Podcast Playground, the First Podcast Network for Kids!
The amount of podcasts that are available have grown over the years to tens of thousands. There are podcasts about relationships, sports, gardening, sailing, binge-worthy TV shows, and even podcasts about podcasting. But if you try to find podcasts for kids, you will only come across a handful or two, and out of those only a couple actually have a child as a host.
Why are there no podcasts for my daughter?
This is the question that I was asking myself almost six months ago while digging through iTunes. I am a podcaster myself after all, having closed out two seasons of the Veteran Resource Podcast and preparing to launch season 3 in September. I belong to multiple podcasting groups and interact with thousands of fellow podcasters regularly, often listening to new and interesting shows. In fact, if you see me commuting in my car alone there is a good chance I am listening to a podcast. But when I pick my daughter up the audio quickly gets changed to Goo Goo Dolls if I’m lucky, but more likely Jem & the Holograms or Kidzbop…ugg.
One day before my long drive to pick her up for the weekend I started to feel the pre-Kidzbop anxiety…you’ve felt it, you know what I’m talking about. I quickly started to do searches in the podcast app looking for something that she would like. Animals…no. Science…hmm, maybe this one…cartoons??? I found some podcasts that Nick Jr. and Disney tried back in 2010 and then dropped after a few episodes, but not much else. Fifteen minutes of digging later I had five that I hoped would capture her attention.
Swing and a miss. She burned through them all within two minutes deciding that they were “BORRRing”, and there I was…shaking my head in despair while singing along to Call Me Maybe. Don’t judge, I rocked it at karaoke later that week.
Let’s create a whole network of podcasts JUST FOR KIDS!
It was that day, while driving home, that the idea was born for Podcast Playground. I didn’t have the name or the content ideas or anything but I had the seed. This seed grew instantly when I shared the idea with my friend Cate. She has a film and improv background as well as a son and daughter who are also pretty animated. We started brainstorming different show ideas, and possible child-hosts, and within days we were already researching names for the network. It came together very quickly for sure. It helped that I used to build websites, and have a slight addiction to purchasing digital tools (yeah noah kagan and all of your AppSumo goodness…I’m looking at you Mr. Enabler). And just like that a new podcast network was born.
Wacky News would be our first podcast out of the gate.
We took the top four ideas for podcasts and decided to run with them. Wacky News would be our first launch. With the new hosts, Jaxon and Dylan, in place we hit record and hoped for the best. The end result was so much better than we imagined it could be. Adding sound effects and music to their already adorable voices really upped the entertainment value. Many of the 30+ reviews that came in the first week it went live reaffirmed how much kids and parents enjoyed it. The episodes cover three different news stories followed by a handful of jokes just for fun. Kids can then go to the show notes page for pictures or videos that go with each story as well as the “wacky words”, which gives definitions for some of the more advanced words used in the episode.
One podcast launched and three more in pre-production.
Toothy Trivia will be our second launch and will give kids two minutes of trivia to listen to while brushing their teeth. The tagline “No More Rushing Your Brushing” really shows our motivation with this podcast. Cate and I understand the struggle of trying to get our kids to brush for the recommended two minutes twice a day. We thought if we could occupy a child’s mind for the full two minutes it will help the time fly by.
We are breaking new ground with Toothy Trivia as well because it will have a new episode twice per day. John Lee Dumas went ahead with his idea of making Entrepreneur On Fire a 7-day per week podcast despite the advice of many leaders in the podcast community. “It can’t be sustained” they said. This week JLD will be rolling out episode 1400, so yeah…it can be sustained. I’ve learned from JLD that processes make it possible, and we are putting our processes in place to allow us to deliver 14 episodes per week. We aren’t doing it to be cutting edge, we are doing it because our kids need to brush twice a day. If we can start a habit for them of listening to the new episode while brushing then we won’t be asking them to brush their teeth…they will be begging us to.
We also have When I Grow Up… where Jaina will be interviewing people in different careers to find out what it’s really like to do that job. She will also find out what a kid should be doing now to prepare them for that career.
The last to launch of the four will be Pass It On! where the hosts start with a listener-suggested theme and have to create an imaginary story as it is passed from person to person. We expect the stories that come out of this one to be pretty entertaining.
We should kick off the launch with a contest!
What could be better than launching the first podcast network JUST for kids? How about a contest where your kid could star in a podcast commercial AND win the same microphone that Jaxon and Dylan use on Wacky News. You’d better hurry on this one though because there is only about two days left in the contest. Enter now, your kids will thank you.