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3 November 2022

Meet Stefan Doyle, the new Head of the Sport Social Podcast Network

The UK’s biggest sports podcast network has a new person in the hot seat. We sat down with Stefan to find out why he’s joined the team, the podcasts he loves to listen to and his view of the podcast landscape.

What brings you to the Sport Social Podcast Network?

Sport has always been a huge passion of mine. I’ve never really been any good at playing it, but I love the adrenaline and rollercoaster of emotions you get from supporting a team or an athlete to victory.

I am a very ambitious person who loves a challenge and speaking to people about great content. So naturally, I am very excited about the opportunity to grow the Sport Social Podcast Network and help turn it into the biggest audio network in the world.

We have huge plans in the pipeline for 2023 and I can’t wait to share them with you all in the coming months!

When did you first fall in love with audio?

Working in the creative industries was always something that fascinated me from an early age. I originally wanted to be a film director before I started to do radio modules in media studies at school, and from that point on I was hooked. I loved everything about it from making my own sound effects to creating content for my shows and playing my favourite music.

I remember always listening to BBC Radio 5 Live on a Saturday with my Dad for their football coverage and I was a big Radio 1 listener as a teenager. I’d religiously listen to the chart show on a Sunday afternoon while doing my homework. So, I guess that’s where my early passion for audio came from.

I went on to complete a media degree specialising in radio at Birmingham City University and was Station Manager of the student radio station, Scratch Radio, in my final year. Since graduating, I have gone on to work as a Producer for the BBC, Global and Bauer before joining the Sport Social Podcast Network in September.

What are the podcast titles that are always on your listen list?

I’m an Arsenal fan so to get my fix on this I like to listen to Arsecast, ArsenalVision and Seaman Says. Zero Ducks Given have just joined the Sport Social Podcast Network and are sounding great. They’re my go-to cricket podcast at the moment.

I’m also a big fan of Anything Goes with James English. I love his interview technique and the stories he manages to get from his guest are fantastic. If I’m after a laugh, I like to listen to Help I Sexted My Boss. I also really enjoy listening to the Office Ladies with Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. I watched The Office (US version) during the first UK covid lockdown and absolutely loved it. It’s quite fun to hear them talk about the unknown secrets and facts of each episode.

Where and when do you listen to podcasts?

Usually when I’m on the move. Whether that be commuting to meetings and the office or going for a walk in my own time. I flick between music and podcasts when I’m working at home too.

What in your view makes a good podcast?

A good podcast should have hosts (and guests!) who have a real passion and knowledge for the subject they’re talking about. The show should know what it wants to do (educate, entertain, inform) and most importantly it should be well structured and planned out. Listening to podcasts that waffle on with no purpose is a big pet peeve of mine and will see me reaching for the skip button immediately.

Why do you think sport and podcasting work together so well?

Because it creates an opportunity for people to escape into a space where they can indulge in topics and conversations they are truly passionate about.

Whether that be basking in the glory of their team’s latest victory with fellow fans, taking in every word of a real-life conversation with their sporting heroes or giving a rights holder the opportunity to push their brand, it is a match made in heaven.

The podcasting landscape has never been in a better position. While attending the IAB’s Podcasts Upfront event in London earlier this month, my favourite quote of the day came from their Chief Marketing Officer, James Chandler.

“Podcasting is not an emerging channel, it has emerged.”

For a sporting organisation or brand not to be involved in the medium right now is a massive, missed opportunity. And if they aren’t prepared to establish themselves within it, someone else will.

What do you see as the next big development in the podcasting world?

I think in 2023 we’re going to see the number of podcasts visualising their content soar to new levels across social media and more specifically on YouTube.

Earlier in March, Podnews gave us an insight into what Google may be planning with YouTube and podcasting in the future. Since then, youtube.com/podcasts has launched in the US.

In May, American broadcasting company Cumulus Media published a study, in partnership with Signal Hill Insights, that identified YouTube is narrowly the most popular platform for podcasts in the US. In fact, six in ten weekly podcast listeners said they preferred podcasts with video.

With over 2.5 billion people currently accessing YouTube every month, it is hard not to imagine the social giant will continue to stretch its lead over other podcasting platforms significantly in the next 12 months.

If you’re interested in whether or not you should be creating a video version of your podcast, make sure to take a listen to our latest episode of Sound Business.

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