The team behind the News Agents podcast were out in force this week at the Podcast Show in Islington, north London. All four of the show’s bigwigs – its co-hosts, Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall, and its executive producer, Dino Sofos – formerly worked for the BBC. And the Chatterer picked up on numerous digs they aimed at their former employer during a 45-minute chat to discuss the rise of their podcast.
Maitlis, formerly of Newsnight, speculated that if they’d pitched the News Agents as a name for a BBC podcast they would have been shot down by “W1A corporate”. She joked that the BBC would have called the podcast the “News Retail Outlet or something. It would lose its edge and become something that nobody liked but it would tick a box.”
Sopel took aim at the Today programme, which he suggested had been borrowing from the News Agents‘ playbook. “Unless I’m very much mistaken, and I really may be mistaken about this, I still listen to the Today programme on Radio 4 in the morning, and suddenly the two presenters have worked out that they can actually speak to each other,” Sopel said. “And I wonder whether there is almost an element of the podcast genre forcing people think: ‘Ah, how are we doing things? Can we actually maybe occasionally crack a smile every now and then?’ ”
The News Agents ended their set by announcing a new weekly US podcast. Sound familiar? The show will be entering direct competition with Americast, the BBC podcast formerly hosted by… Maitlis and Sopel. Ouch.
[See also: Newspaper circulations are dropping – but that doesn’t mean they’re dead]