Hear from the Hirers/ at The Podcast Show

A New Direction's third panel in its annually programmed talks series gathered some of the biggest names in audio production interrupting the scene & hiring new talent.

15 May 2023

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On Weds 24 May 2023 we hosted Hear from The Hirers a panel discussion at The Podcast Show London designed to interrogate the importance of training and creating opportunities for underrepresented talent in the audio production and podcasting space.

The discussion was chaired by Josh Ryan, Founder of independent production and full-service music company Silver Music Entertainment. Joined by panelists Lee-Anne Richardson (SVP, Global Head of Podcast Production at Sony Music Entertainment), Andrew Spence (Co-Owner of We Are Unedited), and Joby Waldman (Managing Director at Reduced Listening).

The big question Josh asked the panel to reflect on throughout the 30min discussion was:

  • How can the audio & broadcast industry be more representative and create more opportunities, training, and sustained careers for young talent who may not have existing networks?
  • What strategies are they putting in place in their own companies to ensure this is a priority?

Josh, who has partnered with A New Direction’s Employment & Skills Team on several pre-employability audio production training programmes, said:

“I’m delighted to be chairing this discussion, a topic which is very close to my heart. Not only is this an important conversation to be having at The Podcast Show, it’s imperative to be having this conversation on the importance of hiring from more diverse talent pools, to continue to tell relevant and authentic stories.”
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Questions & Themes to the Panel :

  • What are the entry-level and above positions in audio and what are the routes in and pathways available?    
  • How hard is it to be a freelancer in audio and how can you make it work for you?     
  • What are the future jobs?   
  • How are employers valuing different voices and perspectives ensuring the full scope of British talent is heard?   
  • What are the notable changes in hiring over the past 3-5 years?    
  • The future of audio production in a digital age – how much has it democratised? Or are there still gatekeepers?    
  • How much are we opening up the industry to POC and Black, working class, and LGBT+ communities  
  • What are the things getting traction and commissioned right now?    
  • What can employers do?   

Reflections from the live Panel :

Josh Ryan: "Diversity isn’t just about putting someone to work on something that represents them. It's also about allowing them to explore other stories and cultures. This works both ways so we have the authority to work on our background & areas we don’t always see ourselves."

Le-Anne Richardson: "Podcasting is an exciting new area of media. But the pool has widened. People are not just coming to it from audio, but also video and social media too."

Joby Waldman: "You can zero in on an area of expertise in audio, but they’re complimentary craft skills. Sometimes you'll have a laser focus on one thing only that’s a pure passion, like documentary features. But on a pragmatic level, if you want to get into the industry and have an enduring career, my experience is to have multiple genres under your belt."

Andrew Spence: "Have your wide-ranging skill set and then you’re able to grow and be shaped when you get your first audio job in-house. These days, there’s more access to free apps on your phone to teach yourself the DIY way. As long as you’re there making the stuff and have the foundation skills and awareness, when you come to us we'll teach you good audio practice, and learn from the DIY’ers"

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The discussion took place at The Podcast Show London (the world’s largest podcasting conference) and was attended by global leaders in the audio & podcasting space, allowing us to continue our call to action to anyone in the world of audio to take action and get involved.

If employers are interested in finding out more about how they can be supported to offer young local talent jobs and more guidance on how to create those jobs alongside our partners at LIFT below is what we advising & asking of them.

What Employers can do and how we can help you do it:

  • End-to-end recruitment support and help on how to inject diverse talent into your workforce
  • Access to wage subsidies for 10-week paid roles
  • Access to wage subsidies for 12-month paid roles
  • Apprenticeships - support for covering training costs and localised recruitment
  • Offer Paid internships (STEP)(hyperlink)
  • Interviews, Jobs
  • Become a Mentor
  • Run a Masterclass
  • Keep sharing opportunities with your networks
  • What else can you offer?

For more information on how you can get involved please contact:

Fran Plowright, Senior Programme Manager for Employment & Skills, A New Direction, fran.plowright@anewdirection.org.uk

Hamish Mackay, hamish.mackay@islington.gov.uk

This discussion was created by Fran at A New Direction, in partnership with LIFT.

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LIFT is a 4 borough partnership between Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets with the intention of creating opportunities for local talent.

This talk was the third we've programmed in our 'Hear from the Hirers’ Talks series. The first discussion focused on the world of content production and moving image and was hosted by author and journalist Kieran Yates in 2021, and the second unpacked the startup and tech sector by Hustle Crew Founder Abadesi Osunsade in 2022.

Fran Plowright
I'm facilitating work with 10 Social Media Journalist students through A New Direction's Headstart Programme