Broadcaster, writer and podcaster Cherry Healey tells Stylist that she thinks there are far too many podcasts, and that’s exactly why we should continue to make more.
Broadcaster Cherry Healey is the woman to go to for podcast advice.
Perhaps best-known for her BBC Three documentaries on women’s issues, Healey also launched the Letters To My Fanny and The Hotbed podcasts. She’s also been a regular guest on hit podcast series, including Woman’s Hour and Scrummy Mummies. Thanks to her inquisitive nature, warm personality and ability to chat pretty much anyone under the table, podcasting seems a natural fit for the presenter.
But when she first started out, the world of podcasts wasn’t what it is today.
“I would just pop along to where [the guests] were or invite them to my house and we’d sit on my carpet and I’d feed them crisps and chat,” she tells Stylist.
“I just went off and did it myself and edited it myself and put it out myself. In the end I got really busy with work and I also felt like the podcast landscape had changed. It felt like you needed a really slick production, amazing graphics, sexy intro and outro music.”
Unable to keep up with the growing demands of podcasting, Healey was forced to take a step back. Now, though, the presenter is tentatively planning to come back with a new series. “I’ve been planning a few things, so we’ll see, but I miss it greatly,” she admits. “It became like a fascinating friend to hang out with. I loved the creativity of it and learning how to edit.”
Despite her experience, Healey insists that the amount of slickly produced podcasts out there shouldn’t prevent anyone from giving podcasting a go.
“I think it is very saturated, but I kind of don’t care,” she says. “They allow a lot of people to have a voice, and learn new skills and the production process - they’re learning a new subject.
“There’s a bit of criticism about podcasts – ‘oh god, everybody and their tennis partner and their dog walker has got a bloody podcast.’ But just chill out, Karen! It’s not like television, not everyone can make a TV programme: you need money, a commissioner, expensive equipment. With a podcast, you need almost nothing. You need an iPhone really. Anyone can do it.”
Referring to the domination of white, middle-class, middle-aged male voices in the media, she adds: “What in fact annoys people is, ‘Well, you haven’t done a Journalism degree’ or, ‘You haven’t been hired by the BBC’. Well, I personally love that.”
Healey is currently supporting a campaign for more enjoyable journeys with Virgin Trains. So, what are the podcasts that get Healey through a long commute or drive in the car?
“I really love Clemmie Telford’s podcast, Honestly - I think it’s very considered and she’s looking at really interesting subjects that aren’t necessarily always talked about [Telford’s conversations range from sex lives to salaries, gender to race].
“She is actually asking some quite difficult questions. Like,what is taboo anymore? In a way people are looking for that subject that hasn’t been covered, but within a subject there’s always really difficult questions that haven’t been asked. Everyone is dancing around them. So it’s really nice to listen to a podcast where someone isn’t afraid to ask those tricky questions.”
Healey also rates The Guilty Feminist, Scummy Mummies, Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete and, of course, The Hotbed which she regularly contributes to.
She adds: “I travel a lot for work, so podcasts have become quite an important community for me actually, they keep me company. I’m a real social animal, so I need people - I love people.
“Podcasts have been a really wonderful revolution. I love how well they’re doing, it’s really exciting. It doesn’t seem to be a fad either, I don’t think they’re going away anytime soon.”
Cherry Healey is working with Virgin Trains to launch ‘Train Jotting,’ a new competition encouraging kids to draw the train journey of their dreams and be in with the chance to have their winning design turned into a toy. For more information please log on to www.virgintrains.com/trainjotting