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Hello fellow-podpeople! There are 1.75 million podcasts now on iTunes – that’s a lot of people making podcasts. More folk are listening too, month by month. Over half (55%) of Americans over the age of 12 have now listened, and about 37% listen monthly. In Australia, according to a Reuters 2020 report (p.25), about 32% listen monthly, pretty well hitting the global average of 31%. Spain is above average, with 41%, and the UK is below, on 22%. Another source, Statista: The State of Podcasting, cited in Podcast Insights 2021, puts South Korea way out in front, with 58% having listened in the last month.

What’s YOUR passion for podcasting about??

That’s a lot of numbers – but not much information on the human side, like who is listening, to what and why. And who is making these podcasts, and why. What is the motivation? For some it might be prosaic things like brand promotion, but I’ve a feeling a lot of indie podcasters in particular are driven by passion. Maybe it’s to share a particular interest (history nerds feature strongly here, but no topic is too niche for the podsphere) or maybe it’s the urge to tell a personal story and find validation through that, or, if you’ve got serious research skills, to investigate a miscarriage of justice, or hold people to account.

I’m writing a book, A Passion For Podcasting, which is aimed at the discerning listener and aspiring podcast producer. It’s part-manual, part-memoir and part ode to audio storytelling. I’ll be laying out an insider take on how we made some award-winning podcasts like Phoebe’s Fall, Wrong Skin and The Last Voyage of the Pong Su, complete with before and after scripts and all the mis-steps you don’t normally see. I’ll also be tracking the evolution of the podsphere. But I’d love to include the voices of the podcasting community too – both makers and fans. So I’ve devised a 20Q survey, HERE, for anyone who wants to contribute. You can be anonymous or named – if the latter, a chance to plug your podcast!

Thanks SO much for taking part. I’m really looking forward to getting your insights.

SURVEY IS HERE.

This is a talk I gave in December 2020 for the Oral History Network of Ireland annual lecture. I discuss how to turn interviews into an audio story and how to use music and ambient sound to build a narrative. There’s a live demo of converting a ‘raw’ interview to a story, using music and chickens (!) to add mood and pace.

Video of talk (50mins) is HERE. It contains lots of illustrative audio clips from three of my projects: the podcast Heart of Artness, about cross-cultural relationships behind the production of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art; the radio documentary series Marrying Out, about sectarianism and bigotry in Australia; and the radio documentary series Minefields and Miniskirts, about Australian women’s role in the Vietnam war.

I’ve co-authored a detailed academic article about the collaborative process behind making Heart of Artness here.

smchugh@uow.edu.au

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