Cape Town - While the industry debates whether South Africa is on the brink of a podcast boom, there appears to be a growing appetite for local on-demand audio content.
A vibrant and diverse podcast industry that tells local stories for local audiences is taking shape.
Simon Orgill and Yaaseen Barnes, hosts of the Reg Boys podcast, are a testament to this.
The podcast was launched in August and has propelled the duo into the spotlight with TV interviews, while the podcast has been well received on various charts.
Barnes said topping charts was something they never expected.
“We’re just two guys having a conversation and reminiscing, which we chose to share with the world,” he said.
Tomorrow night the pair will host their first show as part of the annual Artscape Theatre Mother City Comedy Festival.
Orgill said he was nervous about the performance.
“We want everyone to be immersed in an interactive experience, engaging about the past and enjoying ourselves,” he said.
Barnes added: “We’ve only been doing this for five months but it’s also a culmination of our creative careers. It’s amazing to receive the acknowledgement from the media.”
The Reg Boys podcast is based on content pillars that include nostalgia and storytelling.
Each week, the podcast features various guests who share their memories and experiences based on a theme of the week.
Barnes works as a comedian and Orgill as a digital marketer and content creator.
Having been friends for many years, the duo decided to join forces because they wanted to take on something new together.
“It felt like the great next step to work together and create something while hanging out,” Orgill said.
Barnes added: “We realised we both live in Cape Town but we’ve lived different lives. Everyone has a different story to tell.”
Thus far their content has included storytelling themes like matric balls, getting your driving licence, back to school and camping. The Reg Boys podcast team said they felt like they were making friends, not gaining fans, through their podcast.
“We love that people feel free to share their stories with us and we appreciate their openness,” Orgill said.
“Our platform is about people who love to speak, not because of their status,” Barnes added.
Orgill said podcasts were a great thing to plug into while doing something else.
“I love listening to podcasts while I’m working. It feels like some sort of escapism.”
Barnes said he loved that podcasts made one feel like one was part of the conversation.
“You’re in a conversation that you don’t need to be a part of. The fact that it’s audio means you can do more while listening.”
Caryn Welby-Solomon is a freelance writer, UCT honours student in film and television studies and host of the What's IGN Crushing On podcast.
Each week she focuses on pop culture and entertainment while speaking to local celebrities and their fans.
Welby-Solomon said she had been a big fan of podcasts since 2013 but never thought she could do it herself.
“I didn’t think hosting a podcast was for me but as kismet might have it, here I am today,” she said.
She added: “As a shy person, interviews weren’t easy for me. I knew this was a great way to practice my skills (as a journalist).”
The podcast, which launched in June 2020, has had many guests including musicians, directors, authors and reality shows stars.
She’s interviewed the cast of Blood & Water, Jessica Batten from season 1 of Love is Blind and actor Lesley-Ann Brandt from Lucifer.
Welby-Solomon said she was nervous to interview and speak to the famous guests on her show but the conversation flowed easily each time.
“I realised that they are people in the way I am a person, too,” she said.
The podcast host said she was surprised at the response her podcasts had received.
“I am still surprised that people see the value in my work.
“It’s a passion project and I love it. Ranking high on the charts is just a bonus.
“We know that radio and television come with restrictions in terms of time and content,” she said.
“On a podcast, you can tell someone is comfortable, being themselves and that they’re including you as the listener in the conversation,” she added.
Welby-Solomon said she wanted to keep working hard to provide listeners with the best, quality episodes.
“I want this to be Crushing On’s biggest year ever - featured in charts and to have a hold on the conversation when it comes to pop culture,” she said.