The Pod Bible gang wanted to bring podcast producers out from their editing bays and research caves to tell you why they’re passionate about creating podcasts. Today, we’re meeting Danni Haughan, Head of Development at Small Wardour, a new production company focused on family podcasts.
Can you tell us the origins of Small Wardour – what drew you to this project?
Small Wardour is a new collaboration between Wardour Studios, founded by David Smith, and Small Audio, founded by Carla Herbertson. Before I was at Apple I worked as an Audiobooks Editor and Podcast Producer at the book publishers Penguin, so I got to work on some great children’s books. When I first started we recorded the audiobook editions of the Moomins books by Tove Jansson and we worked with Carla and David on their production and recording. I absolutely loved working with them both and between us we made something that I’m still proud of to this day. After that we often worked with them on various projects and they always brought that amazing creative energy.
I then went on to head up Apple Podcasts in Europe for the next eight years, which was a great opportunity to get an in-depth overview of the market, meet and work with so many amazing podcast creators and see the industry I loved so much evolve. But whilst I really learnt a lot there I always missed the creative side of podcasts and being on the other side of the table. Like a lot of people the pandemic really made me reassess my priorities so when Carla and David launched Small Wardour I knew I just had to be a part of it.
I read recently that podcasts aimed at children are more likely to be listened to with others (whilst the majority of adult listeners listen solo). Is this something you consider?
Yes absolutely! Whilst it’s really great to create shows that children love, there’s something really special about creating shows that the whole family can enjoy together. We know from David and Kim Normanton’s podcast Super Great Kids’ Stories that parents are listening along so we try to make something the whole family can enjoy – I myself listen with my little ones, it’s such a great way for families to bond over some screen-free entertainment together. In both the shows we are producing and the shows we consult on we keep this in mind. It’s a big part of our ethos that we create thoughtful, meaningful content and it’s really very rewarding to create something that facilitates quality family time.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from podcasting for children?
To really think about the ease of discoverability and how to do that in the right way. On most podcast platforms it’s the parents who will be doing the browsing and making the choices so it’s important the content speaks to them too.
Do you like to have constant input throughout the process of producing a podcast, or do you prefer your role to be siloed?
At the moment we are a very small team so we all work together on the creative process – especially around the ideas for a new show. Even though the focus of my role is in development and strategy I really enjoy this part of the job! We have a lot of fun bouncing ideas around and work well collaboratively to put the shows together. David is the expert in the studio so it’s him and Kim that do the audio wizardry.
What is something you haven’t managed to do yet, but you would really like to work on?
We’re a fairly new business so there is still a lot to come for us! But I’m really excited about building a meaningful, supportive community around a children’s podcast. A place where parents can connect around a shared love of a show and what it means for their family. This sounds a bit lofty and conceptual but we all know how intimate podcasting can be and the connections listeners can feel towards hosts. I’d love to see if that could be extended between listeners too!
We do try to give people a ‘point of entry’ to help them discover new things. What would you say is the best thing to start listening to as a parent to showcase what you do?
I’d definitely say Super Great Kids’ Stories. It’s actually a Wardour Studios production as opposed to Small Wardour but it’s this podcast that got me back into the world of children’s audio. My little ones absolutely love it and it’s developed a really loyal fan base.
And for children – which episode do you think they’d like to start with?
If they don’t mind a little scare I’d recommend a story with Baba Yaga – she is my all time favourite witch! They could start with Baba Yaga’s breakfast (episode 8). Kim Normanton tells it so wonderfully – we couldn’t stop singing the Baba Yaga song in my house for ages! Otherwise, Tuup’s telling of Anansi and the Drum of Common Sense is more light-hearted and just so much fun!