Passion, rather than money-making, is still the main driver for podcasting, according to multiple British Podcast Awards 2023 nominees who attended the ceremony on Thursday evening last week.
The seventh-annual ceremony, powered by PodPod, took place at the HERE at Outernet immersive theatre in Central London and celebrated excellence in podcasting across the industry. As part of the event, PodPod has released a special episode, sponsored by audio technology company Nomono and using its Sound Capsule kit to record live interviews and reactions from the ceremony.
Despite the enormous growth that the UK podcasting industry has seen over recent years - proven by the fact that there were nearly 500 attendees for this year's ceremony - the British Podcast Awards showed that there is still room for new ideas and diverse content, as long as the creators behind it still have the passion and love to follow it through.
“I think the thing with podcasts is everyone does it because they love it,” said Girls on Film host Anna Smith, nominated for Best Interview Podcast. “It's not necessarily a cynical money-making exercise; I have something to say, and I want to say it, and I have a passion for it."
“The people I'm meeting so far share my passion for that, for speaking out about what we believe in.”
Emma Goswell, assistant producer for Overcoat Media and BBC Radio Wales’ A Positive Life: HIV from Terrence Higgins to Today, which won Podcast of The Year and Best Factual Podcast, spoke about the importance of podcasting in educating people and removing stigma around subjects that are considered taboo.
“It's incredible how far we've come, so I'm glad that this podcast will show people the history, where we've come from, and where we are today, and that there's still a stigma and there's still a problem.”
“The main thing about these awards - they're great, and it's nice, and we're in London, there's glitter balls and we're drinking wine - but if it just means that a few more people listen to the podcast about something really important, that could save their life, then that's brilliant. That's the main point, isn't it really?”
Goswell met two women at the event who told her part of the reason they were so happy that HIV is still being talked about is that they have family members in Africa who are still living with these conditions and suffering serious consequences from them.
“Still in 2023, we've got people who are being judged for being born HIV-positive or living with HIV, and we still have HIV stigma - and we've now got to the amazing stage where, actually, the treatments are so incredible that you can be now undetected and you can now be non-transmissible,” she added.
Other attendees the night included Masala Podcast host Sangeeta Pillai who was also a judge for this year’s British Podcast Awards, and used her extra ticket to invite an up-and-coming member of the podcast industry to come and join her during the night as her plus one, in order to network with other members of the community. Pillai also won bronze for Best Interview Podcast at the awards ceremony this year.
Pillai’s extra ticket went to Tracey Rashid, co-host of the Talking Hospitality podcast which celebrates members of that industry and the “fabulous stuff” that they do. One takeaway from the night for her was that podcasters can talk about anything, and there will always be people willing to listen.
“There's so many things to talk about and there's always someone that wants to listen to what you've got to say,” said Rashid. “It's inspiring to see people that have been doing it for years and where they are now - and people that just started and where they are now. So let's just keep going and see what happens.”