You're not going to have the 80 thousand reach that a regular radio show in Dublin might have. But what you might have is a really, really engaged audience. You can really, really capture the ears of the audience.

Ian Doyle

Wireless Group podcast producer Ian Doyle joined us to discuss his love for all things audio, intermittent technophobia, building organic podcast audiences and why Ireland is a fertile breeding ground for podcasting content.

Read the Transcript

Daryl:               Welcome to the 10 pods and the tinpot productions podcast. And today I’m delighted to have with us from the wireless group podcast producer Ian Doyle.

Ian:                  Thanks bill for having me in.

Daryl:               Have I given you the correct title.

Ian:                  I think so yeah I’m still trying to figure out what the title is day by day.

Daryl:               So that’s a good off the moment though, isn’t it?

Ian:                  Yeah, absolutely.

Daryl:               And so thanks for coming in today. I mean I think one of the reasons I so interested in talking to you is just because I think the whole area of podcasting is an extremely interesting area and the thing I think that interests me about it is I’m wondering where it is in terms of its development, is it in its infancy, is it really kind of very progressed and almost about to become a thing that’s going to be hugely monetized and the new commercial medium or where things are.

So maybe we’re kind of touching that through it throughout the interview without trying to put you on the spot on it. But first of all, maybe just tell us a little bit about your own background in relation to podcasting. What first kind of tickled your interest in podcasts and how things kind of progressed from there?

Ian:                  I’ve kind of funny background, so I like to take myself as like the picture boy for T Y work experience. So when I was 16 I did my work experience at F104 and kind of just never left and felons radio completely by accident. But I remember as well when I was around 15 or 16 and this would’ve been during the first wave of podcasting, people I was talking about it when the likes of Ricky Gervais’ was on even Kermode Mayo. Now that’s kind of repeated radio, but they’d still have their two or three minutes before the show and it would be put out as digital audio.

So it was technically a podcast. I should have been studying for my junior certs but I was trying to listen in to that, having no idea that eventually this would be the direction that my life would go into. And then I suppose when I got into podcast and a little bit more seriously was then I took a year out in New York and I started working, I have a huge interest in food and started working for heritage radio network. So they’re basically a full fledged food radio station. A lot of it’s internet radio, but you don’t really get many people listening live. So for all intents purposes it was a podcast network and database six months there. And then I came back to Dublin and I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to go into.

At that stage. I was nearly feeling a little bit disenfranchised by the radio industry just because it was difficult to progress in. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do on air stuff. I wasn’t sure how I get into production. I had done a bit of time in Newstalk as well, which was fine. I was still working 104 but I wasn’t particularly sure what direction to go in and really, really enjoyed the food content over there. It was just so fascinating and I kind of thought to myself, if they can do a one hour show every week on fermentation or something really, really obscure and really niche, there’s no reason why I can just make a more generalized food podcast back in Dublin.

And through a friend then I got an introduced for a to Allen over in head stuff. So Alan and Patty run the show there and went in. And initially I think I kind of thought I’d just to kind of do in bits of ops for them, bit of editing and stuff like that, but then tell them the idea. And initially they weren’t hugely receptive to it. Not that they didn’t think it was a good idea, but food is obviously a very, very visual medium. So people were kind of thinking, how are you going to portray that in just audio form? But for me it was all about the stories. It’s all about the people that we’d meet. I just didn’t know how I was going to do it then because I knew I didn’t want to be the presenter myself. And I went to school with one really, really talented chef who I’d gotten to know pretty well over the kind of previous two or three years and said it to him and it’s such a funny story how it happened.

I asked Harry listen, I actually no what happened I sent Harry a Facebook message saying, check your email. I’ve sent you something really long and if you don’t want to do it, absolutely no problem at all. So in the meantime I had sent them a giant proposal of this idea I had and straight away gave me a mail back and he was like really, really funny. I love the idea that we need to meet and chat. So we met up and chat and I think literally two weeks previous, Harry is a chef in the family and a girl that he worked with, they were having a pint somewhere in town and said, you know what, we should do a food podcast. And they both thought it was just kind of pub chat, it would never come to fruition. Cue Harry opening up his email and having me ask them to do with me and facilitate a forum.

So we did that for about a year and a half and it was every fortnight.

Daryl:               This is the With Relish podcast?

Ian:                  With Relish yeah, I should have name check myself there.

Daryl:               That’s fine.

