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Thank you for being here.
It’s so
great to have such terrific turnout.
My name is Kerry Donahue, I’m here from
the PRX Training Team and I’m joined with.
>> I’m Lindsay Abrams.
I’m the Training Lead at PRX
>> And your very own.
>> I am Donohue,
no relation to this lovely lady.
And I teach journalism here and
I’ve taught podcasting once and
wanna do it again.
So if you wanna take my class, sign up.
>> You want to take her class,
that’s what we’re going to say, or
send people to take her class.
So, I want to say that we are delighted
to have been invited to run this workshop
with you today by both Boston University’s
Marketing Communications department and
the Office of Research.
And this is part of the strategic
communications series here at
Boston University.
It helps promote skills necessary
to communicate research and
faculty expertise and effective,
compelling and accessible ways.
So obviously this is a formal way of
saying again that we are delighted you’re
here and that I hope that at the end
of the time that you’ll have some
takeaway skills,
whether you’re going to start a podcast or
whether you are going to
actually be on a podcast.
Everywhere we go, we get to talk
a little bit about what PRX is.
We are a public radio podcasting
distributor and creator.
We are based here in Boston.
Although, we also have
an office in Minneapolis.
We’re out in Austin.
We have a couple of locations.
This is our podcast garage.
At 267 Western Ave, it is a Harvard-owned
building, I’m sorry to say, in a BU room.
But it was a former Jiffy Lube and
we converted it.
We have jumpsuits we usually wear
when we’re training at the garage.
>> [LAUGH] >> And we have a classroom space.
There’s also a four person studio.
It’s very inexpensive.
It’s $1 a minute to rent time there, you
can rent a lots of time, a little bit of
time, we really made it as a maker space,
so you could come and create things.
And this is part of what PRX does.
Basically what we try to do and
we started in public radio,
I always like to tell this origin story
about PRX because it’s very digital, but
it sounds so ancient now even
though we were founded in 2003.
And with the core thing was that we were
going to make a public radio exchange
where people who made audio files
could post them on the web,
on the web on the internet, so that public
radio stations could then preview audio.
And if they liked it, they could download
the audio and then play it on the radio.
And this was a remarkable change from
what had happened prior to that moment,
that simple B2B kind of thing
we know the web does so well.
Prior to that,
you had to buy time on satellites,
like, physical satellites in space,
or you had to send program directors,
CDs of your work to which
they never listened to them.
If you saw any program
director at any point,
there was just like a pile
of dusty CDs on their desk.
And it was really hard to
get access to public radio.
So PRX open that up.
And since then, it’s been a matter
of both a technology company and
a content company working to help
producers reach their audience, and
about a couple years ago we started
training program where I’m the head of it.
We basically want to make sure that
podcasting, which is now very hot.
I’ve been joking for a while, my dentist
is asking me to help him with his podcast,
which is super awkward
because I can’t talk.
So we know that there’s lots of interest,
we know that there’s money coming in and
that’s driving some of that interest.
And as that sort of money comes in and
things get a little more commercial,
PRX is really here trying to make sure
that that sort of entry point stays open.
So we do a lot of training
with early stage podcasters.
But I myself,
I come from the background in public
radio, I have worked in public radio and
I was teaching at Columbia University’s
Graduate School of Journalism.
Lindsey is also a journalist,
Anne is a journalist,
we’re gonna talk to you of
something today about just where we
all fit in this podcasting
ecosystem as it’s evolved.
We like to start our presentations
with a little bit of audio.
Who here is currently
listening to podcasts?
Do we have any podcast obsessives?
Okay, great.
That’s all we have.
Anyone who has not yet
listened to a podcast?
This is a no shame zone.
It’s fine.
Okay, well,
then we’ll just going to play you some
stuff a little gratuitously then,
sometimes we’re playing it because
people are like what is this and so,
we do want to play this is a show
that we distribute your hustle.
We have a podcast network
called Radiotopia.
And we have a number of great
like 99% visible criminal.
And both of our most beloved shows, really
because it’s really special is Ear Hustle,
which was founded through an application
process, there’s a training
program in San Quentin, one of the people
applied as a podcast idea, and
it was a sort of nurtured and
fostered at PRX.
And this tells a story of what day-to-day
life in San Quentin is like for
the prisoners.
So this clip, you’re gonna hear someone
talking about what it’s like to have pets
in San Quentin.
>> I love animals, yeah.
Since I’ve been in prison,
I’ve had black widows, tarantulas.
A lot of grasshoppers, beetles.
>> At San Quentin,
inmates aren’t allowed to have pets.
But some guys get creative, like here.
>> Gophers, rabbits, I had four swallows,
a toad, praying mantis, 21 snails, a frog,
a red breasted finch, Pigeons, I had a
desert mole that was partially paralyzed.
Hamster, just really lazy, with an
attitude, the centipede and it was a wolf.
It was a bad little monster.
I had to fish that had babies twice.
I had a tarantula broke out one time,
my celly said, yo spider got out.
I got into crime for survival.
And I was hurting and I thought it
was a way to get back at people.
This was the way to make them
feel the pain that I felt.
Then it slowly became just
a part of what I did.
I’m incarcerated for second degree murder.
We got in a fight with someone and
I ended up killing him.
>> I always like the juxtaposition.
But there’s a lot of Sonic
things happening there.
There’s layering of, you know,
the interviewer’s talking this list of,
you know, the animals and
insects that he’s owned.
And then that juxtaposition of
his voice of his own story and
kind of the space in which
Ear Hustle lives, you know,
the experience of people
who are living In prison.
The host of the show are Ilan woods that
you heard his voice in their kind of
stable setting a little bit.
He had his sentence
commuted by Governor Brown,
last 2018 at Thanksgiving, in part because
of the work on the podcast that he’d done.
So now the podcast has evolved when which,
you know, Ilan is telling the story of
his life outside of St. Quinn and
there are new hosts who’re telling,
continuing to tell stories about
daily life in San Quentin.
It has some of the features, I mean,
some ways we would have been doing this
kind of work in radio for a long time.
But it has some of the longer
form unfurling of the story,
the intimacy of podcasting and other
features of podcasting that we’re gonna
talk about that you have almost
certainly felt but you haven’t yet
sort of identified what the draw is or
what the special features are about it.
>> This is my favorite motion.
>> [LAUGH] >> This is
how people usually look at
us when we start something.
Just to go over what’s gonna
be happening over the next
two hours is we’re gonna give you
an overview of the podcasting landscape.
