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Wednesday 25th May 2022

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Into London this afternoon to appear on a panel at the Podcast Festival in Angel. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but the reality was that this thing was HUGE. It was at the Business Design Centre, which I’ve never been in and the place was rammed with stalls, events and podcasters and I think it’s fair to say that podcasts might be a big thing now. If I’d known when I invented podcasts in 2008 that it would lead to this….
Seriously though, who would have thought back then that something like this would be possible? Or that podcasts would become my main source of income. Back then the only way we got paid was if someone pressed a pound into my hand in the street like I was some kind of audiotramp or with the occasional semi-complete Caffè Nero card. I was on a panel about how to monetise podcasting, but for many years I didn’t even think that was a possibility, or, if I did raise money, it was only so we could make more podcasts. I got paid indirectly of course. I got on to TV panel shows for the first time ever and more people came to see my stand up shows and eventually we got a 6Music show (though that was not a great money spinner and eventually led to the destruction of that particular double act). Chris Evans (not that one) and I are such poor businessmen that it has only just struck us after a decade of producing RHLSTP that maybe we should use all this footage we’ve shot to promote the podcast. I only accepted advertising, reluctantly at first, three years ago. The new young upstarts I was on the panel with are clued into social media and editing and producing stuff that is professional and polished. I still largely live by the ethos that a podcast should go out more or less as it was recorded. I am deeply wrong about this, but what you can you do? Oh could I try and be more professional? I suppose I should. It’s happened a bit accidentally anyway.
It was good to be amongst this huge throng of podcasters, both successful and aspirant. It’s the most diverse media event I’ve ever been to. Even nowadays the TV and radio industry is very, very white and disproportionately male, but back in the 90s almost the only black people you’d see at the BBC were working in the canteen and you’d regularly see all male panel shows and comedy series.
When you get rid of the gatekeepers things open up and there’s a real democracy (or at least something approaching a meritocracy) to podcasting. Luckily that means that has been white men can still find a job, but it’s great to be in rooms which represent the population of this country more accurately. It shouldn’t feel like something that we should notice after all this time. That’s how bad it’s been.
It was an interesting panel, once again with Marvin from Dope Black Dads and also Emma from  Real Life Ghost Stories and whilst we’re all producing  podcasts that are making money what was very clear was that we’d all got into podcasting for the love of the medium or the importance of the message we wanted to get across. That passion and commitment was the reason for the success and that means, having created an audience, we can make money. But the way to make money is definitely to not be worried about making money.
Equally though I am very committed to Stone Clearing and Snooker and the puppets but I’d be surprised if any of those made much money (though the snooker did get on TV and I did a couple of live events so it’s probably made me £100 a year over the last decade and a bit). But the rewards for these shows will come after I am dead when I am recognised as the greatest performance artist of my generation.

A fascinating and very honest RHLSTP with the always amazing Deborah Frances-White is now up here or wherever you get your podcasts.


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