When Allan Smith decided to start recording his own podcast as a hobby, it didn’t matter to him that nobody might listen.
However, his daily updates reading a selection of stories from the pages of the Press and Journal and Evening Express in Doric have proven a surprise hit.
The Kintore 59-year-old. who manages the Co-op in Blackburn, now has regular listeners scattered from Canada to Australia.
Allan explained that it was listening to retired footballer Peter Crouch’s podcast that got him thinking about starting The Doric Express.
He was also keen to do his bit to help keep the north-east’s native tongue alive.
Allan said: “I had a chat with my son and daughter about it, and said my idea for one would be to read out some of the most interesting stories from the Press and Journal and Evening Express.
“They thought it was a great idea.
“It turned out to be quite easy to do, and I really enjoy doing it.”
Podcast’s surprising popularity
Now two weeks into the project, the amateur anchorman is finding his groove.
He typically selects five or six stories from each day’s papers, and summarises them in minute-long snippets.
Allan added: “I started doing it following a chat with my son and daughter about Doric, and how it’s a shame it’s dying out with fewer young people speaking it.
“After starting the podcast, I asked my children to send it on to anyone they know abroad, who might like to keep up with what is happening around here.
“My daughter knows someone in Australia, and now they have become a regular listener.
“There’s an ex-colleague of mine who listens from Spain, and a friend’s brother in Guernsey too.”
The podcast is reaching all corners of the planet!
The Co-op manager added: “I just do it the way I speak; it’s the local news in a local accent.
“I keep them short, because I know people are busy and I don’t want them wandering off.
“All the tools to do it are online, and I do it all on my phone. Honestly, it’s so much easier than I thought it would be.
“I just pop into a quiet room in the house for 30-45 minutes each day and do it.”
Allan says he would keep going “even if nobody is listening”, but he still wants to expand his audience.
He said: “I’m happy doing it regardless, but now I have made up little flyers to put around the shop to get more local people to listen in.
“I think back to some of the time my elderly relatives spent alone, and would like the podcast to be set up and played to people in care homes too.
“They could listen to it every day, and it would be especially helpful for folk who might be losing their sight and can’t read a paper the same.”
Here, we have collated some examples of the commentary Allan’s listeners have been enjoying.
Allan’s words of wisdom
“He’s a real strapping loon.”
- On north man Tom Stoltman winning a World’s Strongest Man contest.
“If they were in Asda, the bobbies wouldnae hae far to ging for a fine piece for their tea.”
- On calls for Asda to become a new police base in Portlethen amid plans to close the local station
“She’s an absolute topper o’ a doggie, well done Fenton!”
- On Shetland sheepdog Fenton being up for a top award.
“We are hoping for a puckle goals, and if we are able tae dee that we will see that we can indeed boogie.”
- Ahead of Scotland’s fateful defeat at the hands of Croatia.
“I think it’s been rumbling on lang enough and they just need to ca’ it quits, just mak’ up and say ‘pals’.”
- On the continuing legal wrangle between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy.
“I’m nae wintin’ ony plants fae Duthie Gairdens tae be left in my gairden thank you.”
- On the “granite-gate” saga where a missing staircase from Union Terrace Gardens was left on the property of an Aberdeen businessman