In this edition of Inside Podcasting, we hear from Doaa Farid, podcast lead and executive producer at The National News, an English-language news service covering the Middle East.
DUBAI, UAE — My relationship with audio and radio kicked off in 2003. At that time, I was a young kid who had just undergone surgery on my eyes during the summer. I spent weeks covering both my eyes, and my only source of entertainment was through radio. This was when I knew for the first time that I wanted to pursue a career in audio.
I started off my audio journalism career in 2010, studying radio and television broadcasting in English at Cairo University in Egypt. At that time, I was producing and hosting a podcast without knowing it was a podcast. It was a youth-targeted weekly show for an online-based radio station, highlighting the creative and artistic contributions of young people in Egypt.
After pursuing print journalism for four years after college, I returned to audio journalism, producing news and programs for BBC Arabic Radio from its Cairo bureau. I produced and presented digital news bulletins and daily programs on current affairs in the Middle East. In July 2019, I received the Best Talk Show (Silver category) from the Arab States Broadcasting Union. At the time, I was also leading a project to digitize radio content to attract younger audiences. This was when I discovered a new passion for podcasting and how it gives creators more time, space and freedom in production without having to worry about airtime.
Since 2020, my full-time job has been producing podcasts for news organizations. Over that period, I’ve twice been a finalist at the New York Radio Festival — in 2022 and 2023 — for two podcasts I’ve produced.
Podcasting and audio production is the form of journalism I’m most passionate about, and I want to continue doing it. Through all these years in audio production, I’ve found more power in the microphone and discovered that profound stories are best told through this format. I keep falling in love every day with the intimate experience podcasts create with the listeners. People come to podcasts for the stories and their deep meaning, disregarding the supposed new rules about the short attention span of social media users and media consumers in this age.
The current challenge I face in podcasting — and I think this is where most podcasters agree — is the discoverability of content. There are millions of podcast episodes on different platforms; many are really good and thoughtful. However, it feels that the market has quickly become oversaturated, and it takes a lot of work for a podcast to stand out.
I think one of the reasons for this is that most social media platforms don’t have features to support sharing audio. Why can we watch videos on all platforms but can’t listen to audio? Why don’t we see embeddable players on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter) yet? Podcast apps are indeed the platform for podcasts, but what about the audience not yet using those apps?
I’d advise upcoming podcasters to find unique stories or anecdotes for their podcasts and always think about why people would want to listen to them. We podcasters have a unique opportunity in the history of media production where we almost don’t have any limitations on how long the content should be. Use this opportunity to unleash your creativity.
The professional podcasts that I currently produce are “Beyond the Headlines,” “Books of My Life,” “Pocketful of Dirhams,” “Trending Middle East,” “Iraq 20 Years On,” and “Business Extra.” They are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.
Listen here: https://podcasts.apple.com