Tips from Podcast Producers
Now the last thing I wanna talk about is community because there are so many resources out there in the podcasting community that are already available for you and waiting for you to make light of them. So let's talk a little bit about a few specific resources you can use to help you with craft, to help you understand the business better, and to help you get involved with other people who are fans and listeners and makers. Transom.org is a website that I highly recommend especially for equipment recommendations. When people ask me about equipment I send them straight to Transom.org. There's also great essays from producers about craft and topic and manifestos from some of the producers who you've probably heard on some of your favorite podcasts. Thirdcoastfestival.org, every single conference session for the last 15+ years has been archived there so save it for a rainy day. But you can attend all of these sessions from the comfort of your home. Hot Pod News is a great roundup of the in...
dustry, the business, the metrics, the technology side of things. You can balance that with content discussions. The New York Times actually has an open podcast club. You can join it where they feature a show and get listeners talking about what they thought about it and they ask really thoughtful questions. I love the encouragement to think critically about these shows and to engage in conversations about them. So it's not all just absorption, absorption, absorptions. You'll actually have a chance to articulate things you like and care about and ask questions. NPR put out a project blueprint which helps you walk through the idea, the scope, the audience you're going after, so very specific goals and tips about how to do that. And then these in real life situations where these are new festivals and conventions that are starting up. I feel like there's a new one every time I open my inbox. Here are three that are going strong. Actually PodX is debuting next year. PodCon will have its second year right here in Seattle in January and Podcast Movement which brings together a lot of the makers in the business to talk about all aspects, revenue, technology, content. So you know, make the effort to get involved in these communities and I think you'll meet people and it really, it builds from there, the momentum just builds. And I would be remiss if I didn't point you toward radiotopia.fm. We also have a very active Facebook group for our radiotopia citizens. We're sort of staying out of the way and just letting the listeners have the conversations amongst themselves and that's really fun. Speaking of the generous community of podcasters, I asked a few of the radiotopia producers to record a bit of advice for you specifically for this lesson about what they wish they had known before they started podcasting. We're gonna hear first from Hrishikesh Hirway.
My name's Hrishikesh Hirway. I'm the host and creator of Song Exploder. An important thing to think about before you start a podcast is realistically how frequently can I make this show based on the concept. You wanna be able to put out episodes of a show two to four times a month with regularity. With Song Exploder there's a lot of editing involved so I knew I couldn't do it weekly. It had to be every other week. it's a good thing to keep in mind before you jump in.
Next we'll hear from Phoebe.
Hi, this is Phoebe Judge, host of Criminal. One thing I wish I had known before we started Criminal was that if you find yourself really fighting to make a story work it's probably just best to kill it and go find a better idea.
Succinct, just like she is. Roman kicked in some advice.
So one thing I figured out along the way of making 99% Invisible is that I need to have a couple different versions of what the ideal show could be. So there's the ideal show that takes us six to eight weeks. It takes a lot of interviews, research, and reporting, maybe even travel and rounds and rounds of editing and those are great and those are what is the backbone of the show. But there's gonna be times when you have put, released a show out into the world and you need to put out another one in like a week or maybe two weeks. And you just don't have the ability to do the full-on uber version of what your show is. So you need to figure out what's a version that's a simpler version, like a one interview version of the show that's also satisfying, that satisfies the audience, that makes you happy that it's part of the show. So make sure that you design a show that has that sort of flexibility but also has the ambition to be something greater because over time you're gonna wanna make a more and more ambitious show if you're any type of producer whatsoever. That's the sort of nature of production. You wanna make things more complicated and cool and interesting. Otherwise you just get bored.
I think my advice is prepare to be really bad at what you're doing. Making something new is like doing what you do but suddenly having to do it in another language. You are not going to be instantly fluent in your new thing. So for the very beginning you're going to be absolutely terrible at making what you're making. But because you're making something new and because it's yours you're also going to be the best person in the world to make it. Accept frustration as part of the process.
And lastly, those are all radiotopia producers, but one of my favorite shows is produced by a woman here in Seattle. So I thought I'd leave you with a hometown hero. Marlo Mack makes a show called How to Be a Girl and I think she has one of the most unique and steady voices in all of podcasting.
This is Marlo Mack and I have a podcast called How to Be a Girl. My advice is to make sure you don't stop sounding like you. I think it's really easy to get hooked into the idea that you wanna sound like all those other great podcasts you're listening to. And they are great and you can learn lots from them and I learn lots from them. But the best work you're gonna do is because you are being you and sounding like you. And there's only one of you. The thing that is making you wanna do this is uniquely coming from you and from your unique voice and I wanna hear from you.