George The Poet & Will Boris Blow It?

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A First For The Minister Of Fun?

Since the first Secretary of State for Culture/Media/Arts/Sport etc, oversaw the award of the Classic FM licence back in 91’ no fewer than five of them have campaigned to lead their parties (Dorrell, Burnham twice, Hancock, Javid and Hunt.) There’s no question it would’ve been six had David Mellor’s desire for feet not got in the way of his passion for politics. If Jeremy Hunt gets over the line come the end of July he’ll be the first person to have held both posts. Of course, the one thing Hunt has in his favour is that he’s now Foreign Secretary, and six of those (Eden, Macmillan, Douglas Home, Callaghan, Major and Hague) have gone on to become Prime Minister. Mind you, Hunt took over the role from…you guessed it, Boris Johnson. If things don’t work out for Hunt, he could always try a career in radio; whether he’d look to follow in the footsteps of Mellor at Classic FM or Johnson at LBC remains to be seen.

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Let’s Do The Right Thing Podcast

‘I’ve Got All My Life To Live, I’ve Got All My Love To Give…I Will Diversify’

Should the eventual loser in the Tory Leadership race wish to leave politics, he could do worse than consult an expert in diversification. As the founder of Alchemist Media, Duncan Tickell is one such professional. His company specialises in strategy and development and his thoughts on transforming brands through digital content are fascinating. You can learn more about his experiences and vision in Adam Hopkinson’s latest life after advertising podcast, Let’s Do The Right Thing, recorded and produced here at Maple Street Creative: Listen to the episode here

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Brexitcast To Remain…

on BBC One

Maple Street was lucky enough to get the hottest ticket in town this month and attend the Radiodays Podcast Day conference, at which Brexicast announced they’re to start a BBC One version of the show come September. By my count that gives them about nine episodes ahead of the 31st October deadline. In which case, one wonders what they had so much to be smug about? A far more interesting aspect of the day was the number of platforms and partnerships that have now entered the digital audio space. Presentations from Poolartists of Germany and Targetspot of France gave great insights, but Acast were wide of the mark with their audience expectations and an interview with reality celebrity, Lydia Bright, billing her as an ‘audioinfluencer’. As someone whose spent twenty-five years in the industry, I can honestly say I’ve yet to be motivated or inspired by Lydia. Or anyone else from The Only Way Is Essex for that matter.


Have You Heard…

George Was In The Studio?

Ahead of his conference appearance, the hugely talented George The Poet spent a morning here at Maple Street Studios. His Have You Heard George’s Podcast? has won countless praise and awards of late and all of it fully deserved. We also like him because he’s given us the opportunity to introduce a new feature here, called ‘Show It With The Poet.’

Check out our studios here


Success for Maple Street Mim

Speaking of awards, we must say a huge congratulations to Maple Street Voiceover, Mim Shaikh, who picked up the Children’s Award for Best Documentary last week. Mim is one of those annoying people who can turn his hand to anything and always succeed. As well as being an award-winning film maker, he’s a fantastic voice-over, and he’s also just landed a part in the new BBC One sitcom, King Gary, which will be on air later this year.

Check out our voices here


When The Chips Were Down, We Won

Finally, we ended last month’s update with news that we’d been nominated for The Drum’s prestigious Chip Shop Awards, and I’m pleased to announce that we won two prizes. We also walked away with some new friends, a few sore heads, and in my case an increased overdraft, due to the fact that even the most basic of beers was £7.50 a bottle. We’ve already started saving for next year, just in case.

Famous Faces, Great Voices, & Pound Tracking: The Point of Podcasts

Summertime...and whilst the living might be easy, it certainly isn't quiet. Famous faces in the studio, award-winning voices, championing excellence, and rediscovering the answer to life, the universe, and the point of podcasts. 



Here's The Point!

Thanks to all those who made it to our industry event, Podcasts: What’s The Point. An engaged audience, a knowledgeable and entertaining panel, and a terrific special guest in Edith Bowman made for a memorable night. We shared some of our favourite podcasts, including; No Such Thing As A Fish, The Allusionist, Adam Buxton, and a gem of a download from NFU Mutual, plus we got the story of the award-winning Soundtracking from the host herself. By the end of the evening we’d managed to come up with three answers to the one question we'd asked and hopefully most went away with plenty of new ideas on how their brands can engage with new people on new platforms. Listen to the podcast of the event and request the deck below.


Let’s Do The Right Thing

Continuing the theme, episode three of Maple Street Creative’s advertising podcast, Let’s Do The Right Thing is out now, featuring Cadi Jones. Host, Adam Hopkinson quizzes the Beeswax Commercial Director on the issues surrounding the sector and discovers that her career motto involves the use of some industrial four-letter language. Get the full foul-mouthed download here.

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‘Blood on the

Tracks’ Podcast

From the feature that first began with Showy with the Zoe…Maple Street Studios now present Cosy with the Brodie. The Lightening Seeds legend was in recently, recording an episode for Blood on the Tracks…and he had his son Riley with him…yes it was him wot the song was written about! The other guests on the show were Nicola Roberts, Nigel Owens, and Doc Brown and there was a lot of music bonding. It was a great episode to record and you can hear it here now!

One Voice and Chip Shop Awards 2019

It's been a couple of weeks now but we can't let the moment pass without saying huge congratulations to those Maple Street Voices who won gongs at the One Voice Awards 2019. Darren Altman, Alexia Kombou, Hannah Melbourne, Jack Oddie, Toby Ricketts and Claire Wyatt all had their brilliant talent recognised and it's a great joy for us to work with these lovely people. To get them on your ad and to hear their showreels visit:

We've had our own little bit of recognition here at Maple Street with three nominations for The Drum's prestigious Chip Shop Awards. It's a great thrill and credit to Alex, James, Kieran and Matt. Good luck to all our fellow nominees and we look forward to meeting some of you on the 6th!

Request the ‘Podcasts: What’s The Point?’ deck

Name *


You listen to them, share them, talk about them...but for some reason you can't see the reason for making one: Why?

Is it because you can't see a clear path between your brand and any relevant podcast?

Is it because you think you won't make any money out of a podcast?

Or is because you just can't see the point?

Stay tuned for our recording of ‘Podcasts: What’s The Point?’ to listen to Maple Street Creative's esteemed panel of experts, along with special guest Edith Bowman as we answer all of the above. 

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Panel line-up revealed for ‘Podcasts: What’s The Point?’

Maple Street Creative’s podcast event for Radio Audio Week was so oversubscribed that we’ve had to keep our sensational panel a secret…until now…

We’re delighted to say that our special guest on the night will be Broadcaster and Presenter of the award-winning podcast ‘Soundtracking’, Edith Bowman.


And on the panel will be:

Phill Palmer - Head of Research and Insight at Total Media

Phill Palmer - Head of Research and Insight at Total Media

Ruth Fitzsimons – Podcast Consultant & ex SVP International Operations at Audioboom

Ruth Fitzsimons – Podcast Consultant & ex SVP International Operations at Audioboom

Suchandrika Chakrabarti – Journalist, Podcaster, and Presenter of Freelance Pod

Suchandrika Chakrabarti – Journalist, Podcaster, and Presenter of Freelance Pod

Neil Cowling - Founder & Managing Director, Fresh Air Production

Neil Cowling - Founder & Managing Director, Fresh Air Production

The event will take place at Maple Street Studios on Tuesday 14th May at 5.30pm following Radiocentre's celebrated Tuning In conference.

Never Mind The B-Word…It’s All About The C-Word

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Brexit, I’m told, is becoming something that people are fed-up of hearing about…really? When it can have such an enormous impact on your business? Despite it being thirty-four months and counting since the referendum, I still find myself seeking out the latest news, and my wife will testify that it’s not a good idea to ask my thoughts on the matter if you’re someone whose largely ambivalent to the outcome. Someone else with prominent views is Media Consultant, Duncan Tickell, whose urged politicians to consider the economic consequences of their actions – or rather lack of action – and get behind one of Britain’s most valuable assets, the Creative industry.

