Independent Podcasts vs. Network Podcasts

Are We In It Together?…

Most people know nothing about podcasts and the industry that has been created from it. Until podcast networks such as the ShoutOut Network and even longer existing Loud Speakers Network, Earwolf and Gimlet came into being the understanding of podcasts came down to there being a host or two that spoke on niche things with a cult following. Not quite a radio show, but a radio show, ‘thing’.

Now there’s been a growth of the craft an ever-growing divergence between the independent podcast and the network show has occurred – and we think there are a few justified reasons as to why?

A top priority for indie shows in the autonomy over content and control on the shows.

There are particular advantages, albeit idealistic, for keeping the podcast independent such as being free of adverts, generating a specific following from the ground up. A feeling of having carved a space for their shows to be heard.

In the UK, almost every podcast available began as an independent podcast – especially those created and hosted by people of colour. The easiest way to get the project off the ground was a very simple philosophy: just get up and do it.

How this differs to joining a podcast network, is that while the majority of the ownership goes to the hosts, a percentage of the show is held by the network as their intellectual property.

While this can be off-putting for people venturing into the realm of podcasts, there are some advantages to this.

One advantage of the ownership debate is that while the hosts own the majority of the show and the network also hold a stake in it more can be done to ensure the show’s longevity under the network.

Cost is also something that deters people from starting a podcast

Shows under a podcast network tend to have the support of a diverse team, security to dare new things and grow in confidence when it comes to their output with the network supporting the growth of their shows too.

Cost is also something that deters people from starting a podcast, and while there are people who are willing to invest in putting money into equipment, space and time to produce their product there are many who underestimate the requirements for podcasts.

Podcast networks tend to have access to more people that can help keep the ship running. Engineers, microphones technicians and social media gurus all play a part in keeping the shows afloat. The support system of a team is necessary for the continual growth of a show.

Every podcast faces the crisis of support from fellow podcasters…

Independent shows would have to rely solely on their drive to create the best consistent product for listeners, and this is a testament to some of the longer lasting shows that have pushed through and the few that have decided to end through lack of support (financial or otherwise).

But something has to be said about support between indie podcasts and network shows. While network shows are somewhat supported both technically and in growth, every podcast faces the crisis of support from fellow podcasters.

Why this is may be due to the view that while a show that has a network doesn’t need support more should be done for the smaller shows and not vice versa.

This thought process is understandable but hindering. It restricts smaller shows from benefitting from gaining listeners of bigger platforms to help them grow their show’s audience.

One thing is for sure, though. Whatever content is available for the masses to listen to, there are great hosts and producers available in the UK that will bring something fresh to listeners regardless of whether they are network shows or indie podcasts.

So, are we in this together? Of course we are.

We just need to see that support goes both ways to see us get to the next step in the period of finding our feet.

Do you have an indie podcast?

Do you want to be featured on the ShoutOut Network’s website as part of our ‘ShoutOuts’?

Get in touch with the team at and let us know what you’re about and we can get you featured!

In the meantime, do check out some of the UK’s indie and network podcasts here and here by people of colour.


Edited by Alex Reads