By Kat Smith
Wales’ first-ever podcast conference, PODCON Cymru 2020, launched at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC) on Friday 24 January.
Supported by BBC Cymru, the one-day conference gave an insight into commissioning processes, podcast production and the importance of branding.
The conference was organised by Sali Collins, director of the MA Broadcast Journalism course at Cardiff University, and welcomed industry experts, commissioning editors and podcast producers from across the UK.
As of November 2019, there are over 800,000 active podcasts worldwide – the conference offered a variety of perspectives on what makes a podcast successful and how to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.
From top tips for getting started, to the importance of branding and marketing, a wide variety of topics were discussed by leading figures in the industry throughout the 13 talks.
Matt Deegan from the British Podcast Awards opened the conference, speaking of the importance of committing to at least ten episodes, of catching an audience’s attention and respecting their time through good quality sound and editing. Rhian Roberts, commissioning editor for Digital & Podcasts BBC Radio 4, 3 & 4 Extra, also urged potential pitchers to challenge their expectations of a podcast when thinking of an idea.
Former postgraduate student Rachel Evans returned to JOMEC to speak about her work for Channel 4’s Ways to Change the World and Politics: Where Next?, explaining how to build a news brand and use social media to boost a podcast and generate other content.
Other guests included: BBC Cymru’s Gruffudd Pritchard, who spoke about the challenges and opportunities of Welsh language podcasts, Audioboom’s Mike Newman and Stuart Harding from Running is Bull****.
Louie Fletcher, a JOMEC student who attended the conference, said “it was an enlightening day – there was a real buzz in the air”. He added that there “seems to be a real desire from commissioners for new content”. Louie is looking to start his own podcast in the near future.