An Inspirational listen – time to podcast!

Hey everyone! I’m Dave and I am the Head of Community and Content at The Access Platform – a peer recruitment tool based in the UK but working all over the world. I’ve been invited to pen a few words for you about one of my favourite subjects…podcasts!

Naturally, I do have an ulterior motive to this post; I’d *love* you to go and listen to Inspiration on TAP, the podcast I host for work that covers social media, international education, student recruitment and all that higher ed stuff. I’ll post the links right now so the cold hard plug is done and out of the way!

Apple Podcasts



Ok, done – do give it a listen if you can…I’d recommend the episodes about UA92, the University of Bantshire and Staffordshire University’s Student Ambassadors as good starting points.

But, I wanted to spend the rest of this post just reflecting on podcasting and why I think it’s a great match for higher ed, as well as talking a little about why I started a higher ed podcast and what value it brings to my working life.


2019 – the year that brands came to podcasting

This year has been a *big* year for podcasting. There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of brands getting involved in the space; Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn, Bill Clinton, Conan O’Brien, and loads more have started shows, while the hype agency Social Chain also launched a podcast arm to its empire.

Not only that, we’ve seen Spotify acquire Gimlet Media and the BBC has really put podcasting at the core of its new Sounds app, while streaming of podcasts is starting to overtake that of curated playlists.

Oh, and the show In the Dark helped get a conviction overturned – pretty impressive!

We’re now at the point where podcasting has gone mainstream and the result is a *lot* of shows – with more than 700,000 shows listed in iTunes. For comparison, IMDB lists around 500,000 movies.

Yep, there are now more podcasts than movies!


Podcasting and higher ed

This healthy podcasting landscape means there’s never been a better time for higher ed to get involved in this space. In fact, for my money, Universities are ideally placed to start great shows.

Why? Well, a significant chunk of podcast listeners (72% in the US and 26% in the UK) listen to podcasts to learn something. As Universities, we like teaching people – see the link?

Also, think about all the incredible stories across your campus – you’ll never run out of great content – and podcasting is a great way to build intimacy with your audience…you’re literally going right to the ears of your listeners.

On top of all that, young audiences are definitely listening to podcasts; 40% of under 24s in the US listen (Edison, 2019), and 26% of 15-24 years olds in the UK tune in too (RAJAR, 2019).


How can higher ed approach podcasting?

To be honest, when it comes to podcasting the possibilities are endless. But, I reckon there are a bunch of approaches any University could take if they wanted to get started in the space…

  1. Show off your expertise: talk to your researchers about their work. Explain it in layman’s terms. Make it accessible and interesting. The University of Liverpool’s podcast was a great example of how to do this well, as is the Big Questions Podcast from the University of Oxford.
  2. Take a deep dive: go all-in at subject level – Talking Politics, from Cambridge University, is a great example, simply setting up a microphone in front of their politics academics and letting them chew the fat.
  3. Capture the atmosphere of campus: make cinema for your ears. Rhymes With Orange from Campbell University does this well.
  4. Get alumni involved: tell the amazing stories of what people get up to once they graduate. Check out Glasgow’s Sound Tracks podcast for an award-winning example of how to do this.


My podcasting journey

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I host Inspiration on TAP on behalf of The Access Platform. I created it because I want to get the voices of the sector’s big thinkers and doers out there, tell great stories and give you all something good to listen to!

I started it with the same intentions as my previous higher ed podcast – The Native Podcast – which I ran in 2018 as part of my previous job.

I’m actually a bit of a podcasting addict; I also run a bunch of other shows – one about my local rugby league team, one where my friend and I introduce each other to albums for the first time and, most recently, one where a friend and I go through Slipknot’s entire discography, song-by-song, and generally geek out.

Simply put, I love podcasting. It allows to meet and talk to inspirational people and I’d like to think the resulting episodes offer something of value to the sector – or to fellow metalheads, depending on which of my shows you listen to.

There do require an investment of time – each episode is probably half a day’s work to prepare, an hour or so to record the actual chat, and then around a day’s worth of editing – but I think it’s more than worth it. People know me in the sector for my podcasting work and people have become aware of The Access Platform through hearing my show.

The way students discover their future University is ever-changing and there is no reason why they won’t soon do it by stumbling across a podcast. But, I can’t help but think that the window to get started is starting to swing shut. Get involved and start making great audio!


About me

My name is Dave Musson and I’m currently Head of Community and Content at The Access Platform. Previously I created and ran The Native – a hub of content aimed at University marketers and social media managers – while, before that, I was social media manager at the University of Warwick in the UK. I speak regularly at higher ed conferences and was co-chair of the CASE Europe version of #casesmc for two years.

Outside of work I like metal music (making it and listening to it), podcasting (obvs), reading Stephen King and drinking tea. I also became a parent last April, so I am currently always tired.

Find me on Twitter, follow me on LinkedIn or see what books I’m reading via my Instagram. Also, if you like loud guitars, why not check out my band on Spotify?