The rise of the celeb podcast

MATT WRITES: There's a few celeb podcasts emerging in the UK. George Ezra has one, so has Will Young and Joey Barton. It makes sense: if you're looking to get a new project off the ground, why not podcast? They're...

  • low cost (compared to all those TV sizzle tapes)

  • a nice brand extension* for people who are associated with being on-screen

  • good for creative control, and

  • a lot less demanding than doing a radio (whether that's getting into the studio at the same time every day, or the destroying weekly voice-track session).

One 'sleb that knows more about radio than most is Fearne Cotton, whose new podcast series shot to the top of the Apple Podcast charts last week, is still refusing to budge, and is produced by Rethink Audio.

I've been working with Fearne and her agent James Grant to create a show inspired by her book Happy and featuring some of the people in her life of which she's most inspired.

Taking what I've learnt from Close Encounters (the intimacy of recording in people's homes), as well as the many years working on Spark - True Stories, the show takes the traditional interview format and uses it to tell quite personal stories, create a better understanding of mental health, and the rather lofty - but totally achievable - aim of helping you in the pursuit of happiness.


The guest list is suitably star-studded: Paloma Faith, Tom Daley, Stephen Fry, Lena Headey, Gok Wan... and amongst those episodes we have friends of Fearne's who are out of the limelight: people with great stories to tell. The nature of podcasting (subscribers receive every episode weekly) means you can hook people in with a big name, but then start to give them other interesting stories they may not have heard about.

I've learned a huge amount from working with Fearne and her team on their publicity drive. Just take a look at their Instagram campaign to get a sense of what's possible when you can mobilise an audience. And, of course, for many of these followers, this is going to be their gateway to the podcast experience. If these household names can bring new audiences to the medium, it's going to be a real boost.

Thanks to Lucy Dearlove (available for hire, folks), who has also been working on this for me... and is out recording for the show as I type! Also to Holly Bott for getting me in to make the show.

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* a horrible phrase for which I can only apologise