Posts tagged ‘podcasts’

August 7, 2016

showtime

Hello! I’ve been moving house, and WOW has it been tedious. It did speed up when I just started throwing all our stuff away. Forget KonMari’s “Does it spark joy?” edict; my future bestselling tidying handbook will make you ask, “Can I be arsed to make a decision about this object ever again?” The upshot is, if you peruse the charity shops of Crystal Palace, you can recreate 50% of my old home.

But apparently, among all the packing tape and dirt and existential malaise, I did some work! There are a bunch of Allusionist episodes, including one with some Olympics-related etymologies, and a discussion of brand names and how we came up with ‘Allusionist’ for the show, and another about generational terms such as Millennial and Generation X. And a contemplation of small talk, which came out the day after the EU Referendum which, amongst its many other effects, obliterated small talk.

On 24th September at 4.30pm, the first live Allusionist will take place as part of the London Podcast Festival. A handful of tickets remain, get one HERE.

There’s a bit of a backlog of my appearances on other podcasts, too. Eg:

  • Talking about a night bus journey gone bad on Nocturne: ‘A Luminous Bubble‘.
  • Talking about jingles on Between the Liner Notes: ‘Jingle Brains‘.
  • Talking about a couple of my favourite books on Charles Adrian’s Page One, episode 109.
  • Talking Drinking about it on Let’s Drink About It: ‘The Promise of a Premise‘.
  • Making a brief cameo on The Beef and Dairy Network: ‘Rio Special‘.
  • Discussing burnout on Millennial: ‘Systems Check‘.
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December 24, 2015

A very fruity Christmas

After the runaway train mayhem of me trying to teach Jane Garvey how to sew on Woman’s Hour earlier this year, BBC Radio 4 saw fit to reunite the double act, so I went over to Jane’s house and we tried to make Christmas decorations out of dried fruit. Frankly I showed little aptitude for fruit sculpting, but I had Great Fun Trying. You can hear it here, if you want to throw together some fruity decorations in time for Christmas.

There’s one last episode of The Allusionist for 2015, in which I tackle some of the listeners’ requests for etymology and word advice: theallusionist.org/bonus2015

And I’ve just finished the biggest editing job of the year: the annual Best of Answer Me This compilation. Assembling the montage of drunk, plaintive and misbegotten voicemails is my favourite task every year. Here are a couple from years past:


December 19, 2015

Podclub

If you’re a podcaster or a podcast enthusiast, may I recommend an exercise which has brought me (someone who is both those things) a ton of joy and interest this year?

Gather a few similarly podcast-focused friends and form a

PODCAST CLUB!

It’s like a fight club book club but for podcasts instead. When I’m listening to other people’s podcasts, if it’s a show I already like, I’m usually not all that critical – if anything I’m listening to shut up that part of my brain. So Podcast Club has has made me listen far more attentively, as well as to podcasts I would not have chosen myself.

Plus it means that one evening a month, I have to move away from the edit screen and go to the pub to shoot the shit with the PodClub: Eleanor McDowall who produces shows including the Radio 4 series Short Cuts; Sam Clements and Simon Renshaw from the Picturehouse Podcast; and my husband Martin, who makes a fistful of different podcasts including Song By Song.

Here’s how it goes: each month, we each choose an episode of a show that has not been discussed in Podcast Club previously. If you’re concerned about practicalities, we put the links into a shared spreadsheet on Google Drive. We listen to all of them in our own time, then gather to talk about each of them. Some months there’s a theme, eg shows that started this year, or for our Christmas fixture we each had to choose an episode of Desert Island Discs – it was very interesting to hear how the nature of interviewing and celebrity has changed over the 70+ years of the show. If Diana Mosley was interviewed now, I imagine she would be probed to admit more about her friendship with Adolf Hitler than just “He had lovely eyes.”

PS I got lucky in the PodClub Secret Santa: podcaster baubles!