We’ll talk about some key first decisions
to make if you’re planning to make
a podcast of your own.
We’ll talk a little bit about thinking
like a publisher, things about like how to
get that podcast online and
also where does the money come from.
We also want to talk a little bit
about best practices for guests.
If you’ve invited to be on a podcast,
how is that different from other press
you might do and how can you approach it.
Well talk to you about a ton of resources
that PRX can provide within Boston and
online as well as from
Boston University itself.
And we’ll ask you all to
hold your questions but
feel free to write them down,
take a note we’ll have plenty of time for
Q&A and some like,
one on one chat at the end.
It’s great, and I will say that we’ve kind
of tried with this training program that
we’ve been doing, we’ve been running
some really big 20-week trainings,
we run trainings of all different lengths.
But some of the resources that
we’ve developed have been for
some 20-week trainings that
we’re running both with public
radio stations through a project
called Project Catapult.
And then also through Google, we’ve been
doing international podcast training
with the Google podcast creator program
which we created some one on one videos
which will show you
throughout different moments.
But remain alive and free and available to
you as a resource that you can use right
away to help you know some, how we frame
like early decisions about podcasting.
Okay, this woman, it’s easy to make fun of
the New York Times style section sometimes
because they tend to draw broad strokes.
But this question, have we hit peak
podcast is often on everyone’s mind in.
And probably because
you just start to feel,
I mean The Good Place finale
had a reference to podcasting,
Saturday live just a few weeks ago
had the devil making podcasting.
I mean, there’s literally podcasts have
really sort of hit that cultural moment
where they are easily mocked and
then also very meaningful.
So I’m excited about that,
it’s a greatest time in the history
of audio to be working in audio.
So this woman, we tell her story,
I actually did,
her name is Morgan first name.
She decided to make a podcast,
she got together with a friend,
they made an advice podcast,
you cannot find it, I’ve looked for it.
And they made six episodes together.
And then they sort of deemed it a failure.
What happened?
They didn’t find any audience are like,
this isn’t really worth it.
The New York Times sort
of took her story and
sort of framed it as like,
it’s just podcasting the new blogs.
That’s a reasonable question,
there are certainly a lot of podcasts,
there are over 800,000 podcasts
in the Apple directory.
Only probably about a third of
those are actually active now.
So lots of people have tried podcasting,
like Morgan did, but I like her story for
two reasons.
One is that I’m a long time,
I started in community radio,
I actually being people making their
own media is pretty inspiring.
And I hope she had a terrific
time with her friend and
that they made six terrific podcast
episodes that meant a lot to them.
And then the other thing I think about
is I know why she wasn’t successful.
One of the key things that you don’t
really think about who she was making
the podcast for.
She thought about what she needed to
convey rather than what the person that
was going to receive it needed to hear,
and so that’s her mistake.
But it’s actually a pretty common one and
it maybe at sometimes when we speak in
institutions and
sometimes I say with deep respect for
faculty, now, you’re stuck away that
you have meaningful information and
a deep body of knowledge that you
wanna convey to people, actually,
many of you in this room
teach you’re very good at it.
You’ve probably got all your jokes worked
out like you’ve got the like punch lines.
But the trick with podcasting,
because it is on-demand,
because it is a niche media format,
you have to really be thinking about when
someone comes to your podcast and seeks
it out, what do you actually want them to
think, feel, and do when they’re
done listening to your podcast?
And I think that’s where you really wanna
sort of, that’s where our whole training
program asks you to really
think deeply about that.
Imagining that all of your expertise is
told in a good story, hook people early
with a good story, and they’ll stay
with you through a long journey.
I am sure that Morgan,
our friend Morgan, I feel such sympathy,
I hope I meet her someday could happen
in New York City, where I’m based.
[LAUGH] So I hope that she gets
back into podcasting some time.
And I think you won’t know, I think as
we get a lot of people in podcasting
whether everyone will be more successful
monetarily, it’s unlikely I will be honest
with you, so it ends up here x we say we
like to be the loving cold bucket of water
on your podcast monetization dreams, it’s
very hard to make money with podcasting.
But you may have other reasons to do it.
And so that’s what we’re gonna focus a lot
on framing what their success metrics
might be, other reasons you might
want to get into podcasting.
And by the time we’re done today,
we’ll have talked some about the technical
parts of it, how you’re gonna do that.
Okay, so just a definition because
people throw around podcasting a lot and
I really like to keep it very simple.
Podcasting is on demand audio that
you access over the Internet.
Often another feature that will be
described to it is you can subscribe
to it, it’s essentially an audio
file added to an RSS feeds,
you can subscribe to it, so
it’ll come to your phone.
You can just say I really liked that
podcast, in fact, you will hear,
if you like a podcast, you will hear on
the podcast please subscribe, like, and
review our podcasts over and over again.
The subscription means that the podcasts
will come to you whether you listen to it
or not which is some tricky
matrix of the industry as well.
I think it’s useful because we know radio,
still a lot of Americans listen to radio,
just talk about points that are similar
and the points of difference, so
we know that podcasts are on-demand,
that’s a key thing.
We were doing a training recently
with a terrific radio station and
I had kind of an old school DJ,
does an amazing American songbook thing.
And he was just like,
why isn’t this radio?
And finally, I was like, because
somebody’s going to start at episode one.
And they’re gonna listen and
they’re gonna then listen to episode two.
And that alone is like a very
significant difference.
It’s one to actually think about,
a lot of people when they first like
find a podcast they like, go and
listen to the back catalog.
And you’ll hear it a lot and really great
package like this is episode three,
if you haven’t listened to
episodes one and two, go back.
But on-demand is where most of
our media is these days and
podcasting is part of that.
We say that radio is a companionable and
an intimate medium, like you listen to the
radio while you’re doing something else.
And it’s always had an intimacy, when I
teach young journalists how to write for
radio, I always think of
one listener in mind.
And so what happens with podcasting,
largely because we’re listening in the
ears and we’re sort of listening as we go
out in the world as it is like extra
intimate, I say it’s like hyper intimate.
And that’s something to think about too,
it’s partly why when you have that body of
knowledge you wanna convey, when you’re
a little too remote to your listener and
you’re not thinking about telling that one
person, or that one student, if you will.
You can start to design
a little hollow in the ear.
It’s sometimes why you listen to
podcasts that are broadcast shows and
they don’t sound quite right.
You’re happy to have the time shifting,
but they don’t sound like that.
Other experience you might have, which is
when you listen to a podcast host that you
just really dig like the way they
think and explore the world.
