Recalling a particularly stressful radio OB [Outside Broadcast], audio producer and ex-podcast lead for BBC News Dino Sofos says he now prefers news podcasting to live radio because of the freedom it gives to make use of the edit.
Sofos used to be the editor behind hit BBC news podcasts like Brexitcast, Americast, and Newscast. He has since left the corporation to become the founder and CEO of audio production company Persephonica, which is behind the second-most listened to politics podcast in the UK, The News Agents, and entertainment podcast Dua Lipa: At Your Service.
In Episode 6 of the PodPod podcast, Sofos recalled a particular incident that made him prefer podcasting to radio: he was in the middle of recording a live radio show for the BBC at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, and one of the hotel staff plugged in a Hoover, disconnecting their entire power feed and costing five or six crucial minutes to reconnect.
“Radio OBs are a nightmare because it’s just the live link, isn’t it?” said Sofos. “Why I love podcasting, especially daily podcasting, is that you get the buzz and the energy and the adrenaline of live… but you don’t have to stress on what if the line drops? What if we need to re-record something? It’s just great, I love podcasting.”
Although his new venture The News Agents being a daily podcast means a hard deadline of 5am every day – with recording needing to be completed ahead of that to give time to edit – Sofos said: “You do have the stress of the edit, but I think we really enjoy it… It just gives you a lot more flexibility.”
Another example that Sofos recalled is during his time as a producer for The News Agents and having a debrief with the presenters, Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel, after feeling that recording didn’t go so well and discovering new things to add to the episode after doing multiple takes.
“Jon came up with this incredible analogy in comparison to Liz Truss’s speech of the enemies to the people and he said: ‘It's been ticking over in my mind, but it reminded me of Trump’ and he didn't do that in the first take,” said Sofos. “In the second take, Emily was like ‘Oh my God, when you said that, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up’ and it was just like that sort of moment.
“If we were live we would've missed it the first time but because we just had a beat to think about it, and the flexibility to be able to look at each other and go ‘No, let's re-record that’, again it’s one of the many reasons I love podcasting.”