Welcome to the 9th podcast episode of this side series, the Podcast Spotlight. In this episode, we talk with Chris Tatem, host of the fantastic U.S. based podcast Cross Examined Life as he introduces the following 2 podcasts:

Podcast 1: A Year of Listening

A year of listening is an independent podcast hosted by Colleen K Powell, who describes herself as a day-dreamer, kitchen-dancer, wannabe-writer, and dinner party loverShe has a personal blog where she writes about various things in her life, but for the podcast, it is centered around the tagline of tackling all the topics your mother warned you never to discuss at cocktail parties. The podcast is presented in a simple conversational interview style, and tries to dive into sensitive topics in a sensitive manner.

Scroll below for links and accompanying materials discussed:

Colleen Powell, from her website www.colleenkpowell.com

There are times online, and especially on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, where it can feel suffocating. There’s always some new story or event that breaks out, everyone wants to give in their 2 cents worth, and the result is a non-stop chaotic battle of spiteful comments and bitter remarks. This is where a podcast like A Year of Listening really stands out. Because the whole point of the show is not to voice your opinion or to stand firm, or for that matter to even politicize already politically-charged issues. It is simply about listening. A fundamental building block of human relationships, and a skill that is perhaps being quickly eroded in our current times.

And what you find when you actually the time to listen, is that there is often more to a case or issue than you previously thought. Or perhaps there was some new facet of information that you had never previously considered. And maybe your perspective of the world changes, and you see things differently. Of course, this experience might not be for everyone, and in some sense the episodes do present the issues in a very one-sided manner. But, if you are willing to challenge your own beliefs, to spare the time to listen, then you might just find something worth your while.

Podcast 2: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Intelligence Squared U.S. is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American discourse. They provide a forum for balanced and intelligent debate that is widely distributed in various forms: radio programs, podcasts, online broadcasts, televisions, and digital video series.

To date, the organization has conducted 160 debates on far ranging issues with 500 debaters. The debating style is also unique in that it adopts the traditional Oxford-style debate format, where one side proposes and the other side opposes a sharply-framed motion.

Scroll below for links and accompanying materials discussed:

Photo courtesy of intelligence squared u.s.

In comparison with the first podcast, Intelligence Squared is definitely a huge contrast. The production quality is bigger, the guests are prominent, the content is published across multiple platforms, and it makes for a very professional and informative listening experience. However, it should be said that there is a trade-off when you produce a show like this. You don’t have the intimacy between the host and guest, ideas are not fully fleshed out, and as Chris points out during our conversation, there are times where it feels like the guests are on to make their point rather than actually debate. Nonetheless, it’s a different show for a different audience, and at least with this podcast you will hear both sides of the issue, and guests who have the credentials and the research to back up their position. If you’re into that kind of thing, then this show is definitely for you.

Music by Pandrezz: Takin’ you for a ride

Once again special thanks to Chris Tatem for taking the time to come on this episode. There was so much to learn just by poking a little deeper into his production process and why he sets up the show the way he does. There is a method behind the magic, and I’m very grateful to Chris for sharing some of it. In fact, he was recently invited to PodCon2 as a speaker, where he presented on the topic of the critical first 60 seconds of your podcast. I’m just lucky to have had a breakdown of that for our show. For that, do check out his fantastic podcast, the Cross Examined Life, here


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