You’re like, hey, I wanna go back for
more because I’m really curious
about how that person thinks and
how they engage that intimate connection,
it can be really, really deep.
I tell a story about how I saw Michael
Barbaro at a big public radio conference,
I listen to the daily every morning
as I recommend everyone should.
And I’ve been in this
business a long time and
even I was like Michael Barbaro,
like he knew me or something and
so later, I saw him and I was like,
I’m so sorry we don’t know each other.
It’s just that every day I listened
to you as I walk my dog, and
if it feel like I kinda know that guy.
So radio has always contextualized
emotionally complex stories, but
you can really go deep in podcasts.
Slow Burn is an example I’d use in this
case, if you’ve listened to that podcast,
the first two seasons.
The first season unpacked Watergate, the
second one unpacked Clinton’s impeachment,
and the third one was about Tupac and
But [LAUGH] okay, each one they
just took over many episodes.
Went back through the history and
said what was remarkable about this, and
really drawing some very pointed
connections to modern day,
but contextualizing experience of
Impeachment in the first two seasons.
I’d like to say it’s
an embarrassment of niches,
if you like anything at this point,
there’s a podcast about it.
So if you are into DND, let me assure
you there are so many podcasts.
But there are also podcasts, there
are religious podcasts or comedy podcasts,
there are incredibly deep
verticals that are out there.
Which when you are gonna start your
podcast one of the things we’re gonna say
is like figure out who else is out there
making something in that same deep
vein that you are in.
Podcast have a chance to bond and deepen
communities, radio is always on that,
public radio stations always explain this,
you’d if you meet somebody who really
likes that same radio show you do.
You’re kind of that screwby but
like podcasts are even more so
if you go to live podcast shows,
Even like Podcasts you don’t
know have a big range, people get so into
being able to connect with each other.
And like, you like that podcast too and
we really recommend live events as a way
to connect with your listener and for
them to connect with each other
as a big part of the experience.
And then this other lesson which
is not small is like say it’s
their natively global,
this is like they go everywhere.
So we’re doing Podcast training,
I’m gonna go
to Nairobi in a couple weeks to go to
the first African Pod Festival and
everyone who’s making Podcasts in Nairobi,
we can hear them here.
It’s like a it’s pretty,
it’s pretty easy and remarkable.
Yeah, and this last one,
this one is our favorite.
So, it’s an opportunity to take risks,
experiment and reach a new audience.
That’s true for you, many of you,
faculty like you’re reaching students,
you have your reputation in
whatever context you’ve built it.
But the Podcast could be a new space for
you, it could be a new way that you take
something that you know deeply and
engage the world.
I get to just talk to you for a bit and
I promise they’re also gonna talk,
I’m not just hogging the stage.
[LAUGH] I wanna point out a little bit,
this is a graph about
the history of podcasting.
The term started, well actually,
it was in 2003 that they
figured out how to like there was a table,
we actually have this table up here PRX.
Cuz it was at
the Beekman Center at Harvard.
So they said that they could figure out
how to attach the mp3 to the RSS feed,
that’s when podcasting began.
In 2004, it had a name, a Guardian
reporter called it Podcasting, 2005,
that first spike there on the left,
that’s when Ricky Gervais kinda had
a first kinda big hit at the moment.
And then there was this long
period from about 2005 to the fall
of 2014 in which lots of
people are trying Podcasting.
And then a lot of people
are finding it was harder
than they thought it was gonna be.
And a lot of people stopped Podcasting,
and it was just kind of lumpy.
Here public radio, my brethren,
had a very strong advantage because we
were already making good
quality sound product.
And just time shifting
it was kinda key thing.
You still see shows like this
American Life at the top of
all of the lists of Podcast success.
But a really critical
thing happened in 2014,
the two things actually and
the two things are very connected.
The first is that Apple made
the Podcast app native on the iPhone,
you have an iPhone, you have an app,
it’s purple icons looks like a little mic.
And that meant that you didn’t have to
do like two steps essentially listen to
Podcast, download an app and
then download a Podcast.
It reduced the number of steps
technology got easier and
a month later Cereal Season one came out.
And those two things the double whammy
of really excellent content and
the remarkableness of the ease
of access we’re kinda drove
podcasting this moment right now.
So it’s very likely that you
many people know that Podcast,
you maybe you had a vague
idea existed before.
But when you think about it, wow,
it’s really been in the last five or so
years that it’s really become big.
You’re not wrong cuz this is really
a huge second wave in that growth,
we only have it to about 2017 there but
it is just hockey stick level growth now.
So just commenting on this even further so
2015 after these two events happened,
you had Podcasting landscape
with some very familiar names.
It’s American Life see
a PRX you see NPR gimlet,
you see a stitcher things and play big
players I Heart Radio got in early.
And now we show this which even
needs updating all the time,
it’s the audio ecosystem.
These different colors of this hard to
read slide represent different parts of
the ecosystem, everything from
the dynamic ad insertion technology.
Which allows you to at a push of
a button essentially change all of
the ads the sponsorship ads, all those
ones about like, Casper mattresses or
quick toothpastes or Miandes or to change
them through your whole back catalogue.
Essentially, which is a great way to
increase your opportunity to monetize.
So there’s that, there’s also the apps
that are out there, there’s so
many different types of apps.
There are so many different types of
content creators, more Podcasting networks
showing this ecosystem is just growing,
and then more money coming into it.
So there’s some research that comes out,
new research to come out in March,
it’s called the infinite dial.
But using some of what we had in
demographic information, I just
wanna give you some, like who’s listening
to Podcasts kind of table setting.
So if you look over on the left side,
that’s the US population ages 12 plus and
on the right hand side is
the Podcast listeners.
So we know that about 32% of the American
public when they surveyed them by
last March, I had listened to
a Podcast in the last month.
And so you see that there’s
like no excuse there’s younger
both in terms of the first to the 18 to 34
year old and then 30, 45 to 54 year old.
And a little less on the sort of older
rage which is you know basically what
we would say about a lot of technology.
Gender split, it’s 52% men,
48% women so I think that also tracks,
it actually tracks with what
public radio sees a lot too.
And then this is the one that I always,
especially when I’m talking
to public radio stations,
cuz I know first-hand how hard public
radio has worked over the years
to attract a more a less white audience.
Actually a lot of public radio
audience like 90% white, and
people keep working at this and
not really succeeding, quite frankly.
But you look here, here on the left,
you see the population, race and
ethnicity of the American population.
And on the right, the race and ethnic
breakdown of who’s listening to Podcasts.
