Did you hear what he said on the show yesterday?
That line so long associated with the nightly news or a sitcom is a line we hear much more today in reference to a podcast. Audio today, a medium that many may have thought was a thing of the past, is one of the hottest current mediums of content.
Audio on demand, or podcasting, is a collection or series of digital audio files made available for downloading or listening via the Internet. Podcasts are typically hosted by an individual or individuals who lead a conversation, share stories, or report the news.
With more than 2 million podcasts and 48 million episodes to choose from today, podcasts have become such a popular way for people to consume content that more than half of the American population has listened to one. In today’s society the race to keep up with life can be so overwhelming that time for reading is difficult to find. The trend of audiobook consumption has risen steadily since 2015, and in 2018 Adventist Review Media embraced the audio medium and began making our print articles more widely available as audio podcasts.
AR Audio’s earliest digital releases featured Adventist Review’s Digging Deeper series, which dealt with important doctrines of the church. This series, along with the narration of numerous Adventist Review (AR) / Adventist World (AW) magazine articles, is available each month, recorded by the authors and made available as podcasts and on the AR and AW ministries’ two websites.
Illustrating our platform coordination at Adventist Review Media, hard copy articles are readily available both online and as audio releases. For example, listen to Frank Hasel’s “What Does It Mean to Be a Seventh-day Adventist?” (Adventist Review, May 2019) as the author himself narrates it (use your cell phone camera to scan the QR code).
Illustrating our audio integration with Adventist World print productions, Dick Duerksen, narrator of numerous lighthearted, faith-inspiring stories, may be heard recounting “An Incredible Partnership With God” (scan QR code).
Currently the GraceNotes podcast, a weekly devotional on grace, written and narrated by Bill Knott, is produced in English and French. In North America a radio version of GraceNotes is broadcast each week on the LifeTalk and 3ABN Radio networks. Plans are under way to produce GraceNotes in Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili. To sign up and receive GraceNotes by email, scan the QR code.
As AR Audio continues to produce AR/AW podcasts, supporting and augmenting the mission and vision of those magazines, we show that podcasts are just another way to share gospel content “on demand,” so the bread of heaven may be consumed in the most efficient manner possible, providing for as many as possible the nourishment of eternal life that is Jesus Christ Himself. To access all our podcast content, go to www. adventistreview.podbean.com or www.adventist world.podbean.com.
Greg Scott manages podcasts, logistics, and contracts for Adventist Review Ministries. He is married to Marilyn, a local church pastor, and loves spending time with his grandchildren.
Greg Scott has led Adventist initiatives in radio witnessing around the world for decades. In this interview Adventist Review talks with him about one of his latest projects, a podcast, or rather, several series of podcasts.—Editors.
I began in radio in 1977, the year after I graduated from academy. During my six months at a local broadcasting school I got a job as a DJ at a local AM radio station in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, working Saturday nights and Sundays. Then when I enrolled at Southern Adventist University, I convinced Olsen Perry, WSMC’s station program director, to hire me, and he did.
Through my college years on various campuses I kept trying to decide whether a career in radio was for me. God seemed to be nudging me in that direction. After graduating from Loma Linda University at La Sierra in 1983, I packed up and moved to Italy, where I started and operated an Adventist FM radio station for the next three years. The station was set up on the border with France to broadcast to cities, towns, and hamlets along the French Riviera. While there I heard of the church’s plans to build a shortwave radio station on the island of Guam, and in 1987 I received a call to join Adventist World Radio (AWR) on Guam as program director. I served with AWR in various capacities for more than 30 years.
Starting an audio division at the Adventist Review was Bill Knott’s vision and dream. Bill, the ministry’s executive editor, recognizes the changing trends in media consumption and works to have them work for AR, the church’s historic communication ministry. ARtv began two years ago: it provides a platform for posting short, sharable videos, something no other Adventist ministry was doing. Today there are nearly 800 items of video content on the ARtv platform. AR is advancing as digital technologies and platforms advance.
Our busy world leaves little time for reading, but podcasting fits its constant motion perfectly: people can listen just about anywhere, while doing just about anything. Growth in podcast listening and popularity is about 5 percent annually. About 44 percent of Americans (124 million) have listened to a podcast. It is important for the church to have its content on these platforms as well.
Adventist Review Ministries, with its two print magazines, has nearly 170 years of archived material and resources. We are attempting to do three things: (1) create new content every month, based on the central theme of the magazines; (2) make available for listening existing magazine content, preferably using the authors’ voices—for those who prefer listening to “one thing at a time“ over reading; (3) create new podcasts, beginning early 2019, on topics relevant to those seeking a closer relationship with Christ.
Forty-nine percent of podcast listening is done at home, 22 percent in the car. Podcast listeners tune in to an average of seven different shows a week. Podcast listeners tend to be loyal, affluent, and educated.* This new digital media is a wonderful way for the church to get its message of love that forgives and inspires hope to a world full of pain, suffering, and hopelessness. Anyone, anywhere in the world with Internet can receive these podcasts.
We have several different types of programs, including a weekly podcast called GraceNotes—one-minute podcasts written and narrated by Bill Knott; approximately 12 to 14 podcasts a month based on monthly magazine content; and a monthly podcast, from June to December 2018, called “Digging Deeper,” based on the same AR magazine topics but distinct from them in content. General Conference president Ted Wilson also contributes a monthly podcast called Global View; and in August we began recording a new podcast called HouseCall, hosted by Drs. Peter Landless and Zeno-Charles Marcel of the General Conference Health Department. In the near future, we plan to launch podcasts for news and KidsView.
Ideas for the Digging Deeper series are generated by the same editorial team that meets and decides on the content for the magazine. Associate and executive editors help to identify individuals who may be the most interesting and best qualified to speak on given topics. I schedule and conduct most of the interviews. The ministry’s huge network of theologians, professors, and specialists from around the world is ever ready to contribute.
Currently I am the only one regularly writing scripts, recording interviews, and editing the audio. Daryl Gungadoo, AR’s media lab director, is also an audio engineer. He provides valuable technical assistance, almost on a daily basis, from his home in the United Kingdom. Our plan for 2019 is to have a small podcast production team to create new content every month on relevant topics, similar to what is being done in the magazine.
I’ve converted my office here at the General Conference into a mini recording studio. It’s neither fancy nor soundproof, but it works fairly well. Now you better understand our needs.
From our beginning in May to September, we have turned out 12 different series, and I’ve recorded and published 73 podcast episodes.With very little advertising, promotion, or marketing those episodes have received 16,385 downloads, with the Digging Deeper series being the most popular online, despite their length (30 minutes or more); while GraceNotes has gleaned 44,062 downloads of its podcast on Facebook. We know that podcasts take a while to build an audience and a following.
Adventist Review Ministries podcasts can be accessed in a number of ways. One of the easiest ways to listen and subscribe is to go to iTunes and search for “Adventist Review.” Another easy way is to go to araudio.com, where all our podcasts are hosted. Audio content is also posted on the following Facebook sites: