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New podcast sampling gig for This Way Up producer

Lyall Bay resident Richard Scott is moving on from producing one of RNZ’s most consistently entertaining programmes into a new on-air role.

Last Saturday after nearly 13 years on the airwaves and internet, the weekly RNZ National programme This Way Up with Simon Morton, which combined science and digital coverage, consumer advice and a whole lot more about “the things we use and consume”, came to a close.

Programme host Simon Morton is taking a break from RNZ, and his producer and fellow Lyall Bay resident Richard Scott (above) will be producing and presenting a new programme, The Podcast Hour, in This Way Up‘s time slot of 12:00 to 1:00pm Saturdays.

Scott, who used to be a business reporter for RNZ before he took on the production role, describes his new assignment as “a show designed to discover what you should listen to next”.

Each week he will hunt out the best in audio story-telling, playing excerpts from a selection of podcasts from New Zealand and around the world. The show will draw on the estimated half a million podcasts on offer, featuring some familiar names but also introducing listeners to a whole world of new stuff they won’t have heard before.

As well as helping listener discovery of new audio storytelling highlights, the programme will also go behind the scenes with interviews and insights into how podcasts are made, and context and analysis about their place in the wider world of podcasting.

On the first show this Saturday from midday on RNZ National  (online at rnz.co.nz/podcasthour on Friday afternoon) he’ll feature a podcast made in a prison, cultural investigation into canned laughter, and “the number one podcast for those involved or just interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds” which he promises is much funnier than it sounds.

Ear Hustle (prison slang for eavesdropping) is a podcast recorded and made inside San Quentin State Prison in California, one of America’s oldest and most notorious jails, and is  billed as the first podcast to be created entirely inside a prison, racking up millions of downloads, with its stories of prison life told by prisoners and guards.

Decoder Ring is a new monthly podcast hosted by Slate TV critic Willa Paskin that tries to crack all kinds of cultural mysteries. The featured episode looks at the history of the laugh track, the canned laughter heard on many 20th century TV comedy shows that has now fallen out of favour.

The Beef and Dairy Network Podcast parodies specialised industry newsletters devoted to the intricacies of food production. English comedian Benjamin Partridge presents a dry, deadpan and very surreal show, with episodes highlighting the role of cows in wartime, a bovine poet laureate, and rumoured sightings of a rare pygmy cow. Scott will be showcasing the Lamb Investigation Special, which has a strong New Zealand theme.

Richard Scott says that with hundreds of new podcasts appearing every day, he really needs audience help to be across everything, and promises to featuring lots of listener recommendations on future shows.

He’s open to suggestion at [email protected], or on Twitter @RNZPodcastHour