Interview by Visual Collaborative
July 2019 5 min read
Megan Wastell is a producer, writer and digital media executive. She is Director of Digital Products at London’s Global, the largest commercial radio company in the United Kingdom. There she oversees Global’s digital innovation, leads product strategy and manages development of Global’s award-winning original podcasts. As a main feature in our Vivencias interview series, Megan talks to us about her career and observations on the Creative industry.
(VC) Outside an astute career in mass media, who is Megan Wastell?
(Megan) Perfectionist, planner, Mummy, lover of green things, captain of storytime, face to the sun, wishing for weekends, imaginary entrepreneur, ardent technophile, planning the next move, currently into making lists.
(VC) You have lived in different cities such as New York, and Michigan. You now work in London, a prime example of a big city. How has your creative output faired in the UK compared to the other locations?
(Megan) I find London incredibly inspiring. It’s less frenetic than New York, just noisy enough; and with the countryside so accessible, you can easily find quiet inspiration too. Broadly, the Brits have a cerebral approach to creativity that I really appreciate. And politically, we’re on a precipice, trying to figure out what Britain itself means. There’s plenty to make you think, and the creative sector can and should do even more to push the cultural conversation. So far, I’ve found a lot of support for experimentation here, which is always great for creative output.
I always wanted to work in media, and especially with cutting edge formats and technology where there’s such big opportunities for experimentation and growth. My plan has always been just to follow my passion and focus on projects that excite me and make me feel inspired
(VC) You oversee all the digital products at London’s Global Radio, and won awards for it. Was this evolution in your career organic or is this a part of an overall plan with mass media?
(Megan) I always wanted to work in media, and especially with cutting edge formats and technology where there’s such big opportunities for experimentation and growth. My plan has always been just to follow my passion and focus on projects that excite me and make me feel inspired to come to work every day. That’s led me to work for record labels, TV broadcasters, and now radio. With the massive growth of podcasts as an on-demand medium, and platforms like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home becoming regular fixtures in people’s homes, the opportunity for content experimentation in this area is so exciting. We’re only just beginning to scratch the surface.
Photo by Guy Hauldren
(VC) As a woman who is well travelled and exposed to quite a lot of high stake collaborations and partnerships, what would you tell the aspiring young girl or a entrepreneur about success and business risk?
(Megan) Follow your passion, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to make yourself uncomfortable. That’s when the exciting stuff happens. Within a company, find the people who will support you and champion you, and then make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
(VC) In your quiet or noisy moments how does Megan get inspired. What ultimately motivates you to work the way you do. Are you religious or in a state of wit and will with life?
(Megan) For me, good ideas come with persistence. The first ideas are never usually the best—those are the ones you need to push past to find the unexpected and the surprising. That takes the perseverance to keep thinking about a concept, mulling it over, and turning it different ways until something new appears. That’s a solitary exercise for me. When I’ve got something I’m happy to share, I find great collaborators to develop with. The projects I like to work on usually require many hands.
I would have loved to hang with the Dadaists in the early 1920s. They were experimenting with language and form, discovering creative freedom and developing the avant-garde
(VC) There is no time like the present, yet some creatives mention the renaissance period as a period they admire. If you can time-warp back to any era, what time would it be and why?
(Megan) I’d want to go somewhere more mad-capped than the Renaissance. I would have loved to hang with the Dadaists in the early 1920s. They were experimenting with language and form, discovering creative freedom and developing the avant-garde. There were very few rules. Some of it worked out well, some of it not so much, but there was joy and curiosity in the process.
British Podcast Awards, photo courtesy of Megan Wastell
(VC) At this stage of your music career and accomplishments, If you could work alongside any creative, public figure or brand, who would they be and why?
(Megan) I really love Jon Ronson. His journalism is great, he explores issues I find fascinating, and I adore his very wry tone of voice. I also would love to work with Naomi Alderman. The Zombies Run! App is a great fun and I appreciate anybody who can bring storytelling to unexpected places. Finally, George The Poet. Amazing writer and performer, incredible audio artist.
(VC) What kind of commercial or personal work can world expect from you within the next few years, perhaps a live talk show?
(Megan) Who knows?! I loved working on the David Walliams podcast project, which was my first kids’ show. I’d really like to do more in that space. I’d also like to collaborate with my husband who writes about gaming. We’re always batting around script and gaming world ideas, so hopefully soon we’ll get around to putting pen to paper!