Geektown Radio has a unique and appealing angle: to review and analyze US entertainment including television, video games, and movies all from the lense of a UK citizen. Whether you’re an ex-pat or simply a Brit who enjoys the US entertainment, host Dave Elliott, provides an outlet tailored for the those on the other side of the pond.
This means abiding by UK viewing schedules — marquee shows often have different showtimes — to avoid any potential spoilers. However, as we discussed, this often provides some bittersweet news when fans find out their new show has been cancelled as they’re finishing it.
I recently got a chance to catch up with Dave and talk about the niche audience Geektown Radio has built, some of the star guests they’ve had lately, and if he keeps up with the Kardashians. See our full interview below.
Discover Pods: What’s your podcast pitch in under 140 characters?
Dave:Geektown Radio is a show that looks at US TV, film, and gaming, all from a UK perspective, along with interviews from industry insiders.
DP: Why do people listen to your podcast? What’s unique about it?
Dave: There are many many entertainment podcasts out there, but not a lot that present the information for UK listeners. Every show we discuss is done at the UK, not the US pace, so the listener doesn’t get unexpected spoilers. All the premiere dates we discuss are related to the UK air dates, not the US. We also have interviews each week, not only with actors, but also with the people behind the shows & films – writers, producers, clothing & makeup designers, and composers, who give a unique insight into what it’s like to work in film, game and tv production.
DP: That’s great to get an insiders’ perspective! Which guest(s) were the most fascinating?
Dave: The actors are usually fun, but you tend to get limited time with them. Philip Winchester was entertaining, as he’s American-British, so his accent kept slipping between the two, and Keith Allan from ‘Z Nation’ was just joyful to talk to. ‘Firefly’ composer Greg Edmonson was wonderful, as he has as much love for the show as any ‘browncoat’ i’ve met! Nate Barr who writes the music for ‘Sneaky Pete’ & ‘The Americans’ was fascinating as he has a bizarre collection of instruments, some made from human bones! I also interviewed the ’13 Reasons Why’ Production Designer Diane Lederman recently, which was really interesting, as they basically repurposed an abandoned town as the set for that show!
DP: Can you describe the tipping-point moment where you finally decided to start a podcast?
Dave: That’s an easy one… George Takei! I was offered an interview with the Star Trek star, and I thought it would be a waste to not hear his unique voice, so I asked if they minded if I put it out as a podcast. The PR company said yes, so I did… I was a web developer, and had some experience of editing audio, but I’d never interviewed anyone before, let alone something that would go out for someone else to hear! It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in an interview, but he was so sweet and lovely. I did freeze up at one point, but managed to get through it! He even sang a bit of ‘Star Trekkin’ by The Firm!
After that, I carried on putting out interview shows on an adhoc basis as guests came up. We’ve had all sorts of people from across the industry – the makeup & effects artist for Logan, Philip Winchester from Chicago Justice & Strike Back, writers from The Flash, the composer for Firefly & Uncharted, Suit’s Louis Litt – Rick Hoffman, the cast of Humans, even legendary Blade Runner actor Rutger Hauer, and Star Wars star Warwick Davis!
Then about 2 years ago, I decided to start the weekly Geektown Radio podcast. I made it more of a ‘show’ format, included a co-host with more general entertainment chat, and slotted in the interviews as part of it. We recently passed our 111th episode, and I’m now running geektown.co.uk and the podcast as my fulltime job, which I love!
DP: Congrats on your success so far and surpassing the 100 podcast mark! George Takei seems like a guy on a lot of peoples “ideal interview” lists, so I’m sure that must have been a treat. Who else is on your interview bucket list?
Dave: Well, William Shatner would be a great follow up after George, so he’d be on the list! I’d also love to interview Kevin Smith, as I’m a massive fan of his work. I’ve interviewed a LOT of the major composers in TV at the moment, but there are 3 I haven’t managed to land yet, and it’s become a bit like collecting Pokemon for me… Gotta catch them all! Bear McCreary who does ‘The Walking Dead’ & ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, Ramin Djawadi who does ‘Game of Thrones’ & ‘Westworld’, and Blake Neely who does The Flash, Arrow, & Riverdale. I’d also love to get more tv writers on the podcast, as they also seem hard to land.
DP: Covering US TV from the UK is an interesting perspective. Are there certain shows that are disproportionately more (or less) popular over there than in the US?
Dave: Yes. Obviously there are the big ones, like ‘Game Of Thrones’, which everyone loves. But there are some were we get a big backlash on the site when the UK audience find out it’s cancelled. I think ‘Limitless’ was the most recent one that comes to mind. It aired on Sky 1 in the UK, which is one of the big main entertainment channels. Brilliantly fun show, and there was a lot of disappointment to find CBS hadn’t renewed it. That’s one of the most frustrating things… Knowing it doesn’t really matter how much we watch or like something, you’re really at the mercy of the US audience.
DP: No way? I was a huge Limitless fan, both of the movie and the show. I liked how it had a sort of campy nature to the traditional episodic crime drama. And yes, I was also disappointed to hear it wasn’t renewed. I’ve always wondered, however, how do personality-driven US reality shows do in the UK? Are shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians or any slew of Real Housewives popular since they’re hyper-regional?
Dave: Sadly yes, they are popular, although probably not as much as in the US… We do also have British versions of those sort of shows too, unfortunately. I know people watch them over here, but I don’t cover them on the podcast. We’re in a golden age of television drama, so it seems a waste to spend talking about trashy reality tv.
DP: What have you learned since you started your podcast?
Dave: I think (hope!) my interviewing technique has improved! I’m now doing at least one interview a week, so that helps. I’ve learnt a lot more about editing and recording hardware. Those first interviews were done on a basic computer mic, so the quality is now much better. I’ve also learnt it’s handy to have more than one co-host when you’re doing a weekly show. It helps keeps things fresh each week, and it gives different perspectives on things… Plus it’s easier for them, as they only need to show up once a month!
DP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Dave: Also worth mentioning, along with the Geektown Radio podcast, we have a website, at http://www.geektown.co.uk which updates daily with film and tv news.