Ian:                  And I have to say it was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my life. It was the first bit of media that I could completely say, this is my own, you know it wouldn’t have started without me. Now obviously the guys as well, I was just around, but it wasn’t that it was involved in a station or a network or anything like that. Well I was, sorry I was involved in head stuff, but it was completely built from the ground up and we did some really, really interesting content. If you’re into food, actually perhaps maybe if you’re not as well because as I was saying, a lot of it was just meeting people behind specific restaurants, producers. But we did some really interesting things as well. We tried to get away from just regular food talk, we did one episode on food and mental health. We did a lot of stuff about migration and food and things like that. So it was just really, really interesting chats and yeah, really, really enjoyed it for the time we did it.

Daryl:               I mean, I think one of the things that’s interesting about it, and I think it’s probably interesting about some of the other things you’ve worked on as well, is that when you think about food, to me that’s one of the things that has absolutely universal across the board interests. Every single person in the world has food that they like and love and food that they don’t like. So everybody has an opinion on food to to some description or a perspective on it.

In terms of the production process, so you were kind of came up with the idea, had produced a show. What was the involvement then from your point of view? Were you researching a lot of the material did your presenters kind of just take the ball and run with it or would you come, here’s the structure for the show, here’s what we’re going to do and kind of feed the thing together.

Ian:                  Initially the structure was way more rigid than we, that it involved to expose. So we realized that we wanted to team each episode. So I think the first ever episode we did was a preview for lit Fest, which is a literary food festival down in Cork. I think on the grounds of Ballymaloe. And then from that we went on to do things like an episode about beer, as I said in the mental health episode. Lots of just really, really interesting content. But the best thing about it was that I had an interest in food, but Harry and Eva are just so on the money that they just got me thinking about food in a completely different fashion. Didn’t realize that Ireland itself just has such a strange relationship with us. Like how many times, even if you’re at a dinner party, the conversations flowing, it’s really nice.

As soon as the food comes to your table, people are not really into the conversation as much. They’re, they’re just trying to get the food into them. It’s nearly seen as fuel. Whereas if you look at other cultures, it’s completely different. So it was just really interesting. And then I suppose for my own work then we’d kind of sit down and we try and map out maybe five episodes in advance and say these are the topics that we’d like to do. I do probably the guts of the research into us. I do a lot of the booking and the approaching guests, but I suppose that the handy thing was that they’re so involved in the food community in Ireland that I’d say I’d like to do an episode on this and they’d say I know just the guy and we’d be able to do from that.

And people were just really, really receptive to try and help us out. Either recommending people are coming on the show themselves. And I suppose it helped as well. We did most of our recording on a Monday morning and Monday morning is pretty much a Saturday morning for most of the food industry, so people usually have the time off, they’re willing to do it and yeah, it was just really, really interested and really, really enjoyed the time there.

Daryl:               And one was like, I mean this was your idea, your production, your first proper podcast. What was it like to see that grow from from nothing a baby through to having listeners and doing live shows and doing different creative kind of things. What was it like to be on the journey of that podcast?

Ian:                  It was really funny and Allen fair dues to him because he kind of kept the figure as really, really secretive for the first few weeks now knowing, and I’d be in the position there myself now that if someone hears, you know in your first episode you had 25 people listening in, it’s going to be really disheartening and the sea might go out of the air, the wind might go out of the sail so we didn’t really know how it was doing until maybe 10 episodes in and you could kind of see as well then the momentum has beginning to grow online. We started doing a lot more kind of social media work around it.

And then I think it was in February 2018, Harry in Eva and now I’ve got a small mention in as well, but they were included in the Irish times top 50 to watch out for in 2018 so sorry would have been early January. And then from that the momentum grew quite a lot, even the caliber of guests we were able to approach just improved because you were a little bit more legitimate than I suppose we were a week previous. And then yeah, I suppose from Dannon we think we did about 30 episodes of that. As I was saying, the format became a lot less rigid, so in the initial episodes we pick a team and we do four different interviews within the podcast.

