BBC World Services Launches The Comb

The BBC World Service The Comb a brand new weekly podcast for young listeners in Africa, presented by Zimbabwean journalist Kim Chakanesta. As the name suggests, Kim and her team will be combing through the continent for the stories that matter.

The podcast’s mission is to unearth surprising, fascinating and relevant stories. They won’t be shying away from tackling tough subjects. The Comb is made by the team behind the continent’s leading radio brand, BBC Focus on Africa – known for its unrivaled coverage of the continent. The debut episode of The Comb will be looking at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic particularly on students and those starting out in their careers.

Presenter Kim Chakenesta said: “The Comb is a thrilling opportunity for us to seek out stories and voices that might otherwise go unreported or unheard. It allows us to combine the depth of BBC Africa’s journalism and the curiosity of our listeners.”

The Comb will tackle a wide range of topics and reflect a broad geographic spread across the countries of Africa. Typical questions will include: ‘What happens when a pandemic turns your life and the world upside down? Is African data missing from scientific studies? Why can’t we talk about sex?’ Listeners will be invited to suggest stories for discussion and investigation.

The Comb wants to hear their views – The Comb is their podcast. Bringing the best of BBC journalism, the podcast is available free from the BBC and most podcasts apps. It will meet the needs of young mobile audiences across Africa and the diaspora.

Bilkisu Labaran, Editor BBC Africa News & Current Affairs said: “On behalf of BBC Africa, we at Focus on Africa are so proud to be the home of the first BBC podcast in English specifically for a younger African audience. Focus on Africa has continued to serve and connect our audiences on the Radio for 60 years, so we are very excited at the prospect of reaching a new audience through this podcast”

The Comb’s theme music is composed by Kenyan music producer Eric Musyoka. The artwork is designed by Fred Martins, a Nigerian graphic designer.

Mary Hockaday, Controller, BBC World Service English said: “This is an exciting and extremely important podcast for the BBC. We’re looking forward to reaching new young audiences – those who may not yet listen to the BBC or are new to podcasts. The brilliant team from Focus on Africa has been working very hard to share their expertise and fresh perspective on stories from Africa and we very much hope The Comb will be loved and owned by its community of listeners who will help guide the stories which are told and investigated”.

BBC Removed its Podcasts from Google

BBC posted information that explains why its podcasts are no longer available on certain Google products. This includes the Google Podcast app and Google assistant. The post was written by Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development, Kieran Clifton.

Last year, Google launched its own podcast app for Android users – they’ve also said they will launch a browser version for computers soon. Google has since begun to direct people who search for a BBC podcast into its own podcast service, rather than BBC Sounds or other third party services, which reduces people’s choice – an approach the BBC is not comfortable with and has consistently expressed strong concerns about. We asked them to exclude the BBC from this specific feature but they have refused.

The BBC is a public service funded by the license fee payers in the UK. As such, the BBC wants their content and services to be available to as many people as possible. But, the BBC has to ensure that the availability of their content is done in a way that is good for all audiences.

The BBC wants to make sure podcasts made in, and championing in the UK, are prominent on global platforms. It also wants to make sure their programs and services as good as they can possibly be,which means getting hold of meaningful audience data.

The BBC says, “Unfortunately, given the way the Google podcast services operates, we can’t do any of the above.”

BBC Podcasts Now on Spotify

BBC LogoPodcast listeners in the UK can now enjoy BBC podcasts on Spotify. It does not appear that the BBC podcasts on Spotify will be available for listeners who are not in the UK.

“The BBC is one of the largest content creators in the UK, and have worked with the biggest and best audio talent in the world,” explains James Cator, Spotify’s Head of Podcast Partnerships, EMEA. “To have a comprehensive audio catalogue in the UK, the BBC are essential, so adding the BBC to our rapidly-expanding catalogue of podcasts was a natural partnership.”

Today, the BBC podcast library boasts hundreds of programs across thousands of episodes and caters to millions of listeners across the UK and worldwide. Spotify has added podcasts from iPlayer Radio and BBC Sounds to the platform, making hundreds of BBC podcasts available to Spotify users in the UK.

The BBC podcasts that are now on Spotify include thousands of episodes across a number of diverse genres including Comedy, News & Politics, Educational, Sport & Recreation, Lifestyle & Health, Business & Technology, and Kids & Family,

A few of the BBC podcasts on Spotify include:

Short Cuts: Short documentaries and adventures in sound by Josie Lang.

Desert Island Discs: Eight tracks, a book and luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Kristy Young invites her guests to share the soundtrack of their lives.

