That is Sizzling Pod, The Verge’s e-newsletter about podcasting and the audio business. Join right here for extra.
Hope everybody has had an pleasurable Labor Day weekend. For at present’s difficulty of Sizzling Pod, I’ve a Q&A I carried out with Afripod’s chief content material officer and head of technique, Kevin Y. Brown. The African podcasting platform — headquartered in Kenya — is taken into account the most important within the continent and is in the midst of an fascinating partnership with radio stations. I obtained to listen to Brown’s ideas on the brand new initiative and — in addition to how Afripods is spreading consciousness of podcasting as a medium all through Africa. I even have a lightning spherical of offers and bulletins for at present’s difficulty.
Since I’ll be off for the remainder of the week, Sizzling Pod will likely be publishing on an abbreviated schedule. So, no Insider difficulty of Sizzling Pod on Thursday. However relaxation assured, Sizzling Pod editor Jake Kastrenakes will take over Friday’s Insider difficulty. You probably have any suggestions, be happy to ship him an electronic mail.
Kevin Y. Brown of Afripods on why the platform is recruiting radio stations
The podcasting market is rising quickly throughout Africa, particularly amongst its Gen Z inhabitants. Afripods, an all-in-one podcast platform, is attempting to speed up that progress. The platform is geared towards African creators and audiences and provides enhancing, internet hosting, and monetization instruments for podcasters and in addition serves as a participant and podcast discovery software for audiences.
Based in 2017, Afripods at present provides Pan-African content material in over 50 totally different languages. Final month, the platform introduced it had partnered with over 110 broadcast radio stations to transform their applications to podcast type. Often called “broadcast-to-podcast” or B2P, the corporate says that African audiences are extra aware of the thought of on-demand radio and sees it as a promising space for progress.
I spoke to Kevin Y. Brown, the chief content material officer at Afripods, about how the platform is tackling markets the place each the web penetration and consciousness of podcasting are low.
Many [including Afripods CEO Molly Jensen) say that podcasting’s rise in popularity in Africa is due to the need for a replacement for mainstream media — as well as a way to bring in creators that aren’t represented in mainstream media. Why do you think podcasting is such a vital medium within Africa?
Nicely, one of many large issues is barrier to entry. There are gatekeepers that exist in all industries, proper? And so I believe that podcasting permits folks to have the ability to inform tales — irrespective of whether or not they’re in main metropolitan areas, extra rural areas, on the coast — in a low-cost approach. To me, podcasting is a low-cost method to protect African tradition, traditions, and language in a approach the place future generations can have an genuine expertise as a result of their tales are being informed by the people who find themselves truly dwelling them.
Whereas previously, loads of the tales which were informed about Africa are by individuals who aren’t African. So I believe podcasting permits folks to have that entry and be capable of inform their very own tales.
“What we’re attempting to do at Afripods is make it accessible in order that anybody could be a storyteller.”
Are you able to speak about technical obstacles to entry for creators? Clearly being in a metropolis like Nairobi may be very totally different from being in additional rural components of Kenya.
Sure, I imply, most positively. I believe, primary, entry to high quality gear could be a barrier. Entry to good and sustainable Wi-Fi will also be a barrier. So, for us at Afripods, to be able to tackle the wants of our customers, what we did was create an audio editor within our dashboard in order that customers can edit in Afripods. So all they should do, even when they recorded on their cellphone, they will truly edit [the podcast] so that they don’t want the exterior software program so as to take action, which additionally helps them to not should commute to a studio.
Different obstacles to entry can generally be information, after which additionally, it’s an entry factor. Even within the West, podcasting is seen as an upper-echelon exercise — whether or not you’re listening otherwise you’re creating. What we’re attempting to do at Afripods is make it accessible in order that anybody could be a storyteller.
You talked about the work that you simply and Afripods CEO Molly Jensen have been doing this 12 months to maneuver the corporate ahead and make podcasting extra accessible. Are you able to speak a bit bit extra about that?
So what we’ve been engaged on in stealth mode for nearly two years now with radio stations is on broadcast-to-podcast expertise. On this 12 months alone, we’ve seen an 895 p.c improve in streams for radio stations who’re utilizing our product and about 112 p.c month over month in person progress. We’ve got over 110 radio stations on the platform from eight totally different international locations.
We’ve seen one thing related occur within the US, with radio stations progressively embracing podcasts. What components led to this transition in Africa?
I might say that while you look to Africa, there’s an urge for food for digital transformation. Africa is without doubt one of the youngest continents on the planet, in line with the United Nations. Seventy p.c of the folks in Africa are beneath the age of 30 years outdated. As we all know, Gen Z and people who are youthful than myself need to have their content material on demand and get it the place they need.
Radio has been king in Africa for therefore lengthy that there wants, and there needs to be, an evolution — only for radio stations to satisfy their present purchasers or shoppers the place they’re and the place they’re going to be. So making that pitch to radio stations has been very helpful — and we’re trying to increase [broadcast-to-podcast] to fifteen totally different markets and no less than 20 totally different languages.
What’s the present state of affairs with the podcast advert market in Africa proper now?
The present state of affairs is that the promoting market is budding — however we’re nonetheless having pitch conferences and conversations the place we’re attempting to make [podcasting] a predominant staple of media. I used to be at a radio station yesterday having a dialog with one of many executives there. This station is one which’s actually on the vanguard of embracing podcasting.
We have been speaking in regards to the challenges, and one of many issues that’s taking place right here — and I’m certain that is taking place within the West — is that you simply may need a great podcast and you’ll promote it on digital. However to ensure that it to take up airspace, like truly take up air, the advertisers should underwrite each the digital and the on-air model. So when you’ve got a podcast that releases early within the morning, that’s a possibility for a Nescafé or one thing like that to underwrite it, like a espresso model. Or, you already know, possibly some kind of enterprise software since early risers are usually enterprise people. That’s simply the way in which that [advertisers] have been serious about it and the way they’re calculating it.
