- The popular podcast “Overheard at National Geographic” will be back Oct. 15 with a second season.
- As National Geographic’s flagship podcast, the show uses audio to draw listeners into stories in a more intimate way, according to host Peter Gwin.
- Season two will feature female trailblazers and an episode about climate change through the lens of beavers in the Arctic.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
With podcasting on the rise, many traditional print media outlets have turned to audio to reach their current audience and engage with new ones. National Geographic, for instance, is relying on its hit podcast “Overheard at National Geographic” to supplement its magazine storytelling.
“Overheard,” which broke into the top 10 list on Apple Podcasts when it first aired in June and now has over 1.2 million downloads on its first season, will return for a second season on Oct. 15, National Geographic announced exclusively to Business Insider.
The podcast, hosted by longtime National Geographic writer and editor Peter Gwin, aims to provide listeners with a more in-depth look into stories about topics ranging from ancient archaeology to modern scientific endeavours in Alaska.
“One of the things that we always talk about here is how much storytelling is left on the cutting room floor,” Gwin said in an interview with Business Insider.
National Geographic writers and photographers often collect more material over the course of their reporting than they have space for in the magazine and online, Gwin said, which is why the outlet turned to podcasting.
‘Overheard’ explores lesser-known stories about popular global topics
The “Overheard” team also works to inform listeners about important issues in new ways. Season two includes an entire episode dedicated to exploring the role beavers play in climate change.
With the Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg bringing climate change to the forefront of international political discourse, National Geographic will take a look at the global topic in a different light.
“We start with something that sounds so outlandish, but we work through it to get to the scientific reality of the thing,” Gwin said.
Craig Welch, an environmental reporter at National Geographic who writes frequently about climate change, said he’d been working on digging into the beaver mystery for a magazine piece before “Overheard” asked him to write it for a podcast episode.
Welch spoke with a scientist who does research in the Arctic, which is how he learned beavers are advancing on the tundra. As they head north, they build ponds in typical beaver fashion. But beavers and ponds on frozen ground could be a recipe for global warming, as “Overheard” will explore in season two for an increasingly climate-conscious audience.
“There’s no doubt that you can see a greater interest in climate change among readers of NatGeo and in general,” Welch said. “The level of sophistication and general understanding of the public is much higher than it has ever been.”
“Overheard” is also using audio to draw attention to certain underrepresented groups. The podcast will focus on female guests in season two, such as astrobiologist Penelope Boston, marine geo-archaeologist Beverly Goodman, and reporter Natasha Daly.
“When you hear the voice of a female scientists, it’s much more personal and intimate than just reading her byline or reading her quote in the text of a story,” said Whitney Johnson, vice president of visual experiences at National Geographic.
By using audio to draw subscribers as far into National Geographic stories as possible, the outlet is able to engage with a broader audience than it does in print, Gwin said.
“I have two daughters, and they used to just glance at the magazine when it came home every month,” Gwin said. “Listening to the podcast, they’re suddenly asking questions and they have this whole new notion about what National Geographic is.”
Take an exclusive listen to the “Overheard” season two audio trailer here: