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! We recently spoke to Cherise Hamilton-Stephenson about Interconnected Voices, a UK-based political commentary and personal stories podcast.
Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
My name is Cherise Hamilton-Stephenson. I am a presenter and producer born and raised in South London, embedded in UK culture. I have a passion for contemporary politics and social issues, and committed to platforming underrepresented, diverse and minority voices. The disconnect between traditional news and minority Millennials/Gen-Z, the feeling is that their stories were not being platformed and this inspired me to create my podcast Interconnected Voices. Interconnected Voices takes you behind the news headlines and combines insightful political commentary with personal stories from a wide variety of underrepresented, diverse and minority voices. I tell their stories through a mixed-media format of visual and audio.
What was the first podcast you ever listened to?
Scene on Radio – I was hooked from the first episode, exploring the relationship between race, class and sports in American Society. I was intrigued by the interesting facts and the archive footage that was sourced. The hosting was informal, making it an easy listen, coupled with a sensitive approach to contributors who shared their stories on difficult topics.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
I became bored of consuming news that I could not relate to. I also felt that the reporting did not explore how issues and topics would affect young people. Starting a podcast was a good way for me to combine my passion for giving a voice to those presently voiceless, utilising my journalism and radio production skills to connect with young audiences that no longer consume news through traditional channels.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
Before I created Interconnected Voices, I listened to a few politics podcasts to get a general idea of formatting, such as, Gaslit Nation. However, I would say that feedback from my listeners really helped me to develop the mix media style and contemporary format of Interconnected Voices. I was keen to have strong visuals and branding to capture people’s attention.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
I really admire female political commentators, with strong points of view and a desire to make equality the norm in our society. I would love to interview Afua Hirsh, broadcast journalist and author platforming issues on race, class and gender. It would be great to gain her point of view on how to improve the criminal justice system and race relations in the UK.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
I have learnt two big lessons: consistency is key; as humans we create habits. The best way to build a listenership is to consistently put out content, as much as you can. Also, have fun! The best thing about creating audio is the freedom to change your format, style, and sound, experimenting with different interview styles to fit your chosen topic; evolving your podcast and not letting it become stagnate. For example, my new series ‘Black Voice Collections’ is a series of anecdotes and reflections portraying the realities of being Black and British – the highs, the lows and all that’s in between. The episodes are a completely different style to series 1 & 2, they are 3 – 6 minute long episodes with beautifully designed soundscapes and fire promo videos for each episode created by Bridey Addison-Child and Phoebe Langley Gussin.
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
Each podcast series has a different theme, topics and production style; therefore, I feel there’s an episode for everyone. However, I would say Series 2, Episode 3, ‘The Universal Credit Trap’, is an insightful episode highlighting how the UK’s benefit system affects minority millennials/Gen-Z. It’s a perspective that is not often given a platform in mainstream media. Also, in this episode, we executed Interconnected Voice’s production style with an eclectic mix of archive, soundscape and balanced narrative.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
They can find out more about me on my personal Instagram: @ailliyah_cherisex and Twitter: @AilliyahCherise. For Interconnected Voices episodes and exclusive content, they can follow @interconnected_voices on Instagram.
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