And when I saw this, this is from
November 2018, needs to be updated, but
I was like, wow, that is the first
time I saw something in media.
That it’s so seemed to represent what
we’ve have in terms of our race and
ethnic composition in the United States.
when I look at this, I think also I looked
through the whole world as a white middle
aged lady now and I also realized that I’m
public radio focus, journalists focus.
So I don’t know exactly what
people are listening to here.
I know that there are lots of
different types of Podcasts but
I always think it’s great when
there are many entry points.
Like people learning that they like
podcasting and finding space for
that when we find the research
also shows that once people start
listening to podcasts once you
become like a weekly listener.
You’re listening to five
to seven podcasts a week.
So actually feels to me like it becomes
habitual like pretty quickly like
your whether it’s gonna be
you’re walking the dog or
whether you’re working out or
cleaning the house or something.
If you kind of like that experience
of having that intimacy and
something happening you’re
gonna want more of it.
So that’s good news for all of us who
want to make podcasts, there’s room,
I still believe,
I’m pretty optimistic about it.
Is that you?
[LAUGH] Lindsay, usually keeps me on time.
So this is how to listen, these are just
like a selection of many of the apps.
I’m gonna point out to kind of big E’s for
Spotify has made a really
big play in podcasting.
They just bought Gimlin, they bought the
Ringer like they just announced a couple
weeks ago they bought Anchor which is
a really easy to use, like phone based,
like you can make your podcasts and
distributed all through your phone.
They have been making some
really big purchases, and
they are really trying to get
significant in podcasting.
Which is cool because it is a very global
and stuff but we are very committed to
an open ecosystem and
one thing Spotify is an open ecosystem.
So I think and hope that there is going
to be continuing to room for a lot.
The other right next to it is YouTube,
we’ve been working closely with Google
on this international training program.
We know that actually YouTube more
Podcasters are using YouTube,
a lot of people are accessing lots of free
content on YouTube so it makes some sense.
The Purists among US do not
consider YouTube to necessarily be
a Podcast platform.
But I think those of us who are more
strategic like you should probably be
considering a YouTube strategy
as you plan your podcast.
Even if it’s just posting your
audio with a still image because
people are going there it’s
going to happen more and more.
This is just some of another top podcasts
because it’s kind of fun to look at
these lists and
I’m always very heartened to see the daily
and up first are always kind of vying for.
Well, daily is always number one basically
but you look at an NPR news now,
that’s the hourly newscast, one of my
favorite listens, honestly, no joke.
But you see a lot of news in here actually
which I’m always sort of heartened as we
think of Trump fatigue and other ways that
people are stopping to get their news.
But I think People are getting
more controlled about it.
You also see some sports here, you see
some politics, the kind of usual suspects.
This is the list of the top
10 podcasts of last year.
Lot of Wondery, which has a lot of
true crime, a little bit salacious.
I feel a little bit cinematic in their
way that they present their stuff,
it can be quite riveting.
We have been told by a colleague,
be careful of watching Man in the Window.
It’s so scary, she slept with
the lights on for three weeks.
So if that’s your thing,
that one’s for you.
But you see comedy,
I think we’re starting to see.
You can take a snapshot at any given time
and say, these are the top podcasts.
I can’t yet make any broad,
we know true crime works.
Cuz I always say, narratively,
true crime works because what higher
stakes could exist then murder?
That is where, narratively interesting,
but yeah, otherwise it’s very hard to,
I was in Egypt, teaching podcasting.
And I tried to spend one night trying to
describe what podcasting was by talking
about different podcasts.
And slowly I was like, wait, this is like
trying to describe what television is
by telling you what’s on
at 8 o’clock each night.
It doesn’t really work, so
there’s just a lot of podcasts out there.
Remember, if you like anything at all,
if you’ve ever liked anything,
there’s a podcast about it, and
it’s gonna go deep for you.
We made a list of some academic podcasts,
knowing that we’d be
speaking with you today.
Some of these are really remarkable,
many of them are really remarkable.
I think each one of these ones
that we’ve listed up here,
from the Science of Happiness,
to Scene on Radio,
which comes from the Duke Center for
Documentary Studies.
And they’re doing a big
series on democracy now,
after they also did Seeing White,
which I thought was really great.
And Men, they called it Men, I wondered
at some times, they should called it Men!
[LAUGH] But they do deep things,
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law,
great idea.
They actually just basically,
every week, say, Trump did this, can he?
And that’s sort of, so far,
they haven’t run out of material.
>> [LAUGH] >> So that’s pretty exciting, so
there’s some things here
from University of Chicago.
We’ve got Bush Institute, right,
with Ladies First, about first ladies.
So there’s different ways I think each of
these, as you might get into the space,
making sure that you’re listening
to your competition, basically.
How are they telling the stories
in a way that makes it compelling?
Are they, are they not,
where do they fail, okay?
And over to you, Anne, finally, [LAUGH] >> Working, mic working, yes, hi.
How many of you are here
from the sciences,
thinking of doing science podcasting?
So I got a call early on, maybe 10,
12 years ago from Cell, the journal.
Cell, the microbiology journal that
you all read cuz it’s a page-turner,
and they wanted to do a podcast.
And I went over and talked about
characters, and drama, and audio quality,
and all of these things.
And they were all looking at me blankly.
And then I realized, they wanted to learn
how to put a microphone up to their mouth
and read the journal, Cell.
So while they’re in the lab, they can be
listening to these journal articles while
they’re physically doing some other thing.
So that’s how it started, and then they
really branched out and got creative.
And they started doing interviews in
their Cell thing, and this is a sample.
>> Water filtration and
purification methods use chemicals and
filters such as ozone gas or ultraviolet
light to render water safe to drink.
Proponents of the raw water movement
contend that these purification
processes pollute tap water with all
sorts of undesirable additives, and
remove beneficial probiotics and minerals.
The advocate drinking
so-called pure spring water.
>> So if you’ve got insomnia,
this is what you want to listen to-
>> [LAUGH]>> To help you go to sleep, okay?
So fast-forward several years later,
I’m driving across country with my son.
And we decided to find a podcast that
he had heard about, called Sawbones.
Has anybody listened to Sawbones?
So it’s a medical doctor who teaches,
I think it’s a West Virginia University,
teaches history of medicine,
and her husband is a comedian.
So she’s finding these really weird
leeches, and ancient cures, and whatever,
and he’s just riffing on the whole thing.
So this one episode is about
the woman who gave birth to rabbits.
