Archive for ‘noise’

December 10, 2014

Sound Women Podcast: be smiley for Jo Whiley

iTunes best of 2014
Well, this is nice – firstly, Answer Me This! being a ‘classic’ in iTunes’s best of 2014, which both flatters our little home-made show, and makes me feel very old and Roger Moore-ish. Secondly, I’m absolutely delighted to see the brilliant No Such Thing As a Fish being dubbed iTunes’s best new show of 2014 (and this has been a GREAT year for new shows, including Pitch, Criminal, Death, Sex & Money, and of course the juggernaut that is Serial).

I appear on episode 27 of No Such Thing As a Fish, by the way, but don’t let that put you off.

And now for a parade of shows I’ve been doing lately:

On the fun history podcast Z List Dead List, I talk about Dr Wilhelm Fliess, Sigmund Freud’s best frenemy; and on She Podcasts, I bang on about podcasting and radio and stuff like that. Which [UPDATED TO ADD] is also what I do on the 200th episode of the Wired podcast.

This month’s Sound Women podcast features Jo Whiley:

I guest hosted the Media Podcast special from the Women in Film and TV awards. I got to meet Sue Perkins and Jon Snow!

And I’m on the new International Waters, along with Simon Kane, Jackie Kashian, Brian Fernandes and host Dave Holmes, AND a very festive hit from New Kids on the Block. Prepare yourself for a funky funky Christmas:

Finally, if you would prefer a funny Christmas to a funky Christmas, may I suggest the Answer Me This! Christmas? Further information about the contents is here, as well as links to buy it for a very trifling price; and now is the time of year for it. I anticipate April will NOT be the time.

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November 12, 2014

SWP19: Charlotte Green

For this month’s Sound Women podcast, I spoke to the marvellous Charlotte Green. Now host of the Culture Club on Classic FM, you’ll know her voice from the Shipping Forecast, the football results, the Today Programme, or the tannoy system in heaven.

October 16, 2014

AMT300

I really can’t believe our little home-made podcast has made it this far, but today we published the 300th episode of Answer Me This!.

I don’t want to give away too much of what is in it (suffice to say a lot of people are asking whether it’ll be our last episode), so please just listen to it via the various different means at answermethispodcast.com/episode300, or you can play it right here:

AND there’s a bumper bonus track:

It was a LOT of work. Now please excuse me, I need a lie down.

October 6, 2014

feel the fear and freelance anyway

This month’s Sound Women podcast is all about a subject close to my heart: freelancing! Come next January, I’ll have been a freelancer for ten years. I either think being a freelancer is the best thing in the world, or a terrifyingly irresponsible decision, disastrous for one’s finances and future security. I swing from one to the other several times daily. Joining me to share tales of joy, fear and being an official Mrs Potato Head were the excellent freelancers Matt Hill, Ellie Davis and Nicky Patrick. Listen here or right here:

After having said it a few thousand times, it occurred to me that ‘freelance’ is quite an odd term, so I looked it up and learnt that it was probably coined by Walter Scott in Ivanhoe. There’s your fact of the day.

In other work news, this Saturday was the final episode of BBC 5 Live’s Saturday Edition, a show I’ve been on nearly every week since the very beginning, four years ago. I’m sad to see it go, especially when I heard the montage at the end – you can hear it on the podcast here.

So now I’m patrolling central London wearing an A-board, advertising my services. That’s the best way to get new radio gigs, right?

I’m not sure the best way to stay in the radio industry’s good books was to do this talk at the Next Radio conference last month, but whatevs, it’s too late now:

If you want to hear me banging on about podcasting, then direct yourself to the 25th September edition of the Media Focus podcast; and/or if you would like to read me banging on about podcasting then check out this interview I did with Podcaster News.

And finally: there’s an excellent new online magazine in town, Standard Issue, and I’m delighted to contribute to it. Here I am debunking some stats about women in comedy, that subject that will hopefully one day be known as ‘people in comedy’.