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October 26, 2015

Radiotopia Forever!

Here are the minutes from the past couple of weeks in my realm*:

1. I was recently on the lovely BBC Radio 3 show The Verb. The theme of the episode was ‘backwards’, so I was talking about false etymology and reverse linguistic engineering. There was also wrestling, and those backwards satanic messages in songs. AND they gave me four kinds of cake and free books. It was a great day. Here’s the show on the BBC’s site, but you can also search for it as a podcast.

2. I’m currently in the midst of a spate of weekly Allusionists, each in collaboration with another Radiotopian. Hrishikesh Hirway from the wonderful Song Exploder and charming veteran songwriter Tony Hazzard joined me to talk about vocables – the non-word words in songs like ‘la’ and ‘doo’ and ‘zig-a-zig ah’. You can hear the special Song Explusionist here. The week before that, Roman Mars popped up to talk about his beloved eponyms, so James Ward (founder of the Boring Conference and author of Adventures in Stationery) appeared to talk about the eponymous pens Bic and Biro. Hear here. Three more Radiotopial episodes are in the pipeline. The Podcast Broadcast interviewed me about all this Radiotopianism, which is happening because…

3. It’s Radiotopia fundraising time! A year after the record-breaking Kickstarter that made it possible for me to start The Allusionist, we now need listeners to step in and support the collective long term, with small monthly donations. (One-off donations are also extremely welcome. Even £1 is very useful.)

I don’t want to repeat what I’ve written about the fundraiser here and also last year, during the Kickstarter – those points still stand, but I will update to add that my excitement then at the prospect of becoming a full-time podcaster has only increased now that I am one. This has been the best year of my professional life, and The Allusionist is the most demanding and creatively fulfilling job I’ve ever had. I’d love to be able to carry on making it for as long as possible, so if you are able to chip in anything at radiotopia.fm or Paypal, I and the twelve other shows will be Very Grateful Indeed. And we’ll use your money very wisely. Promise. (Conceals order for platinum exoskeleton.)

Just one more thing: I’ll be doing a Reddit AMA this Thursday at 7pm UK time, 3pm ET, 12pm PT, middle of the night most other places. Please come along and ask me about Allusionist stuff, Answer Me This, or any old thing that’s on your mind. You know I live for it.

Here’s my AMA proof, as IF anyone would aim so low as to masquerade as me**:

HZ reddit proof

* which is slumped in front of a screenful of edit software for 12-15 hours per day, LIVING THE DREAM yes yes
** Seriously. Have some self-respect. At least go for someone who’s on telly.

October 9, 2015

Dance, Baby, Dance

Podcasters, it is a long time since last we met*, but there is now a date for our next London meetup: 25th November. There are full details over at the Facebook event. Come along!

*Because I’ve spent nearly all of this year in my flat, working. Here are the latest Allusionists:

They said you can’t have werewolves AND Step Up 4 in one podcast about linguistics. I said: try me. theallusionist.org/dance

Why do we talk to babies like we – and they – are idiots? We can’t help it! For REASONS. We’re wired that way. theallusionist.org/baby-talk

For the next month, I’ll be releasing new Allusionists every week. Argh! I’m excited but daunted by the amount of work, as Answer Me This will also continue apace. Let’s see if I make it to November with ears and eyes intact.

PS Allusionist T-shirts have just landed.

chopchop

March 2, 2015

despatches from the podcasting frontline

A bunch of things about podcasting:

1. I’ve just booked in the next podcasters’ meetup – Monday 9th March from 6pm at the Carpenter’s Arms. Come along if you’re a podcaster or fancy becoming one. All are welcome. And don’t forget to join the Podcasters’ Support Group on Facebook for virtual support and encouragement for your audio endeavours.

