21 November 2011

Blog | The inspiration…

Sometime in February 2011, a watering hole somewhere in Sri Hartamas (the one with great mutton varuval), two fans of This American Life (TAL), Freakanomics Radio and those wonderful BBC Radio podcasts were discussing great stories and ideas hovering around in the expanding world of podcasts.

We loved these podcasts. Our listening habits were truly boundless, we tuned in to our favourite podcasts first thing in the morning, at the office as we cleared our mailbox, while we surfed the Internet, as I walked my dog, while I was doing household chores, when I was stuck in a jam or during long distance road trips.

It just felt like an awesome and smart way to optimise our time on earth, pairing up mundane tasks with our favourite podcast. Secretly we were just pleased we found a great way to make up for all the reading we just did not have time for.

Our favourite podcasts had such lovely nuggets of information, sound bites and stories. We never really listened to it purely for entertainment because we always walked away learning something new.  Even if it was a topic that did not particularly interest us at first, soon the sound bites and the host would tease our curiosity.

In about 20 minutes the podcast was over and the reward for listening was instantaneous. To shut that gab and listen for a change it made us more interesting and interested as individuals. We just had more to talk about outside the realm of the usual fracas in the local news.

As the conversation continued we drew closer to what would be our “A-HA” moment. Why were we so drawn to these podcasts? We found ourselves constantly looking for intelligent discourse, entertaining and meaningful sound bites one that was the opposite to the ocean of complaints, anger, threats and trivial nonsensical noise dominating the local online sphere.

But before the “A-Ha” moment came the rant. We began complaining about how the moderate voice seem to be drowned out, it was either you were for or against, policies and issues were constantly politicised, the propaganda was nauseating, the stories of Malaysians doing great things (whichever side they are from) always lost, people just seem to struggle to come together, to listen to all sides of a story, to have a decent conversation, to engage in intelligent discourse… yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah, dot dot dot…

A few drinks on and after we got the rant out of the way we thought “Hey why don’t we produce our own podcast, one filled with local content and topics?” We can feature various themes and hosts that would take listeners on a journey to meet new people and ideas on this journey we are on as Malaysians. We were encouraged by the fact that BFM was already podcasting a lot of their formatted radio content. It was a great start to local content and it was indicative of Malaysians hunger for what we would like to call intelligent discourse on everything and giving all sides of a story a voice.

We would try our best to always present all sides of a story, give people a chance to listen to different angles, ideas and thoughts, provide the listener with just enough fuel and information to continue the conversation and decide for themselves…

Nova C Nelson,
With some good company, moving beyond the rant to producing some great podcasts.