That first was just a lot of work, it was a lot of effort to do and it just seemed a little bit too tight. So as it progressed then we’d just say, we’ll pick something we really, really want to talk about and if there’s two people that are able to speak to us about it, that’s ground, if there’s four that’s even better. So as it progressed then yeah, we were able to just really, really do what we wanted for it. And we’d also try and do a lot of stuff where we would leave the studio as well. So we did one episode where we just basically did a giant tour of the Asia market on Drury street. And that was amazing because the place is just a food museum basically. You do, walking tours there and go over Chinese new year, but it’s just amazing. And Eva Pao was the director there, just knows everything inside out I mean the way the shop is laid out and structured, it was just gets you really thinking about food in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Daryl:               And I remember one stage when we’d spoken previously, and I think you were doing your first live show. And I remember you being exceptionally nervous about all of the things that could go wrong. There’s two microphones and what if we don’t get enough people and as the room big enough, is the room too small? Presumably now that must seem kind of an easy thing to do. But it must be great to, to challenge yourself with these new things as you’re learning and you put yourself out there.

Ian:                  A funny anecdote for you. So we would have met each other, yeah it would have been around the time we did our first live show, which is in the Dom podcast festival. And that went grand without any issues whatsoever. Fast forward a year and we’ve been doing it for a long time and it actually ended up being our last show kind of by an accident, we didn’t really mean it to stop where it did. But at this stage we need to consider sales pros and you know the guys who are amazing live and we’d sold at that Fumbly again, it was brilliant and the guest list was great and the people we had were amazing. And this girl Taz who works at head stuff with me, she’s brilliant, she’s always doing me favors and she came up and sat up the gear because I’m particularly not technical, it’s just something I always have a nightmare with. And she set up the room. How’d everything going and just said, listen, all you need to do is press record.

Two minutes before we were about to sit down. I don’t know what I did my knuckle knocked off something on my laptop and whatever settings she had managed to put in for me completely changed and basically had a giant meltdown for 20 minutes where I had a room full of probably about 50 or so people just looking at me while I was sweating profusely, not knowing what to do. And Alan had stuff out to save the day where he was at another event for the podcast festival, had to cycle down on his bike with his own laptop, sort out everything. So I think we were about 25 minutes late going into the show. But after that then yeah, it wasn’t too bad.

Daryl:               You managed to recover it though?

Ian:                  Just about, yeah, I’ve never been as nervous. Now stuff like that’s kind of happened along the way and not always does, especially with an amateur enough podcast as it was. I’d always be the mantra and the mantra that give it the extra 15 minutes, we’ll wait and try and get it sorted. Where as I know Eva, when we were doing a tour around the fruit and veg market and Smithfield, she was trying to get me I think to record it on my phone once because a recorder wasn’t working and stuff.

So I always think give it the extra time because it wasn’t necessarily for the 50 people in the room, it was for the other X amount of people that would be listing that weren’t there, you know?

Daryl:               Yeah because the audience at the end of the day, and that might go on have thousands or tens of thousand people, they don’t hear the problem that preceded it. They only hear the end result. So really, I mean it’s…

Ian:                  That should be the way, but Harry was pretty certain that he let everyone know exactly what happened in the intro for the show. So yeah, we have to go back and re-record a few bits. I think he opened up the show saying Orin had an absolute nightmare, but we ended up getting things sorted out in the end, but that one worked out, yeah. It was brilliant.

Daryl:               Very good. And, and now, so laterally then you’re working now for the wireless group, you might just let us know, that’s essentially one of the biggest radio groups in Ireland comprising a lot of the urban radio stations, isn’t that?

Ian:                  Yeah, so it’s 104 and Q102 in Dublin, C103 and Corks 96 in Cork. LMFM, U105 in Belfast as well. And I might be leaving one or two out as well, but we’ll excuse that for the moment. So it’s a big operation I suppose is what I’m trying to say. It was really funny, I saw, actually I tell a lie, I didn’t see the job advertised online. A friend mailed me and said I think you’d be perfect for this, I’d done with relish, but because there’s so many different parts to how wireless work, I only would’ve only been downstairs at 104.

I didn’t actually really know Urban Media existed upstairs. So I Googled Urban Media and Macken House came up, which is where office is based. I was like hold on a minute that just doesn’t make sense. Now I work at Macken House.

Daryl:               Did you put into Google maps and see how far you had to go?

Ian:                  Yeah exactly. But then when I went onto the people that were working there, I saw the likes of Sasha, who I would have known a small bit from around the office and I applied for that and that was last summer and it was long enough of an application process. And I ended up getting it, yeah and I feel really, really lucky to be doing it because, we were saying this before, I’m one of only a handful of people that are able to actually make a career at this at the moment. So it’s been a hell of a ride so far and it’s been difficult at times as well. But I do really, really find myself in a lucky position at the moment.

