Friday Guest Feature: Embrace Change in Podcast Storytelling


PodMov Daily: Friday, April 24

Episode 191: Week Download Complete

Friday Guest Feature: Embrace Change in Podcast Storytelling

This Friday’s guest article from podcaster and documentary filmmaker Doug Fraser is about welcoming change. With this next installment in the Pro Storytelling series, Fraser explains how changes of character and circumstance drive compelling narratives. Want an engaging episode? Forge ahead through tension and discomfort.

“If variety is the spice of life, change is the seasoning of story,” Fraser writes. “It’s the inevitable result of tales the world over: incomplete characters (and real people) setting out to fulfill a need. Lucky for us storytellers, change is all around us. But why is it so important?” Three ‘decrees of change' break down the specific hooks that grab listeners' attention.

As with each article in this series, Fraser illustrates the concept with a clear example from his podcast What We Do. Audiences are forward-facing, so let's meet them where they are. In the words of renowned editor Shawn Coyne: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

The 16-Year-Old Australian Podcaster Carrying a City's Local News

When 16-year-old Jack Ward of Ararat, Victoria, Australia began Ararat's Latest early this year, the news podcast simply fulfilled “a passion for bringing people information.” Now, “his hobby has inadvertently become a more serious endeavour,” write Matt Neal and Steve Martin of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

For 163 years, the bi-weekly newspaper Ararat Advertiser had serviced the city’s population of approximately 8,000 people. As of last week, “the coronavirus has resulted in [Ward] being the only news source with a reporter on the ground.” The high school student has gone above and beyond, even launching a subscription news alert service.

Ward confirms a rise in listeners. “[I'm] keeping locals informed, which is increasingly important after what's happened this week and locally in our news landscape,” he explained. “Sometimes, you know, I want to watch Netflix, but I've got to work on the podcast. So I do that instead. But I love it, and that's why I do it.”

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What is the quality of your intent?

Here's what else is going on:

  • Toast proposed: Winners of the 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards have been announced. Congratulations to many, including ‘Best Narrative/Documentary Podcast' winners The Shrink Next Door by Bloomberg (United States) and The Band Played On by CBC Radio (Canada).
  • Sound waves: An update on changing podcast listening from Voxnest shows that “global podcast listens have increased by 42% and European listens are up by 53%.” Focusing on Italy and Spain, the report's metrics include which categories have spiked in recent weeks.
  • United planet: The multilingual, Paris-based Studio Ochenta has launched a new podcast. Ochenta Stories features hopeful post-pandemic thoughts from creatives around the world. Stories are translated from English, Spanish, French, Italian, Korean and Mandarin Chinese.
  • Fresh produce: Samuel Fishwick of The Evening Standard gathers thoughts on lockdown from Ira Glass of This American Life: “It’s the easiest thing to report on I’ve ever encountered, because it’s everywhere you look. Talking to anybody feels like an interesting new moment.”

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