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Swan to sponsor new series of The Hot Mess Mums Club podcast

British houseware brand Swan have become the new sponsors for parenting podcast The Hot Mess Mums Club.

The sponsorship will see Swan promote their range of home products to the podcast’s audience both on the podcast and online, seeing Swan reach thousands of Mums every week for the entire 3 months of the series.

The Hot Mess Mums Club is presented by TV presenter Jenny Powell & Radio presenter Kelly Pegg. Having launched in 2019 the podcast soon hit the iTunes charts in a number of countries across the planet.

The upcoming series launches on Friday 5th June and guests include Keith Lemon (Celebrity Juice), Tanya Bardsley (The Real Housewives of Cheshire) and Bobby Norris (The Only Way is Essex).

On the sponsorship, Swan Marketing Director David Foulstone said;

“We loved working with Kelly & Jenny previously during our short sponsorship run at the end of 2019 and can’t wait to see Swan alongside The Hot Mess Mums Club again for a whole series.”

The podcast’s production company Listening Dog Media’s Production Director Callum Marks said;

“Swan is the perfect brand for The Hot Mess Mums Club so we’re delighted to have the opportunity to share their fantastic products with our dedicated audience of Mum’s. I know Kelly & Jenny are huge fans of Swan’s stylish range and can’t wait to tell their listeners all about them.”

The new series of The Hot Mess Mums Club launches on Friday 5th June and can be found on iTunes, Spotify and the website www.hotmessmumsclub.com


How to keep podcasting through self-isolation

As with most industries at the moment, the drive to avoid social contact can cause major issues when you have a podcast that you need to keep recording. However, don’t let being unable to get into the same room as your guest or co-presenter stop you.

There are a few different ways to help keep your podcast going through this period, so we’ve pulled together a few bits of kit that can help record your podcast remotely.


 The most obvious option available to you. Now depending on what equipment, you already have, this could be as easy as simply connecting your phone to the desk you use to record. However, we know that not every podcaster has this kind of equipment – luckily there are some great bits of software that can assist you if not.


Loopback is a great programme that routes audio for you without the need for any extra cables. What does this mean?

You can have your guest on Skype/Facetime and record them directly into a separate channel than what you are recording audio from your microphone into. Hugely helpful if you need to boost volume or cut out any background noise coming from their side.

Another plus for this is that you have the ability to play audio to your guest from the likes of iTunes or QuickTime. You can configure the software to have up to a huge 64 channels, so your options are limitless!

The only drawback is that Loopback only works on Mac, so those podcasters on a Windows system will need to look at alternatives.


Cleanfeed is free, works across different operating systems and your guests can connect with just a simple URL.

Incredibly easy to use, and it’s free for the most basic setup, which should be completely fine for your podcast. Everything is recorded within the browser itself too, meaning you don’t have to worry about connecting different pieces of equipment or software to your chosen recording device. Once you’ve finished recording, simply click save and it’ll download directly to your computer.

The Standard/free plan will get you Conferencing, HQ audio and Session Recording, while the Pro plan offers additional features such as a Cartwall, Audio Repair and Channel Mix Control for £15/month.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

The Blue Yeti is perhaps the most popular USB microphone in the world. If you and your co-presenter are recording in separate spaces, it’s important to try and keep a consistent quality of audio – or at least as close as you can get!

The Blue Yeti records with a high degree of accuracy, it’s compatible with all the major operating systems and it’s ‘Tri-Capsule’ technology means you have a number of options when trying to find the right sound for your recording.

Rode NT-USB Microphone

A slightly more expensive alternative is the Rode NT-USB, although the tripod stand, pop shield and ringmount make the extra cost worthwhile!

Great recording quality, the ability to monitor your sound through the headphone jack in the microphone itself, and the on-mic mix control means this is a perfect microphone for any podcaster.


We’re happy to have a chat with anybody that is currently wondering how they can keep their podcast going in these uncertain times. Simply scroll to the bottom of this page and use the contact form and we’ll be in touch or email hello@listeningdogmedia.com.

Additionally, if you’re looking for some new podcasts to sink your teeth into during this period, check out some of ours! We have The Hot Mess Mums Club with Kelly Pegg & Jenny Powell, Ruck It! with Kyran Bracken & Nick Easter and The Pod Play, a series of audio dramas recorded in front of a live audience.

The Hot Mess Mums Club: Kate Thornton Speaks Out About Gender Inequality On TV

Former X Factor Presenter Kate Thornton has spoken out about having meetings with TV execs about the outfits she wore on TV.

