According to Swedish podcaster Kristoffer Triumf the podcast scene in his home country is exploding, similar to how it’s taking off in the US. He should know. Kristoffer hosts and produces Värvet, one of the most popular podcasts in Sweden.
An average episode of his show racks up between 100,000 and 200,000 downloads, while his most popular ones get as many as 400,000. Those would be impressive numbers for any podcast, anywhere. But they’re particularly amazing when you take into account the fact that Sweden is a country with only about ten million inhabitants. That means possibly 4% of the country has downloaded an episode of Värvet–a proportion that even Serial hasn’t come near in its home country.
Kristoffer joined Adam Sachs on episode #79 of The Wolf Den to discuss podcasting in Sweden and his own path into the medium.
Kristoffer said he was particularly inspired by WTF with Marc Maron. “For me, that you could sort of take people in show business as seriously as Marc did, it was sort of mind-boggling to me,” he explained. “Because, we had nothing like that here in Sweden.”
That was when he fell in love with podcasting.
When Kristoffer decided to create his own show, he emailed Marc, asking him to be one of his first guests. Marc wrote back a few weeks later saying he would do it, “if you bring me five cans of Swedish snüs (smokeless tobacco).” Kristoffer did, and thus launched Värvet in 2012.
The show gained in popularity and attention quickly, which then brought in television offers for Kristoffer. But a year later none of them had panned out. “In television,” he observed, “there are so many executives that have to decide in your favor, and they didn’t do that (for me). And I was sort of tired of waiting. It’s not me to wait in that way.”
So he concluded that he should start another podcast, but one targeted at the American market. “Perhaps someone would fancy my style of interviewing in the US as well,” he said.
In 2014 he took of for the States and spent about two weeks on both coasts doing loads of interviews with American celebrities. The show became the English-language Värvet International. Now about 25 episodes in, the show has started gaining more attention in the US–the Onion A/V Club recently highlighted Kristoffer’s Bill Maher interview in the weekly Podmass column.
Listen to the whole episode to learn what Kristoffer hopes for podcasting’s future, and how someone gets such a cool last name as “Triumf.”