September 22, 2014

No Such Thing As A Fish noises

I have seen into the minds of the QI Elves, and they are, as you might imagine, Chock Full Of Knowledge.

This is quite soul-destroying for me, as I too make a fact-flinging show, and my brain is but a rotten walnut. Seriously! I think I cover it quite well, but almost all the time, my head feels whistlingly empty, a very similar sensation to when you’ve moved all your stuff out of your house and you’re taking one final tour around before locking the front door for the last time.

Nonetheless, I had a great time with the QI Elves on their terrific podcast No Such Thing As A Fish, even though they have Google plumbed straight into their intellects and I do not (hello, inferiority complex). Listen below, or via qi.com/podcast.

By the way – if you’re ever seeking podcast recommendations, on every alternate Thursday (ie the ones when we don’t post a new episode of Answer Me This!) I do a ‘Thursday Listening Party’ post on the AMT site mentioning shows that I’ve particularly enjoyed hearing over that fortnight.

Here they all are, if you want to see, and/or suggest shows that I and the AMT readers should hear. I love finding out about more podcasts, and word of mouth seems to be the best way. So please do enlighten me!

September 12, 2014

The Media Podcast

Popped up on this week’s Media Podcast and whoops, for the second time this week I had a rant about the radio industry. Among other current media topics. Listen here:

July 10, 2014

Nightingale noises

I’ve had a quiet month. Wayyyyy too quiet. But hurrah, the silence is broken:

There’s a new episode of the Sound Women podcast, in which the absolute legend that is Annie Nightingale tells me about busting down doors to get a job at the distinctly female-unfriendly Radio 1, where she still is today, as fresh and enthusiastic as ever. We also go behind the scenes of big music festival broadcasts, through all the mud, rain and balloon attacks.

I’m a guest on the latest episode of The Media Podcast with Newsbeat’s Alex Hudson and host Miranda Sawyer. On the agenda: George Clooney vs the Mail Online, leaky Doctor Who, and the sinister-sounding Omnicom.

A couple of weeks ago, I chaired a discussion at the Regent Street Apple Store with Bugle producer Chris Skinner, Football Rambler Pete Donaldson, and m’esteemed colleage Olly Mann. Audio and video of us contemplating our podcasting lives is now available here.

And finally: after many weeks of being biffed in favour of sports broadcasts, 5 Live’s Saturday Edition is back*, as will be its subsequent incarnation as the Let’s Talk About Tech podcast.
*Alas, not for long. After four glorious years, as of October it will be no more. Spare any change?

June 5, 2014

Deserts and Waters

On this month’s Sound Women podcast: it’s only the magnificent Fi Glover! One of my favourite ladies of radio. She talks of the virtues of BLOODY HARD WORK, going for it when you’re young enough to bounce back, and Fanny Trollope. The show is available on iTunes and SoundCloud; make me happy and listen to it:

Dan Tetsell and I joined forces to take on the might of the USA in International Waters. UK-US relations were redefined for the ages.

I’m also on the new episode of Desert Isolation Discs. It’s a bit – ok a lot – like Desert Island Discs, and as it’s the closest I’m likely to get to being on Desert Island Discs, I took the process VERY seriously. http://shadowplayboys.podbean.com/

And finally, in today’s audiodump: my friend Leila Johnston from Shift Run Stop has started a Hack Circus podcast, for which she and I (and her dog, whom you might be able to hear trying to pull the table over) met up in a pub and had a big old chat. It’s on iTunes or not-iTunes. Or right here:

The rest is silence.

May 9, 2014

podcasters on podcasting

It was an absolute joy interviewing so many great podcasters for Olly’s and my BBC Radio 4 documentary Podcasting: The First Ten Years. It was not such a joy having to cut down the many sage and inspiring things they said to tiny soundbites, because 56 minutes of airtime are very quickly filled. So here are full-length versions of several of the interviews I did, in case you are particularly interested in podcasters talking shop.

