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Crafting Conversations

The podcast was created by UGLE to explore Freemasonry's modern narrative. Here, the team enlightens us on its origins and progress.

The 3 hosts of Craftcast: The Freemasons Podcast in their recording studio


Craftcast provides a unique platform that attracts listeners around the world. Through engaging content that appeals to Freemasons and non-Freemasons alike, the team has expanded its audience with an approach that demystifies Freemasonry. The minds behind the mics reveal the origins of the podcast, its impact, and the shared vision driving its success.

What inspired you to start Craftcast: The Freemasons Podcast?

Shaun Butler: Conversations around an official UGLE podcast started a few years ago, but we were unsure how it would work and what it might look like. I was a keen listener of the excellent Brother podcast – presented by Neil-Thomas Allen, Taz Bhachoo, Jack Saunders, and Joshua Worley – and we felt that we could do something slightly different to give listeners an insight into UGLE. We are always keen to find fresh ways to talk openly about Freemasonry to new audiences.

What’s your role in the team?

Marta Zandri: As the producer of Craftcast, I play a part in bringing each episode to life. I assist with content planning and make sure we’re creating episodes that resonate with our Masonic audience while still being welcoming to everyone. I coordinate the guests’ participation in our episodes. I then handle the technical side of things. I’m there before, during, and after recording to ensure everything runs smoothly.

I also organise the promotion of each episode, working alongside Shay Aziz, our Communications Executive, who leads our social media efforts. In addition, I evaluate listener engagement and feedback, which helps us make informed decisions during the planning stage.

What do listeners gain from the podcast?

James Dalton: I hope our listeners find Craftcast to be an engaging source of entertainment and a valuable complement to their journey of Masonic understanding. For Freemasons, I hope the podcast deepens their understanding and appreciation of the Craft. For those listeners who are not Freemasons, I aim to dispel misconceptions surrounding Freemasonry and showcase its positive contributions to individuals and society. Ultimately, I aspire for our audience to go away with a renewed sense of curiosity, enlightenment, and appreciation for the principles and values of Freemasonry.

Any memorable moments?

Stephen Whatley: I can share two. One of my most memorable experiences from Craftcast was co-hosting the world exclusive joint interview between the two Grand Masters of Women’s Freemasonry. The Special Interest Lodges have also been highly memorable because of their vibrant atmosphere and engaging content. Combined, I believe the duality of these experiences encapsulates what is so special about Craftcast: the opportunity to laugh and joke, but equally to tackle questions at the core of Freemasonry, making history and enjoying the process.

What are some common misconceptions about Freemasonry that you aim to address through the podcast?

Shaun Butler: I think the primary goal of the podcast is to raise awareness about Freemasonry and how it has such an important role to play in 2024, as well as being an information resource for existing members. There are so many fascinating facets to Freemasonry to explore and we are trying to tap into those in a new and engaging way.

What are the challenges of producing a podcast about Freemasonry?

Marta Zandri: One of the main challenges is crafting each episode to be enjoyable and engaging for a diverse audience. Craftcast was created with the aim of presenting Freemasonry in a fresh, light-hearted manner, making it accessible to those curious about what Freemasons do. Our goal is to create a podcast that appeals to both the internal Masonic community and the wider public, so it’s important to ensure that we don’t take any information for granted and provide context where needed.

Another fun challenge is keeping Shaun, James, and Stephen on track during their intro and outro chit-chats. They always have interesting stories to share, but sometimes I need to gently steer them back to the main topic.

What has been your favourite topic so far and why?

Stephen Whatley: The impact and importance of the Mental Health Episode (season 1, episode 11) will stay with me forever, partly because of the recording session itself and partly the incredible reaction. We entered the session knowing nothing of each other’s mental health background, but I believe this was essential to achieve our goal: three men, sitting and having an honest conversation about mental health. It was us saying: ‘Here we are. This is us. We hope you as a listener will endeavour to ask: “how are you really?”’

I think we were all so moved by the response. One message I received in particular will always stick with me: ‘My Grand Superintendent asked me this evening how I was. Then he asked me again, but really. Thank you.’

What does a typical recording session look like?

Shaun Butler: I always look forward to recording days – it is always great to see James and Stephen in person. Invariably, the first 20 minutes is spent catching up and having a laugh. We try and record three or four episodes per session if possible and this will depend on the nature of the recordings.

I am hugely appreciative to both James and Stephen for their continued commitment and dedication to the podcast. They both travel a long way to take part and we are better for their involvement.

How do you approach researching topics before recording an episode?

Marta Zandri: It is truly a team effort. In my case, being the only non-Freemason on the team lets me bring a fresh perspective to the table. Whether we’re brainstorming in person or chatting away on our busy WhatsApp group, we’re always thinking ahead and planning our next recordings.

What upcoming topics or guests are you excited to explore on the podcast?

Shaun Butler: I am looking forward to discussing the Royal Arch – an absolutely integral part of Freemasonry. This will be a priority for season three. I am keen to explore the international elements of the English Constitution by speaking to more Districts, as well as exploring the various Companion Orders within Freemasonry.

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