Funemployed: a breakdown

Interview shows are flooding the podcast market and they've been the staple format on radio airwaves for years because they’re easy and cheap to make.


Because you don’t have to do any editing, the audio from the studio or skype session is uploaded without any edits!

But, these type of shows can make for boring and predictable listening.

The Australian radio series I'm breaking down today is the perfect antidote to this format.

Plus, it has a simple structure that you can emulate.

Yes copy it, if you don't trust me, trust Alex Blumberg.


First a book and now a radio series, Funemployed by Justin Heazlewood.

The series about what it's like to be a working artist in Australia. 



Re above: I'm definitely in the "no job" section :).

Each episode is based on a topic:

  • Self promotion
  • Rejection
  • Mental illness
  • Fame
  • Selling out
  • Workaholism
  • Giving up

Justin interviewed loads of creatives about the above topics and the best bits from his interviews make up each episode.

Each episode is kind of like an extended vox-pop:

Host introduces sub-topic 1

Person one talks about sub-topic 1 (vox pop 1)

Person two talks about sub-topic 1(vox pop 2)

Host introduces next sub-topic 


Here's a visual of the same thing.

The above structure is then repeated for the rest of the episode (see the graphic near the end of this post).

This simple structure doesn't sound as predictable as it looks because the narration, where Justin shares his own experience, breaks up the interview snippets and gives you story to latch onto. 

The narration is fun too, Justin puts on voices to act as different people and ends each episode by singing one of his songs.

A Breakdown of Episode 1: Sell Yourself

Let's have a close look a one episode.

If the title doesn't give it away, the topic of this episode is self promotion.

The episode has 5 sub-topics, as shown below.  

The episode only goes for 15:30 minutes, but it includes nine interviews (whoa!).

Now here's a full visual breakdown of the entire episode structure (you can listen along if you like).

Difficult bits

Okay, disclaimer, while I've said that the above structure is easy to copy, I don't want to downplay two things that are hard to copy from this series:

1. Justin/Narrator

The episode relies on Justin's 'persona' to hold each episode together. And boy, has he got some pizzazz!

You've either got to step up and try to be like Justin, find a host that's like Justin or try a different narration style (I'm keen to know your thoughts about what other types of narration styles you think might work instead).

2. Bulk interviews

Justin interviewed over 100 people for his Funemployed book. It's not clear whether the radio series uses these same interviews or if Justin did new interviews for this series.

Either way, you're going to need to interview a lot of people to get a good selection of tape to choose from because remember, some interviews are duds

But don't let those two things put you off, we should all aim to make our audio bigger and better.

That's why I'm here anyway.

And a quote from the final episode of Funemployed sums up exactly why I need to keep making audio:

We’d be infinitely worse people if we weren’t doing this.
— Giving Up, Funemployed

Wouldn't we ever?! 

Okay, you should listen to the episode now if you haven't.

Buy the book or give it as a gift to a friend.

And let me know what you think of the episode? Did you like it? Can you relate to the topic? How do you sell yourself?