We don’t want to judge or moralise, the goal is to offer personal and intimate stories by people, says Edita Kudláčová of the podcast Zhasni!
She graduated from Palacký University in Dutch Studies and English Philology. In 2008, however, fate brought her to Czech Radio, where she has remained until today. At first she worked for the International Department, where she applied her knowledge from university, translating and interpreting.
For the last year she has been leading Czech Radio’s Creative HUB, which recently came out with a new podcast Zhasni!. „The pilot podcast series of Zhasni! is specific in that it is content that was not broadcast, but was created primarily for an online environment,” she says of the project.
Why did Czech Radio decide to go into podcasting?
Czech Radio has been podcasting its content for quite some time now. As long as copyright allows, you can download broadcast content of any Czech Radio station to your computer or mobile device from its website and listen to it whenever and wherever. This is done to accommodate the primarily young listeners who mainly search for information online and consider it a matter of course to have control over when and what they listen to and the amount of content they want to read about a given topic. In putting together Zhasni!, we were inspired by the perception of the podcast as it has become popular for the US public in particular over the past roughly 10 years, i.e. an independent format for mobile devices and the online environment.
For what reason did Czech Radio’s first original podcast relate to sexuality?
We wanted to work with an intimate message and create an audio space where image and video were not missed. The topic of sexuality and relationships struck us as ideal due to this intimacy and the fact that with audio narration, without any other distractions, you are all the more aware of how personal the story is.
Do you think this topic is still not sufficiently discussed or even taboo in Czech society?
I don’t think we were unearthing a taboo subject, but rather offered the personal testimonies of women and men who very openly shared their intimate and personal experiences and moments from their sexual life or life as a couple.
Who is the series Zhasni! actually for?
Zhasni! has content for anyone who likes to listen to stories and for everyone who felt a lack of audio content in their mobile phone or, say, didn’t know how to get it, which thanks to the emphasis on this form of distribution for Zhasni! they could find out and thus the project can inspire new listeners to download podcast content. The series is connected with Radio Wave, the station for young listeners, and the primary public is therefore the Radio Wave audience. At the same time, however, I think that for podcasts in general the makers don’t worry much about age or other descriptive demographic information about the audience, but target people who are interested in the given topic.
Co je tedy cílem série? Informovat, hodnotit nebo jen zachytit skutečnost?What is the aim of the series then? To inform, to judge, or just to capture reality?
We definitely don’t want to judge or moralise. The goal is offer personal stories, intimate stories from people who are dealing with the given topics in their lives or who have encountered them and speak openly through these stories to people who are interested in the given topic.
How did you choose your directors?
We wanted young artists who could listen sensitively and empathetically and capture the stories in a believable and interesting manner, while giving them a shape and atmosphere. All the directors are experienced filmmakers or documentary makers. For some of them it was their first experience working with the audio format in their creative careers. I will leave the rating of their work up to listeners. For us it was a great experience to have a team made up of very interesting creative personalities.
Bondage, coming out, online dating. Those are just some of the topics you have addressed. But there were many more possibilities. Human sexuality is after all full of controversial or just plain interesting topics. What guided you in choosing the topics for the series Zhasni!?
To a large extent we left the topics and the approach to them up to the authors themselves. We wanted to give them space to leave their creative mark on the material. What was important was for the topic to interest the director, so they wanted to talk about the topic with the respondent and listen to him or her. In short, to have an approach to the topic that was reflected in the final work so that each episode is interesting and also entertains the audience.
In the time of the internet though, anyone can find information about these topics. What’s different about what the Czech Radio podcasts offer?
It wasn’t about mapping out or introducing a particular topic, it was about real life stories, about people talking and their level of openness even about something as personal as sexual experience.
The first podcast on the topic of bondage is the testimonial of a woman who presents this practice to listeners. Are all the podcasts done in this way?
Every episode bears the personal style of the given director. The primary storyline is based on the narration of the respondent, but the approach to that narration differs for the various episodes.
Are you planning more podcast series?
Czech Radio will certainly continue to expand its offer of podcast content for listeners. It is one of the important forms of distribution, a way in which listeners in the future will increasingly perceive and listen to radio. We are currently preparing other types of projects and content for Creative HUB. Still, I can’t rule out that in the future other podcast series might turn up on offer from Czech Radio or its individual stations.