Daryl:               And is your remit then to create new podcast ideas, new podcast programming, or is it to leverage existing broadcasters to bring them into the podcast field or do you have an open hand and it’s…

Ian:                  It’s a bit of both. So we’ve done four podcasts so far. The way we’ve kind of structured the business so far is that we’d have station branded podcasts, so say ones 104, ones for 102. Then we do white label podcasts as well, so they are ones that just don’t fit a particular station and then we’ll try and make sponsorship from that. I suppose they’re both really, really different, there’s probably a bit more leeway what you can do with the white labeled ones. With the ones that say are destined for 104 audience, you need to make the content really, really specific to them.

So we did, and I’m a celebrity, get me out of here podcast as the first one, which went okay, that was just before Christmas. Then we’ve done another 104 one which was a leaving cert podcast with the institute up on Leason street. And that was, it was a really funny one to do is just a complete throwback to I suppose sitting in math classes. Particularly boring to record at times, but I suppose I wasn’t the audience for it. People weren’t listening to it to be entertained. They were listening to get advice on what’s going to come up in their exams as well. That flew as well. That was surprisingly… yeah there was a surprising response from it. <ore so because from my experience, people under the age of 18 don’t necessarily seem to interact with podcasts so far, but I was just, I was really happy to see that there was an audience there for it.

And then for the white label shows we’ve done as well. So the first one we recorded, which is with Sasha and Venetia, so Sasha is the head of digital and wireless and then Venetia is their breakfast center on cue. So it’s basically a show called Grief Encounters. It’s about grief, bereavement, loss and everything in between. It was kind of strange how it happened. So, initially when I first started in the job, we’d kind of put out a call for submissions for people to try and I suppose you use the internal talent as much as we could. Venetia unfortunately lost her husband Martin in February, 2018 and so she’d sent me a mail saying, listen, I have an idea for a podcast, I’m not sure if this is what you’d like to do. In the meantime, Sasha as well said, I’ve no idea for a podcast.

Both were grief related and I kind of knew that I certainly wasn’t going to be able to make to read podcasts. So we’ve got the two of them into a room and immediately you could just tell this is going to be a really, really big success. Sasha, her backstory as well, she had mentioned she had lost both of her parents, I think within a few years spell of each other but while she was quite young as well, she was only in her thirties. So two very, very different grief and bereavement stories. But I think that works well. You know, it’s really, really interesting show to be a part of.

Daryl:               Yeah, I mean it definitely is. And I think in a lot of cases presenters will make the podcast but also I think, as I kind of mentioned before, the topic is universal isn’t it? I mean it’s something that everybody has had to experience over the first hand or second hand. So everybody has, I suppose a kind of a perspective on it. And I mean in, in terms of podcasts generally and where they stand in the industry, what seems to be happening now is the people who sell media or sell radio are now talking less about radio and more about audio and about the fact that audio is kind of a multifarious thing. It’s not just about radio now they understand that there’s more competition and a lot of people that are doing podcasts. And one thing that’s kind of happened recently as we’re recording, which I think is quite interesting and indicative of some of the challenges that radio faces is Spotify launching your daily drive, which is essentially, I mean it’s a radio service or an attempt at a radio service radio, isn’t it, as I understand.

Ian:                  Well I think the radio America needs a shakeup personally. I think the one thing that’s amazing about podcasts now is that it’s so consumer driven and you don’t just have six options or you don’t have eight options or depending where you are. People are really choosing what they want to tune into and things can be a lot more niche as well. So as I was saying food is not particularly in niche or anything but you then have the option to just really, really highly engage in something you’re really interesting for an hour a day and then flip over to something that would just never see the time of day as well on commercial radio as it stands.

Daryl:               And do you think commercial radio, will kind of see it as trying to incorporate instead of maybe just selling radios a platform they’ll sell audio so they’ll say, okay, you can do, excuse me, you could do a sponsorship on radio, but we’ll also carry that through a podcast. There’ll be on demand stuff, so that there’s a platform.

Ian:                  Yeah, commercially that’s how I see it going. If you’re trying to say make a white label podcast that’s involved in the campaign, the way we’re trying to pitch stuff is that, it won’t just be a 10 week sponsorship for a podcast, you will get on air coverage for it as well. You can get digital access as well to all their different stations. So you’re trying to build campaigns around that. So it’s not just 10 episodes of a podcast where you, because the industry is really in its infancy at the moment. There’s only a handful of podcasts that are getting large listenerships every week or every show that they make. So for us it is nice to be in that position where we can, I suppose add a little bit more value to the podcasts that we’re going to make by offering the On Air slots or offering some digital coverage as well.

