“Everyone thinks they want to start a podcast,” says Alex Cooper, the host of Call Her Daddy.
“But what goes into my show is so much more than me just sitting down for an hour and banging out an audio clip.”
Clearly Spotify thought it had something special – Alex signed a deal with them for a reported $60m (£43m), making the sex and relationships podcast one of the most lucrative in the world.
She joins other exclusive Spotify podcasters like Joe Rogan, Dax Shephard and Michelle and Barack Obama.
“If anyone comes to me with an ‘Oh I just want to start a podcast’, I would give them advice that they need to have essentially not only a business plan, but a creative plan,” she says.
“I think what listeners enjoy, as much as they love the authenticity that is podcasting, they also enjoy feeling like this is a show.
“So many celebrities are trying to do it and sometimes it falls short or they’re not able to retain an audience.”
‘You have to be authentic’
Call Her Daddy only started three years ago with then co-host Sofia Franklyn, who left last year.
It was a space for honest chats between friends as they navigated post-university dating and their often chaotic lives in New York.
But it evolved to become more mature, covering the hosts’ mental health and conversations about going to therapy.
“At the beginning of Call Her Daddy I always looked at it and felt there were definitely some episodes being recorded [where] it was so calculated to have a specific segment about sex. It started to feel inauthentic.
“And when I’m not authentic is when I see the show isn’t doing as well.
“So I think throughout the pandemic, the relationship I focused most on was therapy and I think I’m so passionate about that right now,” Alex says.
Alex and Sofia decided to go separate ways last year after some public contract disputes with media company Barstool Sports, which used to produce the podcast.
Sofia left as she wasn’t happy with the money on offer, while Alex stayed. She describes it as “a really difficult time”.
“It was extremely exhausting and scary to not know what was going to happen every hour. There was always a lawyer calling or an agent calling,” she says.
The deal with Barstool Sports ended earlier this year – and then Spotify came calling.
“Negotiations are a sore spot for me because I had one of the craziest, most public negotiations in the industry and during a pandemic, so it’s been a lot.
“But I do feel now I’m finally getting to take a deep breath and reflect back on the last year,” says Alex.
‘I have a better perspective’
Call Her Daddy has had criticism in the past for its dating advice, which has focused on how to please men and has been accused of encouraging internalised misogyny.
Alex says she’s made mistakes in the past with the advice she’s given.
“Now that I’m not chasing a guy I think I have a better perspective on why I said those things.”
She adds that her podcast will shift to reflect her life now she’s matured and is in a relationship.
“On my show I’m trying to show how with my personal life you can be a successful woman, you can find whatever your lane is and you can have a successful relationship and someone that is going to be supportive of your career,” Alex says.