And it’s a woman in 1800 or so,
at age 25, she goes into labor.
She has a miscarriage, and
continues to appear to be pregnant.
And then delivers rabbits, and then
continues to deliver more rabbits, and
more rabbits.
And there’s a midwife there, and
then they call in the doctor.
And then the king’s court doctor comes,
because this is this medical phenomenon.
And it goes on for months, and
she keeps delivering animal parts.
>> What happened is that after
the miscarriage, like I said.
She’d gotten an accomplice to,
cuz her cervix was still open at the time,
to insert the body of a cat and
the head of a rabbit into her uterus.
>> Wow.
>> She continued this with
the aforementioned baby rabbits and
various animal parts,
by hiding them on her person.
She had she had sewn a special pocket into
her skirt, where she would hide them.
And then when people weren’t looking,
she would insert them either into her,
if she couldn’t into her uterus,
at that point into her vagina.
And then later, then the doctor
would deliver it from her vagina,
not looking to see,
had it come out of her uterus.
Assuming that it had initially
come out of her uterus,
pulling it out of the vaginal cavity.
And voila,
she was giving birth to bunnies.
>> Some challenging ideas,
some challenging visual concepts
on this episode of Sawbones.
>> [LAUGH] >> Woof.
>> So my question, of course-
>> I’m sorry for the audio there,
my hand was literally covering
my mouth in utter terror.
>> [LAUGH] >> It is awful, and
it it may make you wonder,
why would someone ever do this?
>> Yes.
>> So basically for
reasons that seem sort of mundane,
in light of how crazy the story is,
the fame, the money.
Like I said, this was a time when,
if you had some sort of medical
condition that made you appear uncommon,
not like most people, then you could
make a lot of money off that living.
And so she knew that, and this was
Mary’s play to try to support herself,
and have a better lifestyle,
and support her family,
was to join one of these
kind of medical shows.
And let people come see her as the amazing
woman who gave birth to bunnies,
and that was the plan.
>> Yeah, I mean-
>> For the money.
>> Once you put the initial
work investment in,
it’s just dividends from there on out.
>> [LAUGH] >> I mean,
maybe you have to pop out a bunny
once every couple months,
just to keep the mystique alive.
>> Well, what she was banking on, and
what she turned out to be right about for
a while, is that people were
willing to believe this.
That women, when they were pregnant, that
first of all, that we’re so willing to
believe that whatever a woman does when
she’s pregnant is probably to blame for
any issues that a baby has.
That, well, it’s probably mom’s fault,
so because men are so
eager to believe that anyway, yeah.
They’ll buy that I gave birth to a bunny,
because I dreamed about eating a bunny,
men will buy that.
>> [LAUGH] >> And she was right, many, many men, and
I say men cuz the doctors who
were attending her were men,
many men did buy that.
>> Those bros.
>> [LAUGH] >> So
what’s the difference between
the Cell podcast and Sawbones?
You all laughed at the second one,
you did not laugh at the first one.
>> Storytelling.
>> Storytelling, humor, having
an engaging personality talking to you.
Somebody who’s got some presence,
who’s there.
>> It’s somebody you want in your ear,
or in your car, or in your kitchen, and
with you all the time.
So that’s the voice that we wanna hear,
is somebody.
This carried me from
California to New York.
>> [LAUGH] >> I don’t know how many episodes
we listened to.
But it was pretty much a 12-hour day’s
driving to get my son to New York,
and Off we went so, so
Saw Bones is one of my faves.
So if you are dull, and
most of us are, get a good side kick.
Get some engaging guests on your podcast.
Get people who are funny or
dramatic or hysterical or
crazy, but
get a side kick that will make it sing.
So Boston University was
really a leader in podcasting.
In 2006, we had a Podcast Academy.
And if you read Hot Pod,
does anybody here read Hot Pod?
Okay, forget it.
There is a new Podcast Academy
coming out now.
But we started Podcast Academy in 2006 and
it was a bunch of white dudes with pocket
protectors walking around with beanies
spinning out of their hats and nerding
out and they’re having a great time.
At the end of the episode,
the guy that started, Doug Kaye,
said podcasting will just be
a normal part of our life.
And nobody believed him.
Nobody believed it would be
this ubiquitous thing, but
he was very confident that it
would take off and he was right.
So BU is now probably the owner,
or the alums are the owners,
of these two very famous podcasts,
What The F with Mark Maron and
Bill Simmons has a sports podcast.
Anybody listen to either of these?
Okay, so they are both BU folks.
And BU also has several
Homegrown podcasts, and
I think some of the producers are here.
We have Nick Diamond,
who does the Public Health podcasts.
And Free Associations,
there’s three public health professors
that read journal articles.
But they’re actually also very funny and
they poke holes in the journal articles
and sort of say who paid for this study,
and this doesn’t make any sense, and
why would anybody do this research.
So it’s an engaging science podcast.
And then there’s somebody
from the nutrition school.
I don’t know if they’re here.
Over there, hello.
>> Hey.
>> And
she has this lovely thing called Spot On,
which I’ll play a little
segment of to show you that it can
be done in an engaging, fun way.
>> What are some of the health
benefits of drinking coffee?
Because finally we have something that has
a ridiculous amount of health benefits.
Help us out with this.
>> There are so many health benefits
of coffee, including decaf coffee.
So that’s really important, I think, to
point out that a lot of the research that
I’m about to mention
includes decaf coffee.
So a lot of these studies
are observational and they’re large.
And, of course, we’re never gonna say that
drinking coffee replaces healthy habits.
>> Right, absolutely.
>> Okay, so anyway, with that preface,
I mean, I’ll have to say that we drink so
much coffee,
we Americans, that it’s the leading
source of antioxidants in our diet.
>> Okay, no way.
>> Mm-hm, mm-hm.
>> Because when you think of antioxidants
you think of fruits and vegetables.
>> Mm-hm.
>> When were you gonna to tell me that?
>> Well, I wanted to spring it on you,
and I like to save some surprises.
I mean,
we’ve known each other a long time so.
>> Wow, but
some of that makes a lot of sense.
>> It does, well it’s a plant.
>> Right, yeah, you’re right.
It’s a bean, coffee bean, hello.
>> So it’s a plant and we drink so
much of it that it’s a huge contributor.
>> Wow.
>> Yeah, so with that said,
the thing about antioxidants for
anybody who doesn’t know, they’re a class
of substances that protect ourselves
against damage, everyday damage,
that could lead to chronic diseases.
Coffee also has some B vitamins,
some magnesium and some potassium.
