Guest Post: Podcasting Mongolia

By Tsenguun T & Aldarsaikhan T

The Mongolian podcasting scene is growing rapidly since the production of the first Mongolian podcast Үлдэх Үг in mid-2016. There are close to 20 Mongolian podcasts covering various topics today, and this number is growing. With more content providers, Mongolian podcast listeners are increasing and the popular podcasts such as Unlock and Cool Mongol get over 20,000 per episode.

So why are Mongolians listening and creating podcasts? And who are they?

  • Podcasts are convenient and easy to listen to if you have a smartphone. On-demand technology allows for the users to listen to podcasts while they are commuting, exercising, cooking, cleaning or doing other menial tasks.
  • The number of traditional media organizations is declining with the surge of online media. Podcasting is becoming popular globally with the rise of mobile technology and internet accessibility. There are 550,000 podcasts as of June 2018 worldwide, which is an increase of 150,000 in less than two years. According to a 2017 study done by MMCG company, approximately 99% of the Mongolians aged 15-60 use cell phones, and 79% own smartphones. With growing access to technology and internet, more Mongolians are consuming mobile app-based goods and services.
  • Although there is no statistical information on podcast audience in Mongolia, some trends are easy to spot. A small survey conducted this year among the subscribers of one Mongolian podcast showed that most of podcast listeners are highly educated youth who also subscribe to English-language podcasts such as Hidden Brain, Stuff You Should Know, TED Radio Hour and Freakonomics.
  • According to the Mongolian Press Institute’s annual monitoring data, there are 434 media organizations operating in Mongolia in 2017. But 78% of these organizations are owned by private individuals. Average Mongolians tend to be wary of traditional media and the strings attached to its funders. However, podcasts eliminate this barrier and bring grassroots media to the people. It is evidenced by some of the Mongolian podcasts, which are produced by non-profit organizations.
  • Compared to traditional media, podcasts are relatively affordable to make and distribute. Thanks to low production and distribution costs, more and more individuals are developing contents on their own and spreading it for free.
  • Many of the Mongolian podcasters are young professionals who want to distribute their expertise, knowledge and commentary through curated content to the general public. It’s mainly because traditional media doesn’t have capacity and interest to consistently deliver in-depth topical information.

It is fair to say that the Mongolian podcast scene will continue to grow. Mongolians are increasingly sharing and promoting their favourite podcast shows and episodes on social media. But, many still feel that Mongolian podcasts don’t offer the variety and quality that English-language podcasts have. Mongolian podcasts are in the nascent stage of development, mainly being produced by people who invest their time and resources voluntarily. Little to no sponsorship opportunities exist for Mongolian podcasters, and this could discourage production continuity and quality improvements. However, with an increasing number of podcast listeners every day, sponsorship or other monetizing opportunities could emerge, which, in return, could allow better quality and competition among podcasters. With 2/3rd of its population under 35 years of age and large percentage of smartphone ownership, Mongolia could become a breeding ground for podcasts.

Below are the samples of Mongolian podcasts with varying format and content:

  1. COOL MONGOL

https://www.facebook.com/coolmongolpodcast/

Available @iTunes, Stitcher, Castbox, Podbean

CoolMongol is one of the earliest independent Mongolian podcasts that has a faithful and steadily increasing listenership since its release in October 2016. Host Saintulga engages in easy-going, free-format, engaging dialogue with Mongolians who proved their expertise and talent in various sectors: finance, education, IT, architecture or street art. The latest episode was released in April 2018, featuring Amarbayar, a Mongolian IT expert working at Amazon. 

  1. UNLOCK

https://www.facebook.com/unlockmongolpodcast/

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Castbox, Podbean

Unlock is currently the most-listened Mongolian podcast. It is the only Mongolian podcast that specializes in breaking down and summarizing best-selling nonfiction books. Hosts are Tegshbayar, Delgertsetseg and Batnairamdal, who are young professionals who has experience working abroad. Releasing a new episode roughly every two week since June 2017, Unlock has so far introduced its listeners to 43 nonfiction titles, including among others those authored by Yuval Noah Harari, the late Hans Rosling, Hillary Clinton, and Malcolm Gladwell.

  1. FELT CITY | ЭСГИЙ ХОТ

https://www.facebook.com/felt-city

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Castbox, Podbean

As a listener put it neatly, Felt City is a podcast that Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, rightfully deserves. It was started in June 2018 by urban planning aficionados, Aldarsaikhan and Enkhjin. Hosts tackle numerous urbanization issues that Ulaanbaatar is facing one at a time, offering expert analysis and up-to-date information in easy-to-follow narrative. The podcast is not only targeting urban enthusiasts, but everyone who lives in urban setting. Professionally edited by a local artist Dulguun, the podcast’s music arrangement is a sure delight for the listener’s ears.

  1. SUSTAINABLE MONGOL

https://www.facebook.com/sustainablemongol/

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Podbean, RadioPublic

Hosted by Enkhzul and Tsenguun, environmentalists by training and vocation, Sustainable Mongol is a blog turned podcast that focuses on sustainability issues. Releasing new episodes on a monthly basis since September 2017, hosts interview people from all walks of life who have contributed to a sustainable future of Mongolia. Once in a while, hosts conduct a light literature/news summary of a chosen sustainability topic, for example, climate change impacts on coffee industry.