I’ll say that some particular person podcasters who’ve been podcasting for a very very long time are seeing some nice outcomes by way of advertisers and in sponsorships and getting their reveals underwritten as effectively.
There’s loads of dwell occasions happening all through the continent the place persons are promoting out reveals and occasions for his or her podcasts. It’s been taking place in a number of totally different international locations the place persons are truly doing profitable podcast excursions as effectively. So it’s booming, however the podcast business remains to be rising [in Africa].
What are some current developments within the African podcasting market? What are some reveals which can be actually taking off?
There’s a gentleman named James Good who does investigative journalism. He’s accomplished a few actually good sequence, one referred to as Paradise Misplaced and one other referred to as Case Quantity Zero. The dwell occasion house for podcasts have actually taken off, and now we have these guys referred to as The Mics Are Open, a bunch of radio gents. We’ve got one other Gen Z group referred to as The Sandwich Podcast [based in Kenya], who’ve bought a ton of tickets to their dwell occasions as effectively. There’s a bunch out of Ghana referred to as The Gold Coast Report — they’re a podcast and a community who’ve accomplished top-tier reveals and dwell occasions as effectively. There’s a younger girl right here in Nairobi referred to as Adelle Onyango who does this podcast, Legally Clueless, and he or she’s a really highly effective girl who’s very weak, sincere, and genuine about who she is. She began Legally Clueless Academy, the place she’s been instructing younger people the best way to podcast right here in Nairobi. Final 12 months, she went out into a number of the extra rural areas and took her present on the highway and obtained some actually nice suggestions.
Are you able to speak about some regional variations? Which international locations have the best uptake?
Regional variations are fascinating as a result of you will have some international locations which can be doing [podcasting] much more than others. Take a look at South Africa. Egypt has so much happening — Kim Fox, who began PodFest Cairo, is one other very highly effective girl. You will have Kenya. Uganda is making some noise as effectively. A few of these stations [in Uganda] have been the primary to leap onto the platform for broadcast-to-podcast expertise. And while you exit to Western Africa, you will have [the podcast markets] in Ghana and Nigeria. And I believe what’s the gorgeous half is that persons are taking a unique strategy to issues. There’s loads of alternative for collaboration among the many international locations and the cultures.
Afripods has been attempting onerous to domesticate that collaboration. Again in February, we had African Podcast Day, the place we introduced collectively panels of podcast business folks from totally different international locations to debate what work they will do collectively to maneuver ahead and increase the business.
What would you say is the most important problem for the African podcasting market transferring ahead?
I believe consciousness has been a problem. And a great one. I bear in mind, in 2019, touring all through Africa and going to 6 totally different international locations. Folks didn’t know what podcasting was. However for those who stated radio on demand, they did. They grasped the idea. Like, consciousness is the most important problem. We don’t lack creators — particularly Gen Z. Getting the business to monetize is one other problem in the meanwhile. You will have some guys who’re breaking via, who’re the business leaders or are early adopters. Nevertheless it’s gonna be some time earlier than we change into extraordinarily mainstream. It’s a type of conditions the place it’s like, “Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait,” after which…increase, it takes off. It’s type of the way it was like within the US, proper? Podcasting was round for therefore lengthy, and unexpectedly, it took off and have become a billion-dollar business. And so I believe we’re seeing the method of that coming into fruition.
Wondery is launching a brand new podcast, Uncovered: Cowl-Up at Columbia College, which dives into the story of OB-GYN Dr. Robert Hadden, who was not too long ago sentenced to twenty years in jail for sexually abusing his sufferers. The primary episode of Uncovered will likely be launched on September eleventh on Wondery Plus, Amazon Music, and all podcast platforms. You may take heed to a trailer right here.
CNN Audio will launch Season 8 of Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, that includes the community’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as host. The podcast will sort out the mysteries surrounding the human mind, together with the impression of despair, stimulants, courting apps, and lengthy covid on cognitive talents. The primary episode will premiere on September twelfth on all podcast gamers, and future friends embody Stephen King and science author Michael Pollan.
On Air Fest introduced its programming lineup for On Air LA Annex 2023, which will likely be held in Los Angeles from November 1st–4th. Occasions will likely be held at KCRW’s Annenberg Efficiency Studio in Santa Monica and the headquarters for the radio station dublab. The pageant will function a dwell taping of Discuss Straightforward with Sam Fragoso, an interactive rendition of Let’s Make a Horror, and a behind-the-scenes take a look at LAist Studios’ relaunched podcast Imperfect Paradise.
Sizzling Docs Competition is coming again in 2023. The Canadian podcast pageant returns for its first in-person occasion because the pandemic. This 12 months’s fest takes place in Toronto from October nineteenth–twenty second and can embody each Canadian and worldwide podcasts, together with The New Yorker’s Fiction Podcast, Articles of Curiosity, and Dinner SOS. The occasion will embody a creators discussion board with executives from Acast, Bumper, Canadaland, CBC Podcasts, Condé Nast, HBO, Media Girlfriends, NPR, Pushkin Industries, and different gamers within the podcast house.
Lotten Skeppstedt is becoming a member of PodX Group as its new head of business. She beforehand served as director of books and podcasts at Acast founder Sesamy.
PodcastOne will launch Salty with Captain Lee, a brand new podcast hosted by Captain Lee Rosbach from the Bravo actuality sequence Beneath Deck. The primary episode will launch on September sixth on all podcast gamers.https://hactic.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/index.html