A podcast is defined as an episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that a user can download to a personal device for listening. According to Wikipedia, podcasting services provide a convenient and integrated way to manage a personal consumption queue across many podcast sources and playback devices.
In Kenya, podcasting has been adopted by storytellers to convey matters on different subjects to fit the Kenyan consumer. Since a lot of podcasting is technical, many podcasters only need a microphone, a good director and an excellent audio producer to bring their stories to life.
Dan Aceda is pretty familiar with matters podcasting. In fact, most podcasts in Kenya have passed through his hands. He is the Founder of Semabox, a Kenyan content production studio that focuses on podcasts.
I recently sat down with Aceda to hear his story and shed more light on the podcast situation in Kenya.
Who is Dan Aceda?
I am a Kenyan, working in content production. I enjoy creativity and have been in production for the last 15 years. For the love of the craft, my team and I recently launched Studio Tisa which mainly focuses on live performance shows and concerts, and about 4 months ago started Semabox, a production hub for podcasts.
I find podcasting very interesting. I felt that this was, a space that could be exploited. I had a chance to highlight stories in their truest and rawest form.
Who influences you in your line of work?
There are many people who have come before me, and whose work I love. Locally, I am very impressed with the visual work of Enos Olik, Lekarion Wainaina, and audio work by Tim Rimbui.
What inspires you?
As a producer, I am a creator. I like to tell stories that matter to me, content I want to share, content that we rarely do. I think that there are a lot of stories that go untold because of they could not be highlighted. Getting to tell these stories that could potentially change lives is what inspires me every day.
What is your advice to people looking into content creation?
I would say, do it today, no delays, be authentic. Tell your story and then improve while working on it.
Talk to us about podcasting in Kenya
Considering that this is a relatively new medium of communication in Kenya, there is definitely progress. It’s small, but its growing. More Kenyans are embracing it. We have seen a growing followership and a rise in demand, and to be honest, podcasting is the future. We have done research and realized that there is not enough content in the market right now.
Our focus is to make sure there is enough content locally. Create more content, feed the demand then work on diversification. We work with no filter, this ensures that all our productions are authentic and true.
How do you handle difficult clients?
As a start-up, we are slowly making processes for these. We start by telling our clients the working dynamics within the company, and dialogue at length if any hiccups occur. Working on conflict resolution by first stating the ground rules goes a long way in avoiding clashes or misunderstandings.
Tell us a few podcasts you have worked with
I am proud that in the 4 months Semabox has been in existence, we have worked with over 200 podcasts in 3 months. Worked with different podcasters. I am very proud that the podcasting content is uniquely Kenyan. We have worked with incredible men and women in bringing their stories to life, including the Wamathai Podcast, the Magunga Podcast, the Fearless podcast, the 100 books podcast and very many more.
Semabox has recently launched the Dada podcast incubator. Tell us about that.
Together with my team and the project lead, Doris, we initiated the Dada Podcast incubator as a platform for the voices of women podcasters. We have selected 8 podcasters as the first cohort, class of 2021. The incubation program will take 100 days. This exercise provides the opportunity for participants to familiarize themselves with this new media while ultimately contributing to the support of locally produced content.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I have great satisfaction from producing podcasts, working an idea from scratch and growing followership for these productions. Getting feedback and impacting lives through the stories we help to tell is a great motivation to continue working everyday.
How can interested podcasters contact you?
Just go to Semabox.net, select a package that works for you and book a recording session.
What guarantees the success of a podcast?
A podcast that is unique and authentic is a good podcast. I would advise people starting out to work on sustainability. Work on it for a while, the money will follow. Creating a consistent series of stories will improve on sustainability and performance.
I feel like we are not yet in a place where content creators are able to make money consistently, because brands are taking too long to embrace the idea. I would like to see more brands getting on board sooner. They should not wait on creators to build on audience then come in to buy marketing.
I am extremely grateful and proud to have worked with brands like Google and Amnesty international to create stories from scratch, to build a brand from the ground up.
It is stories like Dan Aceda’s that remind us of how driven and ambitious our youth is. From his women-centered project to his purely African aesthetic and incredible production hub, Aceda is truly a talent to watch.
You can reach Semabox on semabox.net, @semabox on twitter and @semabox_ on Instagram.