Duncan Tickell

Duncan Tickell

Adam Hopkinson

Adam Hopkinson

Duncan was talking to Adam Hopkinson for a new podcast called Let’s Do The Right Thing, created to shine an illuminating light on life after advertising. The series starts later this month and future guests include Jonathan Durden, Amy Williams, Cadi Jones, Kathleen Saxton, and Mike Anderson. Watch this space for more controversy…or lack of controversy, depending on your views.

Blood On The Tracks… And In The Studio

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Last month it was Showy with the Zoe…this month we present Lolling with the Colin…

It was lovely to welcome back the Shooting Shark production team for another series of Blood on the Tracks for the BBC Sounds thing. Great music and much hilarity are guaranteed in every episode and it’s a fantastic vehicle for Colin Murray, who’s brilliant at disarmingly bringing out the inner voice of his guests. The new shows go out next month and there are plenty online to keep you going until then.

Never Mind The Length, Feel The Quality

One of the nice things about working with agencies is that because you deal with the same people on a regular basis, you’re able to build in a level of trust and reliability. We were the beneficiaries of such a relationship this month when we got to work on a sixty second ad for the wonderful musical Dear Evan Hansen. The multi-award-winning show from the song-writers behind The Greatest Showman comes to the West End later this year and to be able to produce something where the great content spoke for itself was a joy. Also note, the good work of voice-over, John Calvert.

A New Look For Some Familiar Sounds

Maple Street Voices

Maple Street Voices

Another highlight of recent weeks has been the relaunch of Maple Street Voices. As the preferred talent pool for the UK's largest independent radio and digital audio advertising agency, its vitally important that we can offer our clients not only some exceptional voices, but also a diverse range of style and tone. You can browse the talent at and if you’d like to send us a showreel please contact:

To Begin At The Beginning. Then A New Beginning…Then Another…

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the people of the Miami Ad School have taken the ‘all weaknesses are strengths’ adage to a new level by turning a cliché in to a great and original idea. The common held notion that all copywriters have attempted, at one stage or another to write a novel, was put to the test with the institute inviting first chapters from all over the globe. The intention being that any profits would go in to a scholarship for future failed novelists…I mean future copywriters. With the pledge fund having reached its goal, the book is set for publication in the summer. Whether the 60% of those in Maple Street who’ve attempted a novel have sent their first chapters in will have to remain a mystery until then.

Take a Gamble on the Creative 

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Maple Street has heard that at Media Central’s recent AUDIOlogy talks, there was a call for radio advertisers to embrace the possibilities presented by new technologies and improve upon creativity. Well, at Maple Street we already are. Following our ground-breaking creative with the British Heart Foundation and Amazon Alexa last year, we’ve recently finished working on a series of ads for PlayOjo, featuring the voice talents of Martin Trenaman and Gerard Fletcher. If agencies can win the trust of good clients, then the opportunities to raise the bar are there.

Smart Speakers... Smart Thinking

Mastercard gets it, why doesn’t your brand? On all our campaigns at Maple Street we discuss the importance of audio branding with our clients, yet still a generally recognised figure within the industry is that only 17% of companies have brand guidelines for a sonic identity, as opposed to 86% for visual strategies. As advertisers seek new ways to interact via new technologies, it’s clear that sound will have a much larger part to play when it comes to brand recognition, particularly when you also consider mobile screens are getting smaller again. One CMO leading the way is Raja Rajamannar. Following on from the move to symbol-only logo, Mastercard has now added sonic branding to augment consumers sensory relationship with the brand. Smart stuff.

Consolidate to Accumulate

No prizes for guessing the biggest news of the week, Global’s decision to network the Heart, Smooth, and Capital Breakfast Shows, with the latter going national as early as April 8th. The figures and facts have all been detailed in the Radioworks blog but it would be strange for us to not pass comment on a story of such enormity. With the Global Awards fast approaching Maple Street is relieved to see that Paul Gambaccini is not in line to present anything. After the BBC announced massive job cuts in 2012, Gambo hosted the Sonys that year with the opening line, ‘Enjoy the night…15% of you won’t be here next year!’

‘Rift’ Recording with Aaron Attenborough


A more palatable topic of conversation is free money…Maple Street Creative has just delivered two more ads for refund specialists, Rift and with the end of the tax year fast approaching you’d be mad not to listen to Aaron Page’s great delivery. It’ll reimburse you for reading this far at least.

Finally, we’d like to introduce you to a new slot in the monthly newsletter that we have provisionally titled, Showy with the Zoe, where we profile our favourite Zoe’s who have recently been in to the Maple Street Studios. First up is Zoë Wanamaker.

Great Ads. Fab News. Superbowl.


Hello you. Have you just reared your head from January? Were you hibernating with some vegan cheese and reams of paperwork whilst stressing over your self-assessment tax return? Why? Didn’t you hear the great ads that came out of Maple Street?


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Some that are showing little accountability for themselves are those MP’s who continue to push the UK toward a no-deal Brexit. Last week, the prominent research company Enders Analysis predicted that if Britain were to leave on such terms then we’d be facing an advertising recession. Whatever your views are on the best use of the English Channel, no one wants the industry to have to wade through such choppy waters. Although the House of Commons voted against accepting a no-deal this week, that vote was purely academic and not law-making. I’m not going to go on record and state how Maple Street feel about such things, but I will say this: If we were in favour of Brexit we’d never…vote that way, tell everyone else to vote that way, then announce this week that we’d be moving our headquarters to South East Asia. But no one would do that anyway, would they?


Over the last few weeks here at Maple Street we’ve enjoyed the company of Vernon Kay and Darren Fletcher, who’ve been recording the excellent ‘Fumble’ Podcast for Shooting Shark Productions. And as the Gridiron season reaches its climax with the Super Bowl on Sunday, American Marketeers are gearing themselves up for one of their high days.

Listen Here

Although last year’s viewing figures were disappointing by comparison, the ad men still know they’re guaranteed a captive audience of 100 million in the States, and as such they’re pulling out all the stops to stand out, particularly when it comes to selling beer. Stella Artois has brought The Dude and Carrie Bradshaw together for a fun ad with plenty of slapstick, and Michelob Ultra have made an outstanding commercial, augmenting their content with ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). It’s unusual for a visual piece of work to spend so much time on the sound, never mind allowing the audio to lead the creative. UK take note. 

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Well, have you listened yet? Of course you have! And whilst there’s little doubt that the brand-new Virgin Breakfast Show sounds…familiar…there’s also a great certainty from all those who’ve ever worked with Chris Evans that he’s going to put the station in the minds of the opinion formers and on the radios of UK listeners. Not just through his talent, but with his unrelenting drive to create something his high standards can be proud of. He’s already on the way it seems, as Maple Street has learnt that after the first week, listening hours were up by a mere 2000%. And Chris hasn’t been the only one switching sides this year. It was announced this week that Simon Mayo has joined Bauer for the launch of their classical music station, Scala. Just as Chris took everything but the rubber plant to his new home, so Simon is taking with him his Confessions feature. Whether the programme will rely on sponsorship over ad revenue like Chris’ is another guess entirely.

Finally, just when you thought podcasts couldn’t get any sexier, along comes David Tennent with this…

So, debonair A-list celebrity presents his own show with Hollywood acting chums. Chances are, if you could travel to any place in time, you’d never find a better year for audio. 

Tech the Halls: Innovation in Charity Donations and the Latest News on those annoying Ts&Cs

Without wishing to start this Maple Street newsletter sounding like the late Denis Norden…

‘If… you’re anything like me…’ you’ll spend the best part of the build up to Christmas already thinking about the new start you’re going to make in January. And over the next few weeks, as well as writing national campaigns and producing podcasts, we’ll also be refurbishing Studio Two and giving it some TLP (tender loving paint) readying it for a busy 2019. 


Back in 1973, Capital Radio also saw fit to make best use of the Christmas period and changed their music policy overnight, tailoring it to a younger pop-orientated audience, jettisoning some journalists and a drama department in the process. Given that they go in to this festive period back on top as London’s most listened-to commercial station, I would think there’s little chance of this being reversed come New Year’s Day. 

