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Annie Mac: “Changes has really changed me”

changes with Annie Macmanus interview


Annie Mac: “Changes has really changed me”

Annie MacManus has been a strong presence in the podcast world for years. In Issue #013 of the magazine, we asked Annie for the five podcasts she couldn’t live without, but given her high ranking in the 2023 Pod Bible Listener Polls, it’s safe to say that her show Changes fits into that category for many listeners. When we sat down with her back in 2020, we heard how much she enjoys the freedom of the podcast format. Four years later, we caught up with her again to learn how her podcasting is going these days…

We’re big fans of Changes here at Pod Bible. Could you tell any readers who may not have tuned in yet what they can expect?

Changes is a podcast that interviews all different types of people with the regards to the biggest changes they’ve been through in their life by zooming in on their big changes. Whether that’s changes that have happened to them or changes they have implemented; you are getting into the really knotty, interesting, meaningful parts of their lives.

Changes came third in the Interview & Conversation category in the 2023 Pod Bible Listener Polls (voted for exclusively by listeners). What is it about the show that you think people find so engaging?

I was so happy to win that award, to get to the top third in such good company as well – it meant the world. I hope that what people find engaging is the choice of the guests. We try to choose our guests because of the stories they have to tell – so the hope is that everyone has an interesting story; something that is remarkable, something that is compelling to listen to.

My interview technique is to kind of lean back, I don’t get too busy, so I like to allow the interviewee to feel really relaxed and talk as much as they like and then use the editing process later to hone and shape that into more of a structured conversation. I hope that it’s engaging – our episodes aren’t ever really long as we’re conscious of people’s time and how long they have to listen to something at any given go.

The other thing is trying to zoom in on our listeners’ needs, and how they would like to be served, and thinking in terms of What can they hear that will make them feel more connected to the world, and to themselves, and also help them to be able to navigate change in their lives better?

Has making the podcast changed you in any way?

Changes has really changed me, I suppose. First of all, it was the kind of backdrop through a period of huge change in my life from when I decided to leave BBC Radio 1 and venture into the world of writing and writing novels. So Changes has been there all the way through that. It served me really well in terms of just being able to pick the people I really really want to talk to and hear from – so my own instinctive curiosity has been served, which is amazing.

Then in terms of how I’ve changed, I suppose I’ve just learned so much. When you have these conversations with people and you really dig into people’s human experiences, you cannot help but broaden your own minds, you know? You’re learning what it is to live, what it is to be a human. The more experiences you learn from, the bigger your own mind is, but also the more empathetic you are. Learning different perspectives, I think, is a really big priority for changes. Learning how other people see the world and how other people are treated in the world and being able to really hear those voices that maybe don’t get heard that much gives you a sense of empathy and awareness of real human experience. To me that’s a really valuable thing, that’s definitely something I’ve got and that has changed me on starting it out.

Alongside Changes you also make Sidetracked with your old friend Nick Grimshaw, we imagine you two could talk about anything and make it an enjoyable listen but what’s your main focus?

The main focus for Sidetracked is just us having fun and talking about music. It’s an extension, a vehicle basically for our friendship to exist in audio form (an extension of our friendship in audio form). And it’s very much supposed to be a natural, unforced look through the week in music. So anyone we want to talk about, no matter how absurd or silly, is what we do. I really like it for that reason because it’s completely authentic to who we are as people and what our friendship is.

What’s it like to be working with Nick again?

It’s amazing to be working with Nick, I’m really really enjoying it. I also love the contrast between Sidetracked – which is all done by the BBC Sounds team – versus Changes which is run by me and my own production company, so I can just go in, have a laugh and leave every week and that’s really nice.

It’s absolutely amazing to be working with Nick again, it’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for a few years now so it’s great we’ve been able to do this.

Finally, with such vast experience in presenting on the radio and now in podcasts, what advice would you give to any aspiring hosts who may be reading?

I think the most important thing in broadcasting is truthfulness, is honesty, it’s having your listeners believe that what’s coming out of your mouth is something that is truthful and honest to who you are. So whatever you choose to do, whatever you choose to cover, whatever you choose to talk about, make sure that it is coming from a place of real passion and real curiosity on your part. I think that if that’s your bottom line – you’re off to a really really good start.

Changes with Annie macMannus

Listen to Changes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcasts >>


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