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Podcast for Children in Guelph

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We interviewed Andrew Whitfield who is the co creator of a local kids podcast called Podikins This was what he had to say below.

Please tell us a bit about you, your friend and Podikins Presents.

My name is Andrew Whitfield and I’m one of the co-founders of Podikins Creative Audio, and our podcast channel, Podikins Presents. James Nicholson is the other co-founder. I live in Guelph with my wife, Norah, and 16 month old daughter, Josephine, and work as a librarian. James lives in Guelph with his partner Hilary and their two dogs, Percy and Bella. James is working on a PhD in English Literature but he’s been pretty distracted with podcast production and sound design lately.

Our podcast channel, Podikins Presents, features unique, fun, and interactive episodes in a variety of formats. In some episodes, we tell stories or perform a skit. In others, we have an activity for our listeners to try out. All of our episodes aim to inspire creativity through a wacky, playful, and sometimes downright silly use of language and sound.

What inspired you to create a podcast for children?

When we were looking for podcasts to play for our respective nieces and nephews we were both a little surprised by the lack of high-quality offerings in the Kids & Family section of the iTunes Podcast Directory. James had produced and hosted a podcast before and he proposed that we try our hand at creating engaging and screen-free audio activities for kids to enjoy with their parents, caregivers, or teachers.

Since we’re both really into sound and music, we wanted to create something sound-rich with high production values, as well as being creative and interactive. We figure that if we can make audio that’s engaging enough to keep our nieces and nephews interested, then other kids might be into it too!

What topics or themes do you plan on focusing on in future podcasts?

We plan to continue to experiment with sound and to engage our audience through stories, skits, and activities. Original and improvised storytelling will always be featured prominently, but we also plan to continue to experiment with audience interaction and audio activities. Some activities we’re currently brainstorming include songwriting, drawing activities, joke writing and identifying sounds (a follow-up to our popular “Sound Sleuth” activity).

How do you decide on each week's focus?

A big part of what we do, and what we explore, is based on listener response and interest, but one of our guiding principles for each episode is “Hear, Think, Wonder” and we strive to ensure every episode we release can fulfill those tenets. (But, really, we’re making it up as we go along!)

In terms of our process, it usually goes like this: early in the week we have a production meeting to discuss and brainstorm potential show concepts. Once we’ve hammered out our concept, the next step is writing a script, followed by recording. After that, James takes over with editing and sound design. The draft goes through multiple iterations before the end of the week. The final step is the mixing process, which ensures that everything sounds right, and then we release the show to iTunes first thing Saturday morning.

What age range is your target audience?

Another of our guiding principles is to create engaging content for curious and creative minds, age 0-99. Our target audience is definitely kids aged 6 and up, but we hope that younger children will find the sounds, voices, and music exciting, and that adults will find the episodes unique and interesting (and maybe even entertaining!)

Do you have special guest speakers?

At the moment, we don’t. But we do plan on having some special guests in upcoming episodes.

How do your careers influence your desire to create a podcast for children?

As a librarian, I’m passionate about storytelling, language, and learning. James, being a English PhD candidate, as well as a burgeoning audio producer, is equally passionate about storytelling, education and sound design.

Why do you think there aren't more podcasts for children?

It remains something of a mystery to us, but we doubt it will stay this way for long. It seems like kids really enjoy podcasts, so it’s inevitable that the quality and selection will improve going forward. There are already some great options out there (although not a lot), so we’re just hoping to add Podikins to that list!

How can families find and listen to your podcast?

Check out Podikins.fm or search for Podikins Presents on your favourite podcast app.

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