In the upcoming episode of the podcast The Hot Mess Mums Club (hosted by presenters Kelly Pegg & Jenny Powell), Kate tells the story of how she once stood up to TV execs during a meeting about what she was wearing by asking “Do you have this conversation with Ant & Dec?”.

She goes on to mention how on shows like The X Factor she would have to justify her choices of clothing and even have to do mood boards based on the outfits she wore.

Presenter of The Hot Mess Mums Club, Jenny Powell, later reveals how when she became pregnant whilst working on Wheel Of Fortune caused “huge discussions” on the show as in America “it was a big no no”.

You can hear the full podcast with Kate Thornton when it is released on Friday 21st February.

The Hot Mess Mums Club is released every Friday and guests include Christine McGuinness, Denise Welch and Nicola Mclean.

Link to subscribe & listen – podfollow.com/hotmessmums

Listening Dog Media Launches Rugby Podcast ‘Ruck It!’ with Kyran Bracken & Nick Easter

Manchester based Audio Production company, Listening Dog Media, announced the launch of a new Rugby podcast Ruck It! to run across the Six Nations.

Ruck It! will be presented by World Cup winner Kyran Bracken and former England international Nick Easter and will be released every Monday following a game weekend, with a special preview episode being released on Friday 31st January. The podcast will see the pair review the tournament each week, whilst also sharing their experiences from when they played

Listening Dog Media was set up last year by radio programmer Chris Pegg alongside producer Callum Marks. In 2019 they launched The Last Word with Stan Collymore, which went on to hit the top of the iTunes charts across the world and became known for it’s hard hitting interviews with the likes of Gary Neville, Jurgen Klopp and Ian Wright.

On the launch of Ruck It!, Production Director Callum Marks said;

“We’re extremely excited about this podcast. Kyran and Nick have been brilliant to work with and early recordings with the 2 of them have been hilarious. This isn’t just your normal Rugby chat podcast, the guys aren’t afraid of telling stories from their careers and they certainly don’t care about upsetting the other one!”

Ruck It! launches on Friday 31st January and will be available to listen to on; iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Smart Speakers. The show will also air on Fix Radio every Tuesday afternoon.

The Rise of the Podcast

In the history of media there has never been more change, than there is right now. The growth of smart speakers, the interactive car, and mobile devises are all changing how listeners are consuming their audio.  Changes in legislation the move of the big radio companies to more brands delivered from network centers are also having an impact on listeners and the extent of that impact is yet to be seen. In the middle of all that there is the rise of the Podcast.

Now podcasts are not new I was making them for radio shows more than 15 years ago, but all the points above is now changing their impact.

All the research I have seen in the last 18 months shows that listeners don’t just want a streaming service of music, (they are bored with that) they want to be entertained.  Audiences don’t want a service where they are just sold to with “radio words” they want real relatable content delivered by real relatable people, most radio is failing to do this and that means audiences are falling.  That’s where podcasts come in. I can choose any time to listen to my favorite personalities talking about things that interest me or make me laugh, trusted people in their field and I get to choose when I listen.

With a podcast I can choose what content I want to hear when I want to hear it delivered by the presenters that I like and where as 15 years ago it was a ball ache to get that content, now it is so easy. I can ask for it on my smart speaker, my phone has a handy app and my car is easily connected, I can choose the content I want when I want it. We have seen the rise of in-demand TV; audio is going the same way.  The Internet changed print media, social media changed targeted advertising and podcasting will do the same to audio.  Traditional advertising can waste money you may be hitting tens of thousands of ears but you maybe amongst 7 or more ads in a break and hoping against hope that one of those ears will be interested in what you have to say (lets face it unless you are the first in break the chances of it being heard become even more remote).  Instead you can now target and not fight for ears with Podcasts less ad clutter targeted to the subject of the podcasts means less waste.  It’s been shown that consumer action is more likely from podcasts advertising than any other medium due to the intimacy of it. 61% of podcasts listeners have taken action on an advert heard on a podcast, 25% purchased the product. Podcasts are trusted influencers 2.5x people are more likely to listen to the host read ads than dynamic adverts.

Programmatic audio and the opportunity to deliver targeted campaigns in a brand safe environment is critical to further grow investment in the medium. Seventy-three per cent of advertisers credited digital audio as a great way for reaching new audiences of all ages, notably younger listeners, which other media struggle to reach.

Podcast, are not mass advertising like a lot of TV and radio adverts where you can have a spot and can hit a big audience. The question is how many of those are interested in what you have to sell and do they actually hear your ad.

