When the news broke that Alastair Campbell was starting a podcast with former Conservative minister Rory Stewart, few could have predicted just how much of a splash it would make. Fast-forward a year, however, and The Rest Is Politics has become a firm fixture on the UK’s top podcast charts, and sold out multiple live shows in scorching time.
It represents the latest in a growing line of successes for creators Goalhanger Podcasts, alongside hit show The Rest Is History. With two new launches on the horizon, PodPod host Rhianna Dhillon and editor Adam Shepherd sat down with Goalhanger co-founder Jack Davenport to discuss how the company has achieved its meteoric rise, its plans for the future, and why good chemistry is at the heart of everything it does.
Expand one step at a time
“We've tried to grow our network by moving sort of one step to the left or right of pods we have already, so we know we can take audience across. It wasn't a massive leap to politics from history. We thought that there would be a good chance that a good percentage of that audience would be interested and maybe give episode one a go.”
“And similarly, I think that when we've been doing The Rest Is Politics, so many of the stories we're covering are around economics or business, it felt like a natural one to move on to. To be really cold and commercial about it as well, we've also learned as we've gone along about where brands and sponsors are in the market, and the kind of content that people want to get around, and we think that the business economics space is a good one for that.”
Prioritise good chemistry
“It's absolutely the first thing we look for, and the way we've approached it so far, and the method that's worked for us is that there's been one person that we've really wanted to work with, and then we’ve said to them, look, who do you really get on with? Who do you have good conversations about in this area?”
“We haven't to this point tried to invent something out of thin air, because it is just so fundamental to what our podcasts are. So for The Rest Is Politics, it was Alastair. We had a relationship with him and we wanted to put something together; we asked him for a list of Tories that he could bear to have a conversation with. It wasn't very long.”
Be realistic with your talent goals
“We always knew we were gonna do something with Gary [Lineker], obviously, we've been waiting for the right time, the right opportunity. And I think, one of the things that we can bring to it, a massive competitive advantage that we have, is that we can bring really big talent to it.”
“And I think when we announce the talent, who's gonna be with Gary - they are A-list, ex-footballer, pundits, you know. They're big names and I think that hasn't been possible for very long in podcasting, to be really honest; to afford those kinds of people just for a pure podcast context.”