Posts tagged ‘podcasters’

January 23, 2015

Radiotoparty

photo-main

In other Radiotopia stretch goal results news:

Last autumn, they promised that if their Kickstarter campaign raised $425,000, they would hold parties for Radiotopifans.

As you donors blasted through that target, the parties are about to happen – and the first is in London, 2.30-5pm on 15th February, upstairs in the Upstairs Bar at the ever marvellous Ritzy cinema in Brixton.

I will be there. Love + Radio’s Nick van der Kolk will be there. Free pizza will be there. Will you be there? Click here to book your place.

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August 12, 2014

Podcast Clinic: the Roman Invasion

From Skitch

The next Podcast Clinic is coming up – it’ll be 6-7.30pm on 3rd September at the Candid Cafe near Angel. Visiting dignitary Roman Mars will be there to share his podcasting wisdom, the quantity and quality of which is immense.

All details are on the Podcast Clinic page, which is where I’ll post information about future quarterly Podcast Clinics. So if you’re keen to come along sometime, check back there every so often.

At the first Podcast Clinic, I was very excited about the ideas that were kicked around; people came along with really interesting plans for podcasts, and I can’t wait to hear the results.

PS Here I am interviewing Roman earlier this year, for Podcasting: The First Ten Years on Radio 4:

PPS More interviews with marvellous podcasters.

PPPS If you’re really set on this podcasting malarkey, on 20th September the Guardian are running a podcasting masterclass. I’ll be talking, as will people with far more chops than me: Bugle producer Chris Skinner, Guardian podcast producer Jason Phipps, software developer Drew White and Radio 4’s Film Programme producer Craig Templeton Smith. Book tickets HERE.

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:

April 12, 2014

Podcasting: the First Ten Years

Planning the documentary the high-tech way

Planning the documentary the high-tech way

I have no recollection of how I marked my own tenth birthday, but I’ll certainly remember how I celebrated a decade since the word ‘podcast’ was born, because Olly and I made a Radio 4 documentary about it! Here is Part 1 and here is Part 2. If those links aren’t working for you, go here, but don’t say I sent you.

We spoke to lots of interesting and inspiring people to make the show, including (but not limited to):

Ben Hammersley, who invented the word although doesn’t seem too happy about it; one of my favourite podcasters, Flight Attendant Betty; the mighty Marc Maron; our former adversary Richard Herring; Theresa Thorn of the excellent One Bad Mother, and one half of the podcasting power couple behind the Maximum Fun empire; Nate Lanxon, editor of Wired.co.uk; Adam Curry, who was podcasting way before ‘podcasting’ even was named; Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, who begat the stratospherically successful Welcome To Night Vale, though it does not seemed to have turned their heads at all; Keith and the Girl, whose fans are so devoted, they cause themselves permanent flesh wounds; Roman Mars, who Kickstarted a shitload of money to fund 99% Invisible because the show is fantastic and so are podcast fans; Pete Donaldson of the refreshingly non-blokey (for a sports show) Football Ramble; and Producer Chris*, John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman (yes my brother) of The Bugle.

There were numerous more excellent contributors, so rather than take my word for it, you’d better listen instead.

*Fun fact: initially Chris missed our interview, because he was recovering from surgery and fell asleep doing a 1,500-piece jigsaw of a map of the world. I can’t be mad at that.