Something else that shows little sign of reversing is of course Brexit, which will doubtless have implications on every aspect of business, including the radio industry. At a recent debate on consumer protection, Brexitier Vicky Ford brought up the issue of the long, complex, and often unnecessary terms and conditions that follow the creative treatment in audio advertising. Ford, a former MEP isn’t alone in her crusade on this as the European Commission’s regulatory body, REFIT are also lobbying for a change in legislation, as is the Radiocentre here in the UK. Any revision to consumer law may or may not be subject to a customs union, a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, the loss of freedom of movement around member states, and a significant cut in GDP. Your fish are a risk if a deal cannot be reached by July 2020. 

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Victoria's Secret

Potentially set for a third year of record-breaking ad spend, commercial radio goes from strength to strength with its prowess for putting brands in the right place at the right time, and here at Maple Street we’re delighted to have just finished working on our second national campaign for Victoria’s Secret. The ads were designed to run during a short period up to Black Friday and were to highlight the great offers available in-store. As well as being a great opportunity for us to build on the creative we’d previously worked on, it was also a chance for our talented writers and producers to show how dexterous and conscientious we are when working with briefs. (Is it not Panto season yet?)

Voiceover Talent

Whether it’s Panto season or not (oh yes it is) it was definitely awards time for voice-overs at the recent Vox event, and at Maple Street we’d like to shout about some of our friends and celebrate the enormously talented nominees and winners we’ve recently worked with, including; Blanche Anderson, Bethan Dixon Bate, Kenny Blyth, Robin Bowerman, Elisa Canas, Peter Cousins, Guy Harris, Hannah Melbourne Jack Oddie and Sarah Sealey.

Elf Day

If all that talk of charity and Christmas has got you in the mood for something that conveniently combines the two then look no further than Elf Day, which Maple Street has worked on for Alzheimer’s Society. It’s a cause that’s close to a few hearts in the office and the pleasure was topped off by having another opportunity to work with Jo Brand: a woman so talented it takes both Jack Dee and Stephen Fry to even get close. Look out for that special day on December 7th and be sure to share the elf.

British Heart Foundation

Another talented voiceover, but one who isn't in that list, is the fantastic Katie Flamman, with whom Maple Street recently worked with on a ground-breaking campaign for British Heart Foundation. The creative goes out on Echo smart speakers via Dax and has become the first time a UK charity can receive donations through Amazon Pay by using an Alexa skill. It was a great thrill for us to work on such a project and we couldn’t have done it without the labour and vision of those at BHF and RadioWorks.

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The Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport is Dead...

...long live the secretary of state for the department of culture, media and sport!

You might have seen in the news that…stuff…has been…happening.

We could refer to it as a cabinet reshuffle, but I feel Jenga would be a more accurate comparison.


David Davis resigned. Boris Johnson resigned. Jeremy Hunt has become foreign secretary.

And that left a space in health that, sadly, our glorious leader Matt Hancock has been asked to fill.

Matt’s been in charge of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for a short period, but he’s made an impact. He was a minister at the forefront of the digital age – calling for social media regulation and also setting up his own social media app called…Matt Hancock. He even said goodbye to us all with a ‘#ThankYou’ – on brand ‘til the end.

He also got into parkour, bafflingly.

He’ll be missed, of course, but is expected to use his new free-running skills to scale hospital walls and front-flip out of ambulances – exactly what the NHS needs!

But when God closes a door, he opens a window, and clambering (slightly less gracefully) in through that window is our new glorious leader – Jeremy Wright!

What’s Jeremy’s pedigree when it comes to the digital world?

Matt Hancock and his mates

Matt Hancock and his mates

Well, he has a Twitter account that he has posted from five times, the last time being more than three years ago.

What did he have to say back then? Well, strap in…

4th April 2015 – Set up my official Twitter account

6th April 2015 - I have since updated my Twitter Handle to comply with regulations. Please share

Great content, thanks Jeremy.

So, sure, Jeremy’s not great on digital stuff, and yes, his voting record is quite an alarming read if you believe in, I don’t know, human rights, gay rights, welfare and sort of equality in general, but, y’know, that aside…erm…he…err…*scrolls through Wikipedia for ages* lives in the village of Shrewley. So that’s good.

Anyway, welcome Jeremy, for as long as you last. You better get parkour-ing pretty damn quick, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

So This Is How It Kills Us...

Here’s a nightmare for you. Imagine this scene –

Your radio alarm wakes you up. Chatty presenter, upbeat songs, it sets the mood perfectly as you get dressed, brush your teeth and eat your breakfast. The clock reaches 8.15 and you need to leave, so you pop your shoes on, button up your coat, and move to switch the radio off. As you reach for the button, the presenter, who until now has been back-introducing Taylor Swift and commenting on the weather, says, ‘Have a great day, Robert’. Then silence.

(Bytheway, in this scenario, your name is Robert)


Horrendous, right? Well, according to James Cridland, this is the future.

A new form of technology means Artificial Intelligence can now synthesise new sentences from old recordings, essentially creating a ghostly radio presenter who can say different things to different people at different times.

This terrifying new tech was developed in America to help radio presenter Jamie Dupree, who lost his voice after a mystery illness. They used a bank of his old recordings to create a programmable AI Jamie. The experiment worked perfectly, and Jamie is now back full-time, filing reports and reading them out on air, despite not being able to speak.

James Cridland sees this technology developing into ‘personal radio’ – suggesting your radio presenter could break off from the top 100 to remind you of appointments or let you know when you need to leave for work.

And, of course, it could.

It could also switch on while you sleep and tell you to kill your parents.

It could tell your friends secrets about you while you’re on the toilet.

It could seduce you, convince you to leave your husband, and convince you to buy another radio that it then has an affair with.

This is how radio takes over. If a radio can speak, then it can kill.


We’ve already got enough audio of Chris Moyles to create an AI version of him – so what need is there for actual human Chris Moyles? He’ll be in an unmarked grave within the week if this technology comes to fruition. Same goes for Grimmy.

Who’s to say it hasn’t started already? Christian O’Connell suddenly leaves Absolute and moves to Australia? Yeah, right. They killed him years ago, and only now have they run out of words for the AI OC ghost to say, so they’ve made up a country (Australia? Come on now!) and told you all he’s gone there instead. It’s the equivalent of your parents telling you your dog went to live on a farm.

Dave Berry is merely weeks from going the same way.

The future of radio is very exciting. It’s also the end of civilisation as we know it.

Have a great week!

MAY-be We're Going to Be the Ones to Save Thee...


Are you there, God? It’s me…Maple Street.

I mean this Newsletter has always felt a bit like screaming into the abyss, but at least before we could pretend you were reading this. Now, in a post GDPR world, we know that you’re not. Are you? ARE YOU? No. Exactly.

But, I mean, we’re going to do it anyway. I think. I dunno, let’s see if I give up halfway through, crumpled in a weepy little ball.


It’s May. The air is full of barbecue smoke and pollen. Your cold has faded seamlessly into hay fever and there is no discernible difference between the two sets of symptoms.

Prince Harry got married and we all kept it very much in proportion, as a country. Didn’t get too excited. 13 pages in the Metro the Monday after the wedding. 13 pages about a wedding we all saw.

It was nice though. Good luck to you both, if you’re reading. It seems unlikely though. As we’ve established, almost no-one is reading – so it would be a real surprise if we get the click-through figures and the only two people who are still subscribed to this newsletter are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But, forgive me, I’m an optimist.

Hello Harry and Meghan. We all know plenty about what you did for the last month, but here’s what we did.


British Podcast Awards

Yeah, that’s right royals aren’t the only people who can get dressed up in May. Fresh Air can put a shirt on too…

And they can also pick up TWO awards at the British Podcast Awards.


Fresh Air had two entries in the top five for branded podcasts – and won Silver for Historic England Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places, and bronze for Parliament Explained. When Fresh Air started these ventures, people underestimated them – they said ‘these podcasts will never win silver and bronze in a national podcast awards. Maybe one or the other, but definitely not both’ – well, Fresh Air showed them!

