The Acast Amplifier programme was created to seek out new audio talent across the UK, and actively support the next generation of podcasters in getting their ideas off the ground and sharing their stories with the world. Now the three winning podcast ideas are becoming reality.
Memories From The Dancefloor is a docu-series hosted by Journalist Damian Kerlin. Released during LGBTQ+ History Month, it celebrates LGBTQ+ venues and unravels the forgotten history behind queer nightlife across the UK. Damian speaks to founders, artists, promoters and patrons to unpack the expressions of queer identity after dark, colourfully told by the community that lived it.
We asked him more about his show, and how he found it podcasting for the first time…
What was your introduction to podcasting as a listener?
I’m Grand Mam is the perfect example of how to get humour right in audio. Nothing feels forced. It is a conversation between two best friends and instead of it being about them, it is their reaction to the world around them. Ego in podcasting is rife and it turns me right off. I’m Grand Mam has hit the balance perfectly and their nuanced approach is why it is laugh-out-loud good. They are also Irish, but I’m not biased.
Ctrl, Alt, Delete was this phenomenon that was your typical interview podcast blueprint, but instead of relying on celebrities or big talent Emma spoke to people who genuinely inspired and interest her. It makes the whole experience really authentic and like most of us when talking to people we admire you can hear that 2OH MY GOD I CAN’T BLIEVE I’M SPEAKING TO YOU” in Emma’s voice, which makes it relatable. Emma has introduced me to some incredible people who I follow on socials and have reached out to too.
How have you found the process of podcasting compared to writing?
There are a lot of similarities, such as the research and setting up of interviews. For me what was different was the scripting and layering. When you write you take the reader on a journey, as wanky as that sounds, but you do. It is the same when scripting but suddenly it’s not just your voice or your style running through 1,800 words, it is quite literally others. You need to find balance in opinions, who compliments who and if not, why? Then there is the added layer of actual audio. People talking for 30+ minutes isn’t interesting. You need to create atmosphere and ambience. When should you introduce music, what should pop and when. I learned so much and I can’t wait to do more.
Did the show develop or change from your original application?
The premise very much remained the same, but I was flexible in our structure and approach. I wanted their story, but I didn’t know what these people were going to say. For instance, we delve into racism on the podcast, and once I started doing some digging, I knew I had to speak to Marc Thompson the founder of Black and Gay Back in the Day. Marc’s story was essential in ensuring balance in the narrative and that voices and perspectives were heard. This podcast is about being open and sharing experiences in a safe space. I refused to limit that as I wanted to hear them out, and the result has been incredible!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
Be prepared and always have a back-up plan. You may have a vision of how you want an interview to go or what you would like to get from it but it’s not that simple. When reflecting or discussing people’s experiences or perspective it can be challenging for them or it can be totally different to what you have researched.
Give them time to go on their journey and bounce off their enthusiasm, and garner from them when is good to push for a point and when is best to back up and take a different route. It’s a conversation, not an interrogation. Also, gassing all day is a hoot but knackering.
What song will always get you on the dancefloor?
Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground. That guitar intro has had me running out of toilets squealing since 2015.
What would you like to see more of in the podcast space?
I am a sucker for a narrative. It’s the writer in me. I want more podcasts that take me on a journey – there we are with that ‘journey’ again – which tells a story and challenges my thinking. I want that light bulb moment. I adored Pandora Sykes’ Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV and A Positive Life: HIV from Terrence Higgins to Today. Storytelling at its finest.
Do you have any tips or tricks for budding podcasters looking to apply for something like the Acast Amplifier programme?
Just do it! Sometimes you can ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ about something and then it never materialises because you kept putting it off. The time is now!
Find out more about another Acast Amplifier project, Stacked, here >>