Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsWhat is podcasting? What makes it different from radio? Why is it such a fabulous way to tell stories? Look, podcasting is very close to radio. It's like radio's first cousin, but it's even more personal. So radio is famous for being very intimate and being very accessible. But podcasting is that raised a notch because you're actually often listening to people in headphones. So it's one on one for a start. The person who makes the podcast is talking to the listener but in their headphones, so literally talking into their ears. And also, it's an opt-in medium because a podcast is basically just an audio show that's placed online.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsIt's usually part of a series, but it means that as a listener, you can choose when to listen. And so you pick this podcast to listen to. So it's a very close opt-in relationship with the person making the podcast. And it feels like when you find a new podcast that you like, it feels like finding a new friend. It's just so warm, and it's so informal. And it's a simple way of connecting that can actually provide a lot of insight and information, or it can be really lighthearted and just purely for fun. And it's so wide ranging.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsBecause you are so personal with the audio, do you think people have a better opportunity to connect with the stories and with the characters? Do you think there's more opportunities to develop a relationship with these stories and the listener than in other forms of media, say like print or TV or-- Absolutely, 100%. So, I mean, I love all kinds of media. I've written books, and I've made television documentaries, so I can compare them. And there are good things, obviously, about all of them. But with podcasts and with audio, there are various things that are unique. So number one, when you interview somebody for audio, you don't have to worry about your appearance. So they are much more relaxed.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 secondsAudio doesn't care whether you're bold or beautiful, black or white, old or young. It doesn't matter. So people tend to give you more revelatory interviews, which in itself you're ahead of people in television. The other thing is it triggers the imagination-- as you said, theatre of the mind. So paradoxically because you actually can't see the person talking, you, the listener, supply the details in your imagination just like you do when you're reading a really good novel. And so you will actually conjure up this idea of the person speaking, and that invests you in the storytelling. It makes you a co-creator. So you're not just a passive recipient like with television.

Skip to 2 minutes and 49 secondsYou're actually working to sort of imagine the story, and so it stays with you and has more impact. And the other thing is that you can hear the actual voice of the person. So you can hear so much in a voice. You can hear emotion, mood, accents. You can hear how they're feeling, and that develops empathy and connection.

What is podcasting?

An opt-in medium

Podcasting put simply allows content to be broadcast and distributed via audio files over the internet. Podcasts can be downloaded or listened to online with a device such as a computer, smartphone or tablet. Podcasts usually are subscribed to by the listener, so that updates to the information in the forms of ‘episodes’ can be identified.

Benefits of podcasting:

  • Flexible in nature: you can listen to it as you like when you like and you can listen to what you like

  • Podcasting can be cheap and easy to make

  • A companion as you do other things: drive, walk, do household chores, work out

Quality examples

If you’d like to see what a quality podcast looks like we have included some examples from a few different genres. Take the time to have a look at what quality sounds like.

Crime

  • Phoebe’s Fall - A major investigation by The Age newsroom in Melbourne, Australia, into the death of Phoebe Handsjuk, who was found at the bottom of a garbage chute in a luxury apartment building.

  • Serial - Serial tells one story — a true story — over the course of a season. Serial has won every major award for broadcasting, including the duPont-Columbia, Scripps Howard, Edward R. Murrow, and the first-ever Peabody awarded to a podcast.

Society and Culture

  • Heavyweight - Jonathan Goldstein goes back to the moment everything changed.

  • Millennial - A podcast about what no one really teaches you — how to manoeuvre your 20s post-graduation. Hosted by Megan Tan.

Science

  • Science Friction - Sex, death, war, parenting, politics, climate change, obesity — science is at the heart of the hot-button issues of our time. Do embryos have human rights? Will we colonise space? Is it OK to do genetic engineering in your garage? Can science stop suicide? This is the stuff of Science Friction.

News & Politics

  • New York Times - The Daily - This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.

Want to learn more?

Attached below is an article by Siobhan discussing the ‘podcasting revolution’.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling

University of Wollongong