‘I get a lemonade for every 1,000 hits!’ The rise of the child podcast superstars | Podcasts

From pre-pubescent hosts interviewing sporting megastars to mum-assisted anchors taking adults to task over the Ukraine war, the next generation of podcast superstars has arrived – and they’re primary school-aged. Who are the ones to watch? We speak to the big names in this thrilling new wave.

‘I’d like to build a forcefield or a time machine’

Jack Andrews, nine, Hertfordshire, UK

The podcast: Jack to the Future, an award-winning show about the future, covering topics from deep space communication to renewable energy. Winner of a BBC Sounds Rising Talent award.

Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them I’m a podcaster. To be honest, I’m surprised I had the confidence to start one as a seven-year-old. But during lockdown, I found out that our delivery guy had his own show on Hertfordshire local radio, and he started recording me telling jokes. Then I started doing a feature where I would try to cheer listeners up. By March 2021, I had decided to do my own podcast.

I named it after my favourite film, Back to the Future. I’ve seen all the films five times – and the West End show! I’m really interested in science and helping the planet, and whether we can reach net zero by 2030. We got in touch with the Institution of Engineering and Technology to ask for one to interview – and I got 13 saying they wanted to do it. So I didn’t say no to any of them and did a whole season on Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths]. Some people might think doing a whole series on Stem is a very advanced thing to do for my age, but I don’t.

When I found out I won a BBC Talent award, I started running around like crazy. I also presented an award at the Arias with Harriet Rose from Kiss FM and got to meet Rylan! At one point, I went to the Houses of Parliament for a future of radio show and I was one of the youngest there. I talked to loads of people about my podcast – and there were lots of cakes and sandwiches!

Everybody asks me what I want to be in the future. I’d like to be an engineer, or a biologist or a physicist or a chemist – the more people I interview, the more ideas I get. I’d like to do things that seem impossible now, like make a forcefield! Or a time machine!

‘Our minds are little, not our thoughts’

Siyona Vikram, 11, Bangalore, India

‘Maybe a kid could fix our oceans’ … Siyona Vikram.
‘Maybe a kid could fix our oceans’ … Siyona Vikram. Photograph: Geetha K

The podcast: Little Mind Chats, a current affairs show for children, featuring themed seasons on topics such as education and health. Has its own spin-off environmental activist group, Little-WISE Club, featuring 400 children collecting plastic that’s converted into agricultural piping.

When I was seven, I discovered podcasts and realised that all the series for children were storytelling ones. There weren’t any covering things like current affairs, so I decided to tackle that. My slogan is: ‘Our minds are little, not our thoughts.’ Children may have small minds, but our ideas can be big. We can start revolutions – we just need to put our thoughts into action. One expert on our podcast said there’s a lot of plastic in the ocean. Well, maybe a kid could come up with a solution – if only they knew about the problem.

When I ask guests to appear, mostly they say yes. I think it’s exciting for them to be interviewed by a child. It’s not something they encounter every day. Some of them think it’s a fascinating experience; some come on just to see what my podcast is like and then they’re stunned to find it’s just like an adult one. Most of them enjoy the interview.

I cover topics like the Ukraine invasion, as I think it’s important to cover negative news. We need a mix of good and bad: like we need a balanced diet, we need a balanced knowhow, so we can take action in the future. If adults are going to start unnecessary wars, how can they tell us kids not to hit our peers without a reason? It doesn’t make sense. Wars deeply affect us. If adults are going to go round starting wars all over the world, they’re going to destroy the place. This is a good thing for kids to know about.

The podcast will run as long as I’m interested in it. I’m starting to lose interest a little bit as I’ve been doing it for a long time. It will run for maybe three more years, until I’m a teen, when there will be a lot more schoolwork. I’ll pause the podcast for a few years, then come back to it. I will keep podcasting.

‘Lady Hale was my first guest. I wore a brooch’

Alma-Constance Denis-Smith, 11, London, UK

‘I’m scared now’ … Alma-Constance Denis-Smith.
‘I’m scared now’ … Alma-Constance Denis-Smith. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian

The podcast: Kids Law, a legal show that interviews prominent figures in the judicial system about how children are affected by the law. Guests have included judges, MPs and the director of the Crown Prosecution Service.

I started podcasting as a 10-year-old, when my parents told me I’d reached the criminal age of responsibility. I was shocked to realise I could be prosecuted – and wanted to inform other children. My mum is a lawyer, my dad a barrister. I’ve grown up in this world. Even so, when I found out what turning 10 means, I thought: ‘I’m scared now.’

For my first episode, I was very nervous, shaking, really trying not to get things wrong. Now I just take the microphone, try to articulate and it’s OK. The hardest part of being a child podcaster is understanding the things adults say. Sometimes it’s a lot to get into your head. Law’s a difficult topic. Luckily, I have a co-host, the lawyer Lucinda Acland, who works with my mum. I invited her as she has experience, is very good with children and has a great voice.

When people find out my podcast is about the law, they’re really surprised. They just don’t think children can understand that. ‘Oh,’ they say, ‘but it’s about basic law, right?’ I have to explain in detail, otherwise they just can’t get their head around it.

I actually got to meet Lady Hale [former president of the UK supreme court]. I wore my ladybird brooch which has all these sparkly bits on and she noticed. I was very proud – she had a brooch on, too! She was actually my first guest. It was a great start to have this amazing person on.

Most of our interviews are done with Zoom, although I did meet Cressida Dick [ex-head of the Met] in person. I went to New Scotland Yard. I met two spaniels and a German shepherd. And Cressida Dick gave me a toy dog to keep!

When I look back at what I’ve done, I’m so proud of myself. We always have this little celebration at home whenever I reach another 1,000 downloads: I have some lemonade. Knowing that I’ve done something that will impact children is great. I’m going to carry on until at least series 10. I just think this show is really important.

‘After 300 episodes, I’m about to launch another’

Eva Karpman, 13, Los Angeles

‘The new podcast is about homesteading’ … Eva Karpman.
‘The new podcast is about homesteading’ … Eva Karpman. Photograph: PR

The podcast: Dream Big, a show encouraging young people to pursue their passions. Episodes vary between interviews with celebrities and ‘solo shows’ that examine personal development.

Today, I find it easy to talk to people, to just start a conversation. I did a speech for Nike a couple of years ago in front of 5,000 people at the launch of a new campaign. I was actually the guest MC. I was nine at the time. But a couple of years before that, I was very shy. I didn’t talk to a lot of people. I would never have been able to do something like order at a restaurant. So when my parents realised I was struggling to find kid-friendly podcasts to listen to, they thought starting my own would get me out of my shell.

I soon realised that if I wanted a guest to accept my invite, I had to send them a video of myself. Unless they saw my face, I don’t think they really took me seriously. I needed them to see how important it was to me. They’d be reading an email saying: ‘Hi, I’m an eight-year-old who has a podcast.’ And a lot of them would think: ‘This is just a fan letter.’ One of the most difficult things about podcasting as a kid is that a lot of times, people don’t exactly take you seriously.

The most exciting guest I had on the show has to be the basketball star Kobe Bryant, back in 2018. He actually emailed us asking if he could be on the podcast – which was really exciting. I went to one of the Lakers games as a kid and had always looked up to him.

After 300 episodes, I’ve decided to take a step back, and let my seven-year-old sister start doing more, while I launch another podcast about homesteading. Listening back to those early episodes shows me how much I’ve grown. At the beginning, I was this squeaky voiced seven-year-old. To get to here is pretty awesome.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.