British Podcast Awards 2023: Rising star

Like any creative medium, the continued development and survival of podcasting depends on new blood coming in to shake things up with fresh ideas and exciting approaches. This category celebrates the individuals who are making an exceptional impact in the world of podcasting, reinventing traditions and supercharging the potential of audio content.

Our judges were blown away by the passion, dedication and talent of the winners in this category - all of whom were also among PodPod’s inaugural Faces To Watch earlier in the year - and look forward to seeing the future progress of their careers in the industry.

Gold: Chanté Joseph

The fact that Chanté Joseph has only been podcasting since November 2022 shows what an immediate impact she’s had on the industry. The Guardian’s Pop Culture with Chanté Joseph podcast was immediately featured by both Apple and Amazon Music as it attracted strong reviews across the board. It also propelled her to be one of PodPod’s Faces To Watch for this year.

With a background covering culture, music and politics for Vogue, Dazed and The Guardian, Joseph has made the transition to podcasting look easy. She’s covered a subject that’s often presented quite frivolously from interesting angles — like exploring how ADHD is portrayed in pop culture and the history of racism in mainstream British comedy shows.

Throughout it all, she’s willing to share her own insights and be vulnerable in order to connect with her audience. The aforementioned episode on British comedy racism includes her discomfort at watching certain programmes with her father, and an episode on modern dating inspired her to do a TikTok Unwrapped on her own dating life.

The judges said:

“Chante is a wonderfully engaging host. Her wit and pop culture literacy is some of the best in this category, and in amongst vibrant, poppy production, her charisma stands out. Her skits are creative and exciting, although she sounds slightly less comfortable in this comedic mode - she shines most in conversation and when she's unscripted. Her personality and audience that she's accumulated is a big strength, and I can imagine her presenting almost anything and being loyally listened to.”

Silver: Hannah Ajala

The eight-part series Love, Janessa for the BBC World Service and CBC Podcasts got rave reviews upon release, with much of the praise directed at the show’s host Hannah Ajala - another Faces To Watch honoree - for her engaging, compelling and sympathetic storytelling. 

The podcast follows the search for Janessa Brazil — a former camgirl whose pictures have been stolen and used by scammers to catfish victims out of thousands of dollars. Before Love, Janessa, Ajala’s work as a freelancer had specialised in intriguing stories about Nigeria, including a documentary on the LGBT+ community and a BBC World Service podcast about getting married in the country. 

The judges said:

“Excellent storytelling, music and mixing: a great atmosphere and also nuances to the usual catfishing narrative that are skillfully introduced as you go. Excellent investigations make it feel like an adventurous podcast that matters. The interviewing interspersed with Hannah's captivating narration is great.” 

Bronze: Talia Augustidis

At just 22 years old, Faces To Watch recipient Talia Augustidis clearly has a bright future in podcasting ahead of her. Her production work has already featured on Radio 4, Short Cuts, Resonance FM, Weird Noise and the Financial Times’ award-nominatedMoney Clinic podcast. But last year, she also hosted, produced, mixed and sound-designed her own podcast — UnReality— and the Sleep Talks episode was featured at several festivals.

The judges said:

“The audio instantly grabbed my attention - not just the content but the way it's been produced. The work outside of production shows that the entrant is working for the benefit of their peers and the industry as a whole.”