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PODCAST YOUR PEARLS

RON ELVING / NPR NEWS


PODCASTER SINCE 2006
HOW MANY OF YOU
HAVE A PODCAST?
HAVE BEEN PART OF A PODCAST?
LISTEN TO PODCASTS?
WANT TO START A PODCAST?
THE POD AS ARC OF AUDIO

PODCASTING = EVOLUTIONARY AUDIO


IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS A-M
AND IT WAS GOOD / OPENED WORLDS
MACRO: BROUGHT YOU THE WHOLE WORLD
MICRO: GAVE LIFE TO NICHE WORLDS
ARC OF AUDIO
BUT A-M WAS ALSO NOT SO GOOD
BAD SOUND / UGLY TOWERS
COMMERCIALS / HIGH BARRIERS
COOL IN 1920S 1930S 1940S
THEN T-V CAME, RADIO WAS NOT COOL
KIDS SAVED RADIO
BUT RADIO WAS DISCOVERED BY YOUTH
RADIO = INDEPENDENCE / REBELLION
FIRST THERE WAS ROCK & ROLL RADIO
ELVIS / THE BEATLES / PROTEST SONGS
“GUNNING DOWN THE OLD MAN WITH A
TRANSISTOR RADIO” -- VAN MORRISON
KIDS SAVED RADIO

BUT A-M STATIONS WERE STILL ‘THE OLD MAN’


STILL THE COMMERCIAL WORLD
STILL HIGH BARRIERS TO ENTRY
STILL NOT ENTIRELY COOL
ALONG CAME FM
BUT THERE WAS ANOTHER KIND OF RADIO = FM
NOT EVERYONE HAD IT … BUT ANYONE COULD GET IT
STATIONS HAD SMALLER REACH BUT BETTER SOUND
PRETTY SOON YOU HAD ALTERNATIVE RADIO
AND FM RADIOS RIGHT THERE …
IN YOUR CAR
ALONG CAME FM

FM WENT FROM NICHE TO NORMATIVE


BUT WAS ALSO DEFINIED AS ALTERNATIVE
MOSTLY ABOUT MUSIC BUT WITH ROOM FOR MORE
NEWS / CULTURAL COMMUNICATION / VIBE
REDISCOVERING AUDIO AS IMAGINATION CUE
ALONG ABOUT
THE SAME TIME….

CONGRESS CREATED PBS IN 1967


ADDED AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT… “…AND RADIO”
WITH NO IDEA WHAT THAT MIGHT MEAN…
IN 1969-1971 SEVERAL EDUCATIONAL
RADIO MANAGERS CAME UP WITH NPR
ALONG ABOUT
THE SAME TIME….

“RADIO IS THE MOST PERSONAL MEDIUM WE HAVE


BECAUSE THE HUMAN VOICE IS SO EXPRESSIVE. IT’S A
STORY-TELLING MEDIUM. AND WE ALL NEED STORY
TELLING.”
-- BILL SIEMERING
AUTHOR OF FIRST NPR MISSION STATEMENT
NPR EVOLUTION
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED IN THE EARLY 1970S
GAVEL TO GAVEL WATERGATE HEARINGS
MORNING EDITION IN LATE 1970S
10 MILLION TO 30 MILLION AFTER 2000
AGE GAP PERSISTS, WIDENS
MORE AND MORE EVOLUTION

NEXT GREAT REVOLUTION = INTERNET


EARLY NPR WEBSITE = WEAK
BREAKTHROUGH KROC GRANT IN 2003
INTERNET BASED AUDIO WITH LOW COST
NATURAL FLOW INTO PODCASTS IN 2005
“IT’S ALL POLITICS”
MORE THAN 350 WEEKLY EPISODES (2006-2013)
KEN RUDIN, POLITICAL EDITOR
RON ELVING, WASHINGTON EDITOR
18-20 MINUTES TALK, AUDIO CLIPS, MUSIC
LOTS OF HISTORY, INSIDE BASEBALL
LIMITED AUDIENCE = JUNKIES
SUCCESSOR AND SUCCESS
“NPR POLITICS PODCAST”

