We were delighted to catch up with football podcast royalty James Richardson to discuss all things pod…
If you could go back to just before you recorded your first podcast and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Speak less. I value people who don’t get in the way of all the interesting things their guests are going to say. Sometimes I’m in a bit of a hurry to tick off all the boxes that are lying there to be ticked, I think speaking less gives everyone else a little bit more room.
What makes a great podcast guest?
James: Some direct knowledge or experience or emotional connection to the subject matter. I think podcasts exist in a pretty crowded field now. Everyone can read what’s happening in games, so I think what’s interesting is the detail, the context, the story behind the story and that’s something that often only a guest with a particular involvement or interest in that topic can really bring to life.
And a great podcast host, what makes one of them?
That depends on the subject of the podcast but I think in strictly football terms a sense of humour is always welcome and I think a strong editorial sense and short questions.
What makes a bad podcast host?
Banter. Forced banter. I think that there’s a mistaken assumption that chumminess is de rigour in football podcasts.
What’s been your worst podcast moment?
Well, in the various incarnations of podcasts that I’ve done we’ve had some guests who have been a bit of a struggle. Sometimes it might be because their attitude has proved, well, perhaps not one we would share, and it’s a bit disconcerting to then find them expressing those attitudes in your podcast. Sometimes, maybe it would be because on a personal level, we just didn’t quite see eye to eye.
What is it about podcasts that appeals to you?
Podcasting is a great format to work in because it’s so flexible, it’s so open, it’s so democratic, anyone can do it. Nowadays, thanks to technology, it doesn’t require huge outlay to get yourself into a decent recording set up. Literally anybody can have a voice and hopefully can find success with whatever subject they want to shed some light on. So it’s tremendous and in terms of listening to podcasts, they’re much better than radio. It’s that old issue with linear broadcasting; you don’t have to be tied down to when a broadcaster wants to show you something and you don’t have to sit in front of it for the duration of the show. You can now control that, you can consume it in the same way you consume every other decision you make about what you bring into your life. So it’s fabulous and of course, the wealth of podcasts and the ease with which you can make a podcast means that nowadays we have access to information. We choose what we become informed on because there’s access to information about almost everything. And that means we can effectively pursue lines of enquiry that were previously dictated to us by broadcasters, by one or two broadcasters, this is what’s going to be a story and this isn’t.
What frustrates you about some podcasts?
I don’t tend to get annoyed with podcasts because I think like most listeners, I have a very relaxed view of them. I have a lower expectation threshold with them. If I don’t like something, I haven’t lost any of my time or money to it, I’ll just switch it off. But I certainly don’t particularly warm to enforced jollity. As I said before, that kind of desperate search for chumminess.
Is there anything you’ve found annoying as a podcast listener but then understood when you were making your own?
Nose breathing. It’s really annoying but, listener, it’s really easy to do because you can’t hear it when the recording is being made. But your nose just might be too close to the mic.
Which one podcast episode of your own means the most to you?
I think maybe Roma Nel Mito, the Golazzo episode that we did after Roma’s extraordinary comeback victory over Barcelona in last year’s Champions League. James Horncastle and I are able to really bring in that idea of some emotional connection to the subject matter, and some experience as well, having both lived in Rome, being Roma fans, we can bring together a soundscape hopefully that gave some inkling of what that result meant to a long-suffering Giallorossi.
Which one podcast episode not of your own means the most to you or which other podcast do you like?
I love The A-Z of David Bowie by Marc Riley and Rob Hughes. It’s a fascinating insight into the kaleidoscopic and chameleonic career of one of the greatest artists of the last five decades. He did so much with so many people that there’s always something you didn’t know, forensically revealed and all delivered in such an affable tone.
You can hear James Richardson presenting The Totally Football Show every Monday and Thursday and Golazzo: The Totally Italian Football Show every Wednesday on Apple, Spotify, Audioboom and all the usual places. James will also be presenting The Totally Ice Hockey Show from the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championships in Slovakia from 10 May.