Play School launches new podcast amid kids’ audio boom

The overall podcast market growth in this country is significant. According to the Infinite Dial survey commissioned by Commercial Radio Australia, 72 percent of Australian adults were aware of podcasts in 2017; by 2022, that number had risen to 90 percent.

When Kinderling Radio launched in 2015, there was nothing specifically for children in the audio landscape, says production manager Lorna Clarkson. Then as now, the aim was to entertain and inform – and above all to stimulate.

Lorna Clarkson, Production Manager at Kinderling Radio.

Lorna Clarkson, Production Manager at Kinderling Radio.

“It’s amazing what a child’s imagination can create when you don’t give it parameters,” says Clarkson. “Our philosophy is to really get into it; We want children to be creative thinkers and creative problem solvers. We want to sow the seeds of ideas and information that can then expand their experience.”

Kinderling has released numerous podcasts, including its flagship Bedtime explorers, which aims to help children fall asleep and has been downloaded around 25 million times. It also produces busy body with Mr Snot Bottom on healthy habits, which won Best Children’s Podcast at the Australian Podcast Awards 2022, and shows dedicated to music and relaxation. Across all of its offerings in 2019, Clarkson averaged about 250,000 downloads per month, according to Clarkson. In January 2023, that number was just over 1 million.

ABC podcasts for kids ages three to eight include story saladan impromptu storytelling show; imaginea science podcast; dino dome, in which dinosaurs race through obstacle courses (named like a sports competition and filled with dino facts); and a weekly news podcast called news time.

The Ethics Podcast Short curly is popular with children aged 6 to 12 and deals with questions such as “Are parents hypocrites?” (certainly not!) and ‘Would you donate your kidney to a stranger?’

Both Gibbs and Clarkson say their shows encourage families to engage in their programs together.

“The same applies to Bluish and the creators of the children’s shows that I love; we create too [podcasts] as a shared listening experience for adults and children. We want kids and their parents to be listening together, not on separate screens or separate headphones,” says Clarkson, adding that Kinderling shows often contain cheeky jokes for the adults.

Audio specifically for kids is a relatively new genre, but it has tremendous potential, says Gibbs. She argues it could help limit screen time, a problem for adults and children alike.

“Incorporating audio and podcast content as early as possible is a great way to mitigate the automatic screen pick-up to provide entertainment or distraction.”

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered to you every Thursday. Play School launches new podcast amid kids’ audio boom

Jaclyn Diaz

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