2019 marks an important moment in the history of the publishing podcast series Media Voices: on the 2nd of May they’ll air their 100th episode. The recording will take place in front of a live, contributing audience at a special London event with guests from leading UK publishers.
The Media Voices team started their podcast in November 2016 and they have recorded live at media events, featured in numerous roundups of the best industry podcasts, and have interviewed an impressive roster of guests from organisations such as The Economist, Facebook, Spotify, CNN, The Times, Refinery29, the FT, and more.
We at What’s New In Publishing were curious how they got to the 100th episode, and sat down with Esther Kezia Thorpe. She’s been one of the hosts of the Media Voices podcast series since the very beginning.
WNIP: Congratulations on the upcoming 100th episode of the Media Voices podcast! Did you think you would get here when you, Chris Sutcliffe and Peter Houston started the series?
Esther: It’s really been a journey of two parts for the podcast. When we started it, it was an extension of theMediaBriefing brand, and was just another way to reach our audience besides the analysis and events that theMediaBriefing did. When TMB was sold to Haymarket back in 2017, Chris and I felt it had just started to gain momentum, and so negotiated to take the podcast over ourselves as long as it had a rebrand. A few months later, with a shiny new colour palette and with Peter Houston on board, Media Voices was back on the road.
Since then, we’ve all been through a massive learning curve with keeping this going as a side-project, often recording the news round-up very early on a Sunday morning. We all have personal and professional lives to fit the podcast around but have really settled into it now, so although I’m not surprised we’ve got this far, I’m very proud as it’s the culmination of hundreds of hours of teamwork.
You’re recording the 100th episode with a live, contributing audience. Why did you choose to do it in this way?
We did our first live episode at Magfest in Edinburgh in September last year, and it was such a brilliant experience that we wanted to take that to our London audience as well. It’s just been waiting for the right opportunity, and given that most podcasts hit ‘podfade’ and don’t make it past 7 episodes, we feel like hitting the big 100 is really an opportunity to celebrate.
Onto the topic of the event itself: distributed content and the relationship with publisher’s brand value. What made you decide to zoom in on this?
It’s been such an eventful few years with publishing’s relationship with platforms, and although it would be easy to focus in on the negatives around trust, revenue and all those issues, we thought it would be more interesting to take a look at brand value. Platforms aren’t going away any time soon, so is it possible to use them constructively, or is a sustainable future only possible if an audience is kept in a publisher’s own environment? There are really interesting examples of publishers doing it well on both sides, and as our first episode was with The Economist’s Denise Law on their social distribution strategy, it fits nicely to have come full circle.
At the event you’ll have contributors from EMPIRE, The Week, PinkNews and Bibblio. Could you share a bit on why you invited them?
We wanted a mix of publishers with different distribution strategies who have been unafraid to experiment. Terri White (Editor in Chief at EMPIRE) was one of our first guests back when we started out, and has done a great deal of work adapting a primarily print product for a growing digital audience. As Chief Executive of The Week, Kerin O’Connor has been instrumental in the magazine’s steady newsstand performance, and its digital presence across different platforms. Ellen Stewart, as Head of Platforms at PinkNews, has a very different perspective on distribution, having had great success with their homegrown Snapchat strategy. And finally, Mads Holmen at Bibblio has his own insights on how publishers can grow their audience through quality content recommendation.
Are you and your colleagues at Media Voices planning to do another 100 episodes?
We’ll be going as long as our listeners keep tuning in each week…!
Are you interested in attending Media Voices’ 100th podcast event on 2 May at 30 Dukes Place in London? Then RSVP for your free ticket.
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