I’d get squirrelly if I didn’t sit down and talk to people once or twice a week. I would be accosting people in the street if I wasn’t doing the podcast.


I don’t mind telling you I was really quite intimidated to speak to Marc Maron. How do you interview someone who’s done nearly 500 highly-feted interviews on his own podcast? But he was very pleasant to me, and talked candidly and reflectively about podcasting turning around his career, how it can interfere with his relationships, recreating his own garage in a film studio, and stocking up on tea and biscuits for Iggy Pop.

I don’t want to hear about rimming in the airport at 8am.


We’d all agree with Dan Savage there. The eminent sex columnist and campaigner was writing Savage Love before Google existed, so he was effectively the search engine for all sexual problems and proclivities. The column branched out into a podcast, and Dan says: “I used to think of column as most important thing and the podcast was a side-gig, but now it’s the other way round: the podcast is much more important than the column.” Dan describes the intimacy of talking right into people’s ears while they go about their business, having to be a perfect child, and never being shocked by listeners “because I figure, if it exists, someone somewhere is effing it.”

A podcast is just a stretch of time with audio in it, and you can do whatever you want within that stretch of time; so I’d like to hear people doing whatever they want within that stretch of time.


Since it began less than two years ago, Welcome To Night Vale has been a phenomenal success, and when I spoke with its creators and writers, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, I understood why. They wanted to make a podcast that wasn’t like any other podcasts that they’d ever heard, because those already existed. Mission resoundly accomplished.

Fun fact: one of the Night Vale guys had never used Skype before we did this interview, so by forcing him to get it, I felt like one of the bad kids in the playground giving him his first cigarette. I hope I didn’t start him on a slippery slope to…I dunno, Snapchat?

Now, there are about five steps too many to get a podcast.


This was the third time I’ve interviewed Roman Mars and since we met at SXSW last year, we’ve also become real-life pals. I’d love for him to teach me everything he knows, but I suspect that’s what everyone wants from Roman. At least I can benefit from his wisdom dispensed here. He talks about the necessity of podcasters putting in the effort, his record-breaking Kickstarter campaigns having to justify spending time away from his family, the socialist principles behind the Radiotopia collective, and how 99% Invisible fans are willing to fund the show but NOT to hear Roman swear at the dead.

The whole plan was for me to support the family by being a lawyer and Jesse would make his adorable little public radio show and podcast and pay some of the bills that way. Instead now I work for the company and we’re trying to pay off my law school debt!


But thank goodness things did turn out that way for Theresa Thorn and her husband Jesse, otherwise the rest of us wouldn’t get to enjoy the fruits of the Thorns’ podcasting empire Maximum Fun. Theresa’s podcast One Bad Mother is absolutely charming, even if like me you’re not particularly interested in parenting; she tells me about oversharing, having babies to beget podcast material, and MaxFunFans bonding with each other in real life.

Did I expect to be in for an interesting ride? Yes. Am I amazed to be still on that ride? Yes.


I have a lot for which to be grateful/ungrateful to Ewan Spence, because without him I might never have become a podcaster at all. And then where would I be? (A: still working on my own in my living room most of the time.) Being interviewed by Ewan for a podcast way back in 2006 was what gave Olly the idea to start a podcast with me.
Ewan talks about how he came to be Scotland’s first podcaster, and subsequently the Edinburgh Fringe podcaster and THE Eurovision Song Contest podcaster – he’s out there backstage in Copenhagen right now!

Keith loves the fans so much, he married one!


Keith and the Girl have such hardcore fans, there are more than 130 KATG tattoos and counting – and even a few horrific-sounding (and looking) FLESH BRANDINGS. Frankly I’m relieved that Answer Me This! fans are comparatively restrained in their affections… I don’t know how Keith and Chemda manage to do a podcast DAILY – they even released an episode on the day their romantic relationship came to an end – but I’m glad they do: they’re very frank, funny and smart.

