Are Kids Podcasts the New Frontier?

October 11, 2017

Podcast makers are hoping that as more and better content is made available, audio listening will become another family ritual, like reading books at bedtime or listening to kids’ albums in the car.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/arts/kids-podcast-panoply-pinna.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Farts&action=click&contentCollection=arts®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=8&pgtype=sectionfront

It seems to me that most of us share a common childhood memory of being read to from a storybook by a grown-up, lost entirely in another world — bursting with curiosity, hanging on every word, and pleading NO NO DON’T STOP, I’M NOT SLEEPY when told it’s time to end.  We might associate that experience with childhood, but if we’re honest, that’s the Holy Grail, the magic state we’re all trying to induce in adults as audio producers.  It’s not about the storytelling.  It’s about the storylistening.

Back when everyone in the world was shouting about how Serial and S-Town were making the earth shift its axis, I was actually listening to something else.  I harbored a secret obsession with an equally amazing podcast The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel.  It’s just that no one was talking about that show because it was made for kids.  Perhaps I just have the maturity of a Middle-Schooler, but the overall story structure, clever sound design, and non-condescending quality of the production hit my Goonies sweet spot like no other.   The audience for this – me, my local librarian, and just about every kid in the “podcasting know” – listened and re-listened, and the work (deservedly) won some major awards.  And this got me thinking – why aren’t we making cool stuff like this in museums?  

It’s been interesting to see how podcasts like Serial, S-Town, Two Dope Queens, etc. have changed up visitor expectations around audio in the cultural space.  We’re all adapting in our own ways and on our own schedules, but the shift is palpable.   I’m hearing a lot more risk-taking, a lot more intricate storytelling, a lot more messy voices “keeping it real,” and a lot less AUTHORITIES FROM ON HIGH TELLING YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.   As younger audiences become more fluent in high-quality podcasts like Mars Patel (and the many others referenced in this article), how might that impact what we produce for them in museums in the future?  

One thing’s for sure, I will be listening.

About Us

We are innovative storymakers and creative technologists devoted to visitor-first experiences.

We make audio tours, mobile apps, multimedia guides, podcasts, interactives, and superior story-driven content for the museum and cultural sector.

UK Office

The Office Group
20 Eastbourne Terrace
Paddington
London W2 6LG
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 3365 8600

US Office

15 River Road, Suite 15B
Wilton, CT 06897
USA
Tel: (203) 523-0320
Fax: (203) 354 5519
© 2019 Antenna International All rights reserved.
Our Podcast, Above the Fog. Listen Now