Some goodbyes and new beginnings for Laudable...

As podcast producer Morven McIntyre embarks on a new journey, she looks back at her podcast highlights

This week, the Laudable Podcasts newsletter is bittersweet: a message of goodbyes, and also new beginnings.

It’s me, Morven McIntyre, typing to you from Scotland’s capital for the final time. As I leave Laudable for a new adventure, I would like to pay tribute to the amazing podcasts I have worked on, sharing some fond memories and highlights.

So let’s get started...


Scran

The Scran podcast is very close to my heart.

We’ve published 55 episodes over three seasons since November 2019. Recently, we were shortlisted at the Podcast Publisher Awards 2021 in the Food and Drink category. We’ve had some incredible guests from small producers to TV stars and everything in between.

Our first episode, Festive flavours at the Christmas Market involved a trip to Edinburgh’s Christmas markets.

Rosalind and I enjoyed a Glühwein from a stall to warm ourselves from the harsh elements that a Scottish November brings. We chatted to vendors, sampled food and soaked up the atmosphere - something that feels so alien in recent times.

I made my presenting debut on this week’s episode. The episode is all about coffee, a new subject for Scran.

A daily highlight of mine during the pandemic has been to get a latte to go from my local coffee shops. As a coffee lover,  I was delighted to chat about my favourite blend from my local coffee shop.

I also put Rosalind to the test by giving her a coffee themed quiz. I know how much she loves to put guests on the spot with her ‘quick fire question round’ and so putting the shoe on the other foot this time only felt natural. 

The episode also features Lisa Lawson from Dear Green coffee and Neil Glover of Figment Coffee. They both focus on sustainability and social conscience and ensure that farmers' wellbeing is at the heart of their ethos. 

I have some favourite episodes of Scran. Firstly,  Scran on the Road Part 1 because it felt like a new lease of life last summer when all of our episodes since March had been done virtually through Zoom or Skype.

Rosalind ventures to the Craigellachie Hotel in Speyside where she visits the Quaich, the world’s leading whisky bar, home to over 500 bottles of Scotch. Continuing the whisky trail, Rosalind also visits the Whisky Shop in Duffton.

I also really enjoyed the episode The secrets of a wine connoisseur with Fizz Feast founder, Diana Thompson. Diana shares some great insights such as how to pair food with wine and how to taste multiple wines but keep a neutral palette. 

Listen to the Scran podcast


The Edinburgh Briefing

This podcast holds nostalgia as it involves a lot of firsts.

This was the both first Laudable podcast I produced and the first award-winning podcast I worked on: winning Runner Up in the 41st Annual Scottish Press Awards.

All 15 episodes of this podcast were recorded in our podcast studio which is something we can’t say for any other Laudable podcast. 

Conor Matchett is the ‘cynically joyous’ host who provides an inside look into Edinburgh’s newsbeat. 

Guests, chewing the fat on Edinburgh issues, include ministers of Scottish Parliament, local councillors and of course, fellow newsroom journalists. 

From controversial council decisions to new venues opening, the Edinburgh Briefing delves into the issues locals care about the most. The first series has 15 episodes that went live from December 2019 to March 2020. 

My favourite episodes included A continental vision for Princes Street and Edinburgh’s Christmas market scandal unwrapped.

I like this podcast because it really encapsulates the community spirit that Edinburgh has to offer and the tone is lighthearted yet informative. 

Listen to the Edinburgh Briefing podcast


Pioneering People

I’m so proud of this series: I created, produced and presented this podcast. Pioneering People is the podcast that explores what both makes and motivates an entrepreneur.

The idea came from a desire to explore entrepreneurship in a different way. The job of an entrepreneur seems so untenable and something far out of reach, and so inviting guests on to talk about their unique journey was a way of breaking this barrier.

There are 14 episodes across two series, and each episode features a different entrepreneur each week from a wide range of sectors, from industries including the arts to financial tech businesses.

Guests share tales of early life experiences, what shaped their ambitions and how they became entrepreneurs in their field. Listeners will hear their inspirational stories first hand.

The first series was recorded before the pandemic, and I got to venture to offices across Edinburgh, which was always an exciting day out. 

Series Two, however, was recorded remotely. It was still important to delve into the topic because so many businesses struggled during the pandemic, and I was keen to find out how technology was at the centre of our ability to do things differently.

There are so many valuable takeaways from entrepreneurs in this series. Lessons of resilience and tenacity that inspire me to this day.

Whilst this series was challenging, it was extremely rewarding and allowed me to hone many new skills. 

Listen to Pioneering People


Weekend Bigots

Weekend Bigots delves deep into the murky world of Sectarianism in Scottish football, discussing the thorny issue from the 1970s right up to the present day. The podcast takes the style of a hybrid between a documentary and chat show where now ex- Scotsman journalist Kevan Christie talks to those who have been involved in the sharp end of the game. 

