Reaching Out for Stories: The Rise of Crowdsourced Podcasts


PodMov Daily: Thursday, April 2

Episode 176: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Reaching Out for Stories: The Rise of Crowdsourced Podcasts

In Bello Collective, Suchandrika Chakrabarti explores why podcasters are turning to ‘crowdsourcing’ content during the lockdown. Now that there are around 2.3 billion people confined indoors, many creators have chosen to “approach the subject of living through the pandemic in a very different way: through sourcing audio from listeners.”

Last week, we profiled the submitted-sound podcast Our Show by Erica Heilman. Chakrabarti points to prominent UK audio producers also adopting this poignant, time-consuming method. Renay Richardson, Eleanor McDowall, and Cathy FitzGerald “have all launched new work that is made up of audio sent in by strangers.”

McDowall describes the process of making Field Recordings, a podcast Chakrabarti calls “an auditory tour of the world.” To create the soundscape, “I was crowdsourcing all of these fragments from around the world,” McDowall says. “I wanted to be able to transport my head to other places […] These little bits of respite are like taking a deep breath.”

Podcasting's Adaptive Empathy: Martine Powers on How We've Changed

In the Columbia Journalism Review, Martine Powers describes how the once-disruptive sounds of everyday life have become “like an injection of empathy and shared experience in these scary times.” Powers is the host of Post Reports, The Washington Post's flagship daily news podcast.

“The coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact on my work as the host of a podcast — and, I would venture, on everyone who works in the podcast industry,” Powers writes. “But the outbreak is also changing the tone and content and mission of podcasts in ways that are both subtle and profound.”

Within Post Reports, as well as on shows like Criminal and Heavyweight, there’s been a “subtle but meaningful shift” toward comfort. “To be making a podcast in these strange times feels like a tiny portal out into the rest of the world,” says Powers. “Suddenly, there are new objectives.”

Focusrite, a leader in fine audio interfaces, is making the dream of rich, professional-quality sound closer than ever.

Focusrite and some of the best brands in content creation are bringing three podcasters complete studio makeovers, valued at over $2300 each, and the chance to be featured in a Focusrite-produced video project.

Your dream studio begins with the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 3rd Gen Audio Interface, from the best-selling range in the world. Along with a microphone from Heil Sound, headphones from ADAM Audio, and more, winners will score:

  • Free hosting for a month from Simplecast
  • Design session and $500 credit with Audimute for a custom sound treatment solution
  • Lil Namba Remix backpack

Entrants must submit an audio sample of their podcast, along with a brief pitch video. The competition runs through April 17, so now’s your chance!

Effective leaders are able to say to the person they want to impress most: “I don’t know.”

Here's what else is going on:

  • Space helmet: Inspired by a tweet from BBC trainer Marc Blank-Settle, encourages podcasters to “embrace [their] DIY spirit, and make a soundproofed recording set-up using a few household items.” A cardboard box is never just a cardboard box.
  • Lab report: NPR profiles Christian Drosten, the German scientist behind the podcast Das Coronavirus-Update. One of the world's leading experts on coronaviruses, Drosten’s “open-ended scientific decoding” has held the country's No. 1 Apple Podcasts spot for weeks.
  • First glance: A podcast’s intro and outro have outsized power for their brevity. Matthew McLean of The Podcast Host explains how to hook impressionable new listeners, who “have absolutely no loyalty or obligation to you or your content in the opening minutes.”
  • Kids' menu: Spotify is offering a new children’s app in the U.S., Canada, and France, reports Lucas Shaw for Bloomberg. Over 8,000 handpicked songs, as well as audiobooks and bedtime stories, are available to subscribers on the premium family plan.

Psst: Team PM has been working on a new project, and now’s your opportunity to help build the blueprints. Interested? Share your insights this week using this survey.

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