Podcasting became this opportunity to try something different, something new, see what worked.


I dragged Chris Skinner out of a post-knee-operation cloud of anaesthesia to talk about making some of Britain’s earliest podcasts, as well as The Game, the Dave Gorman podcast, and my brother’s podcast The Bugle. Speaking of which…

The internet is the 21st-century equivalent of shouting at traffic.


It was a bit weird interviewing my brother Andy, so naturally I asked him about the sibling rivalry that everybody assumes plagues us. He and his Bugle co-host John Oliver speak about relishing the complete creative freedom of podcasts, making each other laugh, and how Listeners paying for podcasts is “like higher rate taxation: voluntary, but if you’re feeling philanthropic you might want to do it.” Afterwards Andy said he and John had never actually talked to each other about most of the things I asked them about in the interview, so it was nice for him to find out why John wants to carry on doing the podcast even though he’s now Big Johnny Showbiz. (Apparently the contract for his new gig specifies that he is allowed to continue Bugling, you’ll be relieved to know.)

The whole playlist:

May 8, 2014

My So-Called Life

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Angela Chase! To celebrate nearly twenty years since the advent of one of the finest TV depictions of adolescence, I went on Little Atoms podcast to talk about My So-Called Life. I watched it when it aired in 1994, when I was almost exactly the same age as the protagonists; some ten years later I watched it as an adult, and unlike most cultural highpoints of the 90s, it holds up. Another decade has passed, so it must be due another viewing – now I’m closer in age to Angela’s parents than Angela, will it have changed in my eyes? (No! I’ve always been Team Patty.)

Unthinkably, even the styles seem to be coming back into fashion – I’ve seen many young ladies wearing flannel or dungarees (accessorised with a pair of DMs, of course) on the streets of London over the past few months, although gents don’t seem to have revived the curtain hair. YET. Please god never, I can’t go through all of that again…

Click here to listen to the podcast, and don’t blame me when you wake up in the night after a bad dream about shapeless babydoll dresses in which everyone speaks very falteringly.

Also happening in my so-called life is the Sound Women podcast, which this month concerns itself with different routes into broadcasting careers. Ruth Barnes and I reflect upon our own – hers classic, as she bombarded stations with cassette tape demos and headed notepaper, for which she blames Fame Academy; mine, via podcasting, involved sitting on my arse in my living room for seven years. And counting! Also, Peter Sale sheds light on his work at Wandsworth Prison’s radio station, and Becky Sheeran of Talk Becky Talk talkBeckytalks to Natalie Peck about YouTube stardom.

PS Because I know there’s a part of you that still loves the way he leans (though personally I prefer Brian Krakow):
My-So-Called-Life

March 12, 2014

podclash

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A union of podcasts this week, as Olly and I were guests on Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. There’s been beef between us from a few years ago, and finally it gets a thorough chewing:

Here’s the March episode of the Sound Women podcast, featuring a very enjoyable guide to surviving a breakfast show from Natalie B of Heart Four Counties. I still don’t know how she does it. I would be permanently delirious from working those hours. I also met Eleanor McDowall who produces Radio 4’s Short Cuts, and Ruth Barnes interviews Xfm presenter Danielle Perry. It’s on iTunes, or right here:

UPDATE: there’s also a bonus episode of Sound Women this month, as I went down to Radio 1 just as they were kicking off their all-female schedule for International Women’s Day. I met Annie Mac, and Hayley Clarke spoke to B.Traits and Monki:

And here’s Answer Me This! Episode 285, featuring correspondence from an actual OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST.

February 10, 2014

Spark London, or, Troubles with my Aunt

Although the main podcast I make is a comedy show, my favourite genre of podcasts to listen to involves people telling true stories. The Moth, Love + Radio, Unfictional, This American Life, Strangers, Third Coast International Audio Festival… So imagine my excitement when I was invited to speak at Spark London, London’s premium stand-on-a-stage-and-tell-a-story-from-your-life show!

