Author Archives: Caitlin Thompson


Podcasts, shows and films – Putting new locations on the map

As frequent travellers, many of us will know where to look for inspiration for our next holiday – it might be the pages of Instagram influencers, travel brochures or a wanderlust article we see online. However, how do you find out about a new destination before it becomes a tourist trap? Simply look towards your entertainment – podcasts, TV shows and even films are putting new locations on the map, making them all the more enticing with a fascinating narrative you can’t stop listening to or watching…

Audio platform and podcasting app Acast looked into this phenomenon to find the new ‘it’ locations that have appeared on the world map and are likely to become exciting spots for travel lovers.

S-Town: Woodstock, Alabama (US)
Most of us would have listened to, or at least heard of, this podcast and the amazing story that it unearths. From the creators of Serial, S-Town follows the story of John B. McLemore – controversial, obsessed with the environment, tortured and brilliant. The podcast, which achieved a massive 16 million downloads in its first week has definitely put the town of Woodstock, Alabama on the map. The popularity of Woodstock has been such, that its locals have spoken about it to national media, pilgrims have travelled the town in search of John B. McLemore’s infamous house. Interestingly, the maze discussed in so much detail on the podcast is marked as a Museum on Google Maps. If you are a fan, the town is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are travelling through the beautiful landscapes of the Southern States. Who knows, you might be the lucky visitor who discovers John’s secret stash of gold…

Spår: Kalamark (Sweden)
Many Swedes might not know this place, meaning that if you aren’t from Sweden yourself, it is unlikely that you have ever heard of Kalamark before. If you Google the name, you won’t be able to find much information beyond Kalamark’s location on Google Maps – no Wikipedia page, no tourist board. However, what you will find is extensive, worldwide coverage of an unprecedented case – a man convicted for murder, being set free, in part, because of a podcast. The Spår show might be impossible for English listeners to understand (being in Swedish), but the podcast’s investigation resulted in new evidence, a retrial and an innocent man being set free. If you want to see Sweden and its raw nature, Kalamark might be the location for you – winters are magically snowy, incredibly cold and dark (the sun barely rises). The summers are warmer and the days are endless, as the sun barely sets.

Unexplained: Island of Iona (Scotland)
The unknown, mysterious and sometimes dangerous holds a certain dark charm over a lot of us, especially those who listen to podcasts like Unexplained, which looks at the mysteries and events that human logic can’t explain. One of the episodes focuses on the remote Scottish Island of Iona. Known among the fans of the occult, the Island of Iona is believed to be a ‘thin place’, where the boundaries between the human and other worlds almost disappear. This episode of the podcast talks about the mysterious death of Norah Emily Fornario and her search for the spirits rumoured to abide in this remote area of Scotland. The popular podcast put this place on the map for those who may be curious about the unknown, or those who simply love beautiful scenery.

My Dad Wrote A Porno (MDWAP): Epsom, Yorkshire, The Petra… (UK)
This infamous podcast has taken the world by storm across both sides of the Atlantic. The hosts, Jamie, James and Alice spend each week reading a chapter of Belinda Blinked, an erotic novel written by Jamie’s father. While the humour of the podcast and its roaring success cannot be denied, neither can the fact that Belinda Blinked has put some interesting locations on the map, for US and UK listeners alike. While in the UK, we will be familiar with landmarks like the Grosvenor Hotel in London, the Petra, where some of the book’s characters go for a ‘business lunch’ is a novelty for most fans of the show.

To US listeners, locations like Epsom (known for its horse racing in the UK) might be new revelations. From a travelling point of view, MDWAP jumps across different locations, from Amsterdam, Belgium and Texas to Yorkshire, providing plenty of amusing travel inspiration.

Unexplained: Dyatlov Pass, (Russia)
As mentioned above, Unexplained is a podcast that jumps from location to location, and one of the more unusual ones was the episode focusing on the Dyatlov Pass in Russia. This episode of the podcast focuses on the well-documented mystery of hikers in the Ural mountains, who all died under incredibly suspicious circumstances. The destination was first put on the map through extensive coverage of the story in the early sixties and conspiracy theories surrounding the incident in later years. However, the podcast renewed interest in the location, known for harsh weather conditions and beautiful scenery, prompting more hikers to visit the Death Mountain.

Twin Peaks and the Twilight saga: Washington State (US)
Moving away from podcasts and into other mediums, Washington state in the US has seen an increase in tourist numbers and even resulted in guided tours, due to series, books, films and even slightly morbidly, serial killers. The State was first made famous by the serial killer Ted Bundy and continued on a noir trajectory ever since. In the 90’s, the state came to prominent attention through the phenomenon that was David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Despite the fact that the town is fictional, tourists floked to Snoqualmie, a town near Seattle, where the show was filmed. A 2017 revival of the series is guaranteed to once again increase tourism and place Washington on the map for new fans.