THURSDAYS AND AS NEWS DEMANDS


INCLUDING LATE AT NIGHT
ROTATING CAST OF HOSTS
EXPLICIT APPEAL TO YOUTH
LIVE SHOWS -- SOLD OUT FUNDRAISERS
SUCCESSOR AND SUCCESS
“NPR POLITICS PODCAST”

SUCCESSFUL SPIN-OFF
ORIGINAL HOST SAM SANDERS
GOT HIS OWN SHOW
IT’S BEEN A MINUTE WITH SAM SANDERS
NPR PODCASTING EXPLODES!
PLANET MONEY / CODE SWITCH / FRESH AIR
HIDDEN BRAIN / INVISIBILIA / TINY DESK
HOW I BUILT THIS / WOW IN THE WORLD
POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR / LIFE KIT
WAIT WAIT DON’T TELL ME / EMBD
LIVE FROM THE POUNDSTONE INSTITUTE
THE ARC OF AUDIO
AS ESSENTIAL

“BECAUSE [AUDIO] IS SO FLEXIBLE AND PERSONAL IT


WILL BE HERE AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO MAKE IT
ESSENTIAL… OUR RAW MATERIALS ARE IDEAS,
CULTURE, COMMUNITY, NEWS AND INTERESTING
PEOPLE.”
-- BILL SIEMERING 2003
YOUR PLACE IN PODCASTING

Is your place in the Arc of Audio


As of 2018, Apple’s podcast platform had
about 550,000 active shows.

That’s a lot of audio vying for your ears


and your time.

But if you are considering starting a


podcast, here are some thoughts…
Ask yourself some deep, difficult,
even existential questions.

The more specific you can be


in your answers, the better.
Why Are We Doing This?
• Make money
• Reach new audience
• Promote brand
• Contribute to discourse
• Be a thought leader
• Share a message
• Teach others
•What is this idea? No, really, what is it?

•Is a podcast the best format for this?

•What do we want to accomplish?

•What makes this distinctive?


•How passionate are we
about the story/concept?

•Why are we the right people


to make this podcast now?

•Do we have the time and resources?


Think about your audience…

Who would want or need


this podcast?

Are we trying to reach an existing


audience -- or a new one?
What unique value or perspective
can we add to listeners’ lives?

Where are our listeners when they listen?

After listening, what will they talk about?

Who will they share the episode with?


Is this a solo project? Small crew?

Monologues or dialogues?

Multiple hosts? Guests? Regulars?

Live or scripted? How much editing?


Remember that podcasting,
like all media, is about telling a story.

Whoever hosts, whoever joins, whatever audio you


play, you are ultimately telling a story.

That means a beginning, middle and end, with


characters, conflict and resolution.
And then there’s the practical side…

What shall we call it?


Keywords
Catchy / Memorable
Clever / Sly

Trademark Electronic Search System [TESS]


Also check iTunes
It’s an audio medium but visuals matter.
You need “cover art” with impact
even on a small screen (iPhone) screen.
Can be jpg or png format
Minimum 1400x1400 pixels
Maximum 3000x3000 pixels

Art that gets eyeballs gets ears,


and differentiates your pod from the pack.
Where will we make this podcast?
studio / home studio / field

Can we hire professionals


to record and edit the recording?

Can we do it ourselves? What about music?

Can we afford the hardware/software?


Breaking the Sound Barrier…

You need microphones, headphones


your own mixer, recording-editing app.
https://www.podcastinsights.com/start-a-podcast/

https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/5/18295732/
podcast-microphone-best-top-price-specs-features-rode-blue-shure

https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/
ideal-equipment-for-an-audio-podcasting-studio-tap241/
How Do You Cast Your Pod?

Pod pod hosting services will host, distribute


and monetize your pod.
Audioboom.com / Libsyn / Fireside.FM
Transistor / Podbean / Buzzsprout

Sign on with Listing Platform


Spotify / SoundCloud / iTunes / iHeartRadio
How Do You Build Audience?

Have a website for the pod.


Promote on social media
(especially Facebook and Twitter).
Pay for promotion on other pods, websites
Join online forums such as Reddit’s pod sub.
Use mailchimp and other paid email lists.
Network with existing audience.