There are close to 3 million podcasts and 140 million podcast episodes in existence, with 440,000 education podcasts alone. It was into this landscape of a firehose of content and a cacophony of voices that I launched my podcast, The Edu Salon, at the beginning of 2022.
Why start a podcast, especially in such a saturated market? As a listener, I enjoy the long form nature of podcasts as an intimate speaking and listening medium. There is an authenticity to the unscripted spoken word that allows for free-ranging storytelling and immersion in topics. For me, launching a podcast was about providing a space, or holding the space, for meaningful connection and rich conversation around education. It was about sharing important voices and diverse perspectives, with a focus on education as a service to humanity, democracy, equity, and community. I have a long and exciting list of potential guests.
While there is an overwhelming amount of podcasts and podcast content out there, according to Listen Notes almost 100,000 podcasts officially ‘died’ in 2021. Some statistics indicate that about 75% of existing podcasts have ‘podfaded’, and are no longer publishing new episodes. Podcast experts say that of new podcasts, half don’t make it past Episode 7. Apparently a further 50% of that 50% don’t make it to Episode 14, and only 20% of podcasts make it beyond one year.
The Edu Salon has today published its 14th episode. Episodes are 40-45 minutes long, released fortnightly on a Sunday morning (Australian time) and each features a wide-ranging conversation with a guest from around the world. Guests so far hail from Australia, Ireland/Spain, the USA, Canada, England, Mexico and Scotland/Hong Kong. They range from professors and researchers to teachers, school leaders, advisors, and consultants.
Episodes to date are as follows.
- Christian van Nieuwerburgh on coaching for optimal performance and optimal wellbeing
- Jacob Easley II on equity, agency and measurement in education
- Vivienne Porritt on gender equity, impact and courage in education
- Adam Voigt on restorative practices and restoring teaching
- Amanda Heffernan on principals’ lives, work, and wardrobes
- Santiago Rincón-Gallardo on living, liberating and leading learning
- Victoria Showunmi on identity, gender, race and class in education
- Dennis Shirley on change, wellbeing and engagement in education
- Marnee Shay on Indigenous education, research, and representation
- Dylan Wiliam on learning, teaching, and cultures of continuous improvement
- Paul Campbell on leadership, pracademia, and collaboration
- Trista Hollweck on professional learning, wellbeing and community
- Tracey Ezard on leading for collaboration, culture and growth
My podcast set up is low-tech. I have a portable microphone and a decent set of headphones. I subscribe to a platform that allows me to record interviews with guests remotely. And I use the basic features of free audio-editing software to get episodes ready for release.
Conversations are unscripted, although I share with guests the final five questions I will ask, the first of which is fast becoming my favourite: What is something unexpected that many people might not know about you? I have discovered some fascinating things about people. Hosting these conversations reminds me a little of conducting the narrative interviews for my PhD. It isn’t often in our busy lives that we are deeply listened to by someone seeking to understand more about us and our thinking. Guests often comment that they appreciate the opportunity to talk and enjoy the conversation. One remarked that it was ‘like therapy’. As the host, I am energised and nourished by the opportunity to spend time in deep dive conversations with great minds and inspiring practitioners in the education space. I am incredibly grateful to my guests for their time, knowledge, and generosity in sharing their expertise and experience.
While The Edu Salon is focused on the field of education, I get fantastic feedback from listeners in a range of industries who tell me that the content (around topics such as leadership, learning, collaboration, diversity, equity, and culture) is transferrable to work and life outside of education.
The Edu Salon is hosted on Soundcloud, and is also available through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and Audible. You can join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram @theedusalon.