Acast launches Acast Amplifier in Ireland
Rachelle Abbott is an audio journalist and podcast producer who works across the Evening Standard's slate of shows. Here, Rachelle discusses her podcasting journey so far, and shares some advice for others looking to break into the industry.
I’ve spent the last two weeks listening and editing together episodes about the most pioneering women in technology and science. Hearing all their stories of success and bringing that to life is why I love my job.
On the scale of things I’ve just been doing a job that I love.
But I think it’s fair to say for me it’s not just any job, it’s a job I’ve always wanted to do and over the past 10 years or more, a lot has happened; and as much as I have learnt a lot, I continue to learn and be inspired.
You’ll face a need for perseverance from time to time but you mustn’t give up. Be kind to yourself and those around you.
When I was a child I’d listen to hours and hours of radio in the car on summer holidays to Cornwall, switching the dial to get the right station and signal.
I remember the day I told mum, “that’s what I want to do.” We were sat listening to radio in traffic near London Bridge.
I was worried about getting onto a media course, though, because of my struggles with maths, so I found a half-term course at City University for journalism and a SKY summer school to pick up some extra credits.
Fortunately, my mum found the Brit school. In my free time I presented on Brit Fm, a rock show with our head technician John. I worked at Channel 4 around this time but, as grateful as I was to experience this, radio was really what I wanted to do.
I went to the University of Westminster to study Radio Production and Media Theory. In my spare time I presented a sixties show with my friend Michaela on our student radio station, Smoke Radio. It was in my first year of university that I faced a really tough situation, though, and it really did nearly stop me from going back to campus. I couldn’t let that take away my career, so despite it being incredibly hard I kept going.
Around my degree I started out on breakfast radio at XFM as work experience, and I had an evening job at a West End theatre. I was able to try out a few placements across Global during this time, too. Soon after university I pursued a career in radio fully, starting at Global radio.
Over the last decade I’ve been able to work on lots of exciting jobs and I even became the voice of BBC Radio 1. I’m currently working alongside a wonderful team of creatives at the Evening Standard, where we have a host of shows that you really should check out: An Invitation to Meet...; The Leader; and Tech & Science Daily.
Today there are thousands of digital in your pocket sized shows. It’s such an exciting time!
When I crossed over to work on podcasts properly, it was a series for Ancestry that made me realise how fun this side of the audio world could be.
In a world where there’s so much on offer, if you’re thinking of starting a show, figure out your own unique niche. What do you have to say that’s different?
I think my favourite shows to listen to are the ones that make you stamp your foot and say, “I wish I thought of that”, like Drunk Women Solving Crime or Modern Love. I like shows I can relax with because I listen to audio all week, so I find National Geographic’s work really nice.
I try and keep things fun, and I think my love for music really becomes apparent in my work.
You really do need to fall in love with editing.
Editing is something I’ve fortunately always loved doing since college, and in my early days in radio I had to turn audio around in minutes.
Learn the tricks that work well for you and practice as much as you can. Always listen back to it as if you're a listener. Think about the different layers you can create to tell a story and help us along.
Is this show too long? If you have to ask the question, then it probably is.
How long do you have to zone out and relax? On a weekday mine’s about the length of a latte. Help us break away from our surroundings.
But a general rule for me: if you’re bored listening back, the listener probably will be too. In a world where everything is busy and fast paced, make it easier!
Believe in yourself.
Knowing your audience, genre or ‘mastermind subject’ - if not, learning is important. Aim high for the stars and grab the biggest one. Accept criticism and listen to advice, even if you think you know it already.
I think one thing that really helped me get into a broadcasting career was saying the word "yes" to opportunities and requests. You’re helping, and by doing that they’re invested in helping you too.
I think showing empathy and understanding those around you is important. Listen to how people feel and, finally, help people back who help you.
How to publish your podcast to popular podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify (Complete guide for 2023)