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Podcasting Culture in Nigeria: In Conversation With F&S Uncensored

To commemorate their 100th episode anniversary, we caught up with the leading ladies of F&S Uncensored to discuss their journey so far & their thoughts on the growing market for podcasts in Nigeria.

Over the past few years, there's been a steady rise in podcasting culture, which has taken it from obscurity to mainstream consumption. As early as 2004, we saw the appearance of podcasting in the media industry and from 2015, we saw podcasts becoming more prominent and influential to global pop culture – most especially in Nigerian media. Due to its type of media, podcasters are able to speak on a wide range of topics. From finances to relationships, to music and food, to unsolicited opinions and football banter, there's a podcast for every and any listener.

As of last year, it was reported that Apple Podcasts is home to more than 500,000 podcasts covering an eclectic array of topics, and racking up new listeners by the minute. And though back in 2018 there were whispers that podcasts could become the new radio, in Nigeria, they haven't really seen that meteoric rise as opposed to our foreign counterparts. Nevertheless, there have been a few shows that have been able to amass loyal listeners. From podcasts like longtime regulars Loose Talk, I Said What I Said, to pop culture favs Submarine and A Roach, F&S Uncensored, to even newcomers like How Far by Mr Eazi & Temi Otedola and the fourth space and many more.

With all these podcasts, it's been glaringly apparent that having a loyal following is key, and one common denominator they all share in growing and keeping theirs is consistency. These podcasts have mostly been consistent in their output and this has helped to grow their listenership – most especially F&S Uncensored. Covering music, pop culture, and personal experiences, and hosted by Feyikemi Akin-Bankole and Simi Badiru weekly, F&S Uncensored is arguably currently the most consistent podcast in the country. It's no wonder the duo recently celebrated their 100th episode. And with a 4.7-star rating on Apple Podcasts, it’s easy to see how consistent content that appeals to people can do well over time.

We caught up with the pod's leading ladies and had a chat about their journey so far and their thoughts on the growing market for podcasts in Nigeria.

What motivated you two to start a podcast?

Simi: We have always had an interest in music, entertainment, and pop culture for as long as I can remember. Doing something along those lines in any of these industries was always the plan but there was no exact plan. YouTube wasn’t really for us, so I guess the next option was to start a podcast even though we probably didn’t fully understand what it was at the time. I think working behind the scenes of The LooseTalk Podcast gave me the final push to start it because I had a rough idea of how to go about producing a podcast.

Feyikemi: Ever since I realised medicine wasn’t my calling, I realised my true passion was within the entertainment industry. I’ve always loved listening to and talking about music, but tweeting/posting about it wasn’t enough for me. Luckily my partner in crime shared the same passion and a podcast was the next best step because I wasn’t interested in being on-air or camera. (P.S: Shout out to Tinya Alonge for tweeting at us one day to start a podcast… it pushed us to buy our first mic lol).

Is this something you see yourselves doing in the long run?

Simi: I mean, I guess. Sometimes things you create become bigger than you. There are people that expect episodes every week and as long as they are there and we are able to, we will continue to deliver. I feel like there’s more to come out of having the podcast, so even if the podcast ends, the brand will be carried on by other things/channels.

Feyikemi: If you asked me this when we started I would have probably said no. I never thought we would go past 20 episodes, and not because I didn’t believe in us, but I just never saw it getting this far. As long as the passion is there, so shall the podcast (be).

Who would you say F&S Uncensored is for? What audience do you speak to?

Simi: I think we speak for the young Nigerians who left home a while ago but always knew they were coming [back] home to pursue a career in whatever field. We also are speaking to the average young adult trying to navigate through adult life (In Nigeria especially lol). It’s a difficult journey and I guess the more you speak about it, the more you realise you are not alone. It’s like having a little community.

Feyikemi: I personally don’t think we have a ‘target audience’. You will realise as you listen to more episodes that we talk about anything and everything. So whether you’re male or female, whether you’re 16, 26, or 36, as long as you have an open mind (and love vibes lol) you’ll enjoy listening to us.

