I’ve always been a little suspicious of the merit of podcasts. The idea of home-made talk radio turned me cold. It was only Slouching Towards Thatcham‘s tweets that really put them on my radar.

Tim had recommended a few Dad podcasts and, from those, I’d sourced a couple more. Unfortunately, one or two weren’t my cup of tea, although that’s just one Dad’s opinion. It’s been said that listening to a Dad podcast is like listening to a bunch of guys talking round a pub table. That’s probably true. Problem is, all sorts of people sit round pub tables too, and it would be odd if you liked all of them.

One podcast in particular, however, shone through. A Dad’s View is labelled a safe place for Dads, because women simply aren’t allowed. It’s not a misogynistic play at all. It’s simply a rule that allows Dads to be open and honest about issues without fear of causing offence or getting themselves into trouble. Does that make the Dads involved sound like a kid worried about getting into trouble with their mum? Absolutely, but far funnier and less pathetic than it sounds.

The Fellas

A Dad's ViewThe participants of A Dad’s View are four fellas with very different characters. Anchor / chairman of the podcast is SpannersReady (aka Richard). He’s a married father of two who has a 3 foot square shed for podcasting. He runs a tight ship keeping the show ticking over and does a great job of it. While the group do often go off on tangents, there is definitely a structure to the show and clearly a lot of work goes into it.

The creator of A Dad’s View, Tony, brings the Middlesbrough flavoured acidic wit to the mix. He sounds simultaneously exasperated and amused by the events his life brings. He delivers many of the one-liners that have me chuckling on the train.

Matt ‘Trumpet’ is an American father of one and trumpeter to many. He’s slightly older than the others and gets suitably ribbed for this. His style is more laid back and worldy-wise. He’s a New Yorker and adds loads to the proceedings.

Sci Man Dan is the author of “Confessions of a 21st Century Dad”, an honest take on modern day fatherhood. He also brings a mix of honest family anecdotes and bloke ribbing that blends in well.

Other guests drop in and out (like fitness guru Darren Neal) but the format of the show is constant. It begins with an assurance that the podcast is A Safe Place and is for Dads because “you’ve been a parent as long as she has”.

Topics

A topic of the week exists for every podcast but there’s a natural branching out to related topics. Topics could be something like “Jobs which are classed as Dad Jobs but for which we get no credit”, like the killing and removing of beasts from the house, for example.

Rather than sounding like a bunch of guys whining about their lives, the humour is vastly self-deprecating. Tales often end with a punchline at their own expense. If the end of the story is a rare ‘victory’ in the household, they usually acknowledge how pathetic that makes them. (While it presents itself as a podcast for Dads, it is actually a brilliant summing up of what married life in general is like.)

Each week, one of the Dads is invited to ‘Show and Tell’, which involves bringing something family related with a story behind it. The shows are also broadcast on Ustream when they’re recorded, which adds another level of hilarity to it. All the Dads have a wee drink while recording which keeps tongues loose and inhibitions at bay.

Review

I’ve downloaded all the podcasts via iTunes and subscribed for future ones. At the moment, I have 21 hours of A Dad’s View on my phone and I’m 8 hours in. It’s become my listening choice for journeys to and from work.

It was odd to see what the chaps looked like after hearing their voices. I pictured Matt Trumpet as being short, bald and with a big beard. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He’s tall, smart and has a fine head of hair. I pictured Tony as clean shaved and with dark hair (don’t know why), but he’s the baldy with the beard. Spanners, however, is exactly how I pictured him. It’s bizarre how our brains work….

The shows are excellent. I find myself laughing at the stories because they’re relatable parts of my everyday family life. The banter hits the perfect balance of bloke humour and actual discussion of the topic at hand with enough parenting experience between the protagonists to make the anecdotes useful and valid. The quality of the recordings is top notch. It’s recorded from Skype but sounds broadcast quality.

A Dad’s View has made me not only like podcasts, but also – the previously unthinkable – to recommend one. Get more details here on their Facebook page and download their podcasts on iTunes.