MRU and Shaw connect on Community Podcast Initiative

$100,000 donation powers innovative audio storytelling hub


Two young people having a conversation in a radio station recording booth.

The initiative will help establish Mount Royal University as a national and international leader in podcasting education.


Mount Royal University is partnering with Shaw Communications Inc. to introduce a new podcasting initiative that will support and amplify community voices and stories.

Launching this fall, the Community Podcast Initiative (CPI) at Mount Royal’s School of Communication Studies is a first-of-its-kind program for a Canadian university that will see students and the community develop, produce and promote storytelling through podcasting focused on giving a voice to marginalized and underrepresented groups.

“Our initiative is focused on amplifying voices from underrepresented groups,” said Meg Wilcox, an assistant professor of journalism and one of the program’s co-leads. “And to do that, we plan to collaborate with people to find authentic and inclusive ways to share stories you aren’t hearing in traditional media.

“We are grateful to Shaw for its support of this vital project.”

Facilitated by the journalism and broadcast media studies programs and powered by Shaw through a generous $100,000 contribution to the initiative, the CPI will open doors to innovative audio storytelling. This initiative will help establish MRU as a national and international leader in podcasting education, keeping with MRU’s focus on personalized learning and incubating changemaking projects.

“We live in a world where news travels fast and topics about race, identity and diversity are frequently at the forefront of the conversation,” said Chethan Lakshman, vice president, External Affairs, Shaw Communications. “The CPI will not only create an open and educational platform for these important conversations to happen, it will help develop students’ skills so they can better share the stories so important to our communities.”

In an era of rapidly shifting media and an explosion of digital storytelling, podcasting has enjoyed enormous growth with its emphasis on conversations that matter. That popularity has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as people seek context and perspective amidst a sea of information and misinformation. Meanwhile, issues related to the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) community have led to protests and demands for change.

The Community Podcast Initiative will:

  • support podcast production by providing technical space, recording equipment and software, writing strategies and training for students and community organizations
  • advance podcast knowledge through workshops, conferences and awards for podcast excellence
  • use podcasting to advance reconciliation and storytelling from Indigenous communities
  • boost marginalized voices including stories produced by and with BIPOC communities
  • maintain a hub of podcast content produced by MRU and community groups
  • provide research on podcasting and its role in knowledge mobilization

The initiative is a natural evolution from the MRU’s existing podcast work. In 2019, for example, third-year students worked with MRU’s Iniskim Centre to produce “Raising Reconciliation,” a podcast series built around discussions with Indigenous community members. Topics ranged from adjusting to campus life as first-generation students and dealing with racism, to experiences of child apprehension and intergenerational trauma, and — for non-Indigenous students — what it means to be a good ally.

More information about the Community Podcasting Initiative can be found at thepodcaststudio.ca.

What is podcasting? The Riddell Library and Learning Centre has audio production rooms and a podcasting guide.

May 25, 2021 — Peter Glenn

Media request contact information.
Have a story idea? Please fill out this form.