>> So, a very engaging personality.
It was a conversation between two
friends talking about something, but
throw a little, spoonful of sugar
helps the medicine go down.
So you’ve got a little science there but
you’re hearing it in a funny and
engaging way.
So these are WTBU, the student radio
station at BU, has several podcasts,
different ones every semester.
Some are really great and
some are really Mickey Mouse.
Some have one episode, some have five or
ten episodes depending on how
motivated the student is.
But if you’re interested, we have
several studios available to you and you
sign up at the beginning of each semester
with your pitch for what your podcast
will be and we can make arrangements
to get it produced and teach you that.
So we predicted the future about
how successful podcasting would be.
But my late, great,
wonderful colleague, David Carr,
who you all probably know
from the New York Times,
his last words to me were no one is
ever going to get rich in podcasting.
And he said this in 2014.
>> Quite a big moment to know.
>> Okay, I think was after Serial.
I think I got the date wrong, whoops.
But the fact is, about a year ago,
Gimlet Media got bought up for,
what, $290 million?
So Alex Blomberg from This American Life
turned his little podcast company
into this hugely successful,
financially successful business.
So he’s one guy.
There’s a few people out there
that are doing the same thing.
But if you have a brilliant idea and
a great personality and
a lot of humor, you can make it sing.
So there you go.
>> Thank you, all right.
So key first decisions before you
can make all of that money or
just spread amazing knowledge.
We always say once you’ve defined your
listener, cuz really that first step is
figuring out who’s going to
be listening to your podcast.
It’s very important not to be the woman
in the New York Times and make it for
It’s also very important not
to make it for everybody but
to think really specifically about who’s
going to be on the other end listening.
But then you need a good idea,
sounds so obvious.
This is a lot more than just finding
a really cool story about bunnies, but
it’s figuring out what can we do that’s
different in this space that’s going to
make us distinctive and that’s going to
stand out to that listener who is gonna
have to come and seek us out and
choose to listen to this show.
An example we love to share
is Bottom of the Map.
It’s a podcast out of WABE in Atlanta.
WABE is the public radio station, and
they were doing a lot of focus groups and
user research.
And what they heard over and over from
young black members of the community
was that, yeah, we’ve heard of WABE.
It’s an institution that
we really respect, but
there’s nothing on this station that’s for
We don’t listen.
And so the team at WABE wanted to
figure out is podcasting something we
can use to reach this audience that isn’t
listening to our terrestrial station.
And so they had these two women
appear on the station before.
One is Dr. Regina Bradley,
who is a historian of
Southern culture and hip-hop, and
Christina Lee, who is a music journalist.
And they knew that they had great rapport,
that they could talk just
really intelligently about hip-hop and
it’s place in American culture.
They looked at the competitive landscape.
There are lot of hip-hop podcasts that
are already out there that go from kind of
light conversations, smoking weed, making
jokes, to really critical conversation.
But one really important
thing they noticed is that
all of these shows were from
New York City, one from the Bay Area.
The South’s perspective was completely
missing, and anybody who knows
hip-hop knows that that’s an extremely
important contribution to hip-hop.
And so they brought on Christina and
Regina to host this chat cast where
they’re going deep into the history of
trap and
all different topics that you aren’t gonna
hear on the radio station that
are reaching a new group of listeners.
And they had some really great
promotional photos and billboards too.
So we worked with them last year as part
of our public radio training program
project, Catapult, and we’re really
proud of what they accomplished.
All right,
then you need to decide on format.
So what is the best way to
structure your podcast?
You can have a chat cast, right?
Conversations that are really just you and
some friends or colleagues talking.
You can have an interview.
So this can be either scripted,
a show like Death, Sex and Money.
One of my favorites where the host,
Anna Sale, interviews a different person,
sometimes celebrities, some more everyday
people But it’s a very long interview,
but what she plays snippets and
that does a lot of narration over it.
You may have something non scripted
like WTF with Marc Marin or
it’s really just a long conversation.
Narrative nonfiction is really
the big one that’s like cereal and
all the things that came after it.
Your hustle is in there, too.
And then you can have narrative fiction.
And that’s both aimed at adults and
at children.
Time storm is a team that we worked
with through the Google program.
And it’s about a pair of twins living in
New Jersey who traveled back in time to
learn about their Puerto Rican
heritage and history.
It’s great.
I recommend it.
I took out my daily and pietschmann
pod slide, which was a funny joke for
a few months,
but you do have these little pop ups of
things that happen when they’re topical.
So once you figured out what
kind of show you’re making,
you need to figure out how
often it will be released.
You figure out what type
of show first because
That’s really going to determine how
much work is going to go into it and
how often you’re going to be
able to get new episodes out.
It’s super important to be consistent.
That is for building audience.
If you have long gaps between episodes or
just are dropping episodes at random
times, that’s hard for people to follow.
Like I know on Mondays I want to
listen to this American life and
every other Friday I’m ready for the new
episode of criminal And if its coming out
at a different time or its not there,
they get angry, they really do.
Sponsors also really value consistency and
frequency, obviously,
they like to get the ears
as often as possible and so
that point about production demands,
how much work does your show involve?
The lot easier to release
a weekly chat cast and
it is to release a weekly serial or
a show like it
we point to a show like astounded
when listen to that it was amazing.
It was six episodes right and
it took three years to produce so it’s
something to think about and then just
from a technical standpoint feed updates.
If you’re inconsistent and especially
if you’re inactive for a long time,
your subscribers won’t get updates
when a new episode is released.
That’s why a lot of shows even if they
have seasons and then go on hiatus,
you’ll see them putting out
like bonus mini episodes or
trailers, or even letting
another show use their feed for
a little bit to gain audience
because that helps them as well.
And then decide on length.
My colleague Mark liked to say that
however long you think your podcast,
whenever you think it’s short enough it
should actually be shorter than that.
We’re big believers in discipline
in editing, there’s some
obvious exceptions to this, shows like
Hardcore History that just go on forever.
But as there are more and
more shows coming up and people you know,
dividing their listening attention,
getting like down to the point and
focusing what you’re
doing can really help.
And like I said, like a lot of shows,
they end up being in
that 20 to 30 minute range around like
the average length of an American commute.
But again, you’re thinking about
your listener and the audience.
And that could determine the length.
Maybe it’s somebody who’s
in the lab all day and
wants to hear a whole journal article.
Or maybe you’re the team at Louiseville
Public Radio, who we also worked with.
They made a show that’s music
education podcast for children.