Take that, doubters! And congratulations, Fresh Air!


Breakfast Radio

Have you ever thought about how Harry and Meghan wake up?

Because I have. I really, really have. And it puzzles me.

My phone alarm wakes me up every morning. That’s my go to. But there is absolutely no way that Harry and Meghan are awoken by an iPhone alarm. I can not picture that. I can not picture Meghan, about five minutes after the lights have been switched off, suddenly turning to Harry and saying ‘have you set the alarm?’ and Harry, already half asleep, mumbling ‘yes, it’s a repeat alarm, you don’t have to set it again every day’ and Meghan going ‘oh, right…night then’ and then a few moments later going ‘actually can you just check’ and Harry, grumpy and wide awake now, leaning out of the bed and, bleary-eyed, checking the alarm on his phone, only to realise that it actually wasn’t set because he’d turned it off that morning for a bit of a lie-in and having to set it very quickly so that they don’t oversleep and miss, I dunno, a knighting or something the next morning.

I can not picture that happening. So how do they get up? Old fashioned alarm clock? Closer, but still not quite right. No way should Meghan be jolted awake that abruptly.

Butler? Possibly – but these are the down-to-earth new royals. They’re humble. They’d be embarrassed by a suited man having to literally shake them into consciousness each morning.

No, the only option that makes sense to me is this…clock radio. DAB probably. It clicks on at 7 each morning, and they both come to (gradually), kiss (royally), then start their day.

What does this section tell us about what Maple Street have been up to for the last month? Nothing. Nothing at all. But it does highlight the ubiquity of breakfast radio, how relevant the medium still is, and the vital role it plays in the running of our fair country, even in the upper echelons. Next month, Theresa May – is she a Dave Berry fan, or sticking with Moyles?


Radio Audio Week

The Organisers:                What shall we call it? Audio Week? Or Radio Week?

Some Brainbox:                How about…both?

The Organisers:                Won’t that sound odd? Like it’s supposed to rhyme but doesn’t? Like we’re saying the same thing twice, for no real reason?

Some Brainbox:                No.

And it didn’t. In fact, it’s probably fair to say, Radio Audio Week was a resounding success! It was a collab between RadioCentre and the Radio Academy which are, it turns out, two different entities.

The line-up was star-studded enough that it almost put the Royal Wedding to shame! Christian O’Connell, Lauren Laverne, Ed Miliband, Mollie King (from the Saturdays) – they were all there! Vanessa Feltz was there! Julia Fartley-Brewer was there! And, for some reason, Nigel Farage also slithered his disgusting way into proceedings.

Also present and correct were Maple Street’s Creative Director Neil Cowling and Radioworks’ MD Emily Turnbull, both of whom blew the absolute roof off the place!

It was a fantastic week celebrating all that is great and good about this industry and charting the incredible rate at which its growing. It’s an exciting time in the world of Radio Audio (as we all definitely call it), and we hope you’re all coming along for the ride.


We Don’t Care About Your Celebs Anymore Unless They’re Royal. Got Any Royals In? Have You? No. Thought Not.

Sorry. There are no royals here. Not even a Vanessa Feltz.

But we did have the brilliant Tom Ward in one day a few weeks ago.

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Tom Ward is the future of the comedy industry. He’s great, he’s tall, he’s very funny – and he worked with us on a few ads for an upcoming campaign. We liked him so much, we’re getting him back in (also the scripts have changed since the session, so we need to re-record)!

The other famous face is this guy…

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Ryan Early! He’s been in almost everything. The Bill! Coronation Street! That Will Young video where Will Young is getting chucked out of a restaurant! Loads of things.

He came in to record a quick session for our friends at Bauer and he did an excellent job. I’m also pleased to announce that, due to a miscommunication in the build up, Ryan Early turned up 30 minutes late.






The Maple Street Basement – Where Everyone Can Hear You Scream    

Like all the best things (the Tube, sewers, dead people), our studios are underground. But they are also state of the art, comfortable, professionally run and available for you to hire.

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. So, if you want to record a voiceover, do some broadcast PR, get a radio advert made or survive an apocalypse – we have the facilities in which you can do all those things!


Get Your Briefs Out

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at

So that was our May.

How was yours? No point asking. You’re not there. I mean, even if you were at the start, you definitely dipped out halfway through that Harry and Meghan alarm clock bit. Guaranteed.

It’s OK though. I’ll still be here if you come back.

These words won’t change – but maybe your mind will.

And we’ll still be here.

Goodbye, anyway. Enjoy your June.


APRIL-liant Way To Start Your MAY

I know, I know, it’s late.

It’s been a busy time of year, so April’s newsletter is actually hitting stores at the start of May.

But what a month it’s been! What’s been happening?

All four seasons, that’s what. I mean I know it’s clichéd to talk about the British weather, but it really is hog mad at the minute, no? I swear at one point it was 25 degrees and snowing, simultaneously.

In the news – Amber Rudd has been deported.

Matthew Wright has quit the Wright Stuff, demonstrating the danger of basing your TV format around a pun.

Sainsburys and ASDA are merging. Who will get custody of George?

And there’s a third royal baby! It’s a boy, it’s called Louis, and I, for one, welcome our new reptilian overlord.

Anyway, let’s get on with it. 

Fresh Meat

Yes, that seems like an alarming title for this first section, but the original title was ‘New Blood’, so it’s actually not as bad as it could’ve been.

We have a new face at Maple Street! Here is that face…

Great face.

Great face.

James McCombe is our brand-new producer. He’ll be working in the studio, putting together adverts, podcasts, programmes – essentially anything that falls under the audio category.

What else do you need to know about James? Well, he’s from New Zealand (you know, from off of Lord of the Rings). He goes to the GYM BEFORE WORK like an athlete or a murderer. He’s been here for two weeks and is already annoyingly good at his job.

That’s James, if you see him in the street say hi!


Urgh, sorry, but it’s awards season again.

So, it means we have to do some very in-your-face boasting about the awards we’ve been nominated for. I know, I know, it’s uncomfortable. But you’ve got this far, no point stopping reading now. It’ll be over soon. Here we go…


The podcast arm of our department, Fresh Air, have been nominated for two (2) British Podcast Awards!

Fresh Air.png

Fresh Air podcasts ‘Parliament Explained’ and ‘Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places’ make up two of the five nominees in the Best Branded Content Podcast category.

The British Podcast Awards are, as you could probably guess, award for podcasts. From the big industry smashing, genre-defining ones, to the little, home studio gems you might never have heard of, the great and the good are all going to be there and now, courtesy of Fresh Air, so are we!

Chip Shop Awards

Now, after the earlier explanation of what the British Podcast Awards are, you could be forgiven for thinking ‘well, I know what this is all about’, but confusingly, the Chip Shop Awards are not a series of awards for chip shops.

They’re awards for creativity without limits – i.e. anything goes.

But here's a picture of some chips to further confuse the matter. 

But here's a picture of some chips to further confuse the matter. 

And we’ve been nominated for Best Social for our Gender Pay Gap piece from last summer. Who knew refusing to take your job seriously would pay off?

Who is the competition you ask? Well, one is a dating video for a man who drinks urine and practices Tai Chi – the other is a high budget 'It' spoof in which Father Christmas kills creatives, I think. So, a fairly normal category, is what I’m saying. See those two entries, and our own, here.

View Entries

Google Yourself a Podcast

Everybody’s favourite tax avoiding Big Brother style surveillance operation, Google, are getting into podcasts!

Google have announced that they’re planning to double the number of podcast listeners in the next few years, which is simultaneously ambitious and vague – and that’s a style of planning I can get on board with.

No idea.

No idea.

They want to streamline the way Android users find their podcasts, in the same way that iTunes do for Apple users – and I say good luck to them. Currently, two thirds of all podcast listening is done through iTunes – and it’s about time a plucky up and comer like Google challenged them. 