This series was my first documentary for Laudable which was a daunting undertaking. I wanted to do the Laudable brand justice as around this time we had impressive series in our repertoire, such as the Brink. 

Kevan pitched the idea because sectarianism is something that many other journalists shy away from. Our main aims were to make the series unbiased whilst daring in its approach.

A challenge we had was that this was Kevan’s first time doing broadcast journalism. Despite this, he embraced the chance to learn new skills. 

Kevan ventured to an Old Firm Derby to ask fans what they thought of sectarianism in the game. This is my favourite episode of the series because you also hear from the self confessed ‘weekend bigots.’

Guests include - but are not limited to - former grade one referee Stuart Dougal and ex-Scotland manager Craig Brown. The series, which premiered in March 2020,  begins with some historical context on the issue from sports journalist, Andrew Smith.

The contentious issue of sectarianism is explored in many different ways not only through the media’s gaze but also in an educational context when ex-manager and former headmaster, Terry Christie, discusses learned behaviour in schools and changing future generations attitudes.

The series was praised by listeners for its detailed education and unbiased approach to the topic and was even cited in an academic journal.

Listen to Weekend Bigots


Alone Together

At the start of the lockdown, when we moved to record from home, I was daunted by the challenge. How could we create podcasts without our studios and newsrooms with everyone working from the same building?

The Laudable producers were all told to take the equipment home with no planned date of returning to the office. This was a wise decision as a year later, we are still working from home.

With lots of equipment but no access to newsroom discussion, we started brainstorming. We noticed that all the coverage of coronavirus was negative, essentially doom and gloom. This is where Alone Together was born.

We wanted to provide some positivity by giving a platform to people giving back to their local community.

One of my favourite episodes was Thanks To Our NHS because it featured founder of the Help for Heroes campaign, Olivia Strong, who raised millions for NHS workers.

We recorded from home with blankets over our heads in our makeshift home studios. We sourced guests from the internet, planned episode themes, drafted scripts, and promoted episodes on social media.

It really was the bootstrapping approach to podcasting but I wouldn't have had it any other way. We were able to reach guests from places like America and hear incredible stories of kindness and resilience.

On a personal level, as producers we bonded getting to know each other's strengths. Matt was the editing wizard whilst Dan the witty script writer making me the guest finder and booker. 

Looking back, it’s mad to think a team of three released two episodes a week and although we were a small team frantically piecing episodes together we managed to create something special that listeners enjoyed. A small nugget of positivity in what was a scary time.

Listen to the Alone Together podcast


Uncovered

I worked with the data team to create a podcast about modern slavery in the UK more than five years on from the watershed 2015 Modern Slavery Act.

I was daunted at producing a documentary remotely, because traditionally you would require a lot of face-to-face planning. Activities would include (but were not limited to) sitting in a studio with a red pen editing scripts together and familiarising journalists with studio equipment. 

Luckily, I had a great team made up of data and investigations editor, Harriet Clugston and reporter Ethan Shone.

Harriet wrote a thought provoking yet captivating script. A main concern of mine is that we would have too many statistics and that would leave listeners bored. We avoided this with conversation between hosts, real life examples and lots of soundbites from interviewees.

To make sure we got the best hosting outcome, we used Zoom whilst each host recorded locally into their USB mic. This meant I could watch along and ask for any re-records at the time of recording. Both hosts were naturals at presenting and I was very pleased with the final edit.

Harriet and Ethan talk you through the systemic failures that they discovered in their investigation. The podcast features insight from campaigner Julie Bindel, Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield, Unseen CEO Andrew Wallis and Human Trafficking Foundation director Tamara Barnett.

Listen to Uncovered


The Steamie

The Steamie, the Scotsman’s political podcast, brings you the latest information and an inside look at the inner workings of Scottish politics.

Hosted by Scotsman political reporter Conor Matchett and deputy political editor Gina Davidson, the podcast guides you through the twists and turns of Holyrood, Westminster and beyond.

This podcast has been a joy to produce. Each week the listener base continues to grow. It’s no surprise because Conor and Gina are a dynamic duo asking guests the important questions whilst always being up for a laugh. Westminster correspondent Alexander Brown also regularly features and offers entertaining commentary.

The first episode of the podcast was fascinating to produce, because we dug around in the archives of Scottish politics from Donald Dewar opening the parliament to Kezia Dudgale’s famous speech.

Listen to the Steamie


It’s been a pleasure holding the job title of Laudable podcast producer for the past 18 months. None of this would have been possible without my amazing team who have been a great support network.

If you would like to check out other Laudable shows not mentioned in this newsletter then click here.

And as always whatever you are doing, and wherever you are in the world, Laudable Podcasts will be here to keep you company.

- Morven McIntyre