By Colin MacGillivray
AN eclectic mix of poetry, stories, interviews, life advice and more will again stream its way to the ears of listeners in Macedon Ranges Shire and beyond after ‘The Covid Crossing’ podcast was renewed for six more episodes.
The podcast was started by Macedon woman Kate Lawrence at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, running for an initial series of 12 episodes.
It was renewed for a second series of six episodes, with the potential for more, after receiving a grant from Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
Ms Lawrence said she began the project as a way to keep members of the community entertained and comforted, while giving her a creative outlet and an opportunity to improve her skills.
“I just needed to throw myself into something and, like most of us, wanted to do something in the face of feeling powerless,” she said.
“I thought, given that people were feeling isolated, bringing a human voice and positive, hopeful stories that were local was something I could offer, while also expressing myself creatively and learning by doing.
“I made the decision to do it and the first episode was done a week later.”
Ms Lawrence described the program as a ‘variety podcast’, with some segments changing each week.
“It always starts with an interview with someone local,” she said.
“They might be someone I randomly bumped into, or someone in the community who I think or know is going to be a good talker.
“In the last series I did a few five-to-10-minute segments on things that can help with wellbeing. One was on meditation, one was about looking up at the sky and expanding your awareness.
“I also featured a woman who has a not-for-profit up in Kyneton called To Turn a Page. She’s a bibliotherapist, and she read a chapter of Seven Little Australians each week.
“For the next set of episodes I’m in the process of commissioning local writers to write a piece that’s set in the Macedon Ranges on whatever they want to write about.
“I’ll probably do a section on democracy, because local government elections are happening and there’s a lot I’d like to discuss.
“We’re looking at featuring things like the local exchange scheme and volunteering, because coming out of COVID-19, employment, community building and all of those things are key.”
Ms Lawrence said the first series of her podcast had been warmly received, and she hoped the second series would reach even more listeners.
“Lots of people really enjoy it and look forward to it,” she said.
“My son is a 15-year-old cynic who thinks nobody listens to the podcast, so I would get him on it with his cynical 15-year-old words and he was a bit of a hit. Now he says, ‘let’s face it, I carry this podcast’.
“A relative shared it on Facebook and I got a message from a woman in Queensland who said she’d listened to every single episode, some of them more than once.
“I’ve been thrilled with the response.”
Ms Lawrence said it was ‘great to have support from council’ for a second series.
She said she had received a grant to cover six episodes, with the potential to renew for another six.
The first episode of the second series released on September 30.
People can listen by searching for The Covid Crossing on any podcast app or by visiting storyground.com.au/the-covid-crossing.
Episodes are also broadcast on radio station Highlands FM 100.7.