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Podcasting Your Way to Younger Members

Many Scottish heritage societies have expressed a need to reach younger audiences and attract new members. However, they are not willing to devote the time to reaching them. Most younger people, such as millennials, prefer watching YouTube for their information. You may not feel up to the task for creating videos – but audio-only podcasts are easily within your reach! And the rewards will undoubtedly outweigh the extra effort.

Podcasts have a relatively long history, at least in the technology world. Apple created the first version of the iPod in 2001 and launched iTunes the next year in order to sell digital music for the iPod. The term “podcast” was coined by Adam Curry and David Winder in 2004 which was a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast.” They developed the software program iPodder that automatically downloaded internet radio broadcasts to iPods, creating the first-ever podcast. Apple jumped into the market by creating Podcast Support to iTunes a year later.

Podcast use has grown exponentially. According to the researchcompany DemandSage, podcasts have 464.7 million listeners tuning into over 70 million podcast episodes. At least 78% of the U.S. population is at least aware of podcasts and 22% listen while driving. According yo research conduced by National Public radio (NPR) and Edison Research 35% of Americans 18+ now owning a smart speaker, such as Amazon Echo, Google Nest, and Apple HomePod.

The best part for clan and family societies is the analysis of the demographics. In June 2023, Edison Research and SXM Media released its latest research concerning the use of podcasts by “Generation Z,” people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

They found that Gen Z's monthly podcast listening has risen by 57% over the past five years, with 47% of Gen Zers (approximately 24 million listeners) engaging with podcasts in the past month.

They also discovered that 66% of Gen Z listeners use podcasts to stay updated on the latest topics, while 61% tune in to keep abreast of social issues. Despite the trend of multitasking while consuming content, a surprising 82% of Gen Z listeners have reported listening to podcasts without doing anything else.

Podcasts are the radio broadcasts of a younger generation. Listeners can tune in through iPhones or other smart phones in their cars, while exercising, and at home through Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Millions of people are using these devices – and can have access to your information.


The simplest approach is a single host presenting information about your clan, family, or society. You can read directly from your website or from history books. You may want to conduct a couple of run-throughs and perhaps edit the copy for the spoken word. As you feel more comfortable, you may want to interview people at events such as games and festivals. You don’t have to adhere to any rules about length of the podcast. You may want to make a series of short podcasts and then edit them together later.


The format will determine the type and number of microphones. If you have a single host, you only need one microphone. Due the popularity of video conferencing, every laptop, tablet, and smart phone now has a built-in microphone. They also come with standard audio recording software such as “Voice Recorder” for IBM-compatible computers and “Voice Memos” on your Apple devices. You can also download more advanced software.

If you don’t like the sound with the built-in microphone, you can spend anywhere from $25 to $400 for a single professional-quality microphone. Microphone cables usually have a connection jack that is a “tip-ring-sleeve” (TRS), “tip-ring-ring-sleeve” (TPPR), an External Line Return (XLR), or Universal Serial Bus (USB). The USB can plug directly into most computers. For other devices, you will need adapters that will plug into either the headphone port or the lightning port on Apple devices.

f you want to interview another person or host a discussion among several people, you may want to invest in small wireless lavalier microphones that can clip onto clothing. Popular Science has rated these microphones for various devices, including Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras:


Choose the location of your “recording studio” carefully. Generally, the smaller the room, the better the acoustics. Larger rooms will create echoes. Drapes and curtains will muffle sound bouncing off the walls. Make sure you feel comfortable. And warn people against disturbing you or making loud noises outside the door! You’ll have a greater challenge if you are interviewing people at events. You should find a more secluded area and have an assistant to discourage people from interrupting you.

Editing software

You should save your podcast in the “mp3” audio format which is the most popular and is accepted by all podcast platforms.

Royalty-free Music

If you want to add music, such as for your inroductions and closings, you have several sources of royalty-free music that you can download and edit into your podcast.

Creating your Channel

You do not need to upload your podcasts onto a platform such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify – you can upload and link your programs from your own website. However, if your purpose is to gain potential new members, you may want to “fish where the fish are” by using a commercial platform. The easiest (and cheapest) is using YouTube. While most people use it for videos, many upload their audio-only programs. If you choose this option, you should upload a graphic, as well.

You may also want to upload your programs to a podcasting platform. Some of the most popular platforms are Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, and Spotify. Each platform has its own process for submitting programs and usually its own app for finding and playing podcasts.

If you are a COSCA Organizational Member, you can find more details about:

  • Specific advantages of podcasts

  • Recommendations for the best microphones

  • Recommendations for the best wireless microphones

  • Best audio editing software

  • Sources of Royalty-free music

  • Links on how to submit your podcasts to the top podcast platforms

  • Current list of clan and family societies that offer podcasts.

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