It could be very exciting! Equally we could be dead by then, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

Oh, Look…It’s Him! Ah, You Know…From That Thing. We Watched It. Turned Out He Was Having An Affair. Ah, What’s His Name?

We get people off the telly coming in here from time to time.

And the thing about celebrities is they’re just like us. And by that, I mean they all use the toilet.

Seriously, I’ve been keeping track. Literally every single one of them who has come here has used the toilet. Guy Garvey? Uses the toilet. Cuba Gooding Jr? Uses the toilet. Gabby Logan? You bet she uses the toilet.

I walked past Roger Daltrey in the toilets here once and was so startled I just whispered ‘sorry’ into his ear.

I say this only because Simon Bird, writer, actor and star of The Inbetweeners, came in this week, and I saw him in the toilet twice. He used the toilet at the start and at the end of his session with the lovely Pirate FM, and I was there both times, so I’m worried he thinks I’m just a guy they employ to stand in the toilet. And in many ways, I am.

It was just a wee both times, Simon. Honest. 

It was just a wee both times, Simon. Honest. 

 Anyway, Simon was an absolute delight. As expected.

We also had the lovely team from Shooting Shark in a couple of times, to record the excellent ‘Blood on the Tracks’ for BBC Radio 2.

*Record scratch* Yep, that's me. Shaun Ryder. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation...

*Record scratch* Yep, that's me. Shaun Ryder. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation...

The show features Colin Murray chatting with four well-known music obsessives, meaning in the last month we’ve been lucky enough to host Jeremy Vine, Liz Kershaw, Kriss Akabusi, Steve Davies and Shaun Ryder, amongst others. And let me tell you – every single one of them went for a wee.

They’re just like us.

The Maple Street Basement - 

Where Everyone Can Hear You Scream


Like all the best things (the Tube, sewers, dead people), our studios are underground. But they are also state of the art, comfortable, professionally run and available for you to hire.

Studios 2.jpg

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. So, if you want to record a voiceover, do some broadcast PR, get a radio advert made or survive an apocalypse – we have the facilities in which you can do all those things!

Studios 3.jpg

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.
No obligation - just to show you what we can do.
Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?

Is it something you wish would just go away?

 Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at:

And yes, there we go. That was April.

It is now May, so let’s look ahead to that.

What’s coming up in May? TWO! BANK! HOLIDAYS!

That’s all that matters. I mean, don’t let the other days pass you by, grab them by the scruff of the neck and kiss them passionately.


Feb-u-ready for March?

What’s better than one newsletter?

THAT’S RIGHT! Two newsletters, crammed into the same e-mail!

This is the Maple Street Newsletter for February AND March and I’ve already used up far too much copy space telling you that so LET’S! DIVE! IN!

Turbulent times my friends, turbulent times. Countries across the world have expelled several suspected Russian spies after a poisoning in Salisbury. I mean, that’s all well and good, but it kind of begs the question…were we just fine with the Russian spies being here before that? Like, it very much seems like we knew about all the Russian spies and were just kind of…cool with it. Then they did some poisoning and we went ‘Well, this is the final straw! Take your spies back!’

In other news, the President of the United States has (allegedly) been sleeping with some pornstars, a YouTuber might go to prison for turning his dog into a Nazi and Facebook controls your brain. So, the world is pretty normal then.

Here is our news.


GDPR. What is it?

This is a relevant and phenomenally boring question that, sadly, we have to answer, because otherwise I personally might go to actual prison.

From May 25th companies, like this one, and I daresay, like yours, will be subject to stricter rules on data protection. It’s basically a good thing, most likely. The irony here is that you probably understand it, whereas I, the person explaining it to you, absolutely do not. But here goes…

Sensibly protecting his mouth from the fumes, what a good criminal. 

Sensibly protecting his mouth from the fumes, what a good criminal. 

We can now only store data that is relevant to the task we are performing. So, any personal data your company stores (names, e-mail addresses, IP addresses), that you do not need to store, you have to stop storing. Is that…is that right?

What it essentially means is this may be the last newsletter you ever receive. From now on, I’m afraid it’s up to you.

Here’s the plan. You gather outside our office, on the last Thursday of the month, and we’ll shout our news through the letterbox. Or, if we can afford the spray paint, we’ll graffiti it on to the wall of the building.

That’s GDPR. That’s everything you need to know about GDPR.

They’re Just Ordinary People

No build up to this one, just going to hit you with it cold – Cuba Gooding Jr came in.

Nicki was pleased to see him

Nicki was pleased to see him

Yes, THE Cuba Gooding Jr. Here are all the questions you’re going to ask, answered, in order of importance –

  • How does he smell? He smells like freshly cut grass. He smells like the first day of spring. He smells like roses do after a hot, heavy rain. He smells like coffee does, when it’s made fresh on a Sunday morning, and brought to you in bed by the person you’ve always loved but only just told. He smells like honey dripping down the back of a model on a yacht in St. Tropez. He smells like sunshine through an open window. He smells like very, very expensive soap, I imagine.
  • How tall is he? Google says he’s around 5’9, but in my memory he was a giant.
  • Why was he there? Well, he’s currently performing the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago, right here in London. He has to sing and everything. You could call him…Cuba Budding Crooner…couldn’t you?
  • Did he say his catchphrase? He did say his catchphrase, yes. Without even being asked, which seems a bit desperate, but we didn’t complain.
  • Was he friendly? Was he friendly? WAS HE FRIENDLY? Was well-known legend Cuba Gooding Jr., friendly? Of course he was, you absolute idiot. He was lovely.
  • Did you get a photo with him? Much to his manager’s chagrin, yes, we did… 

And then if that wasn’t enough – Tom Clarke-Hill came in later the same day!

If you don’t know Tom Clarke-Hill so well by name – you’ll know his voice. Let’s just say…he’s grrrrrrrrrrreeeat!

Nicki was also pleased to see TCH

Nicki was also pleased to see TCH

From the Frosties adverts?

He was the original voice of Tony the Tiger is what I’m saying. He was also fantastic and friendly and my word what a voice.

How do you follow that? How? HOW?

With one of the hottest bands of recent years, that’s how.

Years and Years, a young, trendy, award-winning British synth-pop band, came in to our studios courtesy of Good Broadcast.

Butter wouldn't melt. 

Butter wouldn't melt. 

You might think that I wouldn’t know who young, trendy, award-winning British synth-pop band Years and Years are, but you’d be wrong – because they were featured on the soundtrack to Bridget Jones’ Baby, so…

They were lovely and due to their legions of adoring young online fans, they gave us our most successful tweet ever.

Oh, speaking of tweets…

Social Media

We’re on Twitter.


We also post articles, blogs, pictures of famous people and pictures of ourselves in situ.

Also, sometimes, exclusive offers.

Oh yeah, that’s right. We know how this social media game works and we’ve finally decided we should start playing it.

But, essentially, if you want a little more of us in your lives, here we are –

Follow us

The Maple Street Basement – Where Everyone Can Hear You Scream

Like all the best things (the Tube, sewers, dead people), our studios are underground. But they are also state of the art, comfortable, professionally run and available for you to hire.

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. So, if you want to record a voiceover, do some broadcast PR, get a radio advert made or survive an apocalypse – we have the facilities in which you can do all those things!

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.


No obligation - just to show you what we can do.
Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at:

And that. Is. That.

Easter weekend coming up. Doing anything nice?

I’m planning to die on Friday, spend the weekend in a cave, then turn up again on Monday.

I sometimes wonder if anyone ever reads this bit. I sincerely hope not.

Podcasts Are (FINALLY) Worth It!

Long form audio programmes: Creatively fulfilling. Great fun to produce. Wonderful to listen to. And, until recently, as a business model, utterly pointless.

Loss-making projects used to be my speciality. Most of my very proudest, most creatively rewarding work has made absolutely no financial sense. I’ve produced brilliant Sony-award winning shows that have worked out at around £2 per hour. I’ve spent months on New York Festival Gold Medal winning programmes where the cost of entering the awards used up all the programme’s profit.

Why? Because up until around 5 years ago ... no, three years ago, there was only one buyer for what we did. The BBC.

