Have You Heard? is a series in which the team from Pod Bible meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! In this week’s edition we sat down with Jacob Hawley to discuss his podcast, Jacob Hawley: Job Centre.
Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
My name’s Jacob Hawley, I’m a comedian and I make a podcast for BBC Sounds called Jacob Hawley: On Drugs. That’s obviously all stopped over the last few weeks, so now I’m making Jacob Hawley’s Job Centre about entertainers like me who lost all their work overnight, and key workers who have now become crucial.
How did you decide to pivot to your new podcast at this time?
I think like most people, I’ve flitted between the fight, flight or freeze reactions to what’s going on at the moment. I wanted to stay active, making things and putting them out there and as live work is impossible right now, podcasting felt the best medium. Initially, I just wanted to talk to other comedians about how they’re coping with everything, then it made sense to expand that to all creatives affected by lockdown, and then you kind of look out the window and think about who’s actually important right now, key workers and health care professionals. If there’s a conclusion to be found about how the world’s gonna change after all this, they have to be part of the conversation.
What’s the first podcast you ever listened to?
I listened to Serial years and years ago when people didn’t know what podcasts were, when no one was doing them and it blew my mind a bit. Since then I haven’t stuck with True Crime, I stick to Boxing and Football podcasts.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
I think podcasts allow you to be more ambitious because they’re easier to make. When I wanted to do Jacob Hawley: On Drugs, I wanted to make this comedy/documentary thing that I’m not sure anyone had done before in a podcast, and I doubt anyone would have trusted me, an unknown broadcaster/presenter and barely known comedian, to make it if it was tele or radio, but luckily a few idiots trusted me to do it as a podcast.
How have you found the process of recording and creating a podcast in quarantine?
Yeah, that’s been a challenge! The home studio thing is its own challenge, erecting a fort around myself with a duvet over my head using a keyboard stand. And then learning how to interview without being in a room with people; I think when I made my other podcast it took me a moment to learn that interviewing people is a skill you have to work really hard on, and now this is a new skill all together in terms of interviewing people over the internet.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
Anywhere I feel the interviewer is conducting a good interview, getting something from their subject that other interviewers don’t get, whether that’s a sports podcast or something more news based.
What other podcasts that you enjoy have pivoted successfully during these times?
The Second Captains is one of my favourite sports podcasts, strangely one of the journalists involved is actually my girlfriend’s cousin. They’ve managed to continue to make something really good. The Athletic are putting great stuff out, there’s obviously an opportunity to switch to more retrospective conversations about sport but then there’s an ongoing, wider discussion about whether sport will continue and the reasons it should or shouldn’t, and I think a lot of people are taking the opportunity to turn it into a more pertinent conversation about what society values and the way the world will re-emerge after all this.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
For the new series I’ve already got my dream guest; Mr Motivator. And he didn’t disappoint.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
I think to be more ambitious. A lot of podcasts that I love are two people having a recorded conversation, and I really enjoy it. I like that, with what I’ve done, we’ve been allowed to try stuff. There was an On Drugs episode where the producer, Nick, recorded me walking around a prison chatting to people – again, I don’t know how many other podcasts do stuff like that.
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
Both my previous and current series’ are available on BBC Sounds, that’s the best thing to check out!
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