If you’ve been wondering about any Sasquatch sightings lately, there’s a podcast for that. How about getting the most out of your BBQ smoker or a beginner’s guide to bathroom renovations? There’s a show for that too. There’s just an endless amount of podcasts waiting for someone to drop by and have a listen. Podcasts have been growing in popularity for more than a decade but thanks to a massive shift in the landscape, content has exploded. The pandemic certainly played a role in the amount of choice now available but industry observers point to another reason. Last year, Amazon joined Google in the Canadian podcast arena. A flood of new shows hit the airwaves including a ton of content for children. When it comes to kids and podcasts, new research by Media in Canada tells an interesting story. The podcast audience for young listeners has remained steady over the last four years but the children who do engage with shows, listen a lot! With so many podcasts to sort through, where’s a good place to start? Just like when a new show debuts on a streaming service, it’s helpful to get the lowdown. The usual approach is to see if there’s any buzz surrounding the content and ask around for any feedback. Think Netflix recommendations by your work colleagues before a meeting starts. If the podcast is for your child, it’s important to investigate if the subject matter is age appropriate and worthwhile.
Enter Sound Carrot. Tristan Welch and his 10-year-old daughter Maya, are podcast enthusiasts. Picture a typical busy home with podcasts playing in the background – almost like a family soundtrack. Maya is a science lover and avid reader with an insatiable curiosity. When it comes to podcasts, she can’t get enough of them. Tristan soon realized the massive amount of choice wasn’t just a problem for older listeners. “Some of the podcasts geared for kids weren’t very good and more importantly, not age appropriate,” said Tristan. “It was starting to dampen Maya’s interest so I began curating a list of some of the best of the best.” With a background in digital production, Tristan set about creating a website that would act as a portal for awesome kids’ podcasts. The initial intent was to make it easy for Maya to quickly find great things to listen to but Tristan soon realized many others could benefit from a curated kids’ podcast catalog. The website recently went live and continues to grow. The list of handpicked podcasts now features more than 200 titles. “One of our favourites is Earth Ranger Emma,” said Tristan. “I love that Maya sees women portrayed in science and it’s incredibly well done!” Earth Rangers The Big Melt is also on the list.
Sound Carrot is built for parents and kids but teachers are also included. Podcast creators are also encouraged to reach out and connect. With so much to choose from, what would make a podcast stand out for this discerning team? They have to pass the “dad test” and Maya has to give them the thumbs up. “We look for a spark,” Tristan explained. “Great storytelling doesn’t need to have slick production values,” Tristan insists. “We’ve found a wide variety of styles and a ton of material created by kids themselves.” This passionate podcaster also feels there’s something unique about listening to a show together as a family. “You can interact with the story and talk to each other about what you’re hearing. It’s also great for toothbrush time.” What about the name Sound Carrot? “Maya came up with it.” Tristan said. “It just sort of worked!”