Interview Spotlight: Dougal Perman, Director and Co-founder of Inner Ear

Get ready to peek behind the scenes of the podcast sensation, If Glasgow’s Walls Could Talk! Launched in 2021, this podcast has captivated nearly 18,000 listeners across its first two series, and we’re beyond thrilled to announce that Series 3 is just around the corner!

In our exclusive interview with Dougal Perman, Director and co-founder of Inner Ear, producers of If Glasgow’s Walls Could Talk, we uncover the passion and dedication that fuels each episode. Did you know that while hundreds of thousands of podcasts are out there, many struggle to find an audience? Astonishingly, 90% of podcasts don’t get past three episodes, and a jaw-dropping 99% don’t make it to 21 episodes. But If Glasgow’s Walls Could Talk is breaking the mould, having already delivered 21 thrilling episodes we’re now gearing up for another series of 10!

Mark your calendars: Series 3 launches on June 27th, with new episodes dropping every Thursday.

Tune in on our website or wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t miss out on the great stories that bring Glasgow’s vibrant history to life!

Can you tell us a bit about Inner Ear and your involvement with the podcast?

We’ve been creating podcast radio programmes since we launched our underground music internet radio station, Radio Magnetic in 2001. Over the past 23 years we have explored many subjects and told fascinating stories through podcasts. People, places and provenance are of great interest and importance to us so when GCHT approached us we couldn’t resist getting involved.

Inner Ear is the production company that makes the podcast work. We work closely with GCHT and help with the logistical planning, research and briefing of the interviewees and presenters. We take care of the recording, which is a mixture of remote and live in person recordings, with the latter done on location around Glasgow. We then edit the recordings and create the episodes for the podcast series.

My favourite projects are those where we work collaboratively with our client to deliver the project. That is very true of GCHT. All of the team there are passionate about the subject matter, open to trying new ideas and great fun to work with.

How do you think the podcast evolved from its first series to the third? 

When Silvia at GCHT approached me in 2020, she had a clear vision about how to bring the concept to life. Anny and I helped develop the idea and worked out the best way to capture the interviews online, including sourcing affordable equipment and assessing the best platform to use for remote recording. We worked closely with Silvia, Taylor and Niall and created ten episodes that we’re all very proud of. The first series was bursting with ideas and landed very well with the audience. 

At the end of series two we decide to bring in another presenter to share hosting duties with Niall and add another dimension to the conversation. As a journalist and editor with extensive experience, everyone thought Fay, who took care of background research and scripting in series 2, was a natural choice. She is also my Mum, so of course I thought she’d be great for the role, but I tried not to influence the decision. She was a bit shy at first, but we all encouraged her and I hope you’ll agree that she and Niall have a great dynamic together.

Niall, Fay and Dougal from Inner Ear, during the live recording at Central Station.

What has been the most challenging part of producing this series?  

The remote recordings are probably the most tricky. It’s great when everything works well and the platform we use is very good. But when everyone involved is remote there are many variables to contend with including equipment, computers, and internet connections. 

Those challenges are nothing new to us though and we roll with them as best we can. When it comes to live streaming and remote recording, problems arise all the time. As long as you keep calm, keep everyone informed and are methodical about your problem-solving, there’s always a way through.

If you could pick a favourite episode which one would it be and why?

With 30 to choose from over the three seasons so far it’s difficult to pick one. But if I have to, I loved the last episode of series two when Norry Wilson interviewed Niall about his favourite places and the conversations he’d had. It was lively, personal, thought provoking and made me think about Glasgow’s history in a new way, much like the podcast as a whole, I think. Listen here!

Niall Murphy and Norrie Wilson talking
Lost Glasgow's Norry Wilson interviewing Niall for the final episode of Series 2

Why do you think If Glasgow’s Walls Could Talk is so popular? 

Taking another look at buildings and public spaces and thinking about them in a different way is fascinating. The personal perspectives shared with us in the conversations we hear in this podcast prompt us to do that. I think that really resonates with people. 

Finally, can you give us a sneak peek into what listeners can expect in the upcoming series? 

I loved listening to (and producing) the live recording of After The Garden Festival. Having been to the Festival when I was 11 years old, making the journey from my home town of Edinburgh, I still have fond memories of a big day out. Reflecting on the impact of the Garden Festival on Glasgow and how transformative it was for the city was really moving.

A group of people at a live podcast recording. There is a Garden Festival flag on display.
Live recording with After the Garden Festival in the South Rotunda

Catch up on the previous two series of the podcast here before the third one launches next week!