Then imagine my panic, because much as I enjoy my mostly solitary and undramatic life, it doesn’t generate much True Story material.

Luckily, there are two cracking True Stories in the family. One, I don’t think I can tell in public until all the main protagonists are dead.* So I told the other one:

The Spark London podcast is available on Mixcloud or iTunes.

*Maybe in 30 years I can return to Spark to tell it.

PS In case you don’t believe me about the typo on my grandmother’s gravestone, here’s photographic proof.

PPS Spotted backstage at Spark: a baby on a stick. Wonder if they have one of those at the Moth.

Spark baby

February 3, 2014

a clutch of podcasts

The other day, the Telegraph ran a piece I wrote about getting a career in the radio industry – you can read it here, if you like. It made me reflect a bit about my work, and podcasting; things evolve so quickly online that my potted guide to podcasting from two years ago needs updating, but the essentials do remain the same:

Person talking —> podcast.

But enough reflecting upon podcasts, it is time for some actual podcasts!

Here’s this month’s Sound Women podcast, in which Isy Suttie and Caroline Raphael shed light upon the inner workings of radio comedy:

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about one of Britain’s most underwhelming military campaigns at Stand Up Tragedy. Thanks very much to Jay Foreman for providing impromptu backing music:

And there are new episodes of Answer Me This! of course, although half as many because the show is now fortnightly. But each episode is longer, so it’ll work out as roughly the same amount of AMT over the year. Now that I have to think about the show half as often, I feel more than twice as positive about it.

December 23, 2013

end of the year noisedump

The year always ends with a flurry of editing to cobble together the Best of Answer Me Thises, and here they are. Here they bloody are.

If you don’t already listen to Getting Better Acquainted podcast, it’s time you got on with that. Last year’s Christmas episode was one of the most honest and moving podcasts I have ever heard. Host Dave Pickering is a very candid, soul-searching person; I’m none of those things, but nonetheless he let me come on the show a few weeks ago:

If you like to eavesdrop upon fun and engaging chat about films, do not deprive yourself of the Picturehouse Podcast. Sam Clements and Simon Renfrew are very engaging company, although unhealthily obsessed with The Holiday as I discovered when I went on the show to talk about Christmas films. Much as I admire them, I am definitely right about The Holiday. It is a bucket of liquid shit. Unlike the podcast:

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November 14, 2013

Little Atoms, and GBA live

wiggly sculpture

Congratulations to fellow podcaster and all-round good egg Neil Denny on reaching the 300th episode of the excellent Little Atoms. He commemorated this milestone by interviewing John Lloyd, but also by letting me talk about growing up with a sculptor, my dad Zack Zaltzman. Here’s the show. The picture above is of one of the huge plaster casts from dad’s gelatine-carving phase.

I’m very excited to be appearing on another of my favourite podcasts, Getting Better Acquainted. We’re recording live as part of the Writeidea Festival Fringe at the Ideas Factory this Sunday, 17th November. We’ll be on around 4.30pm, but come along for the afternoon because Wil Hodgson will be performing, and there’s a panel discussion about comics featuring Tom Humberstone, who makes Solipsistic Pop. One night a couple of years ago, my husband and I were sitting on the East London Line indulging in a little light bickering, when a gentlemen walked past, handed us a copy of a beautiful comic, then hopped off the train. This was an exciting mystery, and after some Twitter detective work, we discovered it was Tom himself. So I’m well disposed towards him. Altogether it’ll be a worthwhile use of your afternoon, I’m sure.

Also! This week I went along to the Houses of Parliament to attend the Rewind and Reframe panel discussion, about music videos being sexist and racist, and reported back to the Guardian’s Media Talk about it. Click here to hear.

