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The Spoken Word – Podcasts.ie

Writing.ie | Resources | Words in Many Forms

Kevin Massey

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Looking for a new way to connect with your audience? Some new technologies make a swift transition between elective to essential. Webcasts have been around since late the 1990s but the advent of the iPod and its move toward global domination has seen a surge in the popularity of podcasts.

This meteoric rise has fostered the creation of Podcasts.ie. Podcasts.ie – Voices from Ireland, is a website delivering high quality free audio content from Irish writers of poetry, prose and song as well as documentaries, story-telling and radio style programmes about our culture, heritage and the arts.

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Podcasts.ie is the brainchild of Jho Harris and Sinéad McClure of All Points West Media Services in Culfadda, County Sligo. Former producers of Artbeat on Mid West Radio, Jho and Sinéad are seasoned radio producers and broadcasters whose work includes a ten year stint at the helm of ‘Artbeat;, they have also worked with Lyric FM on a series dealing specifically with Irish literature and have produced many documentaries on history and heritage, most of which had local writers as guest presenters. More recently they have been involved with RTE Junior Radio writing and producing an original children’s drama series. A second children’s dramatised story telling series has been approved for production in late summer 2011.

Jho and Sinéad’s love of the medium of sound and its remarkable ability to transport the listener to places without visual clues, coupled with a passion for Irish Literature and Music and more than a dash of experience in the industry brought them to found Podcasts.ie. Dedicated to spreading the Irish people’s unique ability for story-telling and its unsurpassed culture and heritage across the world, Podcasts.ie is a place to discover or rediscover the finer points of our writers,  culture, heritage and history. New Podcasts are added a rate of two or three per week to ensure that each visit will yield a new opportunity for learning and enjoyment.

The site underwent extensive testing in the latter part of 2009 to ensure ease of use and that maximum sound quality could be maintained without too much strain on bandwidth. After satisfactory testing, the site went live and has attracted over 1 million page views since January 1st 2010. Aside from the fantastic writers who have recorded exclusive content so far, a host of talented authors have agreed to add their work to the site. In June 2010, the site was offered the use of the entire back catalogue of RTE Radio’s multi-award winning series, The Documentary On One. In addition to this, the archives of All Points West Media Services are also available among their growing list of over 170 podcasts.

On Podcasts.ie you will hear recordings from writers, song smiths and documentary makers – exclusive interviews as well as personal podcasts sharing the story behind some of their best known work, followed by a reading/ performance of the piece in question.

On the commercial side, the company can also offer companies, particular those in the tourism and leisure business’ an opportunity to get their message across using the unique and popular medium of podcasting, a method proving to be far more cost effective than radio advertising.

The podcast has seen a change to the radio audience, liberating them from the constraints of scheduled programming by offering their product on demand. It opened up the radio show to a greater ‘word of mouth’ audience, and it can have the same effect on websites.

There is greater competition than ever to engage and connect with the public, and with the increasing speed of information and internet traffic, gaining a foothold in the public’s attention means you must adapt to their lifestyle. For writers, the podcast offers an opportunity to connect with their audience, making content portable and adaptable. Those who do not have time to sit down and read your content can listen to your podcast while driving, in the gym or relaxing after a hard day’s work.

Availability and ease are the main selling points of a podcast. They can be produced with little or no cost, an invaluable trait when it comes to self-promotion.  Podcasts.ie offer their services free to both visitors of the site and to published writers.  They also want to hear from unpublished short story writers for a historical letter writing project currently in the planning stage.  They always look for fresh and engaging content to feature on the website, their aim is to encourage writers to adapt podcasting into their work. Published writers receive their own page on Podcast.ie which highlights their work as well as a link back to their own website.  They are looking for writers who are using or want to use podcasts to expand and develop their audience, so if you are a published writer, do contact them to discuss recording an interview or reading. Writing.ie will also be featuring more podcasts to accompany our interviews, courtesy of Podcasts.ie

If you enjoy all things Irish including stories, readings, unplugged music performances, or documentaries delivered through the medium of sound, log on to http://www.podcasts.ie and enjoy!

About the author

(c) Kevin Massey June 2011.

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