We’re really keen to share the groups and individuals that are running on passion with a series of interviews highlighting the indy podcasts who made waves at the British Podcast Awards…
It’s been quite the year for OUTCAST UK. It started with going viral on TikTok, and has continued with awards success for the podcast itself. It won The British Podcast Award for possibly the most-contested category – Best New Podcast. As we know, there have been a LOT of new podcasts this year, so it’s an incredible achievement for an independent show to outdo them all.
Hosted by the podcaster and broadcaster Graeme Smith, the show shares in-depth interviews with a mix of well known and up and coming broadcasters, artists, podcasters, musicians, influencers and academics. The judges at the BPAs stated that “There was no doubt the guests felt safe and heard”, and we agree. This really is the power of podcasts that are created by communities, for communities. OUTCAST UK might be the hottest new LGBTQ+ podcast, but there is plenty there for allies to learn from as well.
We asked Graeme about the show.
Congratulations on the BPA win! How do you feel?
I didn’t believe it when they announced the winner! The podcast came pretty close at the ARIAS earlier in the summer and it didn’t happen so I didn’t think it would this time. My mate Joe came to the awards ceremony with me and had to literally push me to stand up and walk to the stage. I felt incredibly proud that without any corporate backing or much of a marketing budget the podcast managed to get such recognition. I’m a one man production team. The podcast at this point was literally me just talking to people I like and respect about their incredible lives and experiences. It was a real moment of realising that yes, people are noticing and it was incredible. In summary I feel like my work has been validated by the best of my peers and that’s everything really.
What was the first podcast you ever listened to?
The old Ricky Gervais podcasts (before the transphobia)… the stuff they then animated for TV. My tastes have since evolved! This and the standard Radio 4 newsy stuff the BBC has always knocked out would have been the first podcasts I engaged with. But I had always been a listener to speech radio … Radio 4 / LBC and even the more crazy late night phone in stuff my entire life.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
The freedom to be long form, nuanced and authentic. I have mainly worked in formatted commercial radio most of my adult life, this was a chance to make something totally different, using the skills I had spent years crafting. I also had a never ending supply of stories to tell about the real lives of LGBTQ+ people and to talk about experiences in my own life and and this was the medium to do it. I wanted to tell my story through the stories of the people I spoke to. They say what I can’t or won’t say quite often. I feel like my previous few attempts at podcasts, documentary producing and speech broadcasting had been teaching me everything I needed to know to make OUTCAST UK work. I want this to become a platform people can come to for LGBTQ content that isn’t just aimed at the same white cisgender gay men. I’m bored of them. This is a deliberate attempt to diversify the range of voices and perspectives available and still make great content that has a social impact.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
OUTCAST UK is a bit of a mix, it’s inclusive, it’s current, its issues based, it gets political … But also outrageously funny sometimes. It can morph into whatever it needs to be, so my influences are very varied and reflect that.
The newsagents lately has been inspiringly brilliant lately. It’s hard not to soak it in. I loved the Battersea Poltergeist last year on BBC Sounds it opened my eyes to how to tell a story and at times almost defied a fixed format. The brilliant James O’Brien in his formidable delivery and his analysis. I loved what The Log Books podcasts did for accessible LGBTQ+ history and storytelling. I also think that in terms of increasing general podcast awareness the juggernaut formats of the Joe Rogan Experience and Diary of a CEO are impressive. This is how social video is done for podcasts. It sets the agenda and grows awareness… which is vital.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
Right now I think DJ Fat Tony, just for the incredible stories that are sometimes outrageous, sometimes incredibly moving. I’ve been talking to him about coming on and hopefully that’s happening soon.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
Be honest with yourself. Make the stuff that YOU think is good. You literally can beat the big boys with the right idea.
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
It’s got to be Series 2, Ep 2. Me and Nick Charles with a chat that’s as honest and outrageous as it is funny featuring a frank exchange about when we had both done sex work in the past. The reaction on social media was intense. I was able to tell Nick for the first time that I had been forced into sex work when I was unemployed with a near fatal drugs problem about a decade ago… the twist was that it had been IN HIS APARTMENT (this was before he lived there). This episode sums up the conversations and issues the show is all about, it’s very honest and I’ve listened back and it still makes me laugh a lot. Me and Nick still say we couldn’t do this episode again if we tried! It’s in full video podcast glory on Spotify if you’re interested.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
Playoutcastuk.com has all our links.
Find me on Insta @mrgraemesmith.