October 26, 2013

Radio Academy comedy event

A few weeks ago, I took part in a Radio Academy panel about radio comedy. They’ve just released the audio, so if you’re interested in what Jon Holmes (host of the Xfm breakfast show, regular on R4’s The Now Show), Gareth Gwynn (presenter on BBC Radio Wales, writer on myriad radio shows), Colin Anderson (producer of Radio 4 comedy, Pappy’s Bangers and Mash, International Waters), Ben Walker (producer of radio comedy and numerous podcasts including Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown and Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast) and I have to say on the subject, click here.

September 18, 2013

impending live events

Next week I shall be leaving the house TWICE to participate in live events. Yes! Assuming I can remember where the front door is.

On Wednesday 25th September, I’ll be taking part in a Radio Academy event all about making audio comedy. It’s at the Phoenix on Cavendish Square in central London and will also feature comedy writer-presenters Gareth Gwynn and Jon Holmes, and radio and podcast producers Colin Anderson and Ben Walker. For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.

Then on Thursday 26th September, I’ll pop up in Brighton at Jo Neary and Friends at the Caroline of Brunswick on Ditchling St, a hop and a step from Brighton railway station. I’ll be presenting a slideshow about my collection of sexist, racist mid-20th century cookbooks. Of course you need to see this, especially as tickets are only £3. CLICK HERE for details of the gig.
[UPDATE: alas I can no longer do the gig. But there’s a terrific line-up so you won’t miss me at all.]

Another event I did in late August, the live recording of Jordan Jesse Go!, is now available as a podcast HERE.

September 2, 2013

Sound Women podcast 5: Jane Garvey

One of the boons of making the Sound Women podcast is that I get to interview people I think are very interesting. Before even starting the series, I had Woman’s Hour‘s Jane Garvey in the crosshairs, so I was utterly delighted to stick a microphone in her face for SWP5. Naturally she did not disappoint.

Also on the episode: Amazing Radio‘s Ruth Barnes and Rachael Devine, and head of Sound Women regions Lucy Duffield. Dose yourself with the show via iTunes and SoundCloud.

This week is the third birthday of BBC 5 Live’s Saturday Edition, on which I’m continually delighted to have a weekly gig. In its podcast form it is known as Let’s Talk About Tech, and on the 31st August episode I contemplate the Huffington Post’s decision to abolish anonymous commenter accounts, and the mother-daughter team who make over $1m scamming online daters.

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling a bit of ‘seven-year itch’ about Answer Me This! lately – but nonetheless I think the show has been on rather good form recently. It is available for your attention at answermethispodcast.com.

August 2, 2013

manifold noises

I’ve already done three podcasts this month, and it’s only 2nd August.

Episode 4 of the Sound Women podcast is out now at iTunes and SoundCloud and is bursting at the seams with interesting radio stuff.

To hash over the findings of the Women on Air report, which I posted about before, I gathered together a crack team: founder of Sound Women Maria Williams; Emma Barnett, Sunday Drive presenter on LBC and Women’s Editor at the Telegraph; and Tony Moorey, director of content at Absolute Radio. As the token man in the room, I hope Tony didn’t feel too picked on.

Ruth Barnes interviewed Caroline Barker about her career as a sports reporter on BBC 5 Live and the World Service, amongst other stations, and why Father Christmas compelled her to start her own production company.

I also spoke to Camilla Pia, playlister at BBC 6 Music. I’m always really interested to learn about what goes on behind the scenes in radio (and TV, and film, and myriad other industries), and as Camilla says, if she’s doing her job properly, the listener shouldn’t even be aware that her job exists.

Next: Matt Hill, producer of the Guardian’s Media Talk podcast, let me host a special edition of the show all about podcasting, wherein I interviewed my brother Andy! Which was weird. We don’t really talk about our podcasts much in Real Life. The show also featured producer of Hackney Podcast Francesca Panetta, Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown and Richard Herring producer Ben Walker, Maximum Fun founder Jesse Thorn, 99% Invisible‘s Roman Mars, and some guy called Olly Mann.

