From Issue #014 of the Pod Bible magazine, the regular column from Stakhanov looked at the reality of launching and producing a podcast remotely. This is Breaking Bread.
On the 17th of February, Stakhanov launched its newest show My Seven Wonders with Clive Anderson, co-produced with Alaska TV and hosted by legendary presenter and award winning comedian, Clive Anderson. Each week, Clive welcomes a new guest and asks them the same big question: which seven wonders of the world would make it onto your personal list? From tomato soup to Irish hurling, every guest gives Clive a unique window into their lives with each one of their wonders. The debut series features 10 episodes with such guests as Dara Ó Briain, Shappi Khorsandi and Griff Rhys Jones OBE. The show was planned, recorded and launched entirely remotely by Stakhanov. As the show’s lead producer, Beth Madden helped Clive through the tricky process of creating and publishing a bespoke podcast.
What was the inspiration behind the my seven wonders podcast?
Clive: A few years ago on a particularly enjoyable working trip to America, I was sitting in a bar overlooking the magnificent concourse of Grand Central Station in New York. America no longer has a particularly extensive railway system, so nowadays Grand Central is essentially a terminus for a number of suburban lines. But it was built to a fantastically high standard of design in 1913 and still preserves the grandeur of a golden age of rail. I thought this really is a wonder of the world, and started to assemble in my mind a list of the wonders of the world I had seen. Any wonder can be interesting in and of itself. But taken together, they provide an excellent basis for lengthy conversation as well as some insight into the character of each guest.
What was the process behind prepping and launching a new show remotely?
C: Our original plan was to record these podcasts in Stakhanov’s production studio, which is conveniently located a gentle stroll away from my home in Highbury. But once Covid-19 kicked in, the recording had to be done remotely. For me, this meant sitting in a stationery cupboard with only room for me, my laptop and a high-quality microphone amongst the shelves of printer paper, old files, notebooks, and other such assorted junk. Not a particularly elegant set-up. But from my cupboard-studio, I am linked to the guest sitting in their home. Luckily there was my producer, Beth, to bring us together via Zoom or Zencastr – so my technical skills weren’t tested too much!
Beth: It’s been a bit weird not being able to meet everyone that I’m working with face to face! I like to have a bit of a chat when I’m in the studio and get to know the team – have a coffee with them, hear some stories. So that has been slowed down a bit over Zoom, but Clive still managed to get a few funny stories in while we’ve been prepping to record so I’m happy with that for now.
C: Although this is not as intimate as everybody getting together in the same place, it is sometimes easier to persuade guests to talk into the microphone in their homes, rather than coming to Highbury – which, oddly enough, is not the centre of everyone’s universe. So in some ways, I rather like doing things this way. Funny how quickly you get used to things.
Without giving too much away, what’s been the most surprising wonder a guest has brought to the show so far?
C: Almost all of the wonders have been a bit surprising. Most guests have kept away from monumental structures and selected much more personal items. But, I think the most surprising wonders are Muswell Hill and goose pimples – each chosen by a different guest.
What would be one of your seven wonders?
C: I would have to stick to my original inspiration of Grand Central Station, but I might stray into other areas if I ever get to picking the other six wonders!
B: “Now this one may be slightly lockdown induced” has been a favourite line of our last few guests, but I’m going to have to use it as one of my wonders would have to be gigs! Ah, I miss those times.
Listen to My Seven Wonders with Clive Anderson now on the Stakhanov website, or ACAST, SPOTIFY. Stakhanov produces podcasts that entertain and inform, including some of the UK’s biggest and most popular shows – boasting a combined 4 million monthly listens and over 45 years of podcasting experience. Whether recording remotely or in our broadcast-grade London studio, we specialise in every stage of the podcasting process. To find out more or get in touch, visit our website at stakhanov.studio!