Written by Podcasts

Podcast Day 2019

Edith Bowman interviews George the Poet at Podcast Day 2019 in London

This week I attended the third annual Podcast Day organised by the Radiodays Europe team. I attended the first conference a couple of years ago in Copenhagen, but this year’s event was on an altogether bigger scale. The event in King’s Place, London, was sold out.

I presented a pithy session entitled “The State of the Podcast World,” which explores the growth of podcasts, some of the emerging themes and challenges, and in particular looks at those who don’t use podcasts yet – indeed don’t use the internet.

I’ve embedded my presentation below.

There were some really good presentation at this year’s event. I enjoyed Benjamin Partridge talking about the creation of The Beef and Dairy Network – a podcast that I know I need to listen to. The team from Brexitcast were somehow all available to be on stage and announce that the podcast would be coming to BBC One, taking over the This Week slot after Question Time on Thursday nights.

I would absolutely love to listen to Maria Lorenz’s podcast series Faking Hitler about the notorious fake Hitler diaries which Stern and The Sunday Times published in the 1980s. But the podcast is in German – perhaps an opportunity for someone to work with Maria to produce an English language version?

(The same story was well told by Robert Harris in his book Selling Hitler which was later made into an ITV series that’s sadly unavailable on DVD/download/streaming. But the podcast series seems to have lots of recorded phone calls from the time!)

Zach Reneau-Wedeen of Google spoke about what they’re doing in the podcast space – trying to make podcasts a “first class citizen” by ensuring that Android users listen to podcasts as much as iPhone users do.

If you look at my charts above, you’ll see that’s a major theme that I also make. I’d actually argue that we’re super-serving that kind of audience – better educated, middle class, iPhone using English speakers. I know I fall into that camp – well maybe not the iPhone bit – and I’m super-served by exceptional podcasts.

For that reasons it was interesting to hear from Lydia Bright who originates from the ITV reality series, The Only Way is Essex. The Brights is what creators Somethin’ Else call the first constructed reality podcast series. I confess that this is not a podcast I have any interest in – but I’m really interested in anything that reaches out to different parts of society and introduces them to the podcast medium.

Steven Valentino from The New Yorker Radio Hour gave a really interesting talk about the challenges of working with writers for a magazine that really cares about words, and converting that into audio. He noted that he’d carefully had to explain to one Pulitzer Prize-winning writer that simply “reading their piece out loud” just isn’t good enough. His talk was illustrated with lots of audio clips – always good at an audio conference.

Overall, a very good day, with lots of interesting people talking about things ranging from the craft of podcasts through to the monetisation of them. As there are twin tracks in the afternoon, I wasn’t able to attend every session, but I’ll try to catch up with some recorded sessions later.

I was busy using Twitter throughout the day, so I’ll embed some more thoughts from the day below.