Also, I should have mentioned earlier our spot on BBC 5 Live’s Saturday Edition last weekend, as we discussed Caroline Criado-Perez’s resilience in the face of vicious Twitter abuse. I went off on one about why I think it’s unwise to dismiss terrible online behaviour just as trolling; to me, ‘troll’ is a term through which one can dehumanise behaviour which is very human, unfortunate as that is.

I don’t mean that to say, “Guys, trolls are human too! Protect the trolls and their rights!” I mean: abusive, insensitive, dangerous, calculatedly offensive behaviour online is performed by actual sentient human beings, who possess the same faculties as the rest of us, and I don’t think the problem will be rectified if one loses sight of that and hides their actions under a blanket term, especially this one which sounds so childish and daft. Anyway, if you’re interested, you can download the podcast of the 27th July episode here.

On a more cheerful note, there is Answer Me This! Episode 265, where we learn about the origins of Amazon, hamburgers and straitjackets, and also why you should keep your genitals clean. I really don’t know why there’s any question about that.

PS A post I wrote last week about why I don’t like sport.

PPS My husband did a TEDx talk, which I’d better remember to watch.

July 12, 2013

Women on Air report

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As a woman who works in radio and a woman who likes listening to radio and a person who wonders why women are a comparative rarity on the radio, Sound Women is a cause dear to my heart. (Obviously, since I make their podcast.)

Today Sound Women released their Women on Air report, which found that only one in five presenters on British radio is female. The proportion is even lower when you break it down by such factors as appearing on air regularly, during weekdays, during primetime, solo, playing an equal rather than subordinate part in a presenting partnership, etc etc. NB The report was specifically researching the gender split of presenters; there is also a known insufficiency of female guests, pundits and so forth. Hence the advent of Sound Women a couple of years ago, as recounted by founder Maria Williams in the first episode of the Sound Women podcast.

To me, the one in five number in the report is disappointing, but not at all surprising. Last year I was interviewed by Persephone Magazine and mentioned that I hadn’t ever really been aware of my gender working against me professionally until I entered the radio sphere. It was impossible to ignore the imbalance within the industry. For instance, a few years ago, Olly and I arrived to make a demo at a well-known radio station and, off-hand, I asked the producer how many female presenters they had.

“Errr… Laura does the weather?”

Weather, traffic, news – that’s the female representation on too many radio stations. And yet, so many people I’ve spoken to hadn’t even noticed how few women there are on air until I pointed it out to them. This is the case also with people in radio power: the majority of high-ranking radio execs are male, which means those who could fix the gender problem are not necessarily aware of the problem, and if they are, they are not personally affected by the problem, and therefore not particularly incentivised to address the problem. Happily, in response to the report, I have heard that various radio stations are already planning various schemes to increase the female voice quotient, and I hope these do end up making a palpable difference over the next few years.

But how did it reach the point where the industry has to be harangued to better represent fifty per cent of the populace?

Amongst many radio honchos, the justification for not employing female presenters is the received wisdom that people do not like listening to women – and specifically that even women do not like listening to women.

This ‘fact’ is apparently based on a piece of research, which nobody working in radio today seems to have seen, and if it ever indeed existed it was done decades ago – back when the majority of women on radio were played by Kenny Everett.

Aside from the difficulty of access to the industry and the alleged antipathy of listeners, there’s another possible reason for the paucity of female voices: many of the people I’ve spoken to for the Sound Women podcast have suggested that, in general, women tend to be less apt than their male equivalents to promote themselves, to effect similar confidence, or to be sure that their voices ought to be heard. IE the female talent pool is self-limiting. I wonder whether this is why apparently women are also scarcer in the field of podcasting. Unlike getting into radio, there are almost no barriers to becoming a podcaster: if you want to do it, you can just go ahead and do it.

So: women, speak up. And everybody else, regardless of your gender, be prepared to listen.