When Peru Minister of Education Martín Benavides asked if there was a way to bring Audible Stories, our free streaming collection of audiobooks for children and families, to Peru to help its students weather the Covid-19 crisis, Audible leaped into action.
A cross-functional, company-wide effort made it possible for 33 Spanish-language titles to air on Peru Public Radio. We talked with Brian Andrews, International Public Policy Director, to learn how the initiative came together in support of students and families in Peru.
How did the Audible Stories on Peru Public Radio initiative get started?
A number of governments around the world have supported the Audible Stories initiative as a valuable service to families coping with the impacts of Covid-19. Many governments are actively promoting Stories on their resource pages and individual officials have tweeted or released statements about it.
Shortly after the launch of Audible Stories, we received a note from Peru Minister of Education Martín Benavides. He commended the program and asked if Stories titles could be played as part of Peru’s public radio educational programming. He noted that due to internet access limitations, around 1 million Peruvian students rely on the radio for their information. To help these students learn while schools are closed due to Covid-19, Peru public radio is broadcasting education programming Monday through Friday. Minister Benavides proposed our Audible Stories could be incorporated into those lesson plans.
Why was it especially meaningful to help Peru, even if it wasn’t the platform Audible Stories had established?
Stories was launched as an effort for Audible to live our values and help families around the world manage stress and continue to engage children intellectually while schools are closed. Peru was hit particularly hard by COVID-19 earlier this year, driving a major economic contraction as well as a massive internal migration crisis as people fled cities for the countryside. Still, this November, Peru has the fifth highest number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America and twelfth highest worldwide despite its relatively small population size. Given the low internet access rate, particularly in rural areas and for lower income families, we recognized Audible would have to experiment with a new platform for our content to have a meaningful impact in Peru.
What did it take to make this initiative possible?
It was inspiring to see how many people within Audible devoted their time to get this done. The Audible Stories and Content teams quickly identified 33 Spanish-language titles for which we have the necessary rights for radio transmission. We then started a correspondence with the Government of Peru to reach an agreement on terms and align the technical elements for transfer. Our Content Lifecycle team made special adjustments to our audio quality and format for the files to be broadcast on Peruvian radio. Teammates from Legal, Content, Corporate Communications, Tax, International and many more all played a critical role in supporting this effort.
How was the initiative received in Peru?
The Government of Peru expressed appreciation for the steps we’ve taken to make the stories available to them. Instructors have been embedding Audible Stories into their lesson plan recordings which will begin broadcasting to homes across Peru the week of November 30. We look forward to being officially “On Air” and receiving feedback on this important program.
Why are community initiatives like these important for Audible?
With everything going on in the world, it is easy to feel discouraged, overwhelmed and even helpless. Audible Stories is a small way for us to reinforce our purpose as a company and make a positive difference for families and children at this difficult time.