As small independent radio producers, we’d fool ourselves that it made sense, but a BBC documentary was almost always a vanity project. We did it for the kudos, the awards, the joy, and the promise that it might mean being considered for another loss-making project in the next commissioning round.  

Then along came podcasts.

And, do you know what? There’s now an actual business model to be had.

That’s not to say it’s obvious, or easy. But it’s there. And it’s a revelation. There are:

-       Forward-thinking brands willing to explore adventurous concepts in an experimental medium;

-       Media owners excited about new creative solutions;

-       Cultural organisations looking to engage their members, or prospective members, with high quality editorial content;

-       Corporations and government bodies discovering that engaging audio content is a lot more digestible than a 50 page report;

-       Talent looking for ways to pilot ideas or pursue passion projects;

-       Advertisers understanding the unique appeal of a digitally-engaged audio listenership;

-       Platforms like audioboom and acast willing to sell big ideas into large agencies;

-       Audible, bringing serious money to invest in ambitious concepts.

All these opportunities can be serviced with broadcast quality research and production, emboldened by an editorial freedom that was previously impossible. The value for the client is fantastic, partly because it costs a fraction of video, but mainly because we know how to create superb content efficiently.

We can still create work to be proud of, win awards, and push the boundaries. But do you know what? As a business, we can make a bit of money too. So podcasts with brands can be sustainable, ambitious projects can be viable, and the medium can thrive.

And why do we win this business? Because we spent years honing our craft and building our reputation by making financially pointless programmes for the Beeb.

Oh. Maybe they were worth it after all.

Sod it. Of course they were.

Hello, We're Doing a PR Stunt...

Today is an important day.

You might have seen it mentioned on television, or on the radio, or elsewhere in the news, and there’s been quite a hubbub around it on Social Media. Certainly, for us here at Maple Street, it’s a day we feel we want to promote.

It’s National Proofreading Day.

First foray into using a stock image website, and this is what you get when you search 'Grammar'. Pretty solid effort. 

First foray into using a stock image website, and this is what you get when you search 'Grammar'. Pretty solid effort. 

National Proofreading Day, celebrated annually on the 8th March, promotes the importance of mistake free writing. It’s also, more importantly, a fantastic opportunity for #brands to do some #marketing!

So, today, we’re doing one of those PR stunts that ostensibly raises awareness for a cause but is actually, fairly transparently, raising awareness for us!

Here at Maple Street, we’re promoting National Proofreading Day by misspelling every bit of copy we write between 9 and 5.30 on the 8th March.

Every advert will be misspelt, every tweet grammatically inaccurate, every podcast script will be a car crash of misplaced apostrophes and incorrect capitalisation!


Good question. 

Good question. 

Awareness…and that.

Will it make our lives more difficult? Yes!

Will it provide a substandard service to the people who rely on us? Yes!

Does it promote exactly the kind of behaviour we’re supposed to be opposing? Yes!

But don’t worry, it’s a satirical joke.

OK, so this is what you get when you search 'Satire'. Am I missing something here? Do it just that maybe I don't understand what satire is? Everyone else sees a frog driving a sports car, yes?

OK, so this is what you get when you search 'Satire'. Am I missing something here? Do it just that maybe I don't understand what satire is? Everyone else sees a frog driving a sports car, yes?

Today is also, perhaps less importantly, International Women’s Day – a day to promote the cultural, social, political and economic achievements of women, as well as considering how far we still have to go towards true gender equality.

It’s a tricky one for brands to get involved in, no matter how noble their intentions.

BrewDog tried to highlight the laziness of gender-based stereotyping…by doing some lazy, gender-based stereotyping. They introduced a ‘Pink IPA’, which is exactly the same as their ‘Punk IPA’ except with a pink label. Yeah…me neither.

In fairness, BrewDog did pledge to donate 20% of all sales of both Pink IPA and Punk IPA to charities supporting women’s equality, but it’s fair to say that overall, the stunt went down fairly badly.

Quick tip for the BrewDogs – if you have to tell people that your satirical joke is a satirical joke, then your satirical joke isn’t very good.

Literally the third image that comes up when you search 'Marketing'. This website is bonkers. 

Literally the third image that comes up when you search 'Marketing'. This website is bonkers. 

Other recent attempts to turn the quest for gender equality into sweet sweet coin include Johnnie Walker Whisky rebranding as Jane Walker…for a limited time only, of course.

In the past Bic have produced biros for women and Doritos recently considered launching Doritos for Girls. The world of advertising is littered with examples of these, presumably, well-meaning but totally tone-deaf token attempts to align a brand with a social cause.

So, here you go team, here’s a secret - the best PR stunt for International Women’s Day is to pay all of your staff for the jobs they do, not the chromosomes in their genes, or the genitals in their jeans.

And if you still want to make a pink beer, or donate 20% of your earnings to women’s charities, or develop a flavour of crisp that even ladies can enjoy – then hey, knock yourselves out.

But get that first bit done first.

Happy International Women’s Day from Maple Street. 


And if you’d like some more International Women’s Day based fun, follow Richard Herring (@Herring1967) on Twitter. Every year he spends this day finding the people who ask, ‘When is International Men’s Day?’ and telling them. This year he’s also raising money for the women's charity Refuge, so if you’ve got, I dunno, 20% of your recent earnings lying around, feel free to throw a bit of cash that way.  

Or keep your eyes peeled for the many apology articles and retractions written by red-faced PR types later today including, potentially, an apology for this very article. Wouldn’t that be meta?

Happy New-ish Year!

It’s 2018 and everything is different now!

You’re a different person! You’re in shape! You’re sober! You no longer wake, sweaty and frightened of everything, at 2am and then cry yourself back to sleep! Your body hair is fragrant and perfectly manicured! You live in a bigger house and get on better with your mother! And the world is absolutely fine in every way!


No, just kidding, you’re still an awful person and the world is still a terrible hurtling rock we’re all oddly intent on setting alight. And would we have it any other way?

Anyway, hope your January has been manageable, this was ours…

Radio is Most Trusted Medium

Radio has been voted the most trusted medium, according to a study by the European Commission.

Great news!

Look at this guy, trusting radio whilst drinking his tea and...staring...

Look at this guy, trusting radio whilst drinking his tea and...staring...

In a recent report, it was revealed that 59% of people across Europe trust their radio, compared to 51% for TV (pathetic), 47% for press (embarrassing), 34% for Internet (oh dear) and 20% for social networks (woeful).

In a time of ‘fake news’, it’s great to know that we still consider our radios a reliable source of information.

Of course, had newsletters been included in the survey, the trust would’ve been 100%, if not higher.


Let’s get straight into this – Procat is the future of this nation.

Procat, or to be more precise, Prospects College of Advanced Technology, is a college (obviously, yes) which has been established to ‘meet the needs of businesses which operate in sectors which are critical to the UK economy’.

So, when they say, ‘advanced technology’, they don’t mean a toaster that sings to you or a watch that stores your emotions - they mean the stuff that is going to be essential to this country’s survival in the future.

These brave young men and women hold our entire futures in their hands, and therefore this might be the most important advert ever made. Think on that for a while. It also sounds nice and we made it.

Welcome to Our New Radio Overlord

Now we say a big ‘hello’ to Matt Hancock! Hello Matt!

FUN FACT: Matt Hancock has his own social media app, literally just called Matt Hancock. Google it. Immediately. 

FUN FACT: Matt Hancock has his own social media app, literally just called Matt Hancock. Google it. Immediately. 

Matt has been appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was previously Minister for Digital, during which time he ‘achieved positive developments on licensing for small scale DAB’, which sounds…vague…but good. He was also instrumental in reforming the garbled and ineffective Ts and Cs in radio advertising.

And Matt, oh powerful master, if you’re reading this, please don’t fire me. I have children. Well, not children technically, but mice I have named at tube stations, and if I don’t have a job I won’t get to see them. 

Don’t You Know Who I Am?       

In this business, glamour is never far away. But, in January, it sometimes feels it. So, we’re here to let you vicariously rub shoulders with the great and the good.