The world is all about targeting and that’s what Podcasts give you a targeted audience interested in your product who are more likely to purchase and more likely to be engaged. Isn’t it time you thought about how you got to your consumers in a much more targeted way? Rip up the old way of doing things and try something new. The rise of the Podcast is here jump on board and join the revolution.

Listening Dog Media launches skincare podcast

Listening Dog Media have teamed up with skinfluencer and beauty therapist Ella Gorton to produce a brand new podcast, Speak Skin, to share her skin journey with fellow acne sufferers and those interested in skincare.

As an acne sufferer, at first Ella felt alone in her journey and felt there was a preconception that people who suffered with bad skin were seen as dirty. She was embarrassed to go out in public without makeup on, and her skin began to affect both her mental health and her day-to-day life, stopping her from doing basic things like going to the gym or out with friends.

The Speak Skin podcast has been created to open up the conversation around skin and acne, creating a channel to help others going through a similar experience. In the first episode, Ella shares her skin story from the unsuccessful attempts to cure her acne, through to how she now wants to help others who are having similar skin problems.

During the series Ella speaks to fellow skin care sufferers along with professionals who offer help and advice to anyone suffering similar problems, with a new guest appearing on the show each week.

Ella originally started documenting her journey on Instagram in October 2016, on the first day she started to take Roaccutane to try to solve her skin problems. She began by taking a photo of her skin each day to help herself see the progress she was making on the drug.

Through her Instagram account, she found a community of acne sufferers who were all going through the same journey, and these became her support network. Since starting her social media channels Ella has connected with acne sufferers all over the world and has since gone on to gain further qualifications to find out more behind the science of skin.

About Ella’s Journey

At the age of 21, Ella a skincare blogger from Manchester, suffered a severe acne breakout after going on a girls holiday – and that’s where her skin story begins. Since then she’s tried different creams, medications and lifestyle changes to combat her skin care struggles. Today she has won the battle and is sharing some of her skin care tips.

Acne took over Ella’s life, and affected not  just her skin but her mental health. After two years of fighting her skin with antibiotics and home remedies, and at points even trying to wash her own skin with dettol, she accepted the drug Roaccutane which has been shown to help cases of acne, albeit with serious side effects.

Ella documented her journey on Instagram at @_MySkinStory, and now has over thirteen thousand followers from all over the world who find comfort in the fact that they are not alone with their skin problems. On her channels Ella speaks about the products that really do make a difference, and opens up the conversation around how skin can hugely affect mental health.

Since starting her journey Ella has taken two rounds of the skincare drug Roaccutane. Roaccutane works by shutting down the skin’s oil production, and has been known to have around an 80% success rate, but this comes with serious side affects. The drug has been known to make users super sensitive to the sun, make skin so dry it can crack open, and there have also been reports of affects to mental health including depression.

In her podcast and on her Instagram channel, Ella talks about her experience with Roaccutane and her other attempts to cure her acne.

Ella is now in a good place with her skin but she knows this is not the end of the journey, she now works to maintain her skin with a healthy lifestyle, and she strives to learn more about skin through her job as a beauty therapist.

The My Skin Story clinic is now open in Manchester, where Ella offers Mesotherapy, chemical peels and microneedling to help people achieve their best skin yet.

Speak Skin episode has been released this week. New episodes will be available weekly with a special guest each episode to share their own skin experience and knowledge. Series one guests include:

  • Demi Hayes – Facial expert and owner of Elegance Aesthetics. Demi runs her own facial clinic specialising in microneedling and plasma pen
  • Kim Lever – Owner of Miki Makeup & Co, celebrity makeup artist and eczema sufferer
  • Jamie Leigh Agent – Specialist child and adolescent drama therapist. Jamie helps to change people’s mindsets to create positivity in every situation.

Speak Skin can be found on iTunes, Spotify and TuneIn.

The importance of planning a link

One of the basics of being a great on air personality is always be sure you have a very clear point before you speak.

Too many presenters open the mic without really knowing why they are telling that particular story, or what they want the audience to do at the end of it.

If you don’t know then audience won’t know and you’ve wasted what could have been a brilliant link.

The best demonstration of that is this clip from “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”

In this age it isn’t just talking about something every year in November, every breakfast show up and down the Country talks about the New John Lewis Ad. They tell you if they like it, most shows will play a clip of it and it will feature on their social media pages – boring!

What else can you do with it? You know it’s coming so how much more creative can you be with it rather than just describing it and letting the audience know your opinion of it.

Although this isn’t a radio example I rather loved what Lidl did with it – why couldn’t your radio show do something similar?

