To get an inside look at children’s media, we met with Senior Director of Development & Children’s Programming at Pinna, Amy Kraft. She is exactly what you’d think of when you picture someone who creates content for kids- quick-witted, hilarious and extremely warm and genuine.
Currently, she is executive producing a new podcast series for up and coming podcast creators called Podcasters U on Pinna. Pinna is an on-demand audio streaming service with original audio programming curated and created for kids, that includes podcasts, audio shows, music and audiobooks. We recently sat down with Kraft to learn more about her experience in the children’s media industry, her process of creating content for younger age groups, as well as how with a headset, a device and some tips from Pinna, you can start your own podcast today.
Getting Started in a New Industry
Kraft started off her career with a temp job out of Graduate School where she had her first brush with children’s media via working on Clifford the Big Red Dog learning games. From there, she began working at Scholastic where she began producing children’s media and gamifying learning in fun and creative ways. At the same time, she worked with teams of people to work in every aspect of the production, which became a huge motivation to continue on this path.
Having recently given a talk at Temple University as part of a career symposium, Kraft marvels at the progress the field of children’s media has made. “Myself, I kind of fell into kids media, but now there are so many programs for college students who know that this is something they want to specialize in,” Kraft further reflects, “When I began, I was really thinking about audiences and audiences that mattered to me, and once I got into kids media, I was hooked.”
An Inside Look at Children’s Media
When Kraft landed at Pinna, she came with a world of knowledge and experience that she uses to produce some of the most entertaining, kid-centric audio content available today. What differentiates a lot of the programs on Pinna is how they empower kids to be the creators and remain authentic in the process. “We have a whole set of shows that are real kids being themselves. Food Crimes and Grimm, Grimmer Grimmest are great examples of this,” notes Kraft. Food Crimes is an audio series in which “REAL kids bring their REAL stories to food court,” while on Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest kids provide the rather hysterical commentary to classic fairytales.
When creating content for different age groups, Kraft explains that there is much more to the process than one would think, “We want to make sure it’s developmentally appropriate for the kids in a specific age range, not just in terms of subject matter, but also in terms of how many characters are in a scene at one time or how much information can they hold if we’re doing something that has an underlying curriculum.”
A great example is Quentin and Alfie’s ABC Adventures which focuses on phonetic awareness. Every episode uses a letter of the alphabet as its theme and utilizes that letters sound throughout. In instances like this, Pinna works closely with educators on details such as repetition of the letter sound or the number of words that should be introduced as an exemplar of that sound to ensure children are truly learning while they are listening.
A Podcasting Summer Camp for Kids
This year, Pinna is launching their very first podcast series for up and coming podcasters, aptly titled Podcasters U. With over 60 podcasts under their belts and tons of feedback from kid creators and listeners, the team at Pinna is delivering all the tips kids need to start creating their own podcast. “Episode one, How to Make a Podcast is out now and is an overview from conception to scripting to recording to editing- here are the the nuts and bolts.” Kraft continues, “Each week over the summer, beginning June 6, is a different theme of a type of show you might make. For instance, the first theme we cover is the Art of the Interview.”
As part of the camp, Pinna recommends the AVID AE-36 for sound quality and consistency while recording in different environments. “We tested a lot of different headsets for audio quality and found the AE-36 to be the best, while also being accessible and easy to use,” Kraft adds, “The mic is a nice uniform distance away from their mouths, so even if the kids are recorded separately, it sounds like all the kids are in a room talking together. That’s a little podcast magic.”
The flexible and durable design fits perfectly on elementary and middle schoolers, the primary age group of kids signing up for the podcasting camp. “They’re lightweight, they fit on kids heads well plus the colors are cool,” comments Kraft, “So if you have an AVID headset and a device, you have everything you need to make a podcast.”
Start Podcasting Today
Well, what are you waiting for? Sign up for Pinna and start listening to Podcasters U and more kid friendly content today. And who knows, you or your kid may be the next great Pinna podcaster.