This week on Inside Culture Fionn Davenport looks at the world of podcasting and speaks to producers from Ireland and abroad.
Recently, podcasting has received much attention with the new series S-Town being released by the makers of This American Life and Serial. S-Town is hosted by Brian Reed and is an investigative journalism podcast set in Woodstock, Alabama. When John B.McLemore, a Woodstock resident, contacted the producers of This American Life, telling them about an unsolved murder in the town, Brian Reed decided to go there to find out more. The series was released in its entirety and has been downloaded over 10 million times in a few week. Ronan Kelly from RTÉ’s Doc On One unit joins Fionn in studio to talk about S-Town and how podcasts such as this and Serial rely on good old-fashioned storytelling techniques to hook their audiences.
Comedian Alison Spittle and theatre makers Sonia Kelly and Kate Ferris (Collapsing Horse Theatre Co.) are also using podcasting to exhibit their talents. The Alison Spittle Show is a monthly chat show and The Science Fiction Hour is currently being devised by Collapsing Horse as a live theatre experience. They talk to Fionn about their work, what inspired their podcasts and how they developed their skills to made podcasts.
One of Ireland’s most popular podcasts is Second Captains – a podcast about sport which recently established a successful subscription model. It was set up in 2013 by Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, Mark Horgan, Ciarán Murphy and Simon Hick. Fionn joins the team behind the podcast in their studio to hear how the podcast began and to hear about their subscription model. Fionn charts the rise in the success of Second Captains and hears why it has grown so steadily in four short years. Key to this success is the relationship between the makers and the listeners, something which is being re-set as podcasting becomes more popular.
Roman Mars is the US based producer of one of the world’s most successful podcasts, 99% Invisible. It’s a podcast about design, architecture and the tiny things we barely notice in the built environment around us – street signs, street furniture and culs-de-sac (We’re told that this is the correct plural form!). That is, unless you’re Roman Mars and his legion of what he calls ‘beautiful nerds’ who do notice these things. He talks to Zoe Comyns about his obsession for the small details which make our world a more interesting place. He explains how no subject is too small for a good podcast and he should know. In a recent Kickstarter campaign, Roman broke all records in a funding drive to finance his work. It turns out that there are many beautiful nerds out there.
Finally Fionn hears from the makers of two podcasts in London. Síofra Campbell is the producer/writer and director of the series The British Are Coming which is a 12 part post-Brexit comedy following the journey of a family British refugees who arrive in a small village in Co.Leitrim.
The most successful podcast in the UK charts is called My Dad Wrote A Porno and is created by Jamie Morton who also joins Fionn to discuss it. The origins of the podcast are, he says, fairly evident from the title and it involves Jamie and his friends reading a chapter of it every week and discussing it. The ‘porno’ in question is a book called Belinda Blinked.
Both podcasts demonstrate how this audio is form is capable of taking on any subject. Jamie and Síofra discuss their audiences and how podcasting is beginning to move upwards in the age demographic.
Broadcast on Monday, 20th March 2017.