2023 Awards Winner’s Spotlight: NGO Impact

BatChat Podcast – Bat Conservation Trust / Steve Roe

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Launched in 2019, the BatChat podcast is now in its fourth series. Produced on an entirely voluntary basis it’s the only active podcast amongst three million podcasts worldwide that concentrates on bringing its listeners stories and news from the world of bat conservation. Each episode sees the show’s host, Steve Roe, interview conservationists and ecologists alike in the field whilst they undertake their work. BatChat has made a significant difference to the conservation of the natural environment through education. The show is increasing the profile of bat conservation projects being run all over the country, including by many volunteers and voluntary organisations such as bat groups. This is not only helping to increase public support for bat conservation, and in turn funding, but encourages those doing the work and is inspiring young and older ecologists to do the same and set up their own projects.

The show allows guests to share their work, research and stories with an audience like never before. The process of publishing data in formal reports often dissuades people from getting their work out there. However they know their work inside out and BatChat’s interviews not only showcases their work to a huge audience but it delivers their stories right to the ears of listeners.

The value of podcasting in communicating expertise and sheer unbridled enthusiasm for the natural world is best summed up by BatChat. The show fires our imaginations by opening our minds to ideas which would be difficult to portray in pictures alone; the listeners add their own images and take themselves out into the field thanks to the immersive field recordings helping give the show its character.

Unlike most other nature and environment podcasts, the majority of its 40 episodes have been recorded out in the field. Listeners say that they look forward to each new episode which brings the world of nature conservation to them with no other distractions around them as listening to podcasts is almost always done alone (RAJAR 2022). Sponsorship for the show through advertising is now raising additional funds for the conservation of the UK’s 18 native bat species.

Each series acts as a reminder to the listeners of the considerable amount of bat conservation work taking place around the UK as well as further afield and brings the work of the Bat Conservation Trust into regular view of the public. The show has had over 48,000 downloads (a 50% increase since last year). The worldwide audience and responses from listeners in 105 countries other than the UK combined with the number of downloads and total listening time to date (1.5 years) demonstrates just how much of a positive impact and global reach the show is having.

We will be posting further information on each of the 2023 Awards Winners over on our blog.