Our series of interviews with the makers of the BBC Sounds Audio Lab shows continues with Tomi Dixon, creator of Colouring In Britain. The show imagines what Tomi’s secondary school history lessons could have been if black history was taught across the other 11 months of the year. It features interviews with cultural icons like Benjamin Zephaniah, who discusses his love for language, writing and reggae music as ways of connecting with Caribbean heritage, as well as issues like growing up in the UK where the threat of violent racism was prevalent.
What was your introduction to podcasting as a listener?
My introduction to podcasts was through conversational podcasts where hosts and guests would keep me engaged for hours on my daily commute. The podcasts I listened to early on were 90s Baby Show and HCPod Original as they were extremely entertaining and relatable. They inspired the format of how I wanted to create my own content; that invites people into thought provoking conversations keeping listeners entertained all the way through.
Why was audio the right medium for you project?
Audio was the right medium for the project because I think podcasts have a unique ability to deliver powerful narratives that feel extremely personal. I wanted to drop people into each of these stories by combining the different components of drama, interviews and storytelling to create an immersive experience. I think it would have be difficult to deliver all of that in a media format other than audio.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from making the podcast?
It takes time! Especially if you want to get something right. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get the right wording or create the right sounds/feel. Especially if you want to deliver the story to the listener in the way you intended. The idea for the podcast seemed straight forward, but when I got into it I realised it was really ambitious! I had to take everything step by step in the project and eventually everything became manageable. So I also learned I’m capable of achieving things when I put my mind to it.
What would you like to see more of in the podcast space?
I would like to see more programmes like Audiolab because this programme gave me the platform to share stories that might not get told otherwise. It was a fantastic opportunity to share the lives and impact of 4 really significant black Britons. People that I think the country should definitely know more about. It would be great to see more opportunities like this for people to tell important stories that don’t get major exposure.
Don’t forget to check out the other interviews in this series.