Fledgling audio-on-demand venture nearly triples headcount

From left: Louise Gwilliam, Steve Jones, Tom Fordyce, Mike Carr

Crowd Network, the Manchester-based audio-on-demand network, has almost triped its headcount in just over 14 months since its formation.

Launched in September 2020 via £500,000 seed funding from Enigma Holdings, the team has grown from four founders to a team of 11, with more hires expected in the near future as the network ramps up production of its award-winning podcasts.

Since its launch, Crowd has produced a slate of 14 podcasts, from long-form documentary podcasts to shows fronted by some of the biggest names in sport and showbiz.

It includes hit pods The Joe Marler Show, The Geraint Thomas Cycling Club, Alan Cumming’s Shelves, Murder In House Two and the chart topping American Vigilante. It launched a new lifestyle show fronted by Sam and Billie Faiers in late November, The Sam and Billie Show.

The success of these shows saw Crowd sign a partnership deal with LA-based Creative Artists Agency in December to explore opportunities around new IP, film and television and live events.

The network has also partnered with investigative journalist Stephen Davies and US-based documentary makers Jeremiah Crowell and Scott Tiffany, to form the basis of two new investigative podcast documentary series in early 2022.

The founding team includes CEO Mike Carr, former editor of BBC Radio Sport, content director Steve Jones, an award-winning BBC radio and podcast producer, creative director Tom Fordyce, the former chief sports writer for the BBC and one third of That Peter Crouch Podcast, and talent director Louise Gwilliam, former rugby union producer for BBC 5Live.

Mike Carr said: “The growth of the team over the last 12 months is testament to the quality of the work that we’ve produced and launched this year.

“We’re attracting some of the best talent in the field, from producer to presenter level, helping us build a strong pipeline of fascinating new shows and growing the listeners for our existing pods.”

He added: “We knew we had something special when we first launched, least of all because we were able to generate significant investor interest and backing even during a pandemic, and we’ve built on these foundations since.

“Our team has benefitted from Manchester’s thriving creative and business community, and are proving that you can build a successful podcast outfit outside of the capital, even without the scale or resources of the major broadcasters.

“That isn’t to say our focus is solely in the city – we truly believe we have the ideas, foundation and ambitions to become Europe’s largest audio-on-demand network. Given the success of the team and our content over the last 12 months, it feels like we’re well on the way to doing just that.”