Moving from series to films and books, the Twilight saga created an unprecedented interest in the quiet town of Forks, also located in the state of Washington. The town previously relied on timber to support its economy, however, since the books rose to popularity, it has also seen a steady trickle of tourists who want to visit the town where Bella Swan and Edward Cullen first fell in love.

Vikings, Downsizing and Star Wars: Preikestolen / Fossmork (Norway)
A stunning location in Norway, Preikestolen is famous amongst hikers, who trek up the cliff for amazing views over Lysefjord. However, the area has become famous worldwide through cinema, but also due to a very curious mistake by Google. First to film – Matt Damon filmed the Downsizing at the cliff, while the Vikings series show the finale of the second series in the same location. Now, the cliff is being eyed by location scouters from Hollywood, most recently for the next Star Wars film.

What is more curious is how Preikestolen and a nearby village of Lysefjorden burst onto the worldwide map. As mentioned above, the cliffside is notorious among hikers and nature lovers, many of whom used Google Maps to find the hiking trail. However, due to a Google map mishap in May 2017, Google map directed potential tourists to the small village of Fossmork, which is located across the fjord. This resulted in a huge number of confused tourists and greatly amused locals, who kindly informed the disgruntled hikers that the Preikestolen was around 40 minutes drive from Fossmork.

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How the podcast industry changed in 2016 and will change more in 2017

Combining the intimacy of radio with the on-demand nature of modern media forms, podcasts are not only the last mass medium to emerge, but also one of the fastest-growing.

In 2016, podcast consumption rocketed. The range of listening options, the variety of ways that consumers can access and consume podcasts and the diverse range of people that are using this medium to ensure that their voice is heard, or to listen to a wider range of diverse voices, has meant that more and more of us are tuning in to our favorite podcast at home, on our commute or at the gym.

So who are the people that are listening to these shows? A recent survey by Acast showed that in 2016, the typical podcast listener is not the tech savvy 30-something man you might assume, but in fact a woman, working full time and aged between 25 and 34.

I’ve reviewed how the podcast landscape has changed in the last year, and shared my observations, as well as my predictions for the year ahead, below.

The typical podcast listener in 2016 was a young woman

Let’s focus on women for a second; The typical podcast listener in 2016 was a woman, aged between 25 and 34, in full time employment.

These women are not just looking for shows that help motivate them to work out, eat better and meditate more, they want content that they can relate to, that speaks to them and that means something to them.

In 2016 we welcomed Work Wives, Joblogues and The Broad Experience, to the Acast platform. These shows are hosted by real, everyday women, talking about real, every day things. From relatable (and amusing) office chat with your work wife about pubic grooming and cohabitation, to real, frank career advice from the girls at Joblogues, these shows are made for, and listened to by, our core demographic.

These female podcasters share our listeners’ interests and everyday challenges, but might also be able to teach them a thing or two.

Also read: Six podcasts to make you better people in 2017

The podcast audience is becoming more diverse, and so is the way that we access podcasts

The podcast audience is becoming more diverse overall, and with a more diverse audience, comes new platforms for sharing audio content, as new ways of consuming podcasts emerge.

We’ve seen a significant change in the route that the audio consumer of 2016 takes to the discovery of a new podcast, and this change is likely to become a continuous trend in 2017.

Consumers are moving away from services like iTunes and other streaming services and apps, instead they are discovering new podcasts in their own social media feed, through communities that they are part of, or through other media.

A recent example of this trend is the audience of the podcast ‘Ask A Clean Person’, whose host writes a regular column for men’s lifestyle magazine, Esquire. Fifty per cent of  ‘Ask A Clean Person’ listeners have discovered the podcast by following her Esquire column, or coming across her shareable cleaning advice elsewhere, rather than by having actively searched for the podcast in an app or via a streaming service, and many of these listeners are ones that do not usually listen to podcasts.

Listeners want a 360 experience

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons, and Gretchen Rubin’s Happier are both the podcasts of bestselling authors, with dedicated fans and inspired communities.

The majority of the listeners of these two podcasts are great examples of communities looking for a multi-platform offering, a 360 experience which allows them to properly commit to and engage in the things that they love. Listeners of these shows can communicate with the hosts on social media while also reading their book and discussing their work with friends via a dedicated fan forum.

This works on the flip side, too. Podcasters can now create a brand via their podcast, and can carve out really successful careers as their show gains momentum. The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno recently launched a book, and embarked on a live tour, where they carried out live shows.

