DOXA introduces a new festival – the Vancouver Podcast Fesival – to draw attention to the strength of podcasting as a non-fiction medium from Nov. 8–10.
Apple’s podcast platform distributes more than 550,000 different shows. Moreover, other sources estimate the number of episodes at around 18.5 million, in over 100 languages. It is easy to see why podcasting has become an important part of the conversation.
For those who are unfamiliar with what a podcast is, it is an audio file available to download or stream from the Internet to a computer or mobile device. With the use of a pod catcher – basically a searchable catalogue – it’s easy to find shows and subscribe to them.
Canadians and podcasting
The Canadian Podcast Listener, about to publish its second annual study, estimates that in 2018, 76% of Canadians were familiar with podcasts. Twenty-six per cent listen to them at least once a month and 18% at least once a week.
The study highlights two distinct podcast realities: Anglophones are more likely than Francophones to have ever listened to a podcast (49% vs 28%) and to listen regularly. Finally, the 2017 study indicates that, “podcasting attracts often hard-to-reach young, affluent, educated consumers” and found out listeners want to know more about Canadian podcasts.
A podcast festival to learn more
If you are curious about podcasts and podcasting, you are in luck: the first Vancouver Podcast Festival will debut Nov. 8 and run until the 10th. It offers both free and ticketed events, such as panel discussions, workshops and live podcast presentations.
The festival is presented by DOXA. Its goal is to foster new podcast creation and bring new audiences to podcasting. The proposed events aim to reach creators as well as the general listener. The festival decided on a theme that would attract people unfamiliar with the medium.
“This year’s theme is True Crime, True Justice, focusing on how podcasting has become a venue for education, discussion and activism around the criminal justice system. Part of the true justice is also maintaining roots to DOXA’s commitment to social justice as well,” says director of programming Selina Crammond.
We wanted to examine the true crime genre more closely because it is so popular in podcasts as well as on TV, says Crammond.
The festival favours local podcasters, with a series of free live shows recorded at the VPL. You can attend the taping of an episode of “The Fear of Science”, “The Secret Feminist Agenda” or “On Drugs”, a podcast from the CBC.
The Rio Theatre will host international live podcasts, like “The Allusionist” or “You Must Remember This.”
Panel discussions will focus on topics like ‘“Politics and Podcasts” and “Podcasting and/as journalism.”
Creators have not been forgotten, several workshops are available free or with a pass. One workshop certain to attract a crowd is, “How do I Get Paid for my Work.”
An opportunity to be funded
In an industry said to be more inclusive – many communities currently underrepresented in mainstream media are turning to podcasts – finding ways to monetize one’s podcast is a priority.
It’s common to see podcasts join forces to seek funds and advertising. A pioneer in the field, the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) is a web-based platform for digital distribution, review, and licensing of radio programs. Started by Radiotopia four years ago, today it is collaborating with Google to launch the Google Podcasts Creator Program. According to the Google website, it is ‘an accelerator developed to lower barriers to podcasting and increase the diversity of voices in the industry globally. Selected teams will receive seed funding and participate in an intensive training program.’ If you have an idea, and can travel from time to time, you have until November 18 to submit your proposal.
These type of initiatives are growing. One can only hope that Canadians will develop their own programs to develop their own podcasts and their own audience.
With files from James Mainguy
The study: www.canadianpodcastlistener.ca
Vancouver Podcast Festival: www.vanpodfest.ca
Google Podcast Creator Program: www.googlecp.prx.org