What we do
The Alberta Podcast Network, powered by ATB, builds audiences for Alberta-made podcasts and connects those listeners to Alberta-based businesses and organizations.
We pay our member podcasts to spread the word about ATB and our other sponsors. We also promote affiliated podcasts that are produced by our sponsors. And our network is set up so that our members cross-promote each other, thus building each other’s audiences and increasing the number of listeners, which helps our sponsors, too.
Our origin Story
Karen Unland had long been passionate about finding new and sustainable ways to support creators of independent local media. This passion was born during her 15 years working in newspapers, mostly at the Edmonton Journal, and has been central to her work since 2011.
She became an avid podcast listener, and was discovering a growing number of local podcasts. But it was clear that the business models available to podcasters at that time were unlikely to pay off for these smaller, locally focused podcasts. And without the prospect of revenue at some point, these podcasts were at risk of disappearing, or at least being limited by a lack of funds. It was also clear that there were a lot of hurdles preventing local businesses and organizations from efficiently and effectively advertising on podcasts.
A podcast network seemed like a way to solve these problems. We could pool the audiences of these podcasts, thus creating a more attractive opportunity for sponsors, and giving them a one-stop shop for securing that advertising. By its very nature, a network allows the members to promote each other, and it creates a powerful opportunity for sponsors, particularly those who are already investing internal resources into making a podcast and would benefit from reaching listeners who have signalled an interest in local podcasts.
In the summer of 2015, she had a chance to workshop the idea at a program run at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism in New York. She started a podcast about bloggers and podcasters called Seen and Heard in Edmonton, and started building a community around the idea and learning how to create a business model to sustain it.
It became clear that to get the network off the ground, it needed a significant investment. Karen learned that ATB, with whom she had worked before on a project called Capital Ideas, was looking for interesting ways to launch its new brand message, ATB Listens. This seemed very aligned with the network’s purpose, so she started the process of pitching ATB on becoming a founding sponsor of the network. There was enough interest to keep talking, but idea was untested, and it wasn’t certain whether Karen could pull off the ambitions of the network on her own.
Enter Katrina Ingram. She had developed an interest in podcasting while working as chief operating officer of the CKUA Radio Network, Canada’s most successful community radio station. She had a background in business administration, specializing in marketing and communications, and a lot of great ideas about leveraging connections with CKUA and other partners to make the network viable.
We kept talking, and refining the idea, and building the capacity of the network to live up to its promise. In May of 2017, we were able to announce at PodSummit that ATB was coming on board as the founding sponsor of the Alberta Podcast Network, making it possible for us to begin. We brought our first 10 podcasts on board in July, held our official launch party in September of 2017, and have kept building the network since. It is now quadruple its original size, and includes podcasts from Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer, with more prospects in the wings and more sponsors on board.
WHY ATB POWERs THE NETWORK
ATB has a story. A story about creating happiness for Albertans. One way they do that is by listening to Albertans to get to the heart of their dreams and help find a way to make them happen.
ATB also listens to the ones who make podcasts. And the ones who listen to them. That’s why they jumped at the chance to support the Alberta Podcast Network. They know it’s a great place to help Albertans grow, so it was a natural fit for them.
ATB is excited to help amplify Albertans’ voices through the network by bringing those voices to their neighbours.