We caught up with broadcaster and positivity pioneer, Fearne Cotton, to discuss wardrobe malfunctions, gifts from guests and her transition from the regimented format of TV and radio to the flexibility of podcasting. From Issue #007 of the Pod Bible magazine, this is The Gospel According to… Fearne Cotton.
If you could go back to before you started your show and give yourself one piece of advice. what would it be?
FC: I have learned a hell of a lot recording the first four series of Happy Place. I had to make the strange transition from radio to this looser format so I was a little scared to let things appear unstructured at first. I have been so used to prepping everything meticulously for interviews and having very prepared questions where as I have learned that there is beauty in the moments of silence, juiciness in the uncertainty of where things are going and a liberation for me in how that feels!
What is it about podcasts that appeals to you?
The intimacy. It allows guests a rare chance to properly relax in to a subject and be totally authentic. I have cried listening to podcasts, howled with laughter and remained utterly thoughtful for weeks after. Not many other mediums have this affect on me.
What makes a great podcast guest?
Someone who is willing to GO THERE. My guests have to know this isn’t an interview. This is a conversation that has to be fluid and relaxed. If the guests just simply answers like they’re being interviewed by a journalist then there is less room for magic. I love it when a guest surprises me and relaxes more and more throughout the chat to reveal something utterly normal and mundane about themselves. Often we think of people in the public eye, revered characters or academics as above us but when they let loose and allow us to delve beneath the surface we can all experience a deeper level of connection.
What makes a great podcast host?
This is a simple answer. Someone who listens.
What’s been the worst moment of your podcasting career so far?
I’ve been lucky that there haven’t been too many. When I was in Sicily interviewing Ludivico Einaudi the jumpsuit I was planning to wear to meet him snapped at the strap so I had to wear denim shorts and my pyjama top for the recording!
What’s your podcast pet peeve?
Intros that go on for longer than two minutes. I want to get IN TO IT.
Is there anything you found frustrating as a podcast listener but understand now you make your own?
Not really as I’m not critical of other peoples work. I think there is room for every style and subject matter. This is one of the few mediums that still holds little room for rules so I’m not going to start picking holes in how others make their shows because we should all celebrate each others differences.
Which episode of Happy Place means the most to you?
I have to say a HUGE thank you to Dawn French as she agreed to do the podcast before I had properly started. She had nothing to go on. No previous guests and not a single episode to listen to and consider first. We had a delightful day in Cornwall and captured some special seaside magic! She even gave me a Cornish pasty to take on the plane with me.
Which episode of someone else’s podcast means the most to you?
There is one episode of Eckhart Tolle and Oprah’s podcast A New Earth I have listened to maybe four times. Its episode three and labelled The Core of the Ego. Its so interesting and I get something new from it every time.
On Happy Place, Fearne Cotton talks to incredible people about life, love, loss, and everything in-between as she reveals what happiness means to them. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcast apps.
Main photo: Stephanie Sian Smith