Why Church + State launched an agency podcast

Founder Ron Tite will explore disruption in business and culture in episodes that also showcase the medium's potential for clients.


Ron Tite has begun to articulate a thesis about the forces reshaping business and culture today – one he hopes might also prove the opportunities clients could explore with his agency’s podcasting services.

The idea – that disruption is happening like “a political coup d’etat” in which “the establishment is taken out by insurgent forces” – forms both a section of his upcoming book, Think Do Say: How to Seize Attention and Build Trust in a Busy, Busy World (to be released Oct. 8), and the underlying theme of a new podcast produced by Church + State, the agency Tite helped found.

The first two episodes of the podcast, known as The Coup, went live today on Frequency, Rogers’ podcast network. Each episode features interviews with a panel of experts, though unlike many podcasts, the conversations are folded into a script written by Church + State, as opposed to recorded and shared verbatim. “What I didn’t want to do was the podcast that I call two dudes talking,” Tite says. “I wanted to find a meatier subject that I could dive significantly deeper on.”

In launching a podcast, Church + State follows many other brands, agencies and consultancies who are using the medium to help showcase their expertise and connect with audiences. Country Harvest and Interac have both experimented with the form over the last year. Meanwhile, Accenture has launched a podcast about AI and Apex PR does one about the evolving role of CMOs, while industry pundit Tony Chapman joined the fray a few weeks ago with the launch of Chatter that Matters.

For its part, The Coup covers the topic of wide-scale disruption across a number of industries, starting with ad agencies being usurped by consultancies and nimble boutique shops, says Tite. Other episodes will make the case that similar disruptive patterns have occurred with respect to masculinity, vice (where cannabis now competes with alcohol and cigarettes) and even comedy.

Tite says the idea to do an agency podcast began with the realization that Church + State should offer podcast services to its clients as a “critical media choice and content choice that brands need to get behind.” Seeing as the agency hadn’t produced a podcast of its own, the goal was to “push [the medium] to the extreme of really expensive and really slow… and see what happens.”

For example, the agency commissioned Jim Guthrie, a Juno award-winning artist, to create an original theme song for The Coup – an added cost that Tite says he wouldn’t necessarily recommend for every client, but one that contributes to its overall quality. The goal was really to help establish podcast producing processes at the agency and attract clients by showcasing the potential podcasts for brands – while proving that Church + State has the technical chops to do it.

“We pushed it to the edge of what we thought was possible and what we wanted to do,” Tite  says. “Once you’ve done that, you can adapt what you’ve done [around] the timing, goals and budget of the particular client.”

Over the last year, the agency has recruited talent to help produce The Coup, including senior podcast producer Allie Graham (who came from Canadaland) and producer Julia de Laurentiis Johnson, who has worked for Podcast Camp, Shameless, Etsy and Maclean’s. 

Tite expects The Coup’s primary audience to be people who are interested in the “crossover between business and culture.” In recent years, he believes interest in business has flourished outside of the traditional business press, as people become more attuned to the industry’s influence on culture at large. Down the road, Tite says the agency may look to attract sponsors, which could involve having sponsored guests appear on the podcast.