Podcasting. A beautiful word. It explains something magic. A voice. A tone. A story with people, facts, dreams and so on.

Here  is what Siobhan McHugh teaches about podcasting.

Siobhan is a writer, oral historian, radio documentary and podcast producer and podcast critic.

She teaches at the University of Wollongong (Australia). She was interviewed by Grace Stranger, a graduate in Journalism and Arts at the University of Wollongong.

The interview was published on the online course “The power of Podcasting for Storytelling”.

What’s Podcasting? A very personal medium

Grace Stranger and professor Siobhan McHugh

Grace Stranger (left) and Siobhan McHugh

Podcasting is very close to radio. But it’s more personal. Through podcast you can converate one-to-one.

Podcasting is an opt-in medium.

The listener chooses if and when to listen to you. So when you meet a new podcast online, it’s like finding a new friend.

Podcasting is warm and informal.

Podcasting can provide a lot of insight and information.

Or it can be really lighthearted and just for fun. It’s so wide ranging

Because you are so personal with the audio, you have a better opportunity to connect with the stories and with the characters.

You do have more chances to develop a relationship with these stories and the listener than in other forms of media, like print or TV.

With podcasts and with audio, there are various things that are unique:

  • When you interview somebody for audio, you don’t have to worry about your appearance. So they are much more relaxed.
  • Audio doesn’t care whether you’re bold or beautiful, black or white, old or young. So people tend to give you more revelatory interviews.
  • It triggers the imagination: it’s a theatre of the mind. You can’t see the person talking, so the listener supplies the details in your imagination just like you do when you’re reading a good novel.
  • You have the image of the person speaking, and that invests you in the storytelling. It makes you a co-creator. So you’re not just a passive recipient like with television. So it stays with you and has more impact.
  • You can hear the actual voice of the person. So you can hear emotion, mood, accents. You can hear how they’re feeling, and that develops empathy and connection.


Podcasting is an “opt-in medium”

Podcasting - a medium useful to express feelings and telling stories

Podcasting allows content to be broadcast and distributed via audio files over the internet.

Podcasts can be downloaded or listened to online with a device such as a computer, smartphone or tablet.

Podcasts usually are subscribed to by the listener. So that updates to the information in the forms of ‘episodes’ can be identified.

Podcasting and its benefits:

  • Flexible: you can listen to it as you like, when you like and what you like
  • Podcasting can be cheap and easy to make
  • A companion as you do other things


Links to very good podcasting series

Podcasts from different genres.

Serial - Podcasting -

The screenshot of Serial’s website


  • Phoebe’s Fall – A major investigation by The Age newsroom in Melbourne, Australia, into the death of Phoebe Handsjuk, who was found at the bottom
    of a garbage chute in a luxury apartment building.
  • Serial – Serial tells a true story over the course of a season.

Society and Culture

  • Heavyweight – Jonathan Goldstein goes back to the moment everything changed.
  • Millennial – A podcast about what no one really teaches you — how to manoeuvre your 20s post-graduation. Hosted by Megan Tan.


  • Science Friction – Sex, death, war, parenting, politics, climate change, obesity — science is at the heart of the hot-button issues of our time.

News & Politics

  • New York Times – The Daily –  Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.

Maurizio Corte

AUDIO: “WHAT IS PODCASTING?” – Professor Siobhan McHugh interviewed by Grace Stranger (University of Wollongong)


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