Daryl:               It seems to me in the last couple of years in particular, what’s starting to happen is a lot of big companies, the likes of Gimlet media and Spotify are starting to invest a lot of money in podcasts and podcasting programming. So I guess what that suggests is podcasts are beginning to become a more viable and more commercially, there’s a lot more commercial potential because otherwise they wouldn’t be investing all this money in them. So do you see that there is a lot of potential commercially that’s going to start to kick in?

Ian:                  I think so. The one thing I’d say to people who are willing to take upon the the podcast is that more than likely you’re not going to have say the 80 thousand reach that a regular radio show in Dublin might have. But what you might have is a really, really engaged audience and it might be something that’s quite niche. So in other podcasts I’m producing at the moment is a wedding podcast. It’s flying at the moment. We’ve been doing it for two or three months. We don’t have 80 thousand listeners each week, but we do have X amount of brides listening in our brides to be. So in that sense for a commercially driven podcast, it’s a gold mind because you can really, really capture the ears of the audience that are listening and yeah, you can find a niche there.

I think it’s not quite there in Ireland yeah, for a couple of different reasons. You mentioned Gimlet there. Gimlet has such a large reach for their audience space and I’ve seen enough money coming in that they’re able to put a lot of time and resources and money behind really, really high cost shows where there’s a lot of production that goes into us. Like one of the shows I listen to Heavyweight with Jonathan Goldstein which is my favorite podcast. It’s amazing. If you haven’t listened to it, you should. That has a team of four or five people on it that spend six months of their life just working on that show. So I think it’ll take a lot more time for Ireland to get to a stage where you can have say one person dedicated pretty much their whole time within a company working on a specific podcast. But I don’t think we’re a million miles away at the moment.

Daryl:               And now, I mean the production, the likes of Heavyweight where you’ve got five or six people and it’s narrative-driven as you’ve mentioned earlier, that’s almost more akin to the TV production model, isn’t it?

Ian:                  Oh a hundred percent yeah.

Daryl:               Netflix. So even from a production point of view, it’s an entirely different approach and mindset to produce that kind of content.

Ian:                  It’s a lot more difficult. It’s a lot more time consuming and it’s a lot more costly as well. That’s one thing we’re trying to do now or for the next couple of months. I just met with someone there about narrative podcasts that we’re going to try and make but is to try and be the leader in Ireland within that? Now it’s difficult because at the moment in wireless it’s just myself working I suppose in the podcast department with a lot of great help from the people I work with. But it’s trying to figure out what’s going to land because there’s no point spending six months in my life trying to make the next serial and then it flops. So it’s really trying to pinpoint exactly what we know is going to work and then put in the right time and effort into it.

Daryl:               The likes of Gimlet so say a show like Heavyweight, how is that funded? Is that through… because there’s a couple of ways you can fund podcast, isn’t it, there are sponsorship where people are paying to sponsor the show. There’s advertising where you’re dropping ads, you’re using your audience and people buy advertising on that space. And then Patrion is one of the other models. Are they then three kind of main ways that are…

Ian:                  Yeah it’s really interesting and the model is I suppose ever developing, like you mentioned Patrion and I know second captains in Dublin are one of the world’s leaders in actually creating and living on their Patrion podcast. The way I see it is that there’s a couple of different options. So we use A Cast as our hosting service so they dynamically insert ads. So Blind Boy would always go on about it and his podcast that they will insert an ad and the creator doesn’t have a huge say in what’s going to go into it. But while you’re making this gung to be quite tactical. But if I’m uploading a show I’ll put in specific add points into the file and they know to insert and out there. It’s quite difficult to make proper money on that unless you’re generating huge audience numbers every single week.

I think the CPM figure for it is between 13 and 14 year old, so per thousandth listen. So it is really difficult to make, I suppose, real money that way. One way I suppose that we’re trying to develop our campaigns is that we’ll be build it in with digital campaigns as well or else on air. The way we’re trying to structure is that a client might come to us and say, I’d love a podcast about fishing or something like that. So we will run 10 weeks of a podcast and then we might be able to give them a hundred slots on air for setting X fishing rod. And now, I don’t know why I use the fishing analogy because it isn’t the most natural one, but yeah, we’re trying to pick up into packages.