2. I’ve done several interviews about podcasting this year, and they all came out in the past few days:
2.i. The women of Radiotopia and Invisibilia talked to Ravishly about equality in podcasting and radio – there are some great mic drops in the piece, which is HERE.
2.ii. I talked at very great length to The Timbre, which is a great site if you’re interested in podcasts at all. If you’re interested in my own thoughts about them, the piece is HERE.
2.iii. I had lunch with the brilliant Caroline Crampton of the New Statesman. She is a lot more interesting than me; sign up for her newsletter. The interview with me is HERE.

3. I’m really happy and excited to see the emergence of several interesting sites devoted to podcasting in the same way that people have been critiquing music and film etc for years. As well as the aforementioned Timbre, Nick Quah’s Hot Pod newsletter, and the charming Podcast Pillowfort podcast. If you’re podcast-interested, get stuck in.

February 11, 2015

Allusionist 4: Detonating the C-bomb

This is the first episode of The Allusionist I worked on, but I think you’ll understand why I couldn’t release it first.

WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE THROUGHOUT.

February 9, 2015

Sound Women swansong

Sad times: I’m retiring from the Sound Women podcast. Here is my swansong episode, aptly about podcasting, in which I talk to Theresa Thorn of the very entertaining One Bad Mother, and my new Radiotopian overlord Roman Mars.

I admit, mixed messages ensue. We’re not lying when we say that podcasting is easy; it is not difficult to start podcasting, as the tech and financial outlay are both pretty manageable. (My beginners’ guide to podcasting is here, as proof.) The difficult thing is keeping a podcast going, and for me to be able to make The Allusionist and keep making Answer Me This, something had to give.

I met some fantastic people over the nearly two years of making Sound Women, whom you can hear on the episodes at soundcloud.com/soundwomen or on iTunes.

Recently I’ve really been enjoying meeting other podcasters, especially through the Support Group gatherings. I’m naturally quite a solitary, antisocial person, but podcasting can be such a lonely pursuit and it was so many years before I knew any other podcasters, that now I’m pathetically excited when I meet other podcasters: “Hey colleague! Let’s talk BUSINESS!!”

A few days ago I was tweeted by Australian podcaster and comedian Alice Fraser, who said she was in London for a few days. We sat in a cafe and chatted for her podcast Tea With Alice, and I’m very glad I hauled myself out of my editing-hole and went; she is a really fascinating person. I wish I’d been recording what she was talking about before she switched the mics on so you could hear it. Anyway, look/listen out for her.

Finally, here’s the latest Answer Me This, in which we learn about coconuts, Grumpy Cat’s finances and Femidoms:

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.

November 11, 2014

just do it!

AMT Guardian Nov14

Look, I wrote a piece about how to start a podcast, this time for the Guardian’s Do Something magazine. Here it is! Yes, there is overlap with my podcast tips posts here, but frankly, while the tech changes a bit, the tedious grind/joyous experimentation of making a show remains the same.

On the subject of starting podcasts:
1. THANK YOU for supporting the Radiotopia Kickstarter, because they raised enough money for me to make my new podcast! The Allusionist should start mid-January. Now I need to get on with making it…
2. If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, or you already make one and need to spill about it, or you want to hang out with podcasters, do come along to the Podcast Clinic on 24th November. It’s free! We’ll have a lovely time! Details are here.

The last time I was featured in Do Something, I was writing about patchwork. Today I’ve also got a piece in the Telegraph about starting/restarting crafting, which you can read here.

Apparently the message of both the podcasting article and the crafting article is the same: JUST GET ON WITH IT. This makes me sound a lot more proactive than I am. Most of the time, I’m so incredibly lazy, it’s embarrassing. But, you know, if I’m interrupting my slothing time, I try to make it count.

October 26, 2014

branching out

Radiotopia backer

A new project of mine has been bubbling away in secret for quite a while, but I’m excited to be able to divulge it at last:

If Radiotopia succeed in raising $400,000 in their current Kickstarter campaign, in January 2015 I’ll be joining their network to make a new fortnightly podcast. It’ll be all about phrases and etymology and commonplace things we say without realising how weird those things actually are.

