Tune in to Canadian Turf Talks

By Dr. Sara Stricker
Guelph Turfgrass Institute Communications & Outreach Coordinator

Social media platforms are always evolving, and new trends continue to change the way we consume media. A format that has been around for ages but has only recently reached record-breaking uptake is the platform of podcasts. As of December 2022, there are nearly 400 million podcast listeners globally, and this number is expected to grow to 500 million by 2024.

The benefit of a podcast is that you can listen whenever and wherever you want. Unlike the radio, the user can choose exactly what they listen to, and can stop or start the content whenever they like. With the ability to download episodes in advance, users don’t need to rely on mobile data or cellular service to access the content in the field. Unlike video-based platforms like YouTube and streaming services, podcast users can listen without watching the screen which allows them to listen while doing other tasks like driving, walking the dog, or working outside. Generally, the content is between 30 to 60 minutes long, or even longer in some cases, which makes them suitable for long car trips or to keep you company while painting lines or raking bunkers.

I didn’t really understand the popularity of podcasts in the past. However, during the isolation of the 2020 shutdowns, I suddenly found myself looking for a source of entertainment to keep my mind off the fear mongering preached on the radio, news, and social media platforms. Especially when I was experiencing so little social interaction and became fearful of even walking through the grocery store, I found myself comforted by being able to hear humans talk about everyday subjects through podcasts — whether it be updates from Cornell on Dr. Frank Rossi’s “Frankly Speaking”, true crime horror stories, or educational tidbits fed to me from Alie Ward’s “Ologies”.

The social distancing of the pandemic has largely subsided, but I continue to listen to podcasts during my commute to work and whenever I have arduous tasks to do like cleaning up or data entry. If you aren’t already an avid listener of podcasts, I highly recommend it!

Recently, the Guelph Turfgrass Institute released a podcast specific to the Canadian turf industry called Canadian Turf Talks. Admittedly, the first few episodes are targeted to Eastern Canada, but we will be expanding by inviting guests from all across the country in the future. The guests from the first six episodes cover golf, cemetery, lawncare, professional sportfields, and academic aspects of the turf industry, with an episode released every other Friday on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple podcasts. The goal of this podcast is to showcase the diversity of the turf industry and to highlight different career paths, perspectives, and challenges.

My cohost to the podcast is Reg Langen, a board member of the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation, former superintendent, and current director of landscapes for Greenwin Corp. We interview each guest and cover topics such as debunking myths, self-care, team building, and career advice. Whether you’re looking for a good laugh or, like me, some human connection, our podcast can provide you with uniquely Canadian content targeted to turf management.

Follow Canadian Turf Talks on Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Apple Podcasts, follow the Guelph Turfgrass Institute on social media platforms, or shoot me an email if you have ideas for future episodes on the podcast.