What is the Grassroots Channel?
My production company Podnosh developed this podcast channel for the Birmingham Community Empowerment Network, known as b:cen, to show that active citizens are no different to ordinary people.
We interview people describing what they have done in their communities, and put up a new programme every couple of weeks. We focus on storytelling because it is a very human and potent way to package information and ideas. It also gives a voice to those who are often ignored.
We have just been nominated for three categories in the New Statesman New Media Awards. The nominations are reflective of our podcasts.
What are the benefits of podcasting?
Podcasting is 'narrowcasting' rather than broadcasting. People who share your interests will find your material, giving you the freedom to talk about the things that matter most to your organisation. People download programmes and use MP3 players to listen to them where and when they want to. They have made the decision to listen - that means they are likely to focus on your programmes.
What has the reaction been like in the community?
We produce 1,000 programmes a month. The reviews we have received have been positive. We generally hear: "I am an ordinary Joe. I listened to the podcast and it made me think differently about getting involved in my community." Our programmes encourage people to think they can do something as well.
What are your plans for the podcast?
We are working on giving other people the microphone. I'm just a professional broadcaster collecting stories. We want people to get out there, interview their neighbours and get into the business of sitting down and learning from each other. We want to get a wide range of voices.