Hit BBC current affairs podcast Newscast will start releasing episodes seven days a week for the first time starting 2 September, the broadcaster has announced, with the addition of two new hosts for weekend episodes.
The new Saturday and Sunday episodes added to the schedule will be co-hosted by Laura Kuenssberg, presenter of BBC One’s flagship Sunday morning politics TV show, and Paddy O’Connell, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Sunday Broadcasting House show. Both co-hosts will incorporate insights from their Sunday morning shows following their respective recordings, talking about what happened on air and in the green room.
Kuenssberg previously hosted Newscast when it first launched in 2017, alongside the current hosts of the main weekday show, BBC News chief political correspondent Adam Fleming and BBC Political Editor Chris Mason. Kuenssberg left the show after announcing that she was stepping down from her role as BBC Political Editor in December 2021 to take up a senior presenting and reporting role.
“I’m delighted to be getting back behind the Newscast mic, with a brand new show, and a brand new podcasting partner! Paddy’s broadcasting genius is to make you laugh out loud while you’re learning,” said Kuenssberg. “I can’t wait to try to make sense of what just happened in our TV and radio studios on Sunday mornings. And I’m thrilled to be reunited regularly with the Newscast audience, with their sparky questions and fantastic feedback, especially now we’re on the road to the General Election. Get the coffee on!”
“It's the best BBC decision since colour TV,” said O’Connell. “Millions choose TV or radio on Sunday mornings, but never before have we joined forces. Only Newscast can make this happen. Laura is the platinum-selling political journalist in the UK. I’m hoping Broadcasting House listeners start a new podcasting habit by listening on a Saturday and Sunday morning. It's time for Podcasting House."
Newscast was BBC Sounds’ most listened-to podcast from August 2022 to January 2023 during a period where news podcasts became a go-to source for many due to the fast-changing political climate. In August this year, BBC News Podcasts executive producer Jonathan Aspinwall told the Press Gazette in an interview that Newscast will be central to the BBC’s general election coverage.
Similarly, other news podcasts that have become popular in the past year - including Goalhanger’s The Rest is Politics with former political figures Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, and Global’s The News Agents with veteran journalists Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall - also aim to be a go-to source for news about the general election.
At The Podcast Show this year, Goalhanger co-founder and executive producer Tony Pastor said that The Rest is Politics may have a “manifesto” for the next general election, and that plans for coverage include increasing the podcast’s volume to daily episodes leading up to the election, as well as potentially going on a nationwide tour that will open up debates across major cities in the country.