The Infinite Monkey Cage: Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince.

BBC Introduces First Version of BBC Sounds App

BBC has been discussing how to reinvent the BBC for a new generation. They announced the release of BBC Sounds. It is their first version of a brand new audio app from the BBC.

The BBC Sounds app is available to download from Apple, Google, and Amazon app stores. The app brings together the BBC’s live and on demand radio, music, and podcasts into a single personalized app.

BBC Sounds will provide every user with a unique experience because it is designed to learn from an individual user’s listening habits. It will provide one-tap access to the latest episodes of your favorite BBC podcasts and radio shows.

The app with introduce you to new audio you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered from the 80,000 hours of BBC audio.

What You Can Do With BBC Sounds:

  • Scroll the dial and listen to any of the BBC’s 18 national stations (and online-only station CBeebies Radio) or tap All Stations to listen to any of the BBC’s 40 local stations
  • Pick up where you left off with “Continue Listening” which surfaces part-listened podcasts and radio shows and next episodes for you
  • Enjoy hand picked collections of podcasts and on demand music shows to match your mood
  • Discover new audio via the “Recommended For You” section
  • Browse by category: from Crime to Science & Technology, from Classical to Hip Hop
  • Add any individual episode or clip to “My List” to listen to later
  • Subscribe to any podcast or program and get a personalized feed of the latest episodes in “My Sounds”

BBC Released 16,000 Sound Effects

The BBC has released 16,016 Sound Effects from its archives. These sound effects are made available by the BBC in WAV format to download an use under the terms of the RemArc License.

The sound effects in the collection are BBC copyright, but they may be used for “personal, educational or research purposes” as detailed in the RemArc License. Podcasters should read the terms in the RemArc License before they use any of the BBC’s sound effects in their podcast.

Part of the RemArc License says that, provided you follow the rules in the RemArc License, the BBC grants you permission to use the BBC content but only…

For non-commercial, personal, or research purposes (for example, including the content on a non-commercial, advertisement-free reminiscence website aimed at helping trigger memories in people with dementia).

For formal education purposes while you are a student or a member of staff of a school, college or university (for example, if you are enrolled in a university or college course or if you are a school pupil, or you are a teacher and you wish to display the content on an electronic whiteboard, including images in a printed class worksheet).

If your podcast doesn’t fit those descriptions, then you need to get permission from the BBC before you use their sound effects. More information about how to go about doing that can be found in the RemArc License.

A few of the interesting sound effects in the collection include:

  • “South American parrot talking and screeching”
  • “’Hip hip hooray’, 50 people, 20-30 years old. (Interior).”
  • “’Snow’ surface grinder operating at steel works 1969”
  • “1 lorry passing slowly.”
  • “1 metal crash (84B)”
  • “10 bells ringing, Parish of St. George, Greenock”
  • “11 month old baby boy playing with toys”

BBC Introduces Podcasting House

BBC has introduced Podcasting House. It was created to make it easier for people to discover podcasts from the BBC. Podcasting House will allow listeners to sample a range of the best of BBC’s podcasts, both old and new, in one place.

For more than a dozen years, we’ve offered many of the BBC’s radio programmes as podcasts. We led the way in 2004 when the BBC became the first British broadcaster to adopt the new technology launching Radio 4’s In Our Time as the BBC’s first podcast. Today, the BBC is the second-largest podcast producer in the world.

Podcasting House is a sampler feed that curates the best of the BBC’s existing podcasts for audiences that may not know them. It includes everyday real-life dramas (The Untold); podcasts that teach you something (Tomorrow’s World); and the ludicrous yarns of Simon Mayo’s Confessions.

The weekly drop will happen on Mondays, when new podcasts appear on the feed, bringing together a mix of BBC podcasts in one place to sample. In January, the BBC will begin launching a handful of original short series in which they will meet midwives, undertakers, comedians, and weather experts.

BBC Podcasting Documentary Not Available As A Podcast

BBC LogoBBC Radio 4 has produced an audio documentary called Podcasting – The First 10 Years. The documentary looks back at the first decade of the medium we all know and love (or hate, depending on the day). The documentary spans two parts for a total of about 60 minutes worth of audio. And (for now, at least) those episodes are available for on-demand streaming from the BBC website. But the documentary is nowhere to be found in any of the podcast directories, and the BBC site itself points to no way to subscribe to the series via RSS.

It seems like an odd choice, as this is something that would obviously appeal not only to podcasters but also to fans of podcasting in general. In fact, the BBC already has a large collection of podcasts and other downloadable media. But for some reason they decided not to podcast their documentary about podcasting.
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