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From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Ohio DD Talks

Entered in Podcast

About this entry

Ohio DD talks is a monthly podcast launched in Spring 2020 to create a connection point for Ohioans with disabilities and their families as the COVID-19 pandemic started to rage through the United States. While many organizations were hosting webinars and daily alerts were advising on the updates of the pandemic and how it's affecting communities, the firm utilized the digital space to share stories and create a community. 

Additionally, one of the charges of the firm is to expand the awareness about the Council across the state among people with disabilities, their families and other stakholders. 

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is made up of over 30 members, with the majority being individuals with developmental disabilities, and parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities who are appointed by the Governor of Ohio. By the direction of our members, the Ohio DD Council funds grant projects that aim to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities with an emphasis on self-determination, diversity and inclusion. Through our work, the Council aims to:

Its mission is to create change that improves independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Ohio DD Talks features various topics important to the disability community across Ohio. The podcast interviews people with disabilities, agency leaders and more to cover different topics that impact the community. To include people across Ohio, the podcast also designed a way to collect stories from individuals across the state on the topic of the podcast. 

Editorial - Currently, there is one epsiode per month and features topics in relation to what matters to the DD community. The podcast started with two members of the Ohio DD Council who shared their coping skills with COVID - taking up a new hobby, discussing losing a job and trying to keep their spirits up. The podcast then went on to cover the following topics:

The producers tapped a Council Member to become the host of Ohio DD Talks as way to get involved and drive the conversation. Michael Denlinger's natural charm and conversational style drove the podcast and messaging on topics. 

User-generated content -The firm created a story collection portal allowing people to participate in the podcast as well by sharing their stories as well, allowing them to be a part of the podcast. At the time of this writing, the firm is planning for a People's Episode to touch base with all the individuals who submitted their stories. 

Distribution: The firm created a specific list to collect new email sign ups/opt-ins for the podcast, and releases the new episode the email list first, before it goes live on Facebook, YouTube and the podcast stations - Apple, Spotify and Google. Then the episode is released via Facebook Watch and Twitter for the community. 

Accessibility: The firm ensured that each episode meets accessibility standards with closed captioning and accessible colors for any graphics for the podcast.


Launched in June, and with monthly episodes covering new and relevant topics, the podcast has been received with great enthusiasm across the viewers and listeners. Overall, the podcast/videocast episodes have received 24,813 impressions and over 19,009 in reach, both organic. The podcast is now available on Apple, Spotify and where podcasts are available. 

The listeners are steadily growing and the Council has received great feedback and interest in the podcast. Addtionally, the distribution strategy received the following results:

Media Coverage: Four mentions in local and statewide media reaching over 106,000 UVPMs. 

User-Generated Content: The story collection portion of the podcast strategy has received 17 unique stories from listeners around the state. Each story is focused on the topic of the podcast. 

Brand Awareness: Through the podcast's outreach, the Ohio DD Council reached new counties where the Council has no representation or had rural representation, where the Council has been working to gain more awareness. Additionally, the opt-ins to the Ohio DD Council's email list gained 78 new subscribers specifically due to the podcast. 



Video for Ohio DD Talks

Entrant Company / Organization Name

O'Neill Communications, Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council