Winners of PodPod’s first annual Faces To Watch scheme announced

List celebrates rising stars across the podcast industry, including hosting, production and advertising

The winners of PodPod's first ever Faces To Watch programme, celebrating innovative individuals in the podcasting industry, have been officially announced

This is the first year that PodPod has launched this annual scheme, which honours 30 rising stars who have been in the UK podcast industry for less than five years, including podcast producers, presenters, partnership executives, account managers, and freelancers. 

“Whittling the submissions for PodPod's first annual Faces To Watch cohort down to just thirty was a tough job, but our expert judging panel has come back with a laundry list of some of the most talented and promising rising stars the industry has to offer,” said PodPod editor Adam Shepherd. “The future industry leaders on this list show just how much of a bright future the podcast sector has ahead of it, and we're delighted to help celebrate that potential, as well as the people making it possible.”

Judges for this year’s Faces To Watch consisted of an array of audio experts including City University’s head of podcasting Sandy Warr who will soon also be running the first podcasting MA in the UK, founder of production company Unedited Bernard Achampong, and co-founder of the British Podcast Awards Matt Deegan.

Fresh from winning best new presenters at this year’s UK Audio & Radio Industry Awards (ARIAs), the co-hosts of National Prison Radio’s Life After Prison podcast, Zak Addae-Kodua and Jules Rowan, are among the names on this year’s list. The pair have been recognised for the work they’ve done to provide a digital community for former prisoners and for bringing in a fresh perspective through their own lived experience as individuals with convictions.

Other emerging podcast presenters that have been recognised on the list for the work they’ve done recently include We Are Black Journos founder and BBC World Service podcast producer Hannah Ajala, who recently received praise for her work on cybercrime podcast Love, Janessa as well as Chanté Joseph for her work on The Guardian’s Pop Culture podcast which launched at the end of last year

Experts from across a number of powerhouse audio companies were featured in the Faces To Watch class of 2023 including producers from Listen, Message Heard, Podot, Blanchard House, Mighty Bunny, Auddy, Reduced Listening, and Octave Audio.

Not only were podcast presenters and producers featured, but the winners also included key team members that work on the marketing and advertising side to continue growing the industry. This includes Crowd Network head of finance Christie Cremin, Mags Creative head of marketing Alisha Dandridge, Acast key account manager Dapo Olowu, and others from Reduced Listening, Global, Tortoise Media, and Auddy.

Additionally, a number of freelance audio producers have also been recognised within this scheme including Bridey Addison-Child for their work on shows that explore political commentary and social justice issues like the British Red Cross’s The Kind Place, audio producer Mae-Li Evans for her work on arts and culture podcasts such as weekly magazine podcastMonocle on Design, and Damian Kerlin for both his presenting and production skills, having previously won Acast’s Amplifier programme to create Memories From The Dancefloor podcast.

To celebrate the release of this year’s Faces To Watch cohort, PodPod will be inviting some of the winners on stage at The Podcast Show to discuss what their experience in the industry has been like so far. The podcast festival is taking place from 24-25 May at the Business Design Centre in Islington, with an additional preview night on 23 May.

PodPod will also be running a number of sessions with leading industry experts alongside sister title Campaign, on the Brand Works Theatre stage presented by Global in association with Fresh Air.