Stephen Nolan transgender podcast series now among most popular in GB

A new Stephen Nolan series on transgender issues is currently among Britain’s most listened-to news podcasts.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 9:00 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 8:28 pm
Stephen Nolan's 10-part series has drawm both praise and criticism

Unusually, it is an investigation which is UK-wide in scope, yet it has fallen to a regional news team based in Belfast to carry it out.

And instead of being broadcast as a normal documentary on TV or radio, it is available only as a podcast.

Podcasts are a type of online audio broadcast which often run much longer than normal radio shows; they have exploded in popularity in recent years, and are now the main source of many people’s news and current affairs commentary.

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The 10-part series went live on October 13, and Mr Nolan described it as an 18-month investigation into Stonewall – a London-based transgender outfit, which corporations and the government have increasingly turned to for help in re-writing their policies.

Listenership figures from the website Chartable show that the series is currently among the most popular news-related podcasts in Great Britain.

It currently puts it at number three in the Spotify podcast chart (behind only the Financial Times’ News Briefing and The Guardian’s Today in Focus).

Meanwhile it places it at number four on Amazon’s podcast chart list – also behind the Financial Times and The Guardian, plus a general BBC-wide news roundup.

Chartable does not give specific listener numbers, and the BBC has refused to divulge them.

Up until now, the News Letter had been basically alone in reporting on the spread of transgender activists’ ideas in Northern Ireland.

These ideas basically come down to this: that people can switch between being male and female at will, regardless of biology, and that instead of there being two genders, there are in fact a limitless number.

The reaction to the documentary from Stonewall’s supporters has been ferocious, with many accusing Mr Nolan and his team of an “attack” on transgender people.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “There is what appears to be a campaign in some parts of the media. The coverage of trans rights and trans issues is terrible. So I stand with Stonewall.”

However James Kirkup, one of the pre-eminent journalists covering this issue in the UK, has said: “Journalism is not an attack. Scrutiny is not persecution.

“Stephen Nolan’s Stonewall investigation is proper journalism that asks the right questions.”

The BBC press office has told the News Letter: “We think that this podcast series is an important piece of journalism.

“It explores issues of legitimate public interest and seeks to inform and facilitate debate about them.”

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