Daryl:               Your phone is going to be ringing off the hook now with fishing people saying listen can I sign up to that deal please.

Ian:                  Yeah, of course.

Daryl:               But that actually gives you, doesn’t it actually when you look at that way as a podcast producer, it gives you a significant advantage to have this network behind you. Not only your radio station, but also a brand that has huge visibility. And one of the things I kind of thought about radio sometimes maybe they haven’t understood how valuable the fact that every single person in Dublin knows what FM 104 is, knows exactly what that brand is. But even their social media reach as well because they’ve got huge social media. So there is a massive platform essentially cause that you can kind of wrap around your podcast really.

Ian:                  And that’s what we’ve been trying to do as well. So even the two white label shows they talked about grief and counters and the 105 day wedding podcast. We’ve been able to run radio ads across the country all over the urban network. And that’s helped significantly. So I suppose it’s nearly like putting a podcast on steroids where you’re able to give it that growth that it takes a lot of time to do so, otherwise, even with Relish we weren’t seeing real numbers or we weren’t seeing numbers that reflected the content until maybe seven or eight months into the production.

Daryl:               And that’s a typical for a podcast, isn’t it? I mean it’s certainly, it’s a slow burn initially then the slope starts to increase a bit, but it does take time to build something from scratch and to find your audience and to test with it and just to get that word of mouth.

Ian:                  A hundred percent. I was quite fortunate as well. I remember chatting to my boss Brian in Urban Media and saying the one thing I’m really finding interesting with the job is that there’s so many different type of hats I have to put on and one of them is to do a lot of PR work because I think that really, really helps generate an audience. With grief encounters we’ve been in pretty much every national media paper there is. We’ve made two TV appearances. So still flight that really does help give it a bounce.

Growing a podcast completely organically, it’s really, really difficult to do. You can’t really do it anymore I suppose, you need to have a good social media presence. You a lot of the time you need to have notable presenters as well, which is one of my biggest gripes with the industry at the moment.

Daryl:               I wanted to talk about kind of the one area around podcasting and the area of production quality. Now in the stuff that you’ve generally work on the production is great and I’m sure working the radio station that’s never going to be an issue, but it’s not uniformly the case. And there are a couple of schools of thought on this. I mean sometimes like when you worked in radio, you were always in a situation where you were on the FM band in competition with other radio stations. So your stuff had to sound equally sharp, equally loud, equally as good as all the other radio stations.

Because the podcast network is a bit more diffuse and you’re not being listened to in the same way or transmitted in the same way. It seems sometimes that the quality levels can vary and also fact that it’s, some people are just recording at home, which is fine, or recording, wherever. But one of the schools of thought is that the quality doesn’t really matter it’s about storytelling. It’s not necessarily about how good it sounds. Do you buy that line or do you think, how important do you think the quality is as against the content?

Ian:                  I think I do to be honest. To an extent the production has to be in some way tolerable and I think tolerable is a funny way to use but my favorite thing about the industry in podcasting in general is that there is no barriers to entry. Pretty much anyone can make one now if you have a laptop and even a pair of iPod ear phones, you can use that as your mic and your headphones. So there isn’t just X amount of people in America. You’re competing with hundreds and, well I suppose, I think it’s seven hundred thousand active podcasts at the moment. I was going to try and use an Irish example, but realisticly you’re not just competing inside Ireland as well. So there’s such a diverse range of content. For shows to be really successful, the likes of Gimlet shows and stuff like that I think that there does have to be a really high level of production quality in it.

Daryl:               And why do you think that the production quality is part of their success? In other words, if the production quality wasn’t as good, do you think they’d still be as successful or could they be as successful?

Ian:                  I think there is a specific line where things have to actually sound good in your ears. You can’t have a show that physically is difficult to listen to. Data is recorded off laptop that’s going to have millions of lessons each week or hundreds of thousands of them. You can have a show that semi-successful and that does okay within its own market there, but I think to have stuff do really, really well internationally. Yeah, their does have to be a good element of production in it and production value as well.

Daryl:               So there’s kind of like if stuff is going to go to that next level, the production is more important as a component of it.

Ian:                  It’s a more important component. I still think there’s I suppose the content is key.

Daryl:               Yeah so the content is the most important thing. The production style is the icing on the cake. But to get to that, and I suppose it gives that bit of sheen or that bit of credibility, maybe?