  1. ҮЛДЭХ ҮГ

https://soundcloud.com/tagtaapublishing

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Castbox, Podbean

While Unlock podcast attracts nonfiction fans,Үлдэх Үг is a gem for fiction readers of Mongolia. Bayasgalan, Tegshzaya, Byambanyam, who run a highly respected independent literary publishing company called Tagtaa Publishing, have been hosting the podcast since 2016. Authors, translators and bibliophiles are invited to discuss works of both Mongolian and world literature. Another active literary podcast is Санаагийн Подкаст, which is also available on the same platforms.

  1. MEDICAL RESEARCH MONGOL

https://www.facebook.com/medicalpodcast/

Available @iTunes, Spreaker, Castbox, Podbean

When it comes to health, reliable information is critical. Dedicated to health professionals as well as anyone who is interested, medical scientist and PhD Amarjargal has been providing scientific medical information about all kinds of health issues through her podcast since November 2017. In episodes lasting no longer than 15 minutes, Dr. Amarjargal walks her listeners through up-to-date medical research findings published on international peer-reviewed scientific journals. 

  1. HEREGTEI

 https://www.facebook.com/heregteiOFFICIAL

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Castbox

Evoking BBC’s one-minute broadcast, Heregtei is all about brevity and efficiency. Episodes are scripted and last under 3 minutes, neatly packing various advice and tips on self-development, health and more. Since its inception in September 2017, the podcast delivered over 50 episodes on useful lifestyle information. The podcast has accompanying blog, which has extensive information.

  1. JARGAL DE FACTO

http://jargaldefacto.com

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud

Jargal Dambadarjaa is a well-known Mongolian political and economic observer, columnist, and the host of DeFacto Debate, DeFacto Review and DeFacto Interview, which is broadcast on national television channels. Audio versions of his works are made available daily with this podcast. 

  1. BUSINESS RADIO

https://www.facebook.com/BusinessRadio98.9/

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Castbox, Podbean

Started in February 2014, Business Radio 98.9 is Mongolia’s first private radio channel specializing in business and economic news. Listeners can choose daily broadcasts from over 20 programs. 

  1. BREAK THE CHAIN PODCAST BY BEAUTIFUL HEARTS NGO

https://soundcloud.com/btifulhearts

Available @Soundcloud, Castbox

Started in 2017, “Break the Chain” is a biweekly podcast on gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence and its various facets. Produced by Beautiful Hearts Against Sexual Violence NGO, the podcast features local and international experts in human rights, social welfare, development and media and more.

  1. MONGOLIAN QUEER PODCAST BY THE LGBT CENTER OF MONGOLIA NGO

https://soundcloud.com/user-134307932

Available @ iTunes, Soundcloud, Castbox

Mongolian Queer podcast has been recently released by the LGBT Center of Mongolia, a human rights organization that works for the rights of LGBTI people. Every Friday, new topics are covered, featuring guests from LGBTI community and supporters. 

  1. SEHEETEN

https://soundcloud.com/seheeten

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Castbox, Podbean

Hosted by Tsogtbilguundari and Taivan, Seheeten is one of the most-listened Mongolian lifestyle & self-development podcast targeting youth. Since December 2017, the podcast has released 52 episodes, featuring 36 guests and 16 books. Similar podcasts include Positive Mongolians, Dreamongolia and Uhaarliin 7 honog, all of which are also available on the same platforms.  

  1. MONGOL STUDENT

https://soundcloud.com/mongol-student

Available @iTunes, Soundcloud, Castbox, Podbean

Started in January 2018, Mongol Student Podcast is a popular education podcast. Hosts are Davaajargal and Galbayar, Mongolian students studying in Japan and U.S.A respectively. They interview fellow Mongolians studying abroad, discussing about their student life and practical tips/information for those interested in pursuing education opportunities abroad.

Some fun articles to read if you want to learn more about podcasters’ mindset:

James Altucher- Why You Absolute Must Do a Podcast

Ryan Holiday- Please, for the love of god, do not start a podcast

About Tsenguun

Tsenguun Tumurkhuyag is a sustainability enthusiast who believes in creative, grassroots solutions to environmental challenges. Through awareness-raising, community engagement and cross-sector collaborative efforts, she hopes to contribute to a greener future. Graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A in Environmental Studies, Tsenguun has worked for environmental organizations in U.S. and Mongolia. In her free time, Tsenguun produces Sustainable Mongol, a bi-weekly Mongolian-language podcast on sustainability issues.

About Aldaraa

Aldarsaikhan Tuvshinbat is a Mongolian national with a background in real estate development, urban planning, and architecture. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from MIT and a Master’s in Urban Planning from Harvard University. Before moving back to Mongolia in 2017, she worked at the New York City Economic Development Corporation overseeing some of the city’s major real estate developments. Aldaraa creates Felt City podcast with a fellow urban planner.

This entry was posted in Aldarsaikhan Tuvshinbat, Business, City Planning, Environment, Gender, Higher Education, LGBTI, Media and Press, Politics, Social Change, Social Media, Society and Culture, Tsenguun Tumurkhuyag, Ulaanbaatar. Bookmark the permalink.

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