Ed and Gemma from the Breakfast show on Heart West Midlands had a Elton John Look a like in on the show, it was funny and surprising and great that they didn’t just talk about the advert but they brought it to life in a creative way.

The Oscars are coming the Brits are coming – hell snow is coming so what more can you do than just talk about these things that really grabs the audience’s attention?

The Chris Evans Breakfast Show

I wasn’t going to blog about the new Chris Evans Breakfast show as I feel like it’s an undergraduate passing judgment on Rembrandts work.

In the end though I couldn’t resist so for what it is worth, here is what I thought.


Was it perfect? Well what first show is and I should know as I’ve launched a lot over the years.

What it was though was effortless; it was comfortable with just a hint of unpredictability.

I must confess I’ve always admired Chris Evans as a Broadcaster, I didn’t listen to his Radio 2 show enough as I was always consumed by the shows I was working on at the time so the crew working on this show are unfamiliar to me.

Yet after one show I feel I know them all – such was the simplicity and beauty of the show.

Was it full of groundbreaking content? – No, but I loved the way Chris took the audience on a voyage of discovery about his new home.

He is the master of letting the audiences peep behind the curtain but always in an inclusive way.

I love the way he gives the audience little details about the group he is working for and the view from the studio – but never in a “look at me kind of way” always in that way that says “I’m lucky – share our good fortune”.

The energy was off the scale, the sense of fun made your heart sing, and the lovely touches weaved in about his family life shows how important it is that radio personalities share their life.

I love how he talked about the rivalry in his house between his sons over which TV advert involving them is getting the most views.

He asks his audience to help his son Noah out by watching his video, as he is upset his younger brother’s advert has more views.

Not only is this great self-promotion and helps highlight the actual advertising of his show but also it is deeply personal and relatable touch.

His show is littered with guests who all sound like they are old friends having fun which creates that kind of magic that as a listener you can’t help but want to be part of.

The show sounded like a family and that’s show one – Gary Neville on the phone, Paul Whitehouse in the studio, all of it just made it a great listen.

Chris has a real knack of coming across as down to earth and humble like when he’s asked about his rivalry with Zoe Ball he simply say’s “If you are good at what you do there is room for us all –love you Zoe always”.

And as the week as gone on he has grown in stature, quite often breaking Radio rules over multiple guest and voices and at times I wasn’t sure who was on but that really didn’t matter to me.

With live music throughout the week from Richard Ashcroft,  KT Tunstall, Sharleen Spiteri (side note first person I Interviewed for Radio) and the re-imagined Beautiful South it feels like a grown up radio version of TFI.

We need more radio shows like this that break the rules, which are full of surprise warmth and fun – too many radio shows sound the same.

Now it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea and that’s fine, not everyone can like everything – but I loved it and Chris is a genius at what he does.

“Before they love you”

“Before they love you, they must like you, to like you they must know you”

That is why it’s so important that you reflect your life on the radio.

Sadly it’s often forgotten that radio is deeply personal, it only uses one of the senses, so you need to create a deeper connection, you need to paint a picture for the listener. Sure you can talk about the big moments of the day or TV – but let’s be honest anybody can do that. What you can do by telling stories of your life is connect in a far greater way. It’s about creating that “Me Too” moment when a listener identifies with you and your life.

Chris Evans and I are about the same age; I remember when he was on Radio 1 talking about how he’d bought a power drill and how he was now into DIY. He was telling the audience he thought that would never happen to him – I thought the same about myself.  He then went on to explain how he was like a child with a toy and was constantly looking for things to drill looking – I felt exactly the same. More than 25 years on I remember that instant real connection I had to him through listening to him on the radio.

Chris is a master at weaving his life effortlessly into his radio shows – the new Virgin Ads do the same, using his wife and children. He is real; he is a husband and a father so why on earth wouldn’t he talk about that on the radio?

It’s always about the audience, but the art is that it’s really about you. It’s about the audience laughing at the scrapes you get into or crying with you when disaster strikes in your life, it’s your view of your world shared for the audience.

Kiss Sydney Breakfast Show hosts Kylie and Jackie O are both brilliant at this, Jackie talking about the recent split from her husband was both moving and funny, they both weave light and shade throughout their story telling so well. On Today FM’s Breakfast Show in Sydney Grant broke down as he recalled his crippling back injury and how he never thought he would walk again.

This is the power of radio, the power of the on air personality able to share with the audience, connect with the audience and form a bond.

So don’t just talk about what was on TV last night, or the “big” thing of the day (sure weave that in) but the bits your audience will remember you for is sharing your life with them, after all that’s what friends do.