Teaching Audio, part 12 -- An Intro to Podcasting
WHAT IS PODCASTING?
Podcasting is basically on demand audio, or niche audio which can't find or doesn't want a place on traditional radio, and which has a niche target audience .... Shows can be of any length and come up irregularly unlike standard radio, but consistency is still a key to grow an audience, and inconsistency can make it impossible.
WHAT MAKES FOR A GOOD PODCAST?
Regular radio shows can also take on the name of podcast or be transformed into podcasts to be hip and also available on smartphones. Differences with reporting? Usually podcasts are more creative, more conversational, more controversial, wackier, more niche based, more free flow but still within a structure. As Seth Resler points out in his excellent analysis, there are generally three types of podcasters: journalists, entertainers and coaches. I would add the word celebrity before entertainers and coaches and say that if you aren't a celebrity, the easiest route and maybe the only option is the journalism one. This is what Resler writes about that category ... "With an emphasis on research, storytelling, and post-production editing, the influence of Ira Glass and This American Life on this group is unmistakable." Here's an excellent Reddit post in terms of keeping it real with expectations and work needed to at least hope becoming a successful podcaster.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PODCASTING
In terms of podcast history, Apple recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the podcast, which started with Itunes, and got its name from the Ipod, which very few people still use. The media and podcasters have been talking about the golden age of podcasting, maybe to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even though there's lots of buzz about podcasting, and there is forward-looking investment, and a lot of interesting people are trying podcasting, it doesn't mean everyone is listening.
GROWING PODCAST BUZZ
There was recently a "Castparty", showcasing live performances of podcasts in movie theaters. Podcasting also coincides with the age of craft beer and Etsy, tailored products, produced by hipsters for hipsters, geek radio produced by geeks for geeks (but there's nothing wrong with being a geek anymore, on the contrary). Of course, the podcast moment brings a slew of snake oil salesmen, get rich quick, get famous even quicker schemes, so obviously you have podcasts about being a podcaster, such as http://podcastanswerman.com/410/?utm_content=buffer429d0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer, or https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tse-012-how-to-launch-successful/id979783101?i=339056424&mt=2.
WHO LISTENS TO PODCASTS?
As there is binge watching on Netflix, there is also binge listening for podcasts. You discover a voice, a style you like, and you want to delve deeper. Serial and WTF with Marc Maron come to mind in terms of binge listening. Last year, Serial, which was the first viral podcasting hit, lifted all boats of the industry. This year, WTF's Marc Maron scored a podcast interview with Barack Obama during which the president used the n- word which got attention as well. It's an era where it's no longer the tyranny of mass products, such as mass media, which bodes well for podcasting.
But you also notice an inverse trend of consolidation, of podcast networks, of traditional media buying shares in podcast networks. For an independent podcaster, it seems 10,000 regular listeners is the point where a podcast can bring in some money, even enough for one person to live on. Those are some of my general thoughts and observed highlights on current industry trends, said in a whirlwind, which I will develop later in a special series of chapters on podcasting (see below for full list). But first things first, in terms of producing basics ...
BASICS TO MAKING YOUR OWN PODCAST EPISODE
Here's the basic structure of a podcast ...
Jingle/Theme Song / Welcome ... (Someone needs to explain what song are we hearing?)
Name of podcast, name of hosts, sponsors if any ....
What is podcast about? Theme / topics of this episode ...
more music / jingle ...
Get into theme ...
Reminder of name of podcast / theme of episode / who is hosting / who is the guest ... As in all audio, listeners always love to be taken by the hand, and feel that reassurance of where they are being taken and by whom ....
Plug your related social media continuously ....
You can include improv talking, creative audio work, features, interviews recorded in or out of studio, chapters, different parts ....
Always create transitions and explain to listener what is going on, never forget to always take listener by the hand as you guide them through your show ... They have no graphics, only your audio ...
Outro needs to have music/jingle/name of podcast/ conclusion / goodbyes / what's coming up / sponsors ....
Finally, be yourself, and don't try to sound like a podcaster you like ... Ira Glass / Serial / Radiolab / even if you do use some of their techniques, don't try to sound like them in your voice ... that never works well ...
EXTERNAL LINKS ON PODCASTING FROM A TO Z
Here's a list of links giving you their own tips and tricks of the trade in producing a great podcast, from conception to workflow to marketing, with lots of suggested software and hardware in there as well.
If you found this tutorial useful, check out other installments. Here's the full list of chapters from my audio tutorials:
Teaching Audio -- Instilling Passion
Teaching Audio part 1 -- Recording Audio
Teaching Audio part 2 -- Writing for the Ear
Teaching Audio part 3 -- Audio Editing
Teaching Audio part 4 -- Sound Effects, Using Music and Audio Libraries
Teaching Audio part 5 -- Anchor Leads, News Writing, Judgment and Features
Teaching Audio part 6 -- Voicing
Teaching Audio part 7 -- On the Scene Reporting
Teaching Audio part 8 -- Interviews
Teaching Audio part 9 -- Newscasts and Stacking the News
Teaching Audio part 10 -- Commercials
Teaching Audio part 11 -- Raising Your Game
Teaching Audio part 12 -- Podcasting Intro
Teaching Audio part 13 -- Window Dressing
Teaching Audio part 14 -- Podcast Lists
Teaching Audio part 15 -- Big Podcasts, Little City
Teaching Audio part 16 -- Listening to Podcasts and Publishing your Own
Teaching Audio, part 17 -- Joining Podcast Communities
Teaching Audio, part 18 -- Podcasting for PR
Teaching Audio, part 19 -- Promoting Your Podcast
Teaching Audio, part 20 -- Making Money in Podcasting
Teaching Audio, part 21 -- Building a Career in Audio