The production company behind The News Agents has announced that its newest current affairs podcast, hosted by ex-politicians Ed Balls and George Osborne, will officially launch this week on 14 September.
The weekly series, titled Political Currency, is created by production company Persephonica and will feature former political rivals Balls and Osborne discussing how major economic decisions are made and how they affect people’s lives, with additional emergency episodes for breaking economic news. The show will also feature interviews with former insiders who know Balls and Osborne from their time in office.
“Part of our podcast is going to be looking back to things we've experienced, things we've learned and then seeing how they apply to where we are today,” said Balls. “We're also people who, as chancellor or shadow chancellor, always understood that economics is at the centre of good politics.”
“There are some politicians who can sometimes think if they make a speech that’s sufficiently compelling, it's enough to change the course of history. Whereas we know that if you get the economics right, the politics can flow from that.”
“We were the insiders, and now we have the perspective of the outsiders,” said Osborne. “We’re going to take people behind the closed doors, into the rooms where the decisions are made. We’ll explain how the politics follows the economics, and expose how the powerful become powerless when faced with economic forces they can’t control.”
Both co-hosts have previous experience working within top roles in the government, with Balls and Osborne having served as shadow chancellor and chancellor, respectively. Balls now makes regular appearances on ITV’s Good Morning Britain as a presenter, while Osborne is now chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) and the British Museum.
Political Currency is the first independent production for Persephonica, having co-produced hit current affairs podcast The News Agents with Global, and produced music podcast Dua Lipa: At Your Service for BBC Sounds. The podcast will be available on all major podcast platforms in both video and audio format. The podcast is being hosted on Acast, and represented by the company for the purpose of advertising sales.
"George and Ed are going to cut through the economic noise and deliver some brilliant insight into the latest consumer news, from all corners of the political spectrum," said Josh Woodhouse, Acast UK and Ireland managing director. "Advertisers and brands can benefit from what is expected to be a hugely popular podcast with sponsorship, ads and branded content only through the Acast Marketplace."
"We’re really excited to be launching Persephonica’s first independent production,” Persephonica co-founder and chief executive officer Dino Sofos told PodPod. “We’re very lucky to be working with two of the most plugged-in people in British politics, who have run the country’s finances at the highest levels.”
“This is an ambitious production and will have a life far beyond the podcast feed. We’re grateful to Ed and George for choosing Persephonica to make their podcast debuts.”
Persephonica and Global’s The News Agents launched in 2022 during a time of political uncertainty in the UK and quickly became a hit, amassing 24 million downloads within seven months of its debut. It also regularly appears at the top of the UK charts alongside rival current affairs podcast, The Rest is Politics with former political figures Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart.
With the current cost of living crisis, economics podcasts are becoming more popular, as soon after Persephonica’s initial announcement of the podcast, Goalhanger - the production company behind The Rest is Politics - also announced a new economics podcast titled The Rest is Money, hosted by broadcaster Steph McGovern and ITV News political editor Robert Peston.