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JM Podcasting Services

Podcast Coach for Disability Services

S13E5: Ditch the Disability Label ~ Build On Abilities

Given what we’ve covered in this season, “Smashing Ableism”, and knowing we can use the technology and mics to record anyone in any situation. What would a ten episode season look like if we focused on people’s abilities and not their deficits? I’ll focus on the ten episode season and their benefits to show how what’s possible.

Serialised podcast seasons allow disability services to delve into complex topics, develop narratives and foster listener engagement over an extended period. A 10-episode season offers a sweet spot, providing enough room for content exploration without listener fatigue. However, crafting a compelling season requires a well-defined format that structures the narrative arc and guides listener expectations. This exploration delves into various formats that can be effectively utilised for a 10-episode podcast season.

The Deep Dive: A Scholarly Exploration

This format focuses on a single, overarching theme, providing an in-depth exploration across the 10 episodes. Each episode tackles a specific facet of the theme, either chronologically or thematically. Experts, interviews and case studies can be woven into the narrative to offer diverse perspectives and enrich the content. 

Pros:

  • Deep audience engagement with a well-defined topic.
  • Allows for a comprehensive exploration of complex subjects.
  • Creates a sense of cohesion and narrative progression.

Cons:

  • May limit appeal to listeners with broader interests.
  • Requires a topic with enough depth to sustain 10 episodes.
  • Can feel repetitive if not approached with creative storytelling techniques.

Example: A 10-episode season on the NDIS. From onboarding to steps through the system to current changes and updates. The different roles within the scheme from service coordinators to advocates to support staff would be of use to the new service user and a refresher for the older hands. An addendum episode could be produced whenever there’s a major change in the operation of the scheme.

The Interview Odyssey: Conversations with Diverse Voices

This format centres around interviews with prominent figures, experts or individuals with unique experiences relevant to the chosen theme. Each episode features a new guest, offering a fresh perspective and fostering dynamic conversation.

Pros:

  • Provides a platform for diverse voices and perspectives.
  • Offers an engaging and dynamic listening experience.
  • Guests can attract new listeners interested in their expertise.

Cons:

  • Requires strong interviewing skills from the host to maintain listener engagement.
  • Finding and scheduling guests can be time-consuming.
  • Maintaining thematic cohesion across diverse interviews can be challenging.

Example: A 10-episode season exploring overcoming depression from those with the lived experience. You could substitute depression for any theme you wished to follow. This style of season would focus on the efficacy of the individual and those who have and continue to support them in their life’s journey. The lived experience being key to avoiding any “Ableist” sentiment creeping in.

The Narrative Arc: A Story Unfolding

This format utilises storytelling techniques to create a serialised narrative that unfolds over the season. Each episode advances the plot, introduces new characters and keeps listeners invested in the outcome. This format can be particularly effective for investigative journalism, true crime stories or fictional narratives. As an aside, I’ve always thought a “1930s radio play” style season, written and performed by clients would be an absolute smash hit. If anyone else thinks so email me and we’ll make it happen.

Pros:

  • Creates a highly engaging and addictive listening experience.
  • Fosters a sense of community among listeners who follow the story together.
  • Offers flexibility for creative storytelling and exploration of complex themes.

Cons:

  • Requires meticulous planning and scripting to ensure a cohesive narrative.
  • May alienate listeners who prefer more episodic content.
  • The success of the season hinges on the strength of the central story.

Example: A 10-episode season following a client as they decide to start yoga. Episode one, discussing why, episode 2 getting the team on board, episode 3 finding a yoga teacher, episode 4 exploring possible positions and so on.

The Local Lens: Unearthing Hidden Histories

This format focuses on the history of a specific location, delving into its cultural tapestry, significant events and unsung heroes. Local historians, residents and archival recordings can be incorporated to create a rich and immersive experience.

Pros:

  • Creates a sense of community and pride for local listeners.
  • Offers a unique perspective on broader historical narratives.
  • Unearths lesser-known stories and forgotten figures.

Cons:

  • May have limited appeal to listeners outside the specific geographic area.
  • Requires thorough research and access to local archives.
  • Striking a balance between factual accuracy and narrative flow can be challenging.

Example: A 10-episode season exploring the history of a disability service for an anniversary, say 50 years since founding. It might be possible to talk to the founders or their children, long term clients, staff, for CEOs etc. “Look where we started, let’s see where we’re going.” sort of vibe.

The World of Fiction: A Soundscape Story

This format utilises sound design, voice acting and music to create a fully immersive fictional narrative. Each episode advances the plot and deepens the listener’s connection to the characters and world. This format allows for exploring fantasy, science fiction or historical fiction themes.

Pros:

  • Offers immense creative freedom and limitless storytelling possibilities.
  • Creates a highly engaging and interactive listening experience.
  • Can attract listeners with pre-existing interest in the chosen genre.

Cons:

  • Requires significant production skills for sound design and voice acting.
  • May alienate listeners who prefer non-fictional content.
  • The success hinges on the effectiveness of the writing and sound design.

Example: A 10-episode season set as I mentioned before in 1030s style radio play. A detective/superhero type solving mysteries or saving the world from some sort of catastrophe. It would be fun to do, email me if you’re up for it. Link in the show notes.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Format

The ideal format for your 10-episode podcast season depends on your chosen theme, target audience and storytelling goals. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, you can create a compelling structure that engages listeners and delivers a satisfying audio experience. You can build upon the strengths of your people, produce first rate entertainment and build skills in your client base that have nothing to do with their diagnosed conditions. 

If you’d like your service to build upon the abilities of your people through a podcast, JMPS can assist through the JMPS group coaching program.

The Program Promise: After the Six Month of Group Coaching you will have at least one: 10 episode season live.

And all the knowledge and creative drive to create ongoing seasons.

You’ll be: Set Up For Success

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in click the link in the show notes: Dreamer to Podcaster.