The Dissect podcast utilises the aural nature of podcasting to deliver in-depth musical and contextual analysis’ of Hip-Hop albums. For the fifth season of the podcast, host Cole Cuchna analyses DAMN, the fourth studio album from Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar.
The technology for podcast producing and listening continues to be increasingly simple as journalists take advantage of its ability for personal and intimate storytelling. Bigger media outlets have started to create their podcasts to shift the established radio audience to this new form of journalism, however, Dissect benefits from its independence and creative freedom.
Dissect demonstrates multimedia journalism by being accessible for streaming on services such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify and using an online presence on social media including Instagram (24k followers) and Twitter (31.6k followers), and a website with articles and merchandise. Each season, Dissect analyses a popular album, song by song, with episodes ranging from five minutes to two hours. According to Meagan Perry, “podcasts liberate you from the clock, so tell your stories at the length that strengthens them.” Through these differing lengths, Cuchna can to delve deep into the intricacies of the albums’ music theory and thematic contents.
In an LA Times article, podcast producer Tim Lloyd refers to himself as “a storyteller who knows how to commit acts of journalism.” This can be applied to Cuchna’s approach to Dissect as he incorporates his narrative, sound bites from the artist’s songs and interviews and other relevant sound bites of news reports and viral videos. This balance between curation and personalisation is a key attribute to high-quality journalism. Being the only host of the podcast, including various audio is essential to create innovative journalism that is equally entertaining as it is informative and well-researched.
Social media, as a medium, is used to compose, amend and circulate digital information at a nominal cost. Dissect understands the cost-effectiveness of advertising their podcast through promoting the weekly release of new episodes and directly engage with their audience on Instagram and Twitter. Listeners of Dissect even have a subreddit where the audience can interact and discuss each episode.
In ‘What’s in a Niche?’ from the Journal of Media Business Studies, niche journalism is framed as an opportunity to deliver an audience with high-quality journalism in a tightly defined domain that was previously unavailable. Although Hip-Hop is now, according to Nielsen, the most popular genre, there is still a niche audience for examining Hip-Hop through an academic lens. Dissect is a leading contributor to this niche and, in bonus episodes, collaborates with other contributors such as music review YouTuber Anthony Fantano and podcast show Watching The Throne.
Illustrating the rising trend of podcasts in journalism, Dissect use an investigative style similar to the Serial and This American Life podcasts that Cuchna cited as influences in an interview with Billboard. With this storytelling technique, Dissect uses social media for advertising and as an extension of the niche audience that Cuchna and other prominent figures have innovated.
For comprehensive analysis’ of some of the most critically acclaimed Hip-Hop albums, be sure to check out Dissect.