November 16, 2016

Trump, elected the 45th president only a week earlier.

Alex and I met Julie Shapiro the day after she received the news that her creature, Soundproof, the inspiring one-hour radio art show produced weekly for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, had been decommissioned, in other words cancelled.

We were late and barely ran into her at the revolving doors of a café in Cambridge, MA. While walking a block to her office at Public Radio Exchange (, she broke the news to us. In the sadness of the story though, it made an impression to see how caring and thoughtful a producer can be. She invited us that evening to the Podcast Garage to listen to Australian podcasts.

What do you know about podcasts in Australia?
To that day, nothing. South-south ignorance. We just look north, or away.

The event was well-prepared and informal at the same time. The technology was there to make our experience better and their performance on stage easier. A professionally organized event in a space offered for the time being by Harvard.

Jon Thjia and Kate Montague are two radio producers and experts based in Melbourne and Sydney, respectively. They played, for an audience of a dozen, their choice of a dozen podcasts covering the whole spectrum of radio in Australia today. The spectrum is diverse and colorful, and while it opens like a fan you can reconstruct the immensity of that landscape by following sound. Radio in Australia has sense of artistry and craft; their sound engineers are credited. After working there for over a year, Julie was able to recognize their distinct touch, their sonic signature. The final toast was a Soundproof kaddish.

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