Podcasting in Ethiopia


Let’s talk about podcasts. What is a podcast, first of all? The term “podcast” is a portmanteau. What is a portmanteau?

Let’s talk about podcasts. What is a podcast, first of all? From Wikipedia, a podcast is an episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that a user can download or stream to a personal device for easy listening. The term “podcast” is a portmanteau, a combination of the word iPod and broadcast. The term "podcasting" was first suggested by The Guardian columnist and BBC journalist Ben Hammersley, who invented it in early February 2004, while writing an article for The Guardian newspaper.

Podcasts are similar to radio programs in form, but what makes them stand out is that they exist as an audio files that can be played at a listener's convenience, anytime or anywhere. In an interview with The H3 Podcasts, Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor of psychology and author stated, “What's cool about podcasts and what's game-changing about them is, you can't read while you're driving, while you're doing the dishes or exercising, and so all of a sudden, with the podcast world people have all this time to gain knowledge that was never possible with television or even with radio for that matter.”

Radio stations in Ethiopia stream different types of programs on their live radio. But most of the content will be unnoticed after their live streams. In other countries, most of the famous radio and tv channels have readily available podcasts. I have seen some Ethiopian stations providing their content through their website or YouTube, and it’s good. But if the contents from the several stations were in the same place, it would be much better.

Several podcasting services offer access to a wide range of podcasts, including free apps and few subscription platforms. These include Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Audible, to name a few.

In Ethiopia, there is a podcasting app or service to be launched very soon. The name of the app is Teraki. From their social media account, they have posted that they are launching this week.

There are some Ethiopian podcasts available in different podcasting services. You can discover Amharic podcasts on the Tech scene, such as Zemach FM. Zemach FM is a podcast that goes through technological achievements in the world and Ethiopia. There is also a podcast called Cyber Ethiopia that focuses on technology.

Another podcast that I find fascinating is called Tarik. Tarik is an Ethiopian history podcast that strives to educate Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians alike in the rich, diverse, and ancient history of Ethiopia. You can find their five episodes that came out on Google Podcast and other podcasting services.

Podcasts like Cyber Ethiopia, Zemach FM, and Tarik are great for the people providing reasons like not having time as an excuse not to read. With apps like Teraki coming up, people will also get a chance to share their knowledge in different fields by creating a podcast. There will also be opportunities to monetize their podcasts through advertisements and sponsors. I hope apps like Teraki provide an organized and centralized place for programs and shows that aired on Ethiopian radios or other channels.

I like to finish this article with the last words of Jordan Peterson in the interview that I pointed out earlier; “Podcasts and services like YouTube are like the invention of the printing press, it's that big. For the first time in human history, the spoken word has as large a reach and as long a duration as a book. That just blew me away. I thought, oh, this is a Gutenberg Revolution. This is a big deal!”

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