The BusinessDesk/New Zealand Herald podcast Cooking the Books has scooped gold at the NZ Podcast Awards.

Cooking the Books, hosted by BusinessDesk’s investments editor Frances Cook, took out the top award in the business podcast category while James Laughlin’s Lead on Purpose won silver and The Spinoff’s Business is Boring won bronze.

“The quality, creativity, and diversity displayed by podcasters this year was fantastic to see, and it is a testament to the thriving podcasting community in New Zealand,” NZ Podcast Awards co-founder Richard North said on Thursday when the NZ Podcast Awards winners were announced.

“It was so hard for our judges to decide, and a lot of work went into listening and reviewing every single entry.”

Two million downloads

The financial podcast is one of publisher NZME’s original podcast offerings, with the podcast aimed at ordinary people seeking financial independence. 

This year is the first time that Cooking the Books has won gold at the NZ Podcast Awards, although it won silver at the awards last year.

In April this year, Cooking the Books hit the two million download mark and three million in November. 

“It's awesome to get that recognition,” Cook said on the award and described the win as a “community effort”.

“You get feedback from listeners, which is always number one, but to get that industry recognition is pretty special, to be honest.”

Cook’s first episode of the podcast launched in 2017, as a “fun side project” and she said at the time she didn’t imagine her career would be where it is now.

“The podcast has always been the core of everything else because it's such a unique way to connect with people. You connect and kind of make friends with your listeners in a way that you just don't get in other mediums in journalism,” she said.

“It's a really hard one to kick. Once you've got that connection with people, you get a bit addicted to it. Shout out to those listeners for being on this journey, whether they're old or new ones. It's awesome to be able to talk to them and have this project together.”

'Absolute powerhouse'

Cook has grown the podcast into one of the most popular business podcasts in the country since 2017 and now has a huge presence on social media as well, including almost 110,000 followers on TikTok and over 65,000 followers on Instagram.

NZME's head of premium business content, Duncan Bridgeman, said the podcast award win was a brilliant accolade and richly deserved.

“Cooking the Books has gone from strength to strength, and this award further cements it as the best business podcast in the country,” he said.

NZME’s managing editor for audience and platform curation, Matt Martel, described Cook as an “absolute powerhouse”.

“She has helped thousands and thousands of people get their finances on the right track through Cooking the Books, her columns and the rest of her impactful journalism across BusinessDesk, social media, and elsewhere,” he said.

“BusinessDesk is incredibly proud of what she has achieved.”