What goes into crafting a podcast worth listening to?
- Creating and publishing my own podcasts is an exciting prospect. And perhaps a SCARY one, too!
I have long wondered about what kind of conversation, insights, and observations I could share outside of the format of my weekly radio program, which is chiefly music-focused.
As with my freelance writing, I always prefer to have a starting point that’s been predetermined. Case in point, talk to this female saxophonist, Christine Jensen, about her new album and what it means to be a Canadian jazz icon. Then we can break it down from there: who are you, what do you do, why do you do it, how do you do it, what surprised you the most about doing it? You get the idea.
I hope that my interview podcasts featuring King Buzzo and Damian Abraham reveal something about those artists that even the most stalwart fan would find interesting or unusual. Indeed, my favourite aspect of interviewing people is when you flip over a stone and find something living underneath it. Like a devoted metalhead who reveals that he’s deeply into beekeeping.
For example had the pleasure of interviewing Nergal of the Polish death-metal band Behemoth. He was pleased that I had done so much background research on him and knew that he had a degree in museum curation from the University of Gdansk. In hindsight, I was thrilled to the core by his sexy baritone voice and a podcast version of our chat would certainly have brought that extra-value across to the listener, as opposed to the stony silence of the mere pulp-and-ink print version.
*Nergal and Behemoth
Basically, when plotting out a podcast, I try to adhere to the same rules I’d use in creating a radio program, except for my usual on-air edict of “Less talk; more rock!”
Try to keep it clear and simple. And, for the love of all that’s holy, establish some sort of key talking point; a central topic or concept that you can (hopefully) circle back to by the end of your conversation/podcast.
Even if you wander into uncharted territory, keep your audience in mind. Refrain from in-jokes. I tell callers to my radio show, who request such, that “Shout-outs are boring and lame.” And they are. It’s okay to take a pause now and then. What seems like minutes to you is really only seconds on the other end of the broadcast. Catch your breath, swallow that spit, laugh a little, Google that fact, take a sip or a rip. These are all normal activities. But don’t fritter your time (or ours) away either. Roll on!
Consider the working motto of noted movie director Ed Wood:
“Great! Print it!”
I like the idea of creating podcasts in one big go!
Just as my radio show is two-hours of live and uncensored creativity, a podcast can be put out with little or no turn around time.
Yes, you can do it in ONE TAKE — IF : you pay attention and keep it tight. Have something to say before you go on the mic! Tell yourself that there will be no post-recording editing. Set a timer if you’re concerned about length, or better yet just talk until it’s talked out.
After almost two decades of DJ-ing and announcing off-the-cuff, I’m used to looking forward — not back. One and done!
That’s not to say we shouldn’t self-edit and strive for perfection in what we do! You MUST go back and listen to your own material. It’s the best way to pick up on the little improvements that will sculpt and polish your productions.
Do I really “Pop my Ps?” Yes, yes you do.
Little tangents and sideways alleys of thought and discussion are the real meat of the matter. We all know so-and-so had a big hit with “That Song”, but the real pleasure comes from hearing about the singer-songwriter’s passion for homemade jams, jet-skiing, and rescuing hedgehogs. Or whatever…
And, as you can see, I have a predilection for awesome imagery. Podcasting is another opportunity to present imagery in the form of video-casting. Just need to figure out the old soft-focus camera techniques they used on the original Star Trek. What was that? Vaseline on the lens? Genius! She looks like an angel!
It’s a lot of personal exposure. The stakes are high in that regard, but there’s also an ocean of existing (and ongoing) podcasts out there. Sink or swim, but know that there is definitely a “TRY!” in this game.
So much to cover; so much fun to be had!