Dylan and the team have made efforts to structure the awards in a way that gives everyone a chance of winning – regardless of the size of their show – and are also working on some new projects to help smaller shows get the recognition they deserve, including a newsletter called The Scout.
This month's guest: Dylan Pugh
What was your reason for starting the Sports Podcast Awards?
We’ve had huge success with the Sport Industry Awards over the years and have seen how awards programmes can be an effective tool for companies and creators to get their podcast noticed. There are many podcast awards programmes where the Best Sports Podcast is a category. Given the explosion of sports podcasts during the pandemic, we felt that sport was the natural genre to warrant its own awards, with so many obvious sub-categories to create.
Are there any particular success stories that you have seen from shows that have been involved with the awards?
The interesting thing here is that the success stories we have heard about are not just limited to the winners only. We have heard so many stories from podcasts that were delighted to be shortlisted next to some of the more established and better-known podcasts in their category. We have countless examples of feedback from people who tell us that their listener base grew since being featured in the awards, which is exactly what we set out to do. The winners of the overall Best Sports Podcast of the Year award – Morning Kombat – celebrated by organising a live show in Las Vegas in front of hundreds of fans!
You previously worked for Spotify, what did you learn there about podcast promotion and discoverability – particularly for indie podcasters?
That it’s still bloody tough! With all their resources, people, budget and the audience they have at their fingertips – it’s still bloody hard! That’s why I decided personally that rather than creating more content and competing with everyone else, let’s create something that complements everyone, elevates the industry and gives people the platform to grow their audience.
What else have you got planned to accompany the awards – and how can this also help with podcast discoverability and promotion?
We’re launching a new newsletter called The Scout, which is going to be the go-to source of discoverability for sports podcasts. It will be full of curated lists, info on new launches and seasons, competitions, interviews and more – all focused on elevating podcasters and helping listeners discover new shows. Beyond that, we are moving into the live events space and will be launching our first live event in early 2023.
Podcasting has seen a lot of growth in different areas in recent months and years – what excites you most about the changes that have been taking place?
I like how the format has evolved. Whilst many podcasts are still a group of people discussing topical sporting matters, there are lots of fresh new formats being developed – and more time and resources are being dedicated to creating things like documentaries and investigative journalism podcasts in sport now.
The live space is clearly another area of huge growth. Our ambition is that those performing on stage are not only those that are well-established with large audiences – we hope to give an opportunity to more independents and podcasts from a diverse background to shine in front of an audience.
How do you see podcasting and the audio industry changing in the next few months and years, particularly in relation to promotion and discovery?
Creating good-quality, short-form content for an episode that is specific to a platform will be a strong tool for podcasters. Traditionally, creating an audiogram of your best clip from an episode would suffice but, with new platforms like TikTok and simpler video recording technologies, those who can get creative with how they package up their short-form content will get a big advantage.