Posts tagged ‘Sound Women’

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:

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January 9, 2015

events listings

Some events coming up:

Learn how to podcast in one evening, that being the evening of 26th January. At this three-hour Guardian Masterclass, producer Matt Hill of the Media Podcast, Spark London and loads more, and I will share our accumulated podcasting knowledge – hardware, software, enamelware finessing your format, getting started, and most importantly, not stopping. Get your tickets HERE.

I’m off on tour around the country with Sound Women. We’ll be visiting Brighton (24th January), Birmingham (31st January) and Newcastle (7th February) to talk about audio and have a jolly old time. Get your tickets HERE.

Also on 24th January, at the Hackney Attic I’ll be participating in a charity game show to raise funds for Arts Emergency. Fellow podcaster Neil Denny of Little Atoms will be hosting, and my fellow panellists are Viv Groskop, AL Kennedy and Chris Coltrane. Get your tickets HERE.

PS Answer Me This! is back, with listeners’ unusual tattoos, stealing back presents, and olive theft:

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 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 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 3, 2014

Sound Women Podcast: NEWS

I love the latest Sound Women podcast, which this month is news-themed. There’s a despatch from Sky News Radio about how they make almost all commercial radio’s hourly news bulletins; podcast regular Ruth Barnes met Jo Carr, who edits Radio 4’s PM, Broadcasting House and iPM; and I spoke to the formidable Petrie Hosken, who doesn’t get phased by much on air at LBC seeing as she used to report from warzones. When you’ve dealt with the threat of being kidnapped on your way to work, you’re pretty much unflappable.

If you’re keen to learn how to podcast, you can still get a ticket for the Guardian podcasting masterclass on 20th September, in which Bugle producer Chris Skinner, Guardian podcast producer Jason Phipps, software developer Drew White, Radio 4’s Film Programme producer Craig Templeton Smith and I will teach you everything we know about the medium. Book tickets 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 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):
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April 2, 2014

double helping of Sound Women podcast

Here’s the April episode of the Sound Women podcast, in which I speak to Kate Murphy of Bournemouth University about teaching radio degrees, as well as the women working at the BBC during a surprisingly gender-liberal spell between the World Wars. Cheeka Eyers reported on the work of Podium.me – Olly and I spoke at one of their events last year, and it left me wishing there’d been something like that around when I was interested in, but fundamentally clueless about, journalism and radio.

I also sought lessons learnt by radio pals during their careers, so it’s a very educational episode:

There was also a bonus edition of the podcast last month to coincide with Radio 1’s all-female line-up for International Women’s Day. Since a whole month has passed, it seems timely to tell you about it. Features Annie Mac, Monki, B.Traits and Hayley Clarke:

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.

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.

July 8, 2013

Sound Women podcast: episode 3

Owing to the aforementioned holiday, I’m behind schedule posting about the latest Sound Women podcast. But it’s here! You should listen because everybody could do with more Miranda Sawyer in their lives.

To respond to listeners’ questions about the radio industry, I deployed producer Laura Parfitt, maker of many excellent radio programmes. What I admired about the advice she gave was the stringency, the perfectionism and intellectual rigour. ‘Do it, and do it properly’ is a simple message that bears repeating.

Incidentally, while I was interviewing Laura in her living room, it sounded like she was emitting low growls every couple of minutes. This really threw me, until I realised her little dog was hiding behind her in the armchair.

Also on the show: Ruth Barnes of Amazing Radio and The Other Woman podcast interviews Adele Roberts about going from Big Brother 3 to BBC 1Xtra; and Emma Jane Bradshaw reports from the final act of this year’s Sound Women mentorship scheme. I’ve been thinking that I need a mentor, but really what I need is somebody to kick me up the arse metaphorically. Any takers? Never mind.

The Sound Women podcast is available at iTunes and SoundCloud; find out more about Sound Women’s excellent work at soundwomen.co.uk.

June 1, 2013

Sound Women podcast: episode 2

Behold, here is the Sound Women podcast episode 2: Attack of the Clones featuring numerous exciting people who spoke at the recent Sound Women Festival, such as Fi Glover, Anita Anand, Angie Greaves and Jo Good. By all accounts the festival was an excellent day, but, alas, I didn’t get to go; it was my husband’s birthday, which he commemorated by walking from Rotherhithe to Crystal Palace via many of South London’s unloveliest industrial wastelands.

If you want a lovely walk through South London, though, I wholeheartedly recommend the Green Chain route. And naturally I wholeheartedly recommend subscribing to the podcast via iTunes or following it on SoundCloud.

May 1, 2013

Sound Women podcast: episode 1

I’m very excited to say that I’m making a new podcast!* It’s called the Sound Women podcast, because I’m making it with the Sound Women network of women (and men) in British radio. Ergo, the podcast is about women and radio, and if you’re interested in either of those things, I hope you like it.

In Episode 1, I interviewed the inimitable Lauren Laverne, who told me how to get rid of earworms and what Jamie Oliver keeps in his toilet; I also spoke to Nicky Birch of Somethin’ Else, who suggests not being a pain-the-arse slacker if you want to get ahead in radio, and Maria Williams to find out why she set up Sound Women in the first place (clue: because the radio industry is sexist, innit). Plus dispatches from SRAcon by Emma Bradshaw, and Ruth Barnes found out from Sinead Garvan how to get to be a reporter at Radio 1’s Newsbeat.

Oh, and Martin wrote the theme music, what a gent.

Have a listen at iTunes or SoundCloud.

*Don’t worry, I haven’t dumped Answer Me This!. I’m just cheating on it with another podcast.