Ian:                  Yeah it also depends what type of podcast you’re going to make. I think people will probably tolerate poor audio if it’s too loud, like ourselves sitting in a room having a chat. If it’s something that is going to be a six part narrative podcast, yet the microphones aren’t good and the levels are all over the place, you won’t tolerate it because the production value and the sound design is such a huge part of it.

Daryl:               Yeah. In terms of say five or 10 years down the road in so far as it’s possible to know and who knows it isn’t, but in your mind’s eye do you see podcasting being a major part of the landscape, but radio being less or do you think they’ll both be there kind of and even in the same way but perhaps with, I don’t know, I probably haven’t phrased that very well, but you know what I mean but crystal ball gaze for me.

Ian:                  I think podcasting interest is going to is going to continue to increase for a couple of years anyway. It might peak out at some stage but the more it becomes accessible to people the more… My dad is an example, five years ago he wouldn’t have been as savvy with the smartphone. He wouldn’t have been able to, not that you want to be able to download an episode, but he wouldn’t have had the knowledge to go onto Spotify and do this and that. So the more education there is about the industry itself, I think the more receptive people are going to be about it. I think it’s gotten to a stage as well now, like only have a few friends that might not have ever listened to a podcast and when they say that to people are like, what are you spending your time doing?

So I think once people are willing to give it a bit more of a shot and realize that you can find whatever content you want, or content that’s really going to suit your needs, whether it’s just be entertained or to be informed, then there will be a bit more of a progression towards it. I suppose I haven’t been, even though I’ve worked in radio for years, I’ve never been hugely involved with it in terms of I suppose the business aspect of it or producing shows. So I can’t really speak that much about it. I can only imagine that there’ll be a small decline if not a fairly rapid one once digital audio completely begins to take over in the next couple of years, which I think it will.

I think it’s really, really important for stations though to I suppose to appreciate that this is the landscape that they’re in at the moment and that everything is slowly maturity moving to the digital. So whether that is moving a lot of your content into an app based format or else beginning to put more shows up saying listen back feature, I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I think it is really important that people do realize that on demand is key and to I suppose to live in a digital world, it’s going to be more important for the consumer and people producing the content as well.

Daryl:               And that’s one of the other things that’s just happening around about the time as we’re recording now is CommuniCore who would be the other big radio group have just launched their go loud app, which is essentially what you’re talking about, it’s everything in an app which is all their shows, all their digital stations, all their listen lives to fall, the catch up stuff. Which is already probably I think maybe available in some other formats to the radio player app, but presumably the idea is that they can have one resource that they can essentially use that as a platform really and that they can say, look, here’s all of our stations and you can have your brand all across all of these I’m guessing maybe that’s [crosstalk 00:32:17]

Ian:                  Yeah, no I’ve seen the app and in fairness to them it looks really, really smart. I’m not technical enough to know whether that is the right way to invest your money. I remember even as well listening to startup which was on Gimlet, you’re a lot of name checks here, but their initial podcast that they had and I think Matt Lieber and Alex Bloomberg who are the two heads behind it, came to a crossroads where there was a big decision to be made whether they’d invest a lot of money into the tech as well as the content and I think they mainly just went down the content road. I am more of a content person than a tech person as we discussed with my absolute meltdown in the Fumbly last year. So it is really difficult to know whether that is really good investment for a station, but to make sure that your content is available somewhere online I think is really, really important.

Daryl:               That seems to be the model of the likes of head stuff here. Essentially it seems to me their plan is to build an Irish podcast content network. They have a studio element, but essentially there they’d probably look into the likes of Gimlet for their model I think or something similar or maybe I’m reading that wrong.

Ian:                  Yeah, no, it’s similar in the sense that they’re about networks. I suppose the one thing is that head stuff as it is at the moment just don’t have the resources to make narrative podcasts and I think without having really successful narrative podcasts you won’t be able to create a network like Gimlet.

Daryl:               Yeah, it’s really to get to that to get to the very high end of content, get the huge listenership is really a huge investment isn’t it in terms of resources and production,

Ian:                  But like if you look at the iTunes charts at anytime, more than 50 percent of the podcasts there are really, really high budget and are podcasts from the States. A lot of them are crime podcasts because it suits the format really well. So it is yeah, difficult to compete when there’s no, I suppose barriers for listeners, people are consuming podcasts from all over the world, which is fantastic, but it makes it difficult for the smaller Irish podcast to do well.

