The Hear Arizona podcast initiative demonstrates the power of public media to inform and inspire. The podcasts serve an important civic function, by producing in-depth stories for the public. Episodes include insightful information, innovative ideas, and working solutions. We represent many voices from the nonprofit, educational, business, community, government, and advocacy sectors to provide multiple perspectives as we address the complex issues of our times. The podcasts serve up information when and where listeners choose to consume it.
Our long-form storytelling is timely yet timeless so that Hear Arizona podcasts have an impact well beyond the 24-hour news cycle. Producers address homelessness, unaffordable housing, accessibility, education, and the pandemic’s effect on the arts. With unparalleled dedication to these topics, Hear Arizona podcasts reveal previously unreported issues and give voice to underserved populations not often addressed in mainstream media. While the focus is primarily on subjects in the state of Arizona, the compelling nature of these broadcasts transcends state lines and have garnered listeners around the globe.
The outreach component of the initiative is a listing of community resources related to the episodes. Hear Arizona tags resource organizations on social media and their links are easily accessible on the website to further inform and educate listeners. Public relations efforts which consist of newsletters to content resources, political figures, bloggers, and subscribers encourage sampling and sharing of episodes. Fifteen social media accounts including those of NPR affiliate KJZZ, classical KBACH, and Sun Sounds of Arizona feature broad appeal Hear Arizona social media posts to increase awareness of the podcasts.
Initially launched in November 2019, two part-time producers have created over 35 episodes garnering just over 30,000 downloads. An evaluation of the project after one year revealed that a majority of respondents found they were more educated and informed after listening to a Hear Arizona podcast.
Hear Arizona’s formula with its commitment to focusing on our communities most important issues, delivered in today’s fastest-growing media format and supported by new avenues of revenue, can and will be replicated across the country.