Friday, October 21, 2022
Podcast Spotlight: When the intimate meets the universal
Podcasts allow listeners to choose when they listen to the recording, they can listen to you while walking, during a load of laundry or even by the pool. When they choose to listen to you, they are highly attentive and disconnected from their screens. Listening habits reveal that listening to a podcast is a personal choice. Listeners typically use headphones to do so. 

Unlike traditional radio, podcast listening is done alone and not in an open area, with family or with a partner. There is therefore direct contact with the listener, which gives an “intimate” dimension to the podcast and a special relationship with the audience.

Does the podcast format really serve the needs of your project?
In the early stages of your project ask yourself why you chose this format? How does the podcast format really serve your project? That’s a question that needs to be answered, because some topics are best covered on traditional radio and others are best covered in pictures or in writing.

What makes your idea eligible for the podcast format? 

These thoughts lead us to the main subject of this article, which is the intimate meeting the universal. Once you’ve determined beyond a shadow of a doubt that the podcast format best serves your purpose, you need to think about the universal resonance of the story being told. 
Who do you want to reach and why is your topic relevant to the intended audience?

I would go even further, how can people connect with your story? Why are people interested in it? It's perfectly normal, even essential, for a quest to start with you and be carried by someone, but there is a clear distinction to be made between a story that is about you (only) and one that is of public interest. 

In some cases, you will have to expose your most intimate thoughts and sometimes even those of your loved ones. Surely, you must be prepared to put your guts on the line and suffer the consequences.

What is intimate? It is a situation that you have experienced personally. 
You must have been there, it’s something that you live with, that you’ve experienced in your flesh and that connects you to your roots. Intimacy is something that you carry deep inside you and that links you to your origins and to your personality.

What is the intimate that is not universal?

It is a story that belongs to you and that cannot be shared, for lack of common bases. In other words, it is an experience that cannot be translated and only understood by the people who were present. What is the universal? It is precisely when there are common grounds that can be shared with others. The others can contribute to the reflection, which is not possible with an intimate history that is not universal. The universal contributes to a collective reflection. All listeners understand the implications. A universal intimate story allows us to see that we are not alone in this experience.

The universal is often political and sometimes even polarizing, but it also reminds us that society needs to share ideas and have proper discussions. Intimacy and universality are therefore inseparable in order to allow a true dialogue. A podcast series for the benefit of all lets an intimate view appear with a universal treatment that favors a collective reflection.

In conclusion, despite the intimate nature of the podcast format, the stories that are heard must leave the realm of individual intimacy. The direct and privileged relationship established with the listener allows for a dialogue based on universal common grounds and encourages individual reflection for the benefit of society as a whole. The direct format of the podcast gives it a societal impact that is both intimate and collective. Next time you have an idea for a podcast, think about what the story you want to tell says about all of us, as a society, not just as individuals.

About the Author: Anik Magany
Born in Boucherville to Haitian immigrant parents, Anik Magny studied communications at Concordia University. After graduating, she got her start as a digital reporter while writing about art and cultural diversity on the Quebec arts scene. After a one-year stint as a reporter with Canal Évasion, she went on to join the team at Zone 3, serving in a variety of roles before becoming host of the documentary series L’art érotique on ICI ARTV. Since 2019, Anik has focused on producing feature films and documentary series that promote diversity in all its forms and will make a difference to the collective consciousness of Quebecers. Her credits include collaborations with the National Film Board, Yzanakio, Catbird Productions and Terre Innue. In 2020, she developed a passion for audio art after working on Telling Our Twisted Histories a podcast produced for CBC. 

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This is a guest column for the COPA judges so they can share some of their wisdom with the industry. The COPA Judges are the who's who of the publishing industry in Canada.  COPA Judging Panel Link 
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