Meet the lady whose “professional curiosity” is making waves in SA’s podcast industry

Elna Schütz graduated with a BJourn in 2013, specialising in radio and audio. Her involvement with journalism was always more than purely academic; while studying at Rhodes University, she worked as both writer and editor for the student newspaper Activate and was a presenter on Rhodes Music Radio (RMR). She also led a team in producing a weekly community youth show on RMR. 

After completing her degree Schütz moved to the Wits Radio Academy, where, as executive producer, she managed and trained teams of students for two weekly radio shows, The Science Inside and The Business Buzz. She had also previously produced a legal show, Law Focus. While at Wits, Schütz worked with community radio stations and led short-term projects, including a series of audio documentaries about migration. Crossings was nominated for a Liberty Radio award in 2017. 

Active in the online space, in her Twitter bio, Schütz describes herself as ‘professionally curious’. Her website lists her as an audio content creator. Not limiting herself to short audio content, her longer-form audio recording work includes stories for Undark and Proof by America’s Test Kitchen. She has also conceptualised and executive-produced podcasts for corporate, educational, and journalistic institutions, including the University of Pretoria and CIVICUS. Regular podcast clients include Curio and The Economist, and Schütz hosts podcasts, including GE Vital Voices. 

In 2016, Schütz and Wits Radio Academy founded Podmeet, a networking and training project for podcasters intended to grow the South African industry. Currently, she works as a freelance journalist and has written for publications, including the Daily Maverick and Deutsche Welle. She has produced audio for the BBC and PRX’s The World. Schütz’s work covers topics from business to science and health, focusing on mental health and human rights. She describes herself as always having time to hear a really good story and is particularly interested in how personal stories reflect wider circumstances.

In 2022, for her contribution to the podcast industry in South Africa and dedication to audio and radio production, Schütz was honoured with a JMS50 Alumni Award from the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University.