Image: Bobslimes/Flickr
Image: Bobslimes/Flickr

Podcaster Spotlight: Brady Haran

Brady Haran was one half of the hugely successful podcast Hello Internet. From 2014 to 2020, Haran and co-host CGP Grey discussed everything from dinosaur trading cards to copyright law. Over this time, the fanbase became massive, with fierce loyalty to a fictional flag and the ability to help crowd-fund the show via Patreon. Hello Internet became a cultural touchstone, coining the podcast genre “two dudes talking” (which has expanded massively over the last few years, for better or worse), and developing an impressively deep lore covering an equally impressive diversity of topics.

Since May 2020, when Hello Internet posted its last episode with no fanfare (or any indication that this over-three-year hiatus was planned), listeners may have been missing the two hosts. But both are still active (and remain friends).

Haran is well-known in the field of mathematics and science communication

Haran, in particular, has spun off into a podcasting career almost as prolific as his background in educational video. In fact, one of his most successful active podcasts is tied explicitly to his most notable YouTube channel: Numberphile. Launched in 2018, The Numberphile Podcast follows a similar style to the popular educational YouTube videos, with each episode featuring a guest coming on to explain an interesting aspect of mathematics which they have often been personally involved in. Haran is well-known in the field of mathematics and science communication, having been making Numberphile videos since 2011. His clout in this space allows for some relatively high-profile (for academic mathematics) guests. For example, the second episode of this podcast featured Ken Ribet, who explained Fermat’s Last Theorem – something Ribet played a pivotal role in the proof of.

Haran’s enthusiasm and curiosity have expanded the show’s remit massively

My favourite one of Haran’s ongoing podcasts is The Unmade Podcast. This show is co-hosted by Tim Hein – academic, minister, aspiring musician, and Haran’s childhood friend. Haran’s second ever podcasting endeavour, this show began in 2017 with the strict format of the two friends pitching each other ideas for podcasts, with the intention of never bothering to actually make them. Haran’s enthusiasm and curiosity have expanded the show’s remit massively, however, and the hour-long episodes now include segments listing facts about moons, playing listener covers of the jingle from a long-off-the-air ad for an Australian sofa shop, and analysing an instalment of Tim’s mum’s souvenir spoon collection. The podcast has also released some special episodes where the pair are unable to resist trying out some of the podcast ideas they pitch. The most re-visited examples include ‘Tommyball’, interviews and commentary on a bizarre and fictional sport (think Match of the Day meets Welcome To Night Vale), and ‘Out of Ten’, where the pair attempt to rank everything out of ten – from hot dogs to the Schuyler Sisters to the graduation episode of Beverly Hills 90210 – and generate a list (spoiler alert: bellybuttons place above corn on the cob, but not by much). The show notably has an incredibly active Patreon rewards scheme, where you can receive merch from the show including souvenir spoons, collectable trading cards, and mixtapes.

Haran’s most recent podcasting enterprise is with his wife. Having recently had their first child, the pair are joined by US-based podcasting couple Amanda Knox and Christopher Robinson, who have a young child of their own. The show, called Younglings, debuted in January 2023 and has an understandably inconsistent release schedule (something fans of Haran’s earlier work on Hello Internet will not be alienated by). Each episode covers an aspect of parenting, the first few covering things like baby-tech, taking newborns on aeroplanes, and when to call an ambulance.

These more recent ventures certainly have a narrower range of appeal than Hello Internet. If you aren’t into maths or have not recently had a child, The Unmade Podcast might be your best bet. If you are just a fan of Brady Haran however, the trio of shows offer a remarkably holistic insight into his character. Haran’s curiosity, hyperfixations, creativity, emotional memory, and deep compassion come through differently across his repertoire, but once you recognise them in one show, you see how they permeate and benefit the rest of his career. And what a career it is. Haran is responsible for over 20 YouTube channels and has received accolades including honorary degrees and even The Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the broadcast and on-line media. Official podcasting awards are few and far between but I am certain a few will eventually come Haran’s way because, with his talent and work ethic, he is certain to be a long-standing giant of this industry.

Comments (1)

  • That’s a fantastic breakdown of Brady Haran’s podcasting empire! I especially love your point about how each show offers a different lens into his diverse personality.

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