The stresses of being exposed to the extreme amounts of content of these days on a daily basis, might explain the urge to fully commit to the things that we truly love. Another reason might be that the average podcast listener is in full-time employment and with a comfortable disposable income, allowing them to treat themselves to just that, fully committing.

Live podcasts are becoming the new music gigs

An increasing amount of podcast hosts have, in 2016, decided to take a step away from the studio microphone and instead entered the live venues – and the listeners are following!

Podcasts such as The Heart, Call Your Girlfriend and My Dad Wrote a Porno are just some examples of podcasters that, in the last year, with little to no effort, have managed to convince listeners to take their headphones out and, rather than going to see a live music gig, join them for a live podcast performance or recording.

Having proved so popular in the year of 2016, we predict that even more of us will be going to see our favorite podcasters perform live in 2017, and that this could become just as common as going to see a comedian or a musician live on stage.

Regardless of how the landscape evolves, the commitment of the listeners proves that podcasts are here to stay, and I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring.

Caitlin Thompson is US Director of Content at Podcasting platform, Acast

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Six podcasts to make you better people in 2017

While the New Year marks an opportunity to better ourselves, it’s hard to keep up the momentum after the good intentions turn into resentment and shame. To help stay on track with those 2017 resolutions, Caitlin Thompson, US Director of Content at Podcasting platform, Acast, will listen to these podcasts, enjoying the community they provide.

Be happier:

Happier with Gretchen Rubin 

Many of us make resolutions to better our moods and have a more positive outlook. At times this can seem like a difficult resolution to set, but Happier is a great podcast to have on hand for assistance.  Gretchen Rubin – bestselling author of The Happiness Project – is joined by her sister to talk about how you can live a happier healthier lifestyle and the importance of forming good habits. Not only will this podcast make you smile, it will provide invaluable lessons to help you maintain a new year, new outlook mentality.

Be more present:

Digital Mindfulness Podcast

Technology is an undeniable part of our everyday lives and while it can be hard to totally switch off, the Christmas holiday often gives us a much needed break from the world of constant communication. Many of us make the resolution to try and switch off more often, but as we return to work in the New Year and immerse ourselves back into the world of endless emails and smart phones, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the digital world. The Digital Mindfulness podcast is key to preventing this. The podcast takes the discipline of mindfulness meditation, and applies it to our digitized world, improving our interaction with technology and helping you manage all elements of the digital world from dividing your work and personal life, to helping you improve concentration and feel less stressed.

Use your time wisely:

Motivation Monday

Let’s face it, no one likes Mondays. That return to work after a restful weekend makes Monday the most challenging and resented day of the week, and makes any resolution you may have made to have a more positive outlook in 2017 fall quickly by the wayside. This weekly podcast aims to change our perception of Monday’s, filling us with the positivity and calm we need to breeze through the dreaded day and the rest of the week. With episodes on everything from tips on how to approach new beginnings, to turning adverse situations into advantages, this is the podcast that will help boost your positive thoughts, leaving you more than ready to tackle the week ahead.

Get (and stay) active:

Another Mother Runner

Portland-based mother of three, Sarah Bowen presents the ultimate podcast for talking all things fitness. Each week Sarah Bowen is joined by co-hosts and guest experts to discuss topics from nutrition and the importance of listening to your body when making food choices, to mental toughness and marathon training. For those who want to take an active step in improving their fitness, or simply for those who want to keep up motivation, this is a great podcast to help keep you on track. 

Make your mark on 2017:

How I built this

For those who are setting out with the intention of making your mark in 2017, whether that be setting up your own business or aiming to have a successful year at work, this is the podcast to bring you constant motivation. Each week, host Guy Raz, speaks to different entrepreneurs and innovators about how they built their ideas and businesses from scratch, and covers the obstacles they faced along the way. From music mogul L.A Reid, to Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, this podcast will give you the motivation and knowledge to make 2017 your most successful year yet.

Be better read:

While not an Acast podcast, a great podcast for all those determined to increase their knowledge of literature or perhaps just make more time for themselves to relax is Backlisted. We at Daily Genius love this show.


When we finally get a minute to ourselves, the book lovers among us often find ourselves wondering what book to pick up, while those of us who have struggled to ever finish a book wish we could find one that would hold our attention. 2017 may be the year in which a podcast answers both of these problems. In this brilliant fortnightly podcast, hosts John and Andy, along with a special guest, pick an old book they think everyone should read and talk about why they would recommend it. An informative and useful podcast, this could lead you to finding your favorite book of 2017.

Caitlin Thompson, US Director of Content at Podcasting platform, Acast

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