No Shortcut to Insider Access

How Ear Hustle and Other People’s Problems have navigated access and consent to give listeners a fly-on-the-wall experience.

I love podcasts that give me a glimpse into a world I would have otherwise never been able to see; shows that make you feel like you’re getting special behind-the-scenes access. I’m talking about podcasts like Ear Hustle, which chronicles the reality of daily life inside prison, or therapy podcasts like Other People’s Problems. So I wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look at the production of these behind-the-scenes podcasts. Meta, I know.

Gaining access

In early 2016, Jodie Martinson was working as a producer for CBC Radio when she pitched a podcast about therapy. She was inspired by her own experience in couples counseling and how greatly it differed from how it was mythologized in the media.

“It wasn’t clear how we were going to do it,” she says. “But what was clear was this sort of hunger to have journalism and storytelling go behind closed doors.”

Martinson started going through the daunting process of finding a way into these vulnerable sessions. She got in touch with several therapists; the CBC was looking for someone who would be open to having microphones in their sessions and be a compelling host for the show. Then, she landed on Hillary McBride, a Vancouver-based therapist who believed the show could really help people. This was the first step in her process of creating Other People’s Problems.


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