2019 – THE YEAR OF THE PODCAST
As a PR executive, it is important for me to keep my ear to the ground and eyes open to any latest media trends. Over the last 18 months, the podcast industry has grown massively with 5.9 million under 35-year olds tuning into the latest audio episodes. Gone are the days where millennials sit in front of a screen and watch an influencer showcasing their Primark haul. Here are the golden days where podcasts are very much commanding the media landscape.
Research has shown that not only are under 35-year-olds listening to podcasts, but the British public is spending an average of three hours listening to their favourite comedians, storytellers, celebrities and journalists. The beauty of podcasts is they can be listened to anywhere – be it the morning commute or cooking dinner.
Perhaps the popularity of podcasts comes from the authenticity and realness of the episode. For instance, I recently heard a talk by Emma Gannon who hosts award-winning podcast, Alt Cntrl Del, recorded straight from her living room. She commented how it made people open up so much more than the artificialness of a studio. This realness has led to an explosion in this new mode with journalists, celebs and comedians picking up a microphone and sharing their views and opinions that somehow with their audience.
An example of how powerful this phenomenon has been is You, Me And The Big C podcast – presented by the late Rachel Bland, Deborah James and Lauren Mahon. In September 2018, Rachel passed away and recorded her final days on the podcast, which tracks the harsh reality of living with cancer. It is clear from the press coverage how influential Rachel and the podcast were to those living with the disease.
So where do podcasts fit in with PR? Podcasts presenters, like YouTubers, have become influencers in their own right with many now hosting live shows, earning an income, finding sponsors and persuading the public to invest in a brand, with 75% of listeners purchasing a product mentioned in a Podcast. I too am one of those who since listening to podcasts has bought books, listened to other music and read articles I never would have discovered without them.
Now, there are so many podcasts on the market, it was hard to whittle down my favourites but the below are my top choices:
The High Low
Presented by female journalists; Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton – the High Low is my go-to podcast for all things culture. The two women talk in depth about popular culture, dissect the week and share their thoroughly-researched and thoughtful opinions.
How to fail
Former Guardian journalist Elizabeth Day knows exactly how to interview celebrities and media figures to bring out funny stories and anecdotes where they share those moments when things haven’t gone to plan. I especially enjoyed her episode with Farrah Storr who candidly talks about her role as Editor at Cosmopolitan magazine.
Table Manners with Jessie Ware
Take singer, Jessie Ware and her mother, Lennie and this is a true example of a down to earth podcast. Each episode, Jessie chats with guests from the worlds of music, culture and politics over food. This set up means the guests are always relaxed and happy to share some more private moments.
At Home with Lily and Anna
I can’t really mention podcasts without speaking about YouTubers turning to podcasts. A pair that have successfully introduced this new medium to their fans are Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton. Both macro influencers, they explore a celebs home and interview them all about their habitat and lifestyle.
Is It Just Me
This was the first podcast I ever listened to and from the first episode, I was hooked – even going as far to tweet the host, Jo Elvin who at the time was editor of Glamour Magazine. Jo has now moved onto the Daily Mail but still hosts this entertaining podcast, based on the ‘Hey its okay’ page that was in Glamour. Each week, Jo and her co-host, James Williams interviews a guest about their likes and dislikes – anything from laundry to the importance of social media.
2019 is certainly the year of the Podcast, with celebrities, influencers and the British public switching off the camera and turning on the microphone. Who knows what will happen this year? But one thing is for sure, Podcasts are here to stay!
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