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The Podcast Hour for Saturday 18 August 2018

Caliphate: reporting on Islamic State. An Unexpected Kitchen: The George Foreman Grill. Cracking a cold case? The Teacher's Pet. And celebrity revelations over a home-cooked dinner: Table Manners with Jessie Ware.

Caliphate: reporting on Islamic State

Caliphate Logo (Supplied)

Caliphate Logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied

In the 2 years since it was set up, The New York Times' audio unit has had some notable successes.

Just look at 'The Daily', a 20-odd minute weekday news show, where host Michael Barbaro interviews some of the Times' best journalists about the big stories of the day. In no time at all it's become one of the most popular podcasts in the world with 5 million monthly listeners, and annual advertising revenue reportedly worth more than US$10 million.

Meanwhile the 10-part series 'Caliphate', which is a detailed look at ISIS and how it operates and grows, has been another major hit, with some critics already calling it one of the best podcasts of the year.

A little like the format of 'The Daily', in 'Caliphate' a journalist takes centre stage, with correspondent Rukmini Callimachi shadowed by producer Andy Mills as they try to establish the credibility of a mysterious potential source.

We play some of Episode 1 'The Reporter' and then speak to Rukmini Callimachi and Andy Mills about the role of audio storytelling in modern journalism, and why The New York Times first set up an dedicated audio unit a couple of years ago.


An Unexpected Kitchen: The George Foreman Grill

Davia Nelson (L) and Nikki Silva of The Kitchen Sisters 2 (Supplied)

Davia Nelson (L) and Nikki Silva of The Kitchen Sisters 2 (Supplied) Photo: Supplied

The American audio producing duo The Kitchen Sisters have made hundreds of sound-rich documentaries over their 30-plus years in the business.

This is one of their stories that involves a famous heavyweight boxer, and some unusual uses for the grill he brought to the masses.

Next week we speak to one of The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson, and play more of their stories.

Cracking a cold case? The Teacher's Pet

The Teacher's Pet is an Australian true crime series that centres on the disappearance and suspected murder of Sydney woman Lyn Dawson in 1982.

The Teacher's Pet - a podcast by The Australian investigating the 1982 death of Sydney woman Lyn Dawson

Photo: The Australian

The show has uncovered new evidence and witnesses to the events leading up her disappearance over its 13 episodes (and counting).

Although this 36-year-old cold case remains unsolved, the investigation has led the New South Wales Police to look into historic claims of sexual abuse by teachers at a local high school.

Made by news and media company The Australian, and hosted by its national chief correspondent Hedley Thomas, the show's also proving to be a big commercial success, having just passed 4 million downloads and been at Number 1 of the iTunes charts in Australia in just about every week since it launched in May.

We play some of Episode 3 of 'The Teacher's Pet' in which Hedley Thomas manages to get the chief suspect in the case on the phone.

Celebrity revelations over a home-cooked dinner: Table Manners

Table Manners logo (Supplied)

Table Manners logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied

Celebrity chat shows don't always give you many major insights into what makes the biggest stars tick.

But when you throw in some food, have some famous mates, and get your mum to do the cooking, you seem to find out a whole lot more about them!

Jessie Ware's an English singer and songwriter and in her show 'Table Manners' her mum Lennie cooks up a storm for a selection of invited guests including Ed Sheeran, TV personality Alan Carr, and chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

This is from the very first episode back in November when the English singer Sam Smith popped round for dinner. And although you get the feeling that the show is still finding its feet, the mix of food, friends and family makes for a natural sounding chat full of unguarded moments and some surprising revelations that you would never hear on the red carpet, or on a TV interview show.