I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on why I’m into podcasting for World Radio Day.
I’m the producer and presenter of the Decentered Media Podcast. It’s a podcast about community media. It gives me the opportunity to talk with ordinary people who are independently creating their own media. This can be community radio, it can be community newspapers and magazines, it can be blogs and Web sites, and so on. I also talk with co-ordinators, managers and leaders of civic and business organisations, about how they use media for positive social change. I call this social value communications, as it connects with CSR principles, and it’s an under-recognised part of the social economy.
I like talking to people and finding out what motivates them. This involves spending time with people to listen to their stories. It entails fostering a sense of confidence to open-up about their hopes and ambitions. To do this I have to be informed and knowledgeable about their work, which is based on thorough research. Showing them appreciation and understanding of what it takes to be an innovator, to be creative, and to sustain a community service or social business.
I like to listen to what people are describing. I like to focus on the way a person creates a mental picture of their experiences. What I enjoy is to focus on any observations that will resonate with listeners, which tell us why their role is important. I want to know what is it that makes the difference?
I like travelling about and meeting and talking to people who have different stories to tell. I can do this over the Internet, but it’s better to meet in person. I’ve never worked in broadcast radio, so I’m self-taught, bad habits and all. I have, however, taught and trained many different people to produce and create their own audio content, and tell their own stories in their own voice.
I’m a frequent user of social media, where I like to share stories using images and videos of the work I do. Opening the process and including people in the journey of discovery. When I meet people in different places and situations, I like to look at how they are engaged with their communities. That’s where people are alive. In their home settings. In the place where they feel they belong.
I like telling stories about social change, and particularly positive social change. If an audience can identify with the people who are telling a story, then they will find it easier to make changes in their own lives and practices. Change is easier when we understand what somebody else, similar to ourselves, has gone through. Being inclusive when we tell these stories is essential and fascinating.
I’ve made over fifty Decentered Media podcasts, and there’s a long way to go to grow them. The help and support that I get from John Coster at the Documentary Media Centre has been, and continues to be invaluable. Pathfinding and testing ideas is something that I find satisfying, so the chance to use my skills and experience to help community groups, civic organisations, public bodies and business to make podcasts, and to bring about positive community-led social change, is very appealing.