnaw at your heart, I swear.
Story catcher Episodes 1 – 10
One of my favorite gigs EVER was acting as executive producer/presenter for ABC Radio’s StoryCatcher project – a life-story series inspired by NPR’s amazing StoryCorps initiative. (For the full Storycatcher story, head to http://www.abc.net.au/perth/storycatcher/ Some of the best stories we caught were put together into a 10-part summer series – Australian summer, that is - broadcast nationally in Dec 2010/Jan 2011. Here’s the complete series, along with download links.
ABC Story catcher Susan Maushart Story catcher – Part 1/10
Story catcher – Part 2/10
Story catcher – Part 3/10
Story catcher – Part 3/10
Story catcher – Part 4/10
Story catcher – Part 5/10
Story catcher – Part 6/10
Story catcher – Part 7/10
Story catcher – Part 8/10
Story catcher – Part 9/10
Story catcher – Part 10/10