In a time when we’re so concerned with our physical health, it seems appropriate to start a conversation with a brand whose tagline is “Content That’s Good For You”. Renay Richardson is the founder of Broccoli Content, a podcast production company creating opportunities for new voices to share their perspectives and stories with the world.
As part of our Creator Conversation series, Hook sat down with Renay to discuss the goal behind Broccoli, the best way to engage with 16-34 year old audiences, and the importance of having a varied (and sometimes uncomfortable) content diet…
Eat Your Greens – Serving Up Different Podcast Perspectives
Hook Research: What is Broccoli Content?
Renay Richardson: Broccoli Content is a podcast production company that aims to create opportunities in front of and behind the mic for new voices and minority talent. This core mission drives everything we do.
“I think this audience likes to hear their own voices and not older people speaking for them or making assumptions about them”
HR: You’ve mentioned in other interviews that the name and tagline (‘Content that’s good for you’) come from a reference to the eponymous, divisive green vegetable:“it’s good for you but no one wants to eat it.” To follow that metaphor a bit, what does content look like when it’s ‘good for you’? And how do you make people eat it?
RR: Here’s the thing, if you know how to cook, you know how to make most things taste great. Stories and subjects that some may find uncomfortable or difficult, to another is exactly what they needed to hear. We’re not trying to trick people into eating their greens, we’re just giving a different perspective (or flavour).
HR: Many of your shows seem to have a younger target audience in mind (that golden 16-34 crowd). In your opinion, what kind of content gets this audience excited and engaged?
RR: Most people create content for themselves and their peers, at Broccoli most of us fall into this age range and so naturally this is the audience we want to make things for as we can see where the gaps are. I think this audience likes to hear their own voices and not older people speaking for them or making assumptions about them. This audience is inquisitive and may take what the traditional media says with a grain of salt.
HR: Broccoli Content has brought in Tony Phillips from WNYC and have a new joint venture with Sony Music. What does growth look like for you? What are you prioritising?
RR: As someone who is newer to audio, after a large chunk of time in Film & TV, I thought it was important to bring in someone on who has a wealth of knowledge that we can learn from but also who is hungry for change, and that’s Tony. He’s risen to the highest levels you can in audio but also sees how the industry can hinder progress and suppress ideas.
At the moment we’re prioritising building our core brand of shows. Anthems, is a real focus for us as that showcases so many new voices. We’re also prioritising production partnerships – collaboration is key to personal and professional growth.
HR: You’ve personally worked on a number of different shows in your career – this may be like choosing between children, but which are you the most proud of? Why?
RR: This one is easy: About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge. That show was the first podcast to talk about race in Britain in a factual format. It’s also a show that should have been made by a mainstream media company but wasn’t and highlighted the biases of the people in positions of power who commission work by black and people of colour. That show made the industry take notice.
HR: Which platform/tool do you personally use to listen to podcasts? Why do you like using that one?
RR: I feel so boring but I mostly listen on Apple Podcasts because it’s the app I’ve always used, if that one gives me trouble I listen on Spotify or Castbox.
“We’re currently building up a new industry and that takes time. Podcasting is a marathon, not a sprint”
HR: Looking a bit more broadly now: It’s undeniable that Covid-19 is shaping the way people consume media – from your perspective, how is this impacting the podcast landscape?
RR: We’re in a Global pandemic so it’s inevitable news podcasts from established media will be more popular, as you don’t really want opinion – you just want to know the facts: how many deaths? How many cases? When is lockdown ending?
People are listening to podcasts in different settings to where they used to, as the daily commute for most of us is gone (Ed Note: According to Spotify data on podcasts and listener behaviours, everyday now “looks like the weekend”).
We’re in a weird time – you want to stay up-to-date but the news is also grim, so non-corona related content is a joy and much needed distraction.
HR: In a normal environment, discoverability and a lack of ‘digital shelf space’ are big issues in the podcast space. In your opinion, what can creators, production companies, or brands do to best overcome this issue?
RR: I would say time. Podcast success is not overnight and you need to allow time for your show to grow.
When the UK market matures and there are solid, repeatable ways to launch shows then hopefully it will get easier for your show to be found. We’re currently building up a new industry and that takes time. Podcasting is a marathon, not a sprint.
HR: Finally, what would you tell a non-consumer of podcasts to convince them to start listening? What’s your pitch?
RR: There is a podcast for everyone. If you want to learn about a new subject, laugh like nobody is looking, or feel connected to your community, there’s a podcast that works. Let me know what your interests are and I’ll have suggestions.
Thanks again to Renay for taking the time to speak with us! If you want to learn more about Broccoli, be sure to check out their site and amazing lineup of podcasts.
If you enjoyed reading this interview, you might want to also check out our interview with Podcast Radio founder Gerard Edwards or with the host of What If World, Eric O’Keeffe. And if that’s still not enough for you, why not sign up for our monthly newsletter?