And it turns out that children’s attention
span peaks at five to seven minutes, and
that’s how long their show is.
Any longer they’re gonna lose
their audience, and that can
impact a lot if you really wanna learn
about rhythm and pitch and all of that.
Adults can enjoy it too.
And then finally what’s in a name?
you want it to be clear,
you want it to be descriptive and
memorable, it should work with a logo,
it should be smart speaker friendly.
You want it to be really easy if
someone says it out loud is more and
more people are listening
on smart speakers, and
I’ll be able to pick it up so
something complicated.
We had a team first they were called
churchy because they were kind of about
the like, discussing faith but not from
any like denominational perspective
Then they were like they didn’t want to
be about church because then it was like
too much like Christianity.
So they came back and they were like,
we’re going to be religious.
It’s like,
looked really good on a slide did not work
as well when they tried to record a pilot.
This is another show you work.
I’m thinking about names they came in.
This is the show from
Colorado public radio and
they had this idea What was gonna
make them stand out is that,
Colorado is kind of five years
ahead of the rest of the country in
marijuana legalization, but
everyone else is catching up and
so what can they teach the rest of
us about the good The good, the bad,
all the legal intricacies, everything
else about marijuana legalization.
They came in with the name,
Cannabis [INAUDIBLE] Kylie remains-
>> I’m the only fan.
[LAUGH] >> A big fan of that one.
>> [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] >> Yeah, it was fun, but
it was really important, they wanted to
come with this public radio sensibility
where we’re not too much on one side or
the other, but they wanna be engaging.
Most people didn’t find it that way.
A really fun part of our 20 week programs
is that every month teams come back and
they kind of re pitch
their show to everyone.
So after a month, this team came back and
they were no longer the cannabis tales.
They were sticky, which more fun
name a little bit more engaging,
but also very inside every all of a sudden
it seems to maybe have a little bit of
a Perspective and it was important to
them they weren’t like falling on like,
we’re a show where we’re smoking pot and
talking about how great it is.
Although the pilot does have the host and
Marie Awadh walking into a dispensary and
buying weed so that’s a little unusual for
Public Radio But
they also didn’t want to be
on the very clinical side.
So their third attempt,
they went with on something
a little bit tongue in cheek a little
bit of a wink at the listener But still,
my reference on being you might think
about that’s the one that stuck for them.
Life after legalization,
they changed their tagline as well.
And then just one more thing you’re going
to probably want music in your podcast,
there are a lot of places where you can
go online to find music that’s either
free or cheap.
Yeah, take a picture of that one.
Another great one is if
you know somebody who
was great at making music like
see if they can help you out.
We have a lot of teams
that find music that way.
Give you a sec.
[LAUGH] This is the important
resources right here.
[LAUGH] All right,
so moving on to thinking like a publisher.
A thing we talk about a lot when we talk
about podcasting is that it’s not enough
to just make a good show and
put it out there You need to kind of think
about the whole picture of what you’re
doing because there are a lot of
people who are putting out content.
The ones who are successful are really
thinking about how to market it,
how they’re gonna work with a team,
how they’re gonna sustain it over time,
even if they’re not making money
which especially at the beginning but
maybe not every year.
Probably not going to be pulling in a ton.
How are you gonna make sure that you have
the resources you need to keep going?
So I’m just gonna play this quick video.
This is from our podcasting 101
series that Kerry mentioned.
We had two amazing hosts for this show.
One was Sean Ramaswamy, who’s the host
of boxes today explained podcasts.
The daily news show and then we had lovey
ajayan He is the host of some really
popular chat cast some Jesus and
Jolliffe and
then a show she does called
the Branson randomness.
So they came and they helped us out.
I like this episode a lot because
it explains some things like
that RSS feed that we keep referencing and
just like you have that podcast,
how do you get it out into the world?
[MUSIC]Welcome back to Podcasting 101,
the video series brought to you
by Google Podcasts and PRS.
Lovely here to tell you how to get
your podcast out into the world.
So you’ve done all the work.
You made your show.
Where does this thing go?
And how do folks hear it?
Well, first, you’re gonna have to work
out a place to host your podcast.
A place where you upload your audio so
it shows up in podcast directories like
Apple podcasts or Google podcasts.
This is sort of like the podcast version
of uploading a video to YouTube.
Because podcasts are an open technology,
they rely on something called RSS feeds.
This is what makes
podcasts different radio.
The RSS feed gives you podcast
limitless reach all over the Internet.
And these RSS feeds contain information
about your show, such as the title,
the author, and the cover art.
Podcast platforms use this information to
let people know about your podcasts and
audio hosting services are the ones
that create and manage RSS feed for you.
Now, here’s a quick checklist of
other things to consider when
choosing a hosting service.
Number 1, costs.
You have to pay monthly to host your
show to keep it available to listeners.
Each company’s pricing is different so
find something that fits in your budget.
Number 2,
how do you know how well you’re doing?
You need to know your metrics.
There’s a difference between knowing
someone listen to your podcast somewhere
versus knowing 400 people listened
one Sunday with an Android in Lagos.
Shout out to my Niger peoples, okay?
And then number 3, control.
If you decide to change your
hosting service in the future,
you do not want any interruption
to your distribution.
So make sure your hosting service allows
you to take your RSS feed with you.
Check out the link in
the episode description for
more information on different
types of hosting services.
One more thing to think about,
the first time you submit your podcast
to a platform like Apple Podcasts or
Google Podcasts, it can take a week or
more to appear in the app.
So make sure you build in
some time to get approved.
And a pro tip here,
make a short trailer for your show.
By short, I mean a minute or two.
Say what the show is and what people
can expect when they listen and
then upload that to your audio host to
get your RSS feed approved, [BLEEP] Okay?
Boom, there you go your show is out there,
the world will be able to find it and
So shout out to you.
On the next episode is gonna be all about
getting the word out about your podcast.
I’m gonna give you the lowdown
on how to reach audience.
So look forward to seeing you there.
[MUSIC]>> That’s a little covered, but we also
have the web address on these restore
sheets that we have printed out,
that you can take.
we have ten of these videos really,
I don’t know why we
keep doing these talks,
because they represent the best of
what we know with better jokes.
Also to that point,
I just was reading this morning that
Spotify is changing their podcast pages so
that now the trailer is kind of up
right underneath the show title.
Which is great,
cuz people can go to a show and
right away get a sense of what
it’s going to sound like.
But another really important
reason why you might wanna have
a trailer for your show.
>> A really good one.
>> A really good one, yeah.
All right, so she talked a little bit
about choosing a hosting platform.
