Chris Holliday and Emma Goswell first met when they worked at Manchester based radio station, Gaydio and after 15 years of working together, have recently launched a new podcast, Is My Rabbit a Lesbian?
The pair spent six years hosting Chris and Emma at Breakfast on Gaydio where they became good mates. They went through a lot together, on-air and off-air, which brought them closer as friends.
They also spent some time co-hosting a show on BBC Radio Manchester.
Their time together as radio hosts ended in January 2018 after Chris got married and decided to move with his American husband to New York.
Emma recalls: “I remember crying because I was so upset that Chris was leaving, and I’ve never felt that emotionally connected to a man before!”
“It wasn’t that I was losing the breakfast show, because I knew I’d never do it without him, it was like ‘I’m losing my friend and I’ll never see him again’ which is how it turned out because of the pandemic, and I haven’t seen him.”
Having a “chemistry” both on and off air is unusual, Chris says: “Since we stopped doing breakfast, we’ve remained extremely close friends and have been support networks for each other during this time, so we thought it’s time for us to do something together again and that’s how Is My Rabbit was born.”
It’s now been over three and a half years of not doing a show together and Emma thought when Chris left that they would do a catch up or podcast together at some point, but she says that it’s taken until now for the time to be right.
“We’re really doing it to cheer ourselves up because we’ve both had a shitty last two years with awful things going on, as has everyone else,” says Emma. “We both thought we need to cheer ourselves up – Chris is very good at cheering me up and hopefully I do the same for him.
“We thought why don’t we put something out in the world that is just us messing around cheering us up and hopefully cheering the rest of the world up at the same time.”
The idea was to put something together in a similar way as they did in the early days of their Gaydio breakfast show, where they pushed the boundaries and probably got away with more than they should have.
Because there are less restrictions around podcasting compared to broadcasting, Chris admits that it’s weird to now be able to talk about some stories that will come out, that they never would have been able to do on the radio.
“There are stories about artists we interviewed and parties we went to,” Chris reveals. “I remember at the Attitude Awards once where….” Emma interrupts: “We don’t have to tell that story, do we? Oh my god that was shameful and it’s just to be rude about me!”
Chris continues: “It’s really nice to be able to tell those stories and we’ve got a lot to tell. It’s good to have a place where we can come together, hopefully have a laugh, entertain people and revisit our on-air relationship.”
Recording the podcast remotely was a bit strange at first for Chris and Emma, who were used to sitting opposite each other in a radio studio. Having spent a lot of time on Zoom talking during the lockdowns, they’re used to it now and learning to capture their chemistry despite being thousands of miles apart.
They also have lots of help from their producer, Ellen who has been with them since their Gaydio days. Apart from putting things together and being an on-air “spark” for Chris and Emma, Ellen helps to bridge the gap of working remotely by being the third person who punctuates for them.
Is My Rabbit a Lesbian? is an interesting name for a podcast – where did it come from? Emma explains: “The main point of the podcast was for us to reconnect, to have a laugh and make others laugh.
“We also wanted the format to include us bringing a story for each episode and those stories would pose a question. We kept coming back to this one story which made us laugh constantly. It was about how this woman called Yvette had genuinely rung the vet on This Morning and was really worried that one of her rabbits might be a lesbian.
“It was one of the stories I was going to talk about, and we just kept coming back to it, so I thought, why don’t we just call the podcast that because it’s so hysterical – it’s just the most bonkers thing that’s ever happened!”
Chris adds: “Lockdown has spawned a lot of podcasts and it’s about finding that uniqueness. Our chemistry is unique, we’re using a classic radio tool, talking about a story and telling stories around it and the title will hopefully stick in people’s minds.”
Content is a mix of serious and funny topics, but mostly funny. “The idea is that we keep it light. One of our skills is that we can do light and we can do things that are a little more serious and we’re not afraid to go there when we need to,” says Chris.
The stories they feature are not the big obvious headlines but the quirky, possibly local newspaper ones with their own twist, to keep them funny and engaging. They also want to hear from listeners, encouraging them to interact in the same way they did with the radio show, where they had many loyal followers.
In such a busy media space it’s hard to be heard above the crowd, but there has been some help in that respect for the podcast. Singer songwriter Lucy Spraggan has written the theme tune and Joe Lycett is a big fan too. They did consider spending with a PR company to get the word out but decided to find their feet first and see how it goes.
Chris says: “We wanted to take the pressure off a bit, it’s been three and a bit years since we’ve worked together and we wanted to make sure the magic is still there, have some fun with it and see what happens.”
The same can be said for monetisation of the podcast, they’re not doing it to make money, “If it happens, great,” says Chris. “Of course we want it to be successful and if that means monetary, great but it’s not the reason we’re doing it. We’re doing it because we love each other, we love working together and this is a really nice way we can hopefully share that love, entertain others and put a smile on their faces, in what is a bleak time.”
The first three episodes of Is My Rabbit a Lesbian? are available now, with episode four out tomorrow (Thursday 16 September) from wherever you get your podcasts.