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Lucy Inman. The power of the podcast

I know this is the sort of article that been written in many variations for all manner of publications, but I thought I’d join the masses on the bandwagon and write my own, for what it’s worth.

I’ve been wondering what makes a podcast so successful. In a world where everything is becoming more and more digital, the rise and rise of the podcast has been interesting to say the least. Broadcasting itself, particularly radio, is extremely powerful and the podcast as a medium makes this even more accessible to everyone. You no longer have to have a prominent platform to get yourself heard and there is a podcast for pretty much everything. Whether you want to catch up on your favourite presenter’s latest show, you’re after some culinary advice or you need a little company and motivation if you’re struggling, someone somewhere will have created something.

How amazing is that?

For these musings, I picked my top 3 podcasts and had a look at what makes them so popular. They’re in no particular order as they’re all excellent for different reasons. Plus, I don’t want to be accused of favouritism if any of them read this!

My first podcast choice is The Scott Mills Daily. The name kind of gives it away, but this is a daily podcast; a roundup of Scott’s show, just without the music. This is the podcast I have been downloading for the longest and one I miss when he’s off. I’ve been listening to Scott since his Drive days and he’s been a major influence in my media career. I tried to tell him this when I met him, but I was too busy embarrassing myself by nervously rambling about being nervous! Anyway, I digress.

So why do I recommend this podcast?  Scott and Chris (Stark) are your best mates who are genuinely interested in your life. The amount of times I see something, or someone says something that reminds me of them and I have to stop myself tweeting them like I would a friend I see every day! Scott has a rare talent of staying humble, relatable and really understanding radio, unaware of the extent of his popularity. Chris is refreshingly honest (who does care if Rihanna can’t blink though?) who makes an excellent addition to the show. His recent marriage led to one of the most sincere pieces of audio between these 2 friends and the listeners that I’d heard in a long time, as well the inevitable montage, because who doesn’t love a good montage?

This podcast has it all; the funny bits, the awkward bits, the emotional bits and the downright daft bits. Listen to this if you want to go down the pub with a couple of mates. And that’s the biggest compliment I can give!

My next choice is the Elis James & John Robins podcast. To write this review, I headed to the PCD (Podcast Devotee) Facebook group to find out why everyone on there listens (and to do my work for me). Amongst others, words such as ‘funny,’ ‘relatable,’ ‘capable,’ ‘aware’ and ‘honest’ were used. People made reference to the work they do for mental health awareness and how they feel they’ve always got a friend in the boys. At the start of the podcast, they read out emails from listeners who have been affected by the ‘darkness’ and how listening and interacting with the podcast has helped them.

There was also lots of praise for how much John and Elis actually care about their listeners and you only need to take one look at this group to see how it’s brought people together. I went to watch John (see, first name basis) on his recent tour and he was heartbreakingly hilarious. Then when I met him after, he was just as anxious as I was, but with a way of making me feel comfortable.

Don’t mind it mate!

So why do I recommend this podcast? As aforementioned, both Elis and John are incredible advocates for mental health and aren’t scared to talk about it. If one of them is having a bad day, you know about it, without it being too self-indulgent. With features such as Humblebrag of the Week (we’ve all seen them), John’s Shamewell (we’ve all been in it) and Made Up Games (we’ve all played them), there’s something for everyone. Ultimately, this podcast allows you a place to turn to for relief, friendship and fun. After all, it’s just a body!

The final podcast I wanted to talk (write?) about is one of my new favourites: ‘Help I Sexted My Boss’ from Jordan North and William Hanson. Jordan North is a radio DJ and Burnley fan. William Hanson is an etiquette expert and a Royals fan. Jordan is from Up North. William is most definitely not. On paper, their friendship shouldn’t work. In reality, their friendship makes me cry with laughter. The premise of the podcast is simple; listeners email in with tales of worry about modern day life and the boys try their best to help with the dilemmas. They drink gin & Dubonnet (no, me neither) and laugh at Jordan’s inability to pronounce the word trepidation.

In their own words, Williams Hanson is Buckingham Palace, whereas Jordan North is more Crystal Palace.

So why do I recommend this podcast? It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s laugh out loud hilarious. It’s an excellent form of escapism. It’s also an intriguing display of friendship (including you, Producer Ben!) But most of all, it’s warm, inclusive and ridiculously relatable. I’ll admit I’m also a little biased; I used to listen to Jordan in his Rock FM days and he’s from just down (up?) the road from me. Hearing him talk about places I know and the incredulity in William’s voice when he mentions a Green Hulk just adds to the hilarity and pride that he grew up round these parts! A simple idea made into an incredibly impactful podcast.

Ultimately, what makes a really good podcast is what makes really good radio; genuine friendship. It’s a common denominator running through all of the above, along with laughter and the self-awareness that you have the ability to change someone’s whole day with just one sentence. If you’re having fun, your listeners are having fun. Podcasts possess an influential capability that should never be underestimated.

After all, friendship is the best medicine. Or is that laughter?

I could go on and on about the power of the podcast. I could probably write another 5 pages on why they’re so important and successful, but I won’t, because who wants to read that?

Maybe I should record a podcast about it.

About the author

Lucy Inman

Lucy Inman is a presenter for Bolton FM and also works behind the scenes at Tower FM

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