We’ve had a veritable ‘Who’s That?’ of famous faces this month, and they have been absolutely lovely one and all.

The exceptionally friendly Shaun Williamson came in courtesy of our friends at Good Broadcast, to talk about holidays, Big Brother, and laugh politely when everyone hilariously referred to him as ‘Barry’.

"Please stop calling me Barry"

"Please stop calling me Barry"

Dick & Dom briefly left their bungalow to come in and spend an afternoon in our studios, again courtesy of Good Broadcast. For my money, Dick & Dom are very much the thinking man’s Ant & Dec, who are themselves, of course, a mainstream Adam & Joe, who are, quite frankly, a superior Cannon & Ball, well known for being a slightly blurry Mitchell & Webb. Dick & Dom are also in their 40s now, just in case you want to feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach by time.

Dick & Dom - the easiest way to tell them apart is remembering that Dick is always pointing to a stoat, Dom always has a stoat on his head. 

Dick & Dom - the easiest way to tell them apart is remembering that Dick is always pointing to a stoat, Dom always has a stoat on his head. 

And Kris Marshall was here with A Million Ads! Kris is best known as Nick from My Family, DI Humphrey Goodman in Death in Paradise, and the guy in those BT ads that fell in love via a landline.

Please, Kris, focus! People keep getting murdered on your watch. 

Please, Kris, focus! People keep getting murdered on your watch. 


You can get everything via an app now. Food, a taxi, some money – literally anything. Now, add to that list, a person!

SYFT is an app that finally allows employers and employees to indulge in a long-lasting, mutually beneficial and financially advantageous union. What next?

We made an ad or two for SYFT this month, and you (yes you!) can hear it here!

If You Want To Hire Our Studios – You Gotta Get With Our Friends       

Our studio is not just for VIPs like Dick & Dom, Nick from Love Actually and Barry – Shaun Williamson. It’s also for people who didn’t used to be on the telly. People like you.

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. If you ever need a studio – whether you’re making an advert, recording an audio version of your own obituary, putting together a showreel, or just need a completely silent place to get a bit of peace and quiet for an hour IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK LINDA? FOR JUST AN HOUR TO MYSELF!…then get in touch!

Get your briefs out!

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at:

Get Your Briefs Out.jpg

Well, there we go.

We made it. January is done.

You can stop now. Get off the treadmill, put down that green drink, stop being honest with friends and family members and just dive headfirst into being your usual, terrible self.

Pick up all your bad habits, rub your face in them, press them into your chest, breathe them in. Welcome back. It’s February now. Time to relax.

Have a great month. 

MSC Christmas Survival Guide

While very exciting, Christmas can also be a stressful time of year. You’ll have to spend a lot of time with your family. You’ll have to spend a lot of time hoovering up pine needles. There will be egg nog.

It’s also a time when arguments are rife. Nothing says Christmas quite like shouting at someone you’re vaguely related to so loud, and for so long, that you pass out. So, as a Christmas gift to you all, Maple Street are going to attempt to settle some of the most common Christmas disagreements, once and for all.

This, is the definite guide to a merry Christmas.

Someone gets you a gift you don’t like. Should you tell them?

Ah, a question as old as Christmas itself. Ever since Mary and Joseph exchanged awkward glances after one of the Wise Men turned up at the stable with some carefully wrapped Myrrh, none of us have ever been sure whether in fact, at Christmas, honesty is the best policy.

Nan has knitted you a jumper. With her gnarled hands. It has taken her the best part of six months. It is enormous. It is a dark, dark green, so dark it’s almost black, and it feels like it’s been made from wire. You’ve unwrapped it, held it up against the unforgiving Christmas morning light and then tried it on. It’s taken the top layer of skin off your arms. Nan is looking at you, her eyes watery, smiling nervously as she asks, ‘Do you like it?’

Christmas Jumpers.jpg

Obviously, obviously, you tell her you love it, you absolute monster. You tell her you love it, you wear it all through Christmas dinner, wait for Nan to leave and then throw it into the bin so hard it explodes.

Christmas is not about you getting things you want; it’s about lying to the people you love. Take it from a boy who received a Blue album for three consecutive Christmases, despite never expressing any interest in the boyband Blue.


What is the best Christmas film to watch on Christmas Day, in order to keep the whole gang happy?

Muppets Christmas Carol. Next question.


But what about Die Hard? Is Die Hard a Christmas film?

There’s always one.

‘You know, we could watch Die Hard? It is, actually, a Christmas film. Shall we watch Die Hard?

Die Hard.jpg

Let’s end this once and for all. No. Die Hard is not a Christmas film. Die Hard is a film in which Bruce Willis murders, off the top of my head, at least 10 people. Die Hard is a film in which people get shot to death by a bald man in a vest. Die Hard is a film in which we see Alan Rickman fall to his death from the top of a skyscraper. Die Hard is a film with terrorists in it. No film can be both a Christmas film, and a film that features terrorists.

 Die Hard is a film set at Christmas. That doesn’t give you, a 24 year old man (because it’s always them), the right to make your family watch it on Christmas Day. Eyes Wide Shut is also set at Christmas, but you’re not going to watch that with your cousins are you?


Are sprouts good?

Now, this is a tough one. Sprouts are, famously, quite a hard sell. They’re small cabbages, and there’s no getting around that. Market them however you like, every single person will see them and think ‘those are small, boiled cabbages’.

But, despite this, sprouts are, in fact, good. Nay, sprouts are great. Sprouts are one of the finest, and most versatile of vegetables. And by versatile, I mean you can chop them up or eat them whole and, if you’re a fancy Dad who has received a Nigella recipe book and an apron as Christmas gifts, you can fry them with chopped bacon.


Sprouts are an excellent, integral part of the Christmas dinner, and people who argue otherwise are either a) trying, and failing, to be funny, or b) people who struggle with wind. Don’t be either one of those people. Embrace sprouts


What do you do with all your wrapping paper?

Gone are the days of the big black bin liner on the living room floor. We’ve got a planet to save.

Global Warming.jpg

Recycle your wrapping paper, otherwise global warming will continue apace, the ice caps will melt  and, eventually, Santa will drown.


What is the best Christmas song?

Very, very tough. Arguably the toughest of them all.

Let’s keep this brief. Is it Wham! with Last Christmas? No. That’s a great song, but it’s not the best.

Is it The Pogues ft. Kirsty Maccoll, Fairytale of New York? Ah, the hipster’s choice. Fantastic song, but no, it is not, because Ed Sheeran recently covered it, and it has therefore been, sadly, stripped of all that once made it good.

Is it Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You? Again, close, but no. There are too many notes in that song for anyone to belt it out properly.

Is it John Lennon ft. Yoko Ono, Merry Christmas (War is Over)? Another lovely song, but not the best. It’s Christmas, John, you don’t have to bring war into everything. Also, very generous credit for Yoko Ono there, in my opinion.

Is it Chris de Burgh with a Spaceman Came Travelling? Yes, it is. Drama, intrigue, kind of semi-hidden religion, and WHAT A CHORUS. There’s a Christmas song. That is the best Christmas song. Don’t argue.

Patrick, from Planning, of swan story fame. 

Is ‘The Nativity’ the ‘greatest story ever told’?

It’s a great story. But at the Christmas party last week, Patrick from planning told us a story that ends with a swan eating some pants and sinking in a canal, so no. The Nativity is a close second, but Patrick’s story is, in fact, the greatest ever told.

There, hopefully that will make the Yuletide minefield a little easier to navigate. Have a merry Christmas, one and all, and we’ll see you in the new year.


Merry Christmas!

November, November, it's Almost December

Hello, good morrow and welcome to the end of the year.

November has happened. What a month! Starts with a big fire then it’s just downhill to Christmas.

We’ve reached that upsetting no man’s land in which no-one knows whether it’s still too early for Christmas talk/songs/decorations. It divides the nation – Mums have already put the sprouts in to soak, Dads are furious if anyone so much as mentions the existence of tinsel.

