“Most mainstream media in the Middle East isn’t created for us, it’s created for our parents,” said Hebah Fisher, CEO and co-founder of the podcast company Kerning Cultures. Four years ago, Fisher and her partner Razan Alzayani decided they wanted to produce stories that they found interesting, “The kind that we can actually see ourselves in,” she remarked.
Modern day podcasts can be considered the digital descendent of the long tradition of oral storytelling, a strong and time-honored tradition in the Middle East. The podcast format allows storytellers to dive deep into topics typically avoided or only skimmed by mainstream media. Arabic-language podcasts are not meant to replace traditional media reporting, but to offer niche discussions around which people across the region and in the diaspora can connect.