A consortium of audio and journalism organizations join together to create a community of podcasters across Europe.

The leaders of the WePod consortium.

The leaders of the WePod consortium organizations gather in Madrid. Back row (left to right): Luciana del Castillo, János Tőke, Sabrina Tinelli, Marta Perrotta, María Jesús Espinosa de los Monteros, Maria Krasinski, Zuza Olenjniczak. Front row: Antoine Lheureux, Gábor Kardos.

News Decoder is excited to be part of a new trans-European project aimed to foster podcasting in Europe. Called WePod, the project will bring together nine organizations from seven European countries to develop a community of podcasters and audio listeners across the continent.

The two-year project will create collaborative audio content, produce a white paper to address the benefits and challenges of the podcast industry in Europe and develop communication and training activities across the European Union. It will produce 24 cross-border podcasts and create a “talent farm” whereby people who produce elements of podcasts  — everything from music to sound effects to editing — can find each other.

WePod will produce high quality, rigorous and pluralistic journalistic content about the reality of the continent.

“This project felt like a natural for us,” said News Decoder Managing Director Maria Krasinski. “Cross-border collaborations and production of quality journalism is part of our DNA.”

Together, the WePod partners will create a methodology for podcast creation and distribution that podcasters can follow and it will experiment with platforms and distribution networks podcasters can utilize.

Creating a community of podcasts across borders

The project is funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme (CREA) and led by PRISA Audio, the world’s leading producer of Spanish-language podcasts. In addition to coordinating the project, PRISA Audio will be responsible for the executive production of all co-productions and will be one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the European Podcast Association, which will allow it to establish itself as a benchmark in the audio industry.

Together with PRISA Audio — which participates through its brands El País Audio, Ser Podcast and Podium Podcast — the consortium is made up of leading European audio producers in their respective countries: Bulle Media from Belgium, Chora Media from Italy, Magyar Jeti Zrt from Hungary, Outriders from Poland and Press Freedom Foundation from Serbia.

For its role in the project, News Decoder will coordinate communication between all the partners and produce a monthly newsletter that informs both the partners as well as professional and budding podcasters about developments in the project and podcasting world.

News Decoder will also host a series of training workshops for young people in six cities across Europe and will organize and host a networking event for podcasters that will take place in Paris in 2025.

“There are so many elements to this project,” said News Decoder Educational News Director Marcy Burstiner. “We are excited to be the communications hub for it and we look forward to bringing young people into the project.”

Promoting podcasting as a medium for storytelling

Over the summer, News Decoder ran a week-long camp podcasting at the American School of Paris. The teens in the class came in with no podcasting or storytelling experience. But in just five days they were able to create a podcast that told the story of someone they had interviewed.

“Young people are natural storytellers and podcasters,” Burstiner said.

Spanish company Hiberus will be the project’s technology partner and academic research into the European podcast market will be carried out by the University of Roma Tre in Italy.

The WePod project was officially launched on 1 September 2023 and will run for two years until 31 August 2025. PRISA Audio, as coordinator of the project, hosted all the European partners from 11 to 13 September. The first meetings were held at PRISA’s headquarters on Madrid’s Gran Vía.

“WePod aims to fill a gap in the audio industry in Europe,” said María Jesús Espinosa de los Monteros, CEO of PRISA Audio. “Until now, the industry has been very fragmented by different languages. We want to join forces to make the stories of our continent shine and go beyond our borders. We want to create a European sound story with the different voices and accents that enrich our region,” Espinosa de los Monteros adds.

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