By Adam McCaffery
Published October 5, 2023
Throughout 2023, Ed Video has held several workshops covering the basics of podcasting and there are more to come this October.
These workshops aim to provide participants with an understanding of technical production processes and how to develop and convey compelling stories to listeners.
A podcast is a recording of an audio broadcast that can be independently downloaded to devices and listened to by consumers. There are many genres and formats of podcasting such as talk shows, political and social commentary, fiction readings, community storytelling, self-help guidance, and more.
In February and March of this year, Ed Video facilitated a quartet of podcasting workshops led by artist Dawn Matheson and Anishinaabe activist Mary Joanne Schuller.
The workshop series focused on how aspiring podcasters can present their stories to connect with and reach listeners.
The fundamentals of recording technology and post-editing were also highlighted in the workshops.
The podcasting workshop series synthesized the potential of podcasting with Indigenous storytelling; a long-held tradition imbued with self-reflection and the generational transference of oral history. Furthermore, these powerful stories are made increasingly salient through the ways that Indigenous peoples connect to their histories through current experiences and shared DNA.
Not only can podcasting facilitate the distribution of stories through an accessible online format, but it can also give a voice to a diverse range of independent speakers, many of whom are marginalized and left unheard through social inequality.
Public awareness of unheard communities’ stories has the potential to foster wider social change while bringing together communities with shared experiences.
Many podcasts develop devoted listenerships who regularly engage with one another, whether it be through contributing to podcasts by sending in recordings of personal experiences and anecdotes, or through online community circles discussing the content of podcasts in connection to their own lives.
The online format of podcasting is highly conducive to forming digital communities and spaces, especially in the current era of social media and social news platforms where it is incredibly easy to join online communities.
Social groups and connections are regularly formed in numerous Reddit communities, Discord channels, Twitter circles, and Facebook groups that revolve around specific podcasts.
Reports gathered by The Podcast Exchange show that about half of Canadian adults have listened to a podcast in the last year, and 34% listen to at least one podcast monthly. Furthermore, listening to podcasts is reported to be particularly popular among younger demographics, with people aged 18-34 making up almost half of adult listeners.
American statistics have shown that podcasts are continuously becoming more popular. The Pew Research Centre reports that monthly podcast consumption in the U.S. has been steadily rising since podcasting first emerged in the early 2000s. For example, the percentage of Americans over the age of 12 who have listened to a podcast in the last month has risen from 68% in 2021 to 75% in 2023.
Based on statistics collected by Edison Research, the most popular genre of podcasting in the U.S. is comedy, followed by society and culture, news, and true crime. There are plenty of well-known podcast series within these genres, such as the Daily by the New York Times, Crime Junkie, the Broskie Report, and Dateline NBC.
As a form of creative media, Ed Video aims to incorporate podcasting equipment and education into its offerings.
On October 10th, Ed Video is holding a workshop facilitated by Karim Mosna, a specialist in creative podcasting and community storytelling who seeks to preserve the human element of audio broadcasting. Among Mosna’s many achievements includes contributing to and hosting radio broadcasts at the University of Guelph’s campus radio station CFRU-FM.
The workshop, “Tell Your Story: Intro to Creative Podcasting and Community Storytelling,” will draw upon the human experiences of interpersonal story-sharing and social connection to create compelling podcasts and radio-style programs through interviews. Mosna will highlight a variety of different audio genres including interview, narrative, documentary, and theatrical podcasting while diving into the essentials of active listening and conversational dialogue.
This opportunity will further underscore the vast potential of podcasting in forming communities and connections through creative storytelling.
Another Ed Video workshop titled “the Creative Podcasting and Community Storytelling Intensive,” also facilitated by Mosna, will be held on October 21st. This daylong workshop will be held at the University of Guelph’s campus radio station and allow participants to explore the headquarters of a radio broadcasting centre.
The intensive will see participants producing and editing around 30 minutes of material that will be uploaded to a podcast series on Spotify. Participants are free to record podcasts of different genres, from journalistic interviews to creative audio experiences.
Hosting the October 21st workshop at a radio station will honour the historical foundations of podcasting. In many ways, podcasting is modelled on the format of traditional radio shows through its emphasis on providing information and storytelling through an audio format.
Many podcast series share characteristics with radio shows, such as being divided into episodes with regularly scheduled airtimes, live-recorded broadcasts that include call-in opportunities by listeners, radio-style billboards listing sponsors and advertisements, and signature opening and closing tunes.
Indeed, the term ‘podcast’ combines the word ‘broadcasting’ with the word ‘iPod,’ as podcasting came to fruition around the time when the internet and modern Apple products were rapidly growing in popularity. What distinguished early podcasting from traditional radio broadcasting was the ability for audiences to access the audio media at any time, whether that be through internet downloading, streaming, or physical products such as CDs.
Podcasting was made possible through a combination of personal recording devices and the internet enabling the distribution of audio-media.
From 2000 to 2003, the development of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), a data format that allows viewers to easily see continuous website updates, enabled podcast shows to upload regular episodes for streaming or download.
Early podcast series tended to be internet radio shows or a form of web blogging known at the time as audio blogging.
Podcasting was a technological advancement in mass media, but it also presented the opportunity for anyone with access to technology and the internet to make themselves heard and reach audiences.
CNN published an article in 2020 highlighting several podcasts that are making the voices of marginalized communities heard. For instance, Asian Americana created by Quincy Surasmith chronicles the myriad experiences, contributions, and histories of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans in the U.S., while Afro Queer explores the intersectional experiences and relationships of LGBTQIA+ communities in Africa.
The establishment of podcasting as a prominent form of accessible, creative mass media for consumers has been welcomed, and it has proven invaluable in forming communities and providing a platform for anyone with an audio recording device, access to the internet, and something to say.