I’m cock-a-hoop about this: anyone who has listened to Answer Me This! will have sussed that I have endless enthusiasm for this subject, so I’m looking forward to being able to spend a lot more time indulging my interest. Finally, my degree in Anglo-Saxon and Middle English will come in handy! Which, when you do a degree in Anglo-Saxon and Middle English, is not something you ever expect will happen.

I also have great admiration for what PRX and my friend Roman Mars of 99% Invisible are doing with Radiotopia: they are trying to change the way broadcasting is done. The stretch goal that my show is part of aims to correct the gender imbalance in podcasting, and you know from my Sound Women work and posts like this that I am very much in favour of that. In an ideal world, nobody would even have to make the point that they’re encouraging more shows made by women; but while podcasting, like almost all forms of media and entertainment, remains so dominated by straight white men, this is a positive start – and it’s only the beginning of their plans to diversify the field.

More broadly, Radiotopia is making it possible for independent audio creators to have complete control over what they make, whilst being able to afford to make it at all. Because while podcasting is cheap to start – recording equipment and hosting become less and less expensive as time goes on – the biggest cost is one’s time.

WHY? Making a podcast that is even halfway decent requires a hell of a lot of time and effort. If you’re listening to a podcast that you like, know that a huge amount of both went into making a podcast good enough for you to like.

For instance: each episode of Answer Me This! takes half a week to put together. When we were on a weekly schedule, that left me with slightly insufficient time to work on other things in order to earn enough to live – especially as I’m freelance, and a large chunk of a freelancer’s time gets pissed away on jockeying for paid jobs, leaving even less time in which to do actual work.

Even when my bank statements made me cry, Answer Me This! always felt worth doing, because the audience was and is growing, and continues to be so enthusiastic and encouraging. It took years for the show to make much money, and in the past couple of years the albums and Squarespace.com sponsorship have made a remarkable difference to AMT’s fortunes, but it’s still not enough to live off. Over the years I’ve had many ideas for new shows that will probably never be realised, because having been through it once before with AMT, I just couldn’t afford to spend the amount of time it takes to build up a new podcast from scratch again.

Until now!

If Radiotopia reach their Kickstarter goal, after nearly eight years of being a podcaster, they can fund my new show and I will be able to become a FULL TIME PODCASTER.

I absolutely love podcasting as a medium, both as a maker and a consumer: it’s so direct and intimate. It only involves the podcaster and the listener, with no layers in between of institutions or compliance. I can listen to material I’m interested in without a commissioner and scheduler having decided that I’m going to listen to it; and as a maker, I’m not at the mercy of those people either. I didn’t need somebody else’s permission to start making Answer Me This!; Olly and I did it because we could, then the listeners themselves confirmed that this was an OK thing to do. So few things would make me happier than for podcasting to be my main pursuit.

If you can afford to chip in to the Kickstarter, even $1 makes a difference; you’d not only be enabling me to make this new podcast which I think you’ll enjoy, but also you’d be bringing in The Heart and Criminal (one of my favourite new podcasts), AND you’d be supporting Radiotopia’s current roster of brilliant shows: Love+Radio, Theory of Everything, Radio Diaries, Strangers, Fugitive Waves, The Truth and, of course, 99% Invisible.

Also, you’d be preventing Roman Mars exploding from stress.

Click here to make all these wonderful things happen!

PS: I’ll still carry on making Answer Me This!. I plan to keep doing that show until all the questions in the world have been answered.

PPS: Earlier this year, I interviewed Roman for our Radio 4 documentary about podcasting, in which he outlined the principles that compelled him to start Radiotopia – as well as saying a lot of very interesting stuff about 99% Invisible and podcasts in general. You can stream or download the interview here (alongside interviews with several other great podcasters I spoke to) or here or right here:

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.

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!

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.

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:

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.

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 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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