One of the most exciting developments to come out of the technological revolution that we’re currently living through is the advent of podcasting.
Podcasts – for those of you that are unfamiliar with the concept – are like radio shows that live on the internet, available to be enjoyed wherever you are and whenever you want. There are now thousands of podcasts being produced, on every subject that you could imagine, and they’re usually free. Check out the iTunes directory to find ones that might appeal to you.
Over the last few years I have hosted and produced two popular podcasts:
Steve Gorman Sports! – a riotous mixture of sports, pop culture, music and interviews featuring Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes. All 50 episodes are available here.
Visions of Cody – a humorous look at yoga culture and philosophy. All 43 episodes are available here.
So what does it take to make a great podcast? Here are a few tips:
1) Deliver high-quality audio. Nobody wants to listen to something that sounds like a 5th generation Grateful Dead bootleg (unless it is a 5th generation Grateful Dead bootleg with a killer ‘China Doll’, brah!)
2) Be engaging and have a great radio voice. Luckily, I am known throughout Greater Swampscott (MA) as one of the top 20 funniest men in town and I am also the proud owner of a classic announcers voice (courtesy of having my adenoids removed as a youngster). You may not be so lucky, but you better have something to say and present it in a compelling manner if you want people to listen to you.
3) Edit thyself. It’s always a shame to cut good material but try to keep the show tight and quick moving. Remember, most people are listening to podcasts over lunch, during their commutes or surreptitiously while at work. 30-45 minutes is probably a good show length. “But wait,” you say, “Bill Simmons often goes on for over an hour per episode.” “But wait,” I reply, “he’s Bill Simmons and you’re not.”
4) Do it for love, not money. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t make money doing a podcast – some do. But most don’t. You’re going to have to put up some big (download) numbers in order to monetize that bad boy and it might take a long time to get there. So if you’re thinking of podcasting as a lucrative get rich quick scheme you might be better off sticking with Amway. Podcast because you love the form, because you have something to say, and because you enjoy editing in your cold basement late at night.
5) Get the Right Equipment. It’s getting cheaper and easier to podcast every day. But just because it can be done cheaply doesn’t mean that it should be done cheaply. A reasonable investment in a good mic and some quality audio editing software can go a long way towards avoiding having your podcast sound amateurish.
I could go on all day about podcasting. I love it more than most everything else, excepting my family, cheap beer, the Patriots, rock and roll music, high thread-count sheets and towels, and oddly-flavored Doritos.
If you want to ask me some questions about podcasting, or even better yet pay me to help you launch your podcast, send me an email. I promise that I’ll write back. Really.