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STEM in Stereo

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Podcasts are an important part of Scitech’s digital offerings. Not only are they a way to make STEM engagement opportunities accessible, they are a flexible and adaptable form of communication allowing us to cater for different audiences and interests.

Scitech produced three podcasts series in the 22-23 financial year, Audio Guide to the Galaxy, Please Look Up and Elements. The latter two were produced for Particle, Scitech’s digital science publication aimed at ages 15-25.

Audio Guide to the Galaxy was first launched in early 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown. The podcast’s aim was to emulate the experience visitors receive during a Scitech Planetarium show by guiding West Australians through the night sky from the comfort of their own backyard. The podcast’s format was adapted in 2023 to utilise the pre-existing Sky Tonight blog on Scitech’s website written by Planetarium Coordinator Leon Smith, who also now hosts Audio Guide to the Galaxy. Leon interviews a Planetarium presenter or special guest to inform listeners of what they can see in the night’s sky each, as well as discussing other interesting space and astronomy news. An episode with Dr Robin Cook from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) talked about the experience of witnessing the Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse and received 2414 total listens, demonstrating that there is appetite in the community for this kind of digital STEM engagement.

Particle’s Please Look Up podcast was launched in March 2023 and expands on the content from Audio Guide to the Galaxy. Each episode is around 10-15 minutes longer than an Audio Guide to the Galaxy episode, allowing for a more advanced and in-depth look at the month’s space news, ideal for an older audience.

Particle also introduced a new format podcast in 2023 called Elements. A desire to elevate our podcast offerings and continue the storytelling theme inspired the new narrative journalism approach with this new series. The topic of ‘elements’ was chosen as a broad lens through which to investigate environmental issues specific to Western Australia, as these are highly important to Particle’s target audience of 15-25-year-olds. Season one focused on the natural element of water with each of the five episodes telling a story on how water affects the people and land of Western Australia through a scientific lens. Following the success of this first season, production has started on season 2, focussing on the element of fire.

Scitech’s third podcast Wonder Kids was originally published in 2020 and asked children to send in science questions which our Science Communicators answered in bite size episodes of around five minutes. Aimed at younger children, the podcast received 1,593 total listens this year, demonstrating the longevity and continual relevance of our podcast content.

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