You just celebrated 100 episodes, that’s such a consistent run. What’s the hardest part of creating content every week?

Simi: Sometimes, to be honest, you are just not in the mood to record an episode. Life is hard and different things happen at different times that you have no control over. So I would say the hardest part is having to record even when you’re not in the mood. Sometimes you just want to live under a rock for a few days lol.

Feyikemi: I’ll keep it simple and short, having to get out of bed on a Sunday morning before 9 am is not the nicest feeling. But honestly, having to stay motivated and in good spirits even when you just don’t want to do anything is so hard. It took me a while to understand that people actually want to listen to us, and sometimes our energy rubs off on our listeners. Those two things made me realise that we actually have a responsibility and an obligation to release content every week to make others happy. Lol, I had to sit up a bit.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge faced in the podcast space so far?

Simi: I would say what has been difficult is identifying a brand and finding where we fit in. But what I’ve come to realise is that we don’t need to fit into anywhere, we can create our own lane. We connect with different sorts of people for different reasons and there is beauty in that.

Feyikemi: I don’t think we’ve faced any major challenges. There have been a few annoying comparisons but it’s expected. Besides that, I would say a small challenge we used to (and kind of still do) face is getting people to hop on the podcast wave or even explaining to people (particularly the older generations) what a podcast is. But anyway, not everything is for everyone and that’s fine, I still don’t listen to podcasts for example. I just don’t have the attention span for them lol.

What are your thoughts on the growing podcast culture in Nigeria?

Simi: I feel like podcasts have become the new cool thing to do, but amidst this, a lot of great podcasts have come out of it. Like everything, it’s bound to get saturated but we have a solid network of podcasters putting in huge amounts of effort to release quality content week in week out.

Feyikemi: It’s truly lovely to see more people getting into the space and more people listening. Almost every time I check my socials someone has launched a new podcast or is featuring on another podcast. We love to see it!

Do you think it’s a sustainable space?

Simi: I think it will be once brands begin to see value in podcasts. What’s missing In this space is brands do not completely understand the power or value of podcasts, therefore most podcasts struggle to raise funds.

Feyikemi: It definitely can be sustainable, especially if we as podcasters accept and carry our creativity with pride. The internet rules the world and podcasts, unlike radio stations, can be listened to across the globe, so there is so much potential for the podcast space to reach crazy heights.

Where do you see the Nigerian podcast space headed in the future?

Simi: I feel like in a few years the podcast industry here would be very huge if we can hack the monetisation of it properly and if more people are intentional about the content they put out.

Feyikemi: This time 5 years we could have probably counted the number of podcasts that existed in Nigeria then on one hand, but now?! The podcast community in Nigeria is definitely growing and I can’t wait to see where we take it to. Although, it’s not an easy answer because we have to factor in people who can’t afford to stream episodes so often, or even at all. We might never get to experience the full podcast culture in Nigeria… but let’s see!

Do you have any advice for growing podcasters or people thinking of getting into the podcast space?

Simi: I always say, when it comes to podcasting, consistency is key. Regardless of if you feel like people are listening or like your content is slacking. Don’t stop because consistency is what builds your fan base.

Feyikemi: You have to enjoy whatever it is you do. You have to be consistent, and only with passion truly comes consistency. Some days you will hate doing it because you’re exhausted or just so busy, but that passion in you is what will keep you going, thus resulting in consistency.

How does this all make sense for you in the end?

Simi: Honestly? I don’t know, I hope the podcast takes us to places we can’t even imagine. I’m just trusting the process, to be honest, let’s see where we are in another 2 years! Even me, I’m excited to see.

Feyikemi: Lol, it really doesn’t make any sense to me. I never expected to be interviewed because I decided to put something out with my friend one random October in uni. It doesn’t make sense but I will not question it… I’m just going to enjoy the wave and see where it takes us. Who knows I could be a singer in the next 5 years.


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