Meanwhile cool guys, in their shades and backward caps, are rolling their eyes at the rest of us getting excited, because they’re just above the whole thing, y’know?

The Trump family have nailed their colours to the mast and got the decs up already. Presumably Melania has gone for something traditional, bright, festive and oh good lord…

Is there a metaphor in this? Almost certainly. Almost certainly. 

Is there a metaphor in this? Almost certainly. Almost certainly. 

That’s an actual picture of the White House Christmas decorations. Merry Christmas! May your days be bleak and your nights filled with terror.  


And now, a short play…

Kathy:   Bill, I think we need to talk about something.

Bill:        Oh?

Kathy:   I can’t ignore it any longer. We need to discuss this.

Bill:        Discuss what?

Kathy:   You don’t think I’ve noticed? The tonnes and tonnes of buns you’ve been buying, the mountains of dung in the living room, the trumpeting in the night? The GIANT bath?

              We need to talk about the elephant in the room. You’ve adopted him, haven’t you?

Bill:        Yes.


Thank you.

This month we made an ad for WWF (not the Wrestlers) about the plight of elephants and how you can help by adopting one. WWF are a fantastic company to work with, and we love getting to share their message as loudly and as widely as possible. Listen here and remember, if you do something nice for an elephant, they never forget it.

Look at his smart little haircut. 

Look at his smart little haircut. 

The RADdest of Awards

It goes in this order, normally. Nobel Prize, Oscars, Baftas, RADS. They’re the top four awards you can win if you’re an important thrusting team with big dreams – and we’ve been nominated for one of them.

Our work with EE has seen us nominated in the RAD awards, celebrating creativity and innovation in the recruitment advertising industry.

Sure, we’ll brush off our tuxedos and dresses, we’ll polish our necks and varnish our ankles, we’ll take the (hopefully) free drinks and we’ll eat the canapes but we will not enjoy it, because we’re not in it for awards. We’re in it because we love recruitment.

Hear one ad from the award nominated campaign, here!

Crystal Ski

Who doesn’t love skiing? Pop two planks of wood on my feet and push me off a mountain? Yes please!

But Crystal Ski are a little more sophisticated than that. We made them a few lovely ads this month, and we’ve also put them…here! Have a little listen and then book a holiday with them, you deserve it.


There are the bits of adulthood we all look forward to. Drinking, staying up late, eventual death. But there is one minor downside. You have to do your own accounts. Not like when you’re a child, and your parents did your accounts for you. Now, you have to make the numbers add up, you have figure out complex tax codes, you have to keep all your receipts on a spike for some reason.

Well, worry no more! Xero makes your accounts easy and fun(ish).

We made a couple of ads for accounting software company Xero, and they sound lovely. They were voiced by the lovely Elis James: Welshman, comedian and Carmarthenshire’s 5th tallest commercial radio DJ.

FACT: Elis James also owns a Dutch Barge he calls 'Smooth Linda'

FACT: Elis James also owns a Dutch Barge he calls 'Smooth Linda'

That’s what he looks like, this is what they sound like.

And speaking of celebrities…


Oh it’s been an exciting month for celebrities. I mean, normally I try to be cool and aloof about the whole thing but then on Tuesday this happened…

Please, Guy, hold me like a newborn.

Please, Guy, hold me like a newborn.

Guy Garvey came to broadcast from our studios for two hours and I am now officially dead. I died the second he came through the door and have remained dead ever since. There was a funeral, I was cremated, my earthly body is now ash and my ghost is writing this. I am dead.

Guy was here with Polydor Records to promote the new Elbow Best Of, and was as lovely as you’d imagine. He is the only guest we’ve ever had who made his own tea because he didn’t want to make a fuss. He is beautiful, he is an angel, and he hath slain me.

Oh yeah and Anton du Beke was here too, that was fine.

100% dapper, 100% of the time

100% dapper, 100% of the time

I’m JOKING, of course, he was a DELIGHT. He lit up the room and danced with our office manager Debra. Footwork was a little lazy and I would’ve liked to see a lift, but not bad. 6 out of 10.

If You Want To Hire Our Studios – You Gotta Get With Our Friends       

Our studio is not just for VIPs like the Queen, Hulk Hogan and former Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez. It’s also for less important people, like you!

We have two lovely studios here, and now an extra voice booth, perfect for self-operated voice sessions and podcasts. If you ever need a studio – whether you’re making an advert, recording an audio version of your own obituary, putting together a showreel, or just need a completely silent place to get a bit of peace and quiet for an hour IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK KAREN? FOR JUST AN HOUR TO MYSELF!…then get in touch!

Get Your Briefs Out

Send us through your most troublesome brief and we’ll help you make it into an audio masterpiece.

No obligation - just to show you what we can do.

Is it too visual for radio? Is it a rubbish product? Is it tricky?
Is it something you wish would just go away?

Whatever the reason, hand it over and let us make it shine.  Send your tricky briefs through to us at

And that is all for November.

I hope all your Christmas shopping is going well, and you’re not leaving it to the last minute like last year, you silly thing.

Don’t worry, I’m not expecting you to get me anything.

Seriously, you really don’t have to send me anything, I do this for the joy of it.

I’m usually a medium, started taking a large more recently.

Don’t get me anything.  

We’ll probably be in touch closer to Christmas with a funny, probably blasphemous, piece of Christmas content – but if not, have a wonderful Yule and an excellent new year.

Peace and Christmas love.

I Come from the Future...

Back in 2000, Michael Hill, Tony Moorey, Ali Rusted and I worked together to launch the new DAB station ‘BBC 5Live SportsPlus’ - now BBC 5Live Sports Extra. The total listening audience was, at a rough guess, around 4*.

We were blazing a trail, but with a bloody long run-up. We’d punt out for texts, not because we had a hot topic to discuss, but in the same way that you might nervously shout into a newly discovered cave - to find out whether there was anybody there.

Around that time, I would amuse myself in John Lewis or Curry's and asking the Sales Assistant whether they had any ‘digital radios’.


Inevitably, the confused person would ask me to repeat the question, think for a moment (Curry’s staff take a little longer over that) and then point me in the direction of a standard AM/FM radio, but with a digital display. Oh how I laughed. Internally.

I would then give a self-satisfied grin, like a massively patronising Marty McFly, in the knowledge that I was already living in a future that they were still too naive (or insufficiently well trained) to see. I'd then say ‘Don’t worry about it’ and walk away. 

So today in John Lewis, I took this photo. Still a bit tragic, admittedly, but done in the spirit of a happy enthusiast rather than a smug knob.

The audio & speaker department has more shoppers and floor space than TVs and tablets put together. There’s an enormous range of affordable (albeit garishly coloured) DAB radios. Alexa and Sonos are the sexiest tech brands in the store. As for headphones, people are spending incredible (and often, lets be honest, acoustically unjustified) cash.

We’ve won the future. Listening to stuff is, and always will be, wonderful. It’s fun to spend good money on, and a great gift. On Christmas morning, there’ll be more people with more ways of listening than ever before. 

As audio producers, our job is to continually seize the moment and make sure the content is as exciting, innovative and extraordinary as the technology. And, happily, we are. We’re creating work, dreaming up approaches and developing ideas that give me the same feeling I had back in 2000. Brilliant, hugely ambitious podcast concepts, dynamic creative and voice interaction techniques that will again change how everyone thinks about, and uses, audio - listeners, platforms and advertisers.

Once again, I know what’s coming. I love it, and I can’t wait for everyone else to love it too. I just promise not to be quite such a knob about it this time.

*Now 1.2 Million.

Is that John Lewis kid...OK?

Hello there!

So, let’s cut to the chase – you’ve seen the new John Lewis ad, right?

If you haven’t, watch it here, right now:

As always, it’s raised questions.

Questions like... is it as good as last year’s?

And, more crucially, what is that thing?

Why does it have one solo testicle for a nose?

Where is the other testicle?

All important questions.

But we thought that the parents in that ad might also need to ask themselves a question or two. Namely – are we terrible parents?

To which the answer would be yes.

Anyway, long story short – we made this:

Merry Christmas!