''GUSHI FM'' draws its inspiration from American public radio programs, with tales of love, loss, adventure and even the absurd.

The team works fast to make the three episodes a week demanded by the podcast's parent company and main financial backer, the popular online content creator Daxiang Gonghu - which publishes articles about history and culture.

''Gushi FM'' sells some ads, Mr. Kou says, but it faces a constant struggle for survival. Podcasts have yet to catch on in China, as they have in the United States and Britain. Experts say part of the reason is the government's monopoly on radio in China.

Advertisers are still drawn to traditional broadcast stations that hire radio hosts to chat and play music.

Another challenge facing ''Gushi FM'' is that the show is firmly rooted in reality, warts and all, at a time when many Chinese are looking to tune and out daily anxieties. That desire has fueled a surge in escapist entertainment like online  live streaming, Korean television dramas and blogs that that churn out feel good clickbait.

These exist alongside a powerful state media apparatus bent on promoting ''positive energy'' by pushing party propaganda, including in forms as unlikely as rap performances and game shows.

For many Chinese, learning about social ills while knowing that little can be done to to solve them can feel like a needlessly depressing endeavor.

''When people listen to 'This American Life,' they are moved by the story tellers and their stories,'' said Yang Yi, the editor of JustPod, a Chinese language newsletter about the podcast industry.

''But an ordinary Chinese listener will think : ''My life is also very hard, so why should I hear about the hardship of someone else?''

Yet ''Gushi FM'' has a niche, and growing, audience. Hearing others describe their struggles and successes in such a intimate way, fans say, is precisely what sets it apart.

''I had a crisis at work and was feeling very lost and panicked,'' said Shao Xueyan, 32, formerly an engineer in a northern city. But  discovering ''Gushi FM'' was like late.''

''Through listening to other people's stories I could reflect on my own life,'' she added. ''It made me realize that there will always be  good things  that happen in life as long as you are alive.''


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!