Over the past couple of years, podcasts have been growing in popularity as more and more content creators realise the increasing need for content on-demand. There is a podcast for almost everything under the sun and most people have that must-listen-to podcast that they’re recommending to friends and relatives. Whether it’s about romance, politics, business or mental wellness, there is a podcast for everyone. The podcast phenomenon has also seen steady growth in Africa. Founder of Lutcha – a digital podcasting company – Mashudu Modau is determined to ensure that podcast culture grows and thrives on the continent.
Podcasts have been noted as “one of the fastest-growing digital formats” through which content is shared (Forbes, 2018). For those who still aren’t quite sure what a podcast is, it is a form of content production and distribution that offers “radio on-demand” and allows the listener to listen to the content whenever and wherever they wish. Podcast episodes are prerecorded and are usually published on platforms such as Soundcloud, Google Podcasts, Spotify, And Apple Podcasts. Audiences also have the option to subscribe to a podcast so that they can be notified every time a new podcast episode is published. Mashudu Madau has dedicated his time and resources to championing the growth of podcasts in Africa; he does this through his company, Lutcha, which aims to change the African Millennial narrative through digital content.
Mashudu describes himself as a youth entrepreneurship evangelist. “What this means is that I spend my time and as many resources as I can afford on creating platforms, experiences, and resources that enable, empower and educate young people on what it takes to start, build and grow a business.” It is this passion that saw Mashudu start the Mash Startup Podcast in 2017. The podcast is centred around the needs of young entrepreneurs in Africa, equipping them with all they need to build sustainable businesses. While the aim was to empower them, he also wanted them to know more about the journey to success. For Mashudu, it was important to share “entrepreneur stories in a way that the media wasn’t. South Africa’s media is really about victory laps; when you go on radio or TV, what they’re going to ask you about is how much has your business succeeded and what your wins are, but no one’s really talking about the process, no one’s talking about what it takes to build things that matter and what [the process] will take from you.”
From his own journey, Mashudu realised the value of the millennial voice, particularly in the African context, and the need for millennial-driven narratives and platforms for them to be expressed and shared. He wanted to create a platform for content creators who are interested in a variety of topics, whether it’s sports, health and wellness, lifestyle or branding. Lutcha was formed to establish a network of African podcasters who had something valuable to offer listeners.
Lutcha is committed to creating “empowering, engaging & valuable digital content, to build immersive audio experiences for African millennial audiences.” It is a platform that supports and encourages stories that are shared in a genuine and authentic manner. The Lutcha network currently has six podcasts and they hope to scale to about 25 by the end of 2020. In addition to having a network of local podcasts, Lutcha also offers a podcast guide to help those who want to start their own podcast. The guide includes information on which apps to use, which mics to use, and how to edit and publish your podcast. “We’re trying to build a massive media organisation that’s run, built and created by young people on the continent and across the world,” says Mashudu.
It’s quite easy to start a podcast and apps such as Anchor have made it even easier. As long as your phone has a microphone, you can start creating content that you want to share with the world. As easy as it is to start a podcast, there is so much more to creating a sustainable podcast than pressing record. Mashudu offers the following tips for anyone interested in starting a podcast:
Your content needs to be valuable and impactful so that you can build and sustain a community of listeners.
The continent is ripe with enriching and relevant content and there are many African young podcasters who are not afraid to tackle controversial topics. The Lutcha website offers a podcast library that has podcasts from Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora. There is a plethora of interesting podcasts that focus on a variety of issues that are relevant to African millennials.
An African country that is seeing a rise of podcasts is Kenya, which is the first African country to host a podcast festival. Founded by Paula Rogo and Melissa Mbugua, Africa Podfest will be taking place in Africa’s innovation hub, Nairobi. The purpose of the festival is to create a space for African podcasters to come together, learn from one another, share experiences, and celebrate and shape the future of African podcasts. According to Mashudu, “They are trying to champion podcasts into a movement on the continent by introducing Africa Podcast Day,” which is observed on the 12th of February. Besides South Africa and Kenya, other African countries that are seeing a rise in podcasts include Nigeria and Rwanda.
When asked whether brands can benefit from the rise of podcasts, Mashudu did not hesitate to say “yes!” Through podcasts, brands have access to a captivated audience, i.e. they already have the attention of a particular target group that has chosen to subscribe to the podcast. This gives brands the perfect opportunity to reach audiences that are already seeking content that is related to their products and services. “Brands can find people that are really authentically building communities and can use that to really drive their own messaging or launch and share new products through podcasts,” says Mashudu, who believes that podcasts are a great channel for companies to tell their brand stories and educate stakeholders on the value of what they offer.
Mashudu is very optimistic about the future of podcasts on the continent. He truly believes that the millennial voice is what will shape the future of Africa, and podcasts are powerful channels that will empower young people and foster authentic and meaningful dialogue around issues that matter.
Greenwald, M. (2018). What’s Really Driving The Limitless Growth Of Podcasts? Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/michellegreenwald/2018/10/04/why-podcasts-will-continue-to-grow-why-its-great-for-brands/#50b88da3205f