Daryl:               Yeah. Well on that note actually one of the things that stuck out to me the research you mentioned, the sound effects research that was put together recently. 90 percent of listeners more likely to listen to a podcast if it’s Irish made. So the local thing is obviously a pretty big draw, more so than I would have thought.

Ian:                  When Brian and I saw the research, so that was the one thing that jumped out at me and I was live to see it because I wasn’t particularly sure whether, okay as a personal preference I prefer listening to high budget American stuff, but I’m not the whole Irish market out there, everyone’s completely different and when I saw that there was a huge appetite for Irish voices within the sphere itself, I was lighted because I think as a nation we’re obviously really, really good storytellers, we have such a rich history as well for talk radio and Ireland. I think it’s only natural that there is a big appetite there as well for I suppose Irish conversations to be heard.

Daryl:               Yeah, it’s a huge deal and it just means that there’s huge untapped potential there. It just seems that I was amazed, but as you say it’s, it’s fabulous to know that that’s the case. It was always the case with radio the people like local radio, but that’s because they had local news, if you’re in Kerry, you listen to radio Kerry because you’re going to get the story. But I suppose the same is true of podcast. People want to hear stories about the place that they live, whether that be Ireland or locally in Dublin or Kerry, wherever. So I think that’s fabulous thing.

And two things I’m going to ask you before we finish up today, which we ask everybody. The first thing is, and this may not be too applicable, given that you’re anti-tech, you are not the most techie person in the world, but it could apply to anything. And that is your piece of Keller kit. The piece of equipment or software or hardware that you think has been essential to you in terms of your career or your work.

Ian:                  I’m going to give you three if that’s all right.

Daryl:               Okay, that’s fine.

Ian:                  And both I suppose they’re all fairly standard and normal and boring enough pieces, but things that I probably wouldn’t be able to do my job to the full capabilities I am now without it. I’ve always used Adobe edition and that’s just what I kind of grow up everything on and I don’t necessarily know it back to front but I know it pretty well at this stage. I just find the way it’s laid out, some of the features and stuff that I have make it really, really intuitive for people that are trying to edit and edit really quickly as well. So for me that’s really important.

The zoom H6 for a piece of hardware, that’s what I use to record a lot of stuff, whether it’s in a studio itself, just plugging in mics or out on the road and I think you can have six inputs in it as well. So you can pretty much have a radio station or not a radio station, a studio on the go if you need to. And then this is just something, it’s a bit of software and not a lot of people know about it, but it’s an app and a website called Headliner. Have you ever heard of it?

Daryl:               Yeah I know it. This is for the videos.

Ian:                  Yeah and it’s brilliant, it makes caption videos that are up to about a minute long. And basically you put in your audio and whatever image you want over it or as a video and it’ll caption in a four you. Create a really, really tidy, I suppose one minute piece of media you can use on social media or on Twitter and Instagram that really, really helps in I suppose showing what type of show you are and getting people to engage with the content on social media before actually downloading the show.

Daryl:               Yeah, and that trailer part is huge isn’t it? Just to be able to, to grab people in the first place and just give them a sense of what it’s about. I mean it’s very important.

Ian:                  Yeah a hundred percent.

Daryl:               And final thing then is we ask everybody who does it and so you, you’ve obviously done the podcast, you’ve an idea of what we’re about. We’re essentially interested in talking to people, creative a people about production, about creativity, about the process, about the industry. And we’re interested in speaking to people from all kinds of spheres of creative life via visual, audio, whatever it might be. So section we call it play it forward. If there was one person you think we should interview, who would that person be?

Ian:                  I’m going to give you an Irish example just because I’ve worked with them a lot and he did a lot for me as well. Alan Bennet from Head Stuff really has his head screwed on and I know that they’re going through a big transitional phase at the moment with Head Stuff and trying to expand. So I think if you’re going to speak to him now is probably the time to do it. He has a lot of great ideas about the podcasting future in Ireland and has just put a lot of good work into getting a lot of really good Irish made shows off the ground.

Daryl:               Okay, brilliant. We will follow up with that and I want to say thank you very much for talking to us today. I appreciate your insights and I look forward to seeing your various new podcast productions and shows on wireless and you were telling us off air, but some of the ideas, so I think it sounds very interesting.

Ian:                  Cheers. Thanks again for having me.

Daryl:               Thank you. Cheers.

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