The Guardian recorded up to 20 pilots for its latest launch

Planning phase for Pop Culture with Chanté Joseph included rigorous prototyping before a host was even selected

The Guardian created between 10 to 20 pilot episodes before finding the host of its new podcast, Pop Culture with Chanté Joseph, The Guardian’s head of audio Nicole Jackson revealed in the latest episode of PodPod.

The weekly podcast series launched on November 3, looking at the biggest stories in internet culture such as Rihanna’s release of her first single in six years. After choosing to have Joseph host the show, Jackson said that the podcast team tested around 8 more episodes in the planning phase before premiering the show.

“We did a lot of piloting internally and externally and actually it was incredibly helpful because there were loads of people who were brilliant and we’re gonna bring them back as guests” Jackson said. “But writer and journalist Chanté really stood out, I have to say, she had the thing when you’re just hearing and you’re like ‘ah, there it is’.”

“I think Chanté was like ‘no’, I think she was so over it,” she added. “I saw that when she tweeted announcing that she was going to be the host, she was like ‘after a ‘LONG’ piloting period…’”

Similarly, other shows from The Guardian like Comfort Eating with Grace Dent and Today In Focus also had long piloting periods to work through. The latter specifically took three to four months and Jackson said she can’t even remember the exact number of pilots that were recorded before the launch.

“I just think piloting is so important,” Jackson said “I cannot imagine ever putting out a show that hasn't had a really kind of rigorous piloting period.” 

Other contributors that worked behind the scenes on the Pop Culture podcast include executive producer Maz Ebtehaj, producer Hattie Moir, and music created by sound designer Axel Kacoutié who featured in last week’s PodPod episode alongside the Spotify Decode podcast team.