What does a brand get when it partners like a popular, general interest podcast network to produce their branded company podcast? Potentially they get one of the most recognizable voices in podcasting as the celebrity narrator of their show.
The show has the combined pedigree of iHeart Ruby and Pushkin Industries. A typical model when a brand works with a premium production company is that they are paying for the service of finding a singular host for the podcast that has the right mix of subject matter expertise, audio skills, and name recognition. What’s interesting with Smart Talks is that it taps into a range of audio talent from Pushkin.
Malcolm Gladwell is of course the most famous voice at Pushkin, and in the episode I listened to about “Responsible AI” he acted as essentially a narrator or emcee more than host. He narrated some framing voiceovers that led into the longer sections with host Laurie Santos, from Pushkin’s Happiness Lab show. I thought the model worked quite well. The familiar sounds of Gladwell was a hook at the start of the episode, and then Santos’ hosting drove the rest of the episode. I can see this format working well for more brands, leveraging a mix of emcee and in-depth host and getting the benefits of both types of voices.