Podcasting tips: To, or not to? This should be a question.
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Skype, about podcasting. It was neat opportunity to share what I've learned and gain a heightened awareness of what I've yet to learn. Looking at the notes, I thought it would be good to put some of it on record in this blog, so from time to time I'll be doing these podcasting tips for those interested in this new application of an old way of communicating. By that, I mean to imply that podcasting at its best, to me, is really delivering radio in an on demand, highly portable format.
Shall I or shant I podcast?
I think the first thing to consider is whether podcasting (or what we may soon be calling something else like "audiocasting") is a good fit for your subject and audience. Something that lends itself to a high-level discussion, or even to detail that is easy to consume in sound only is a good place to start. Things that require a visual element to understand, such as describing complex computer code or, say, architectural design may not work so well in an audio-only podcast. Of course, there are workarounds, such as posting visual samples in a related blog. Benoit Marchal's French language podcast on photography, Déclencheur, is a good example . A blog is actually a great place to base a podcast program since it is easy to update with show notes and other things related to your show.
What about my Elmer Fudd voice?
I've heard some people say that you should only podcast if you have a voice made for it. I'm not sure what that means. I suspect it comes from those who think that something like a disco jockey voice is the key. I beg to differ. I'm always worried about going over the top with the "radio" voice, since I have a radio background. I even did some pop music radio back when and probably have a little Casey Kasem lurking in me somewhere. But that does NOT make for a cool or, at least, an accessible podcast, unless you are doing a top 40 countdown show. I think most listeners just want to hear real people talking. The voice is not all that important. What you're talking about is, and of course, if you speak with enthusiasm. Nobody wants to listen to someone that sounds bored. And not all that many want to listen to someone that sounds like he or she just consumed a Habanero pepper milkshake. So go for the natural, life-filled you.
Well that was fun. Now what other novel thing can I get into?
Lastly, consider up front whether you want to be in it for the long, or at least medium hall. You can do one-off stuff and post it, but that is not a podcast program. A program that gains an audience is one that is there consistently, without even getting into the issue of the substance of the program itself. And with the consistency, you'll develop a sense of program identity through the grind of having to come up with content, through the constant tweaking to make the show better.
So go for it, even if you're show idea is to talk about the history of muffins. I, for one, would check that out well before subjecting my ears to any more of the mess that constitutes much of today's talk radio airwaves.