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With the podcast culture steadily growing in India, Goans too have started their own podcasts on diverse themes. NT BUZZ checks out a few

CHRISTINE MACHADO NT BUZZ

Perhaps you are out for a morning jog and tired of your playlist. Or on a long drive with no interesting music to keep you company. Or have some alone time but have nothing to read or are too lazy to watch something online. Tuning in to a podcast could be just what you need to amp up your spirits, while also many a times helping you learn something new.

Indeed, the podcast industry is only growing around the world, with India not far behind. In fact, PwC indicates that India is already the world’s third largest podcast market. And Goa too, has seen a spurt in podcasts in recent years.

BITS & Pieces Podcast and
NM8 Escape

“The reason why podcasts have started to pick up is because they are organic. They are real. In each episode, you get a true understanding of the people you are listening to,” says Noah Martins, who runs two podcasts ‘BITS & Pieces Podcast’ and ‘NM8 Escape’. Besides, he says, podcasts are a great means to consume information passively. “You could be cooking or driving, and listening to a podcast at the same time,” he adds.

Martins fell in love with podcasts after listening to Elon Musk on the ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ in 2018, and in June 2019 launched ‘NM8 Escape’ which focuses on local artistes.

On ‘BITS & Pieces Podcast’ meanwhile, Martins chats with entrepreneurs, business leaders, celebrities, etc. Past guests have included comedians Urooj Ashfaq and Aravind SA; founder of RedBus, Phanindra Sama, etc.

While NM8 Escape gets about 10,000 listeners per episode across platforms, BITS & Pieces gets about 1,000 listeners per episode. Episodes are usually out every alternate weekend and are available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and on his website.

“Since there isn’t really a culture of listening to podcasts in Goa yet, it’s been a challenge to grow an audience, but it’s great to see more Goans getting into podcasting now,” he says, adding that to start a podcast, the most important part is to begin. “Once you manage that, everything else will fall in place with a little creativity, ambition and persistence. You have to learn to edit video and audio, be able to create compelling pitches for guests, and find a way to market your podcast well to reach your target audience.” he says. “Also, people should not expect overnight success.” 

Podcasts are monetised by ads and sponsorship deals, and while he recently also got a sponsor for his show, money, says Martins, is not the motivation for doing this.

“I want to make ‘BITS & Pieces’, India’s top entrepreneurship podcast, and hopefully inspire a generation of driven, young individuals to follow their dreams and change the world,” he says.

Get Out

For the adventure buffs, Nikhil Shankar’s ‘Get Out’ podcast lets people listen in to inspirational people and learn how to explore the planet consciously.

Started in 2018, Shankar states that it all began after he noticed that some of his friends were doing amazing things in travel and adventure. “I wanted to share their stories in a candid way. So, I invited them home and started recording our conversations. I knew that this would offer me opportunities for new connections, while motivating me to get out more often. Hence the name!” he says.

‘Get Out’ episodes are usually released every Monday and are available on his website and on Apple podcasts, Spotify and Google podcasts.

The podcast has also helped him evolve as a person, Shankar says. “It’s given me a sort of a purpose to immerse in adventurous experiences, which I was not inclined to do earlier. So, from being a borderline introvert, I’m now able to hold lengthy conversations with strangers that interest me,” he says.

Shankar believes that podcasting can be a great addition to one’s marketing mix, whether as an individual or a brand. “There are plenty of resources online to hone your skills. If you’re interested in this medium and have a genuine passion for certain subjects, I would encourage you to start your podcast,” he says. “As a tip, do contact your musician friends and commission a jingle for your show, rather than using free music online. I wish I had done that.”

Shankar also hopes that Goa becomes a hub for the podcasting community and culture in India. “Goa has a unique concentration of people from various walks of life, so I expect to see more podcasts being produced here,” he says.

In fact, he states, the slowing down of life due to the pandemic has allowed people time to begin new projects, one among them being podcasting, and he predicts a further rise in podcasts.

 “I see more individuals and businesses embracing the podcast culture. Spotify, Apple, Audible and JioSaavn among others are investing heavily in this space,” he says.

And indeed, the pandemic induced lockdown did in fact see the advent of new podcasts, even among Goans.

The CricketNews.com Podcast

One among these is ‘The CricketNews.com Podcast’ with Sumedhh Bilgi where the latest from cricket and interviews of people from the sport are shared.

“I’ve been a content creator for over six years now, largely in the video space but it seems like India is opening up to audio content consumption as well. The lockdown saw a rise in listenership and thus the team and I at CricketNews.com, which is my current assignment, partnered with Hubhopper to have an original audio show,” he says.

Although not a Goa-based content piece, Bilgi who hails from Goa, has been producing the podcast from the state, after he came home from Mumbai just prior to the lockdown.

New episodes of the podcast are out every Saturday and are available on Hubhopper, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Gaana and also on CricketNews.com (podcast).

“As life becomes faster and multi-tasking the norm, podcasts are the more viable option to consume entertainment,” he says, adding that in the future they may consider monetising their podcast.

Voices over Virus:
The Lockdown Log

Another interesting podcast born during the lockdown, ‘Voices over Virus: The Lockdown Log’, centres on stories of people who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Episodes include a chat with Edgar Remedios, the first person in Goa to recover from COVID-19 and Vijaya Pais of Goa Humanitarian Helpline, which is assisting the migrant community in the state during these times.

 “I’ve been listening to podcasts for awhile and had discussed the podcast idea with my sister Skitter and some friends many months ago but we hadn’t got down to actually doing it,” says Sean Faia, who is part of the team that began the podcast.

However, when the lockdown was announced, and egged on by friends, they decided to get things rolling. “The challenge was to get all the recording and editing done outside the studio as all of us were working from home,” says Faia. The team also had network issues and often had to conduct interviews over the phone as people are reluctant to meet physically. But Faia says that people give it a try if they want to try something new. “Now is better a time than any,” he says. 

New episodes of their podcast are out once a week and are available on the Apple, Google and Spotify podcast platforms apart from Audioboom, TuneIn, Deezer, Jio Saavn, etc. 

“On an average we get around 250 listeners per episode,” says Faia, who believes that the podcast trend will definitely catch on in Goa.

“It is estimated that 40 million of India’s internet users listen to podcasts, according to recent business news reports. Goa has an audience of listeners too who tend to tune in to international and national podcasts. But there are a few Goan podcasters I have come across who are creating interesting content,” he says.

Live from Lockdown Library

Panaji-based Bookworm Library has also gotten into podcasting with aplomb. Their podcast series, ‘Live from Lockdown Library’ began on May 18, with two episodes released every week (Monday and Thursday) on Spotify, YouTube, Anchor and social media sites including  Instagram and Facebook.

The podcast is aimed at people in the library and community engagement field. The series consists of 13 episodes of 12-14 minutes where leaders in the library field are interviewed. On average 300 listeners tune in to each podcast.

 “The lockdown declared libraries as non essential. However, in our understanding of library work, we see library people as forefront community responders. In order to refresh our own visions and listen to others in the field of development work, we decided to host and produce this series,” says Anandita Rao, who is part of the team that hosts the podcast.

“The podcasts are a means of reaching out to each individual and to a community of educators, to share ideas of how we could go forward, why there is a need to not lose sight of our vision for libraries amidst all that is happening, and to know that we are part of a larger community, and not alone,” she adds.

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