Review: The Spoonman

The SpoonmanFor the uninitiated, Brian Carlton — best known as The Spoonman — is an Australian shock jock that has been floating around on the radio for many years. US listeners might think of him as Australia’s answer to Tom Leykis; he may be of greater moral character than Leykis in my opinion, but Spoonman has proven to be every bit as controversial.

Up until his late night talk show was cancelled late last year, Triple M released two podcasts featuring Spoonman. The first was the repackaged radio show, and the other the After The Forking Show podcast where Spoonman and his producer and panel operator discussed topical news amongst themselves.

Both these programmes no longer exist, but in 2009 fans were delighted to hear The Spoonman was back with two new daily podcasts. The Editorial podcast, where Spoonman briefly runs through news headlines for the day; and the Random Rave podcast where he discusses news in more depth and answers listener emails.

The purpose of the podcast is to offer a bite sized overview of the day’s news, and to allow Carlton to offer his opinions on the hottest topics. His rants can be self indulgent and his demeanor condescending at times, which will surely rub many people up the wrong way. Even so, this is a quick and easy to keep up on some of the bigger stories in the news. The news itself covers both local and world stores, however the topics tend to be localised to Australia and sometimes to Sydney which may alienate international listeners, or even those outside of New South Wales.

This is sure to be a polarising podcast. He’s the sort of guy you’ll love to hate, and although he consistently makes some insightful and well researched arguments, I’d worry if you agreed with everything that came out of his mouth.

Subscribe to The Spoonman: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review, including samples from the show and a 3 person discussion about the show, in Episode 18 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for The Spoonman
Entertainment value

Can be engaging, but unfortunately without a co-host or listener phone-ins to bounce off of, the show becomes more of an echo chamber than a stimulating discussion.

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Quality of content

The news portion is generally well researched and tightly packaged, but overall the show can feel somewhat disorganised moving between news and politics and arguments over whether a men’s carry bag is emasculating or not. Some may find this variety a good thing, but I found it made the podcast more difficult to get hooked on.

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Production quality

Being from a radio background, Spoonman has the facilities of Triple M behind him, so the show is of excellent quality.

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Overall

There’s a lot to like here, but at the end of the day the programme’s poorly defined target market and localised news makes it difficult to get into. What made Spoonman’s original incarnation so good was not just Spoonman’s opinions, but his listener’s reaction to them. Only getting one side of the conversation just doesn’t work as well, and reading out emails is not an adequate substitute. Hopefully we’ll see services such as Ustream or Talk Shoe used down the track that might bring back more of what we loved about The Spoonman.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted October 7, 2009 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Woo hoo! Loved this episode for the content (it helps that I do listen to Spoonman) and also Tom’s special guests (that I hope can return!) ;)

    Maybe I might start a Spoonman Drinking Game – if you hear him refer to not doing the night show, have a drink (and so on)

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