Early this year, podcasters in Africa and the diaspora received the sad news of the cancellation of the 2023 Africa Podfest. Though this was a disappointment, it didn’t spell the end for Africa Podcast Day this year. Africa Podfest, Afripods, Baraza Media Lab, and many others prepared new ways to celebrate African podcasters on Sunday, 12th February. It was a massive success, and here’s why…
After the Podfest cancellation, Africa Podfest Ltd found other ways to celebrate Africa podcast Day. After all, they are the brains behind it. Firstly, They called on podcasters to celebrate African podcasting virtually. They also prepared a set of Africa Podcast Day 2023 graphics for podcasters to download and use alongside their original posts. The theme for these posts was sharing what podcasting meant to African podcasters.
They also asked podcasters via Twitter to share how they would celebrate this day and tag them in their celebratory posts using the hashtag #AfricaPodcastDay2023.
Podcasters received this positively and replied, sharing their plans for the day. Meanwhile, Africa Podfest also urged listeners to tag and mention their “favorite African podcast storytellers and podcasts.”, listen to new episodes, and let their favorite podcasters feel appreciated.
Afripods celebrated Africa Podcast Day with interactions with the local and international podcasting community. As usual, they aimed to share and amplify stories about Africa through podcasting. They had an exciting lineup of inspiring and informative panels with podcasting leaders. These panels included talks on data in podcasting, planning a podcast festival, running a podcasting network, education and media in podcasting, and audio opportunity in Africa. Live streams of the panels are on Youtube for podcasters everywhere to access them whenever they want.
Meanwhile, here are some of the important discoveries from the panels:
Data in African Podcasting
Afripod’s Angela Machua hosted the panel on Data in Podcasting with Gabriel Soto, Edison Research’s Director of Research, and Melissa Mbugua, Co-Founder and Director of Africa Podfest. The panellists discussed the importance of data in the growth of the podcasting industry in Africa. They also discussed completed research and its importance in the growth of African podcasting.
However, panellists noted their research’s limits because of the sample size. This is because of the digital methods used to carry out the research. Not everyone in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, the countries that the research centered on, have phones and access to the internet. Their research did not include the whole of Africa because of costs. Meanwhile, panellists suggested that funders and collaborations in research projects can ease the challenges. This would also help expand research boundaries to get accurate insights and trends in the podcasting industry.
Planning a Podcast Festival
This panel had podcast festival founders, Kim Fox of Cairo Podfest, and Sinatou Saka of Oxo Podfest. The two shared their challenges and opportunities in the African podcasting community. According to them, the growing number of potential podcast listeners inspired them to start podcast festivals. They wanted to educate people about podcasting, share information, and create a community.
However, Sinatou highlighted that lack of funds to host a festival is the biggest challenge. She also mentioned that it was hard for her to find women speakers for her event. On the other hand, Kim did not share Sinatou’s challenges. She mentioned not having issues with funds because of her affiliation with the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and no trouble in finding female speakers, either. Kim suggested that affiliations with a university can help festival founders in terms of funding and event space.
Additionally, the panellists discussed how the podcasting communities in Anglophone Africa and Francophone Africa can support each other. They also looked at integrating African languages into the festivals to make them more inclusive.
Running A Podcasting Network
If you are wondering how to build a successful podcasting network, this panel is for you. The session had lively discussions on podcast networks with Gold Coast Report co-founder, Donald Aryee, Dan Aceda, founder and CEO at SemaBOX, and Gavin Kennedy of Solid Gold Podcasts. The panellists highlighted their inspiring factors for building podcast networks. They also shared insight on how they choose their creatives in mentorship and collaboration programs. Meanwhile, Panelists had a chance to share tips for podcasters looking to create podcast networks.
The Audio Opportunity in Africa
In this session, Dan Franks, Co-Founder and President of Podcast Movement, Doris Onyango, Production Manager at SemaBOX Africa, and Gavin Kennedy, Founder, and CEO of Solid Gold Podcast, discussed the state of the podcasting industry. They answered the question, “is Africa important to the growth of podcasting?
Panellists’ response showed that there are many audio opportunities in Africa. According to them, Africa’s youthful population is always looking for exciting ways to consume media. Podcasting, as an emerging medium offers exciting ways for young people in Africa to consume media.
The panellists also noted that Africa’s strong historical oral tradition offers many stories to share worldwide. Gavin Kennedy highlighted that podcasting solves the challenges of data costs and remote access to the internet because of its downloadable format, too.
Education and Media in African Podcasting
Here, Kim Fox, Founder of Podfest Cairo, Tony Doe, founder of Podcast Related Newsletter, and Rutendo Nyamuda, founder of Podcast Sessions, discussed the role of education and media in shaping the African podcasting ecosystem.
Panellists highlighted the similarities between radio and podcasting. According to them, podcasting is just another medium in mass media, meaning it’s not too different when it comes to skills of content production. However, they also noted that podcasting is still a new phenomenon in Africa. Many people still do not know what a podcast is, so there’s a great need to educate people about it. Not just to make them aware of podcasting, but to teach them how to create their own.
Africa Podcast Day & The Future
Through the panels and social media threads, podcasters and industry leaders in Africa and beyond celebrated Africa Podcast Day. They also worked together to find solutions to challenges in the industry. Meanwhile, Afripods also hosted an in-person event for Kenyan podcasters in Nairobi in collaboration with @semabox and @BarazaLab.
The day’s events brought reassurance for new and exciting programs after the cancellation of Africa Podfest. There is a huge potential for podcast growth in the continent, and it’s important to build on this momentum. Hopefully, we will see more new opportunities and events for African podcasters throughout 2023 and beyond. This is not just essential for podcasting in Africa, but for the podcasting medium as a whole.