And if you go to that website,
we have a lot more information about your
different options and what they offer.
As Levine mentioned,
one thing they consider is cost.
Another is metrics,
what kind of information is that platform
going to give you about your listeners?
Control, how much control you have
over your RSS feed if you wanna move.
And monetization, does it allow you to
do dynamic ad insertion, for example.
I’m gonna skip the making
money video teasers,
I want you all to go and watch it.
But a few things to think about just when
you’re making a budget for your show.
You need to think about staffing.
It’s probably not gonna
be just you in the mic.
It could be but if you’re gonna bring
on somebody to help with music or
with editing to make it sound really
great, it’s gonna be an expense.
Recording equipment, I like to say that
you can make a podcast on your phone.
You can record right into it there even
programs where you can edit on your phone,
but you’re probably going to
wanna level up a little bit,
even if it’s just like getting an external
mic that plugs into your phone.
And at the end, we’ll talk about some
resources that PRX and BU has so
that you can even get a little more
technologically advanced than that.
Audio editing software.
Again, these vary from the free
things that come on your computer,
to programs that give you a lot
more options to play around.
Storage, where are you gonna keep all of
those audio files that you’ve collected,
those very long interviews
that you’re then editing down.
Please don’t lose them.
Studio time,
if you’re going to be using a studio.
Podcast hosting again,
website hosting really
important to have a website that you
can direct people to for your show.
It should probably be different than like
maybe it will live on a BU website or
your department’s website, but
it’s good to have a standalone place
as well that people could go to.
And then marketing, getting the word out.
And music rights and clearance.
I would check out those
places you recommended first,
Michelle like bottom of the map
that’s playing hip hop songs.
They’re trying to like stay within
fair use, it’s a little bit messy.
We don’t even have great answers for
like what music you’re allowed to play.
They are like using Fair Use and
saying, like under 15 seconds when
we’re talking about it and
critical conversation is okay.
But the little bit of the Wild West out
there when it comes to music rights.
And then you also wanna think about again,
how are you going to sustain your show
beyond just getting a few episodes out.
So one thing to think about is how
big your audience going to be.
You might have one of those really,
really niche audiences.
Is it the Iowa, Idaho potato society.
>> I own potatoes.
>> I own potatoes,
might be a little bit more of
a limited audience then say a cereal.
That can be okay if you have a really big
audience, you may be able to get like that
money, but typically we like to say that’s
like 100,000 listeners per episode.
That’s a lot of people, if you have a more
targeted audience there might be a way to
work with sponsors who really wanna
reach those listeners specifically.
>> Like the companies?
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah, I Own Potatoes, right?
[LAUGH] Just kidding.
>> Maybe Monsanto, I don’t know.
So yes, thinking about other
ways to monetize as well,
live events right now are really
big way that podcasts,
we talked before about how they build and
deepen communities.
And there’s a show called
My Favorite Murder.
It’s a chat cast of two comedians,
basically reading the Wikipedia pages of
famous murder cases and
making a lot of jokes.
They get the facts wrong all the time but
people love them,
their tagline is stay
sexy don’t get murdered.
Their fans called themselves the murder
Reno’s and they like turn up for events.
They’ll pay over $100 for
tickets, they will sell out
giant venues around the country.
Even a show like a Shot of Boston,
Harry Potter and
the Sacred Text has anyone
listened to that one?
Yeah, they’re show that Harry Potter and
We were at the Oberon a few months ago and
they had a packed house for
people who just wanted to come see them.
Were you there?
It was a great show, it was really fun.
They’re funny, they’re engaging.
Yeah, so a lot of different
things you can think about.
Partnerships, maybe who can you work
with to help make this happen, right?
Within Boston University or perhaps
somewhere, we talk to a lot of people who,
foundations and the people who
kind of wanna get a message out or
kind of represent their institution.
And they’re trying to figure out how
on top of all the other duties we have,
can we also produce a podcast and
we’re always like,
what if he found a podcast that’s already
out there, trying to be out there with
people who really know what they’re
doing and you underwrite them, right?
Or like work with them to help put
something out that’s aligned with your
values instead of trying
to do something yourself.
So there may be someone out there who
wants to work with you on your show or
there may be a way that you can help
someone who’s producing something.
Metrics again, that’s like really
knowing your audience who they are,
how they’re listening to help you target
the way that you’re trying to reach them.
Talked about sponsorship a little bit,
all right, next section.
[LAUGH] >> So
you’ve been invited to guest on a podcast.
Anyone been invited to
guest on a podcast here?
How was it?
Can someone just tell me how it went?
Yeah, right here.
It was great?
>> Yeah, it was,
we had all these equipment we recorded
in the church, basically, so.
>> What was the show?
>> [INAUDIBLE] >> I had never heard of that one.
Check it out.
[LAUGH] Anyone had a terrible
experience appearing on a podcast or
just like an okay one?
No, no one just heard their own voice and
was like, no, that’s what I sound like?
That’ll be me if I watch this video later.
Yeah, thank you.
So I talked to my colleague,
her name is Stephanie Kuo and
she has a podcast called Racist sandwich,
which is all about the intersection
of food and race and social justice.
And she has guests on her show for
every episode, and I’m like, Stephanie,
what would you be looking for
in a good guest, what should people know?
So she informed a lot of this.
But first of all, just like get an idea
of this is just the beginning of the wide
variety of the kinds of podcasts
that may be in search of experts.
There’s some that are, really focused
99% invisible is about design.
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, you’ll
have a lot of people in the clergy or
else who are studying religion.
Hormonal as a podcast
will bring in people,
researchers who can talk about women’s
health, lot of different places.
So it’s worth looking around and
seeing if there are podcasts
that cover your specialty, and
even reaching out to them and pitching
yourself as an expert on a certain topic.
So preparing for your interview.
Identify what type of
show you’re appearing on.
Stephanie told me that
a lot of times people like
won’t really know what Rasist Sandwich is
and haven’t done the research beforehand.
So think back to those formats.
Is it a chat cast?
Is it going to be an interview or
it’s an hour long and
you’re really expected
to carry that narrative?
Or is it going to be a narrative show
where they may use a few clips from you,
but it’s not going to be the whole time?
Really important to know.
Then you want to listen to the show,
listen to as many episodes as you can to
get a sense of the hosts and
the tone of the show.
That’s really important when
you’re thinking about like,
how are you going to come across?
What stories are you going to tell?
What are you going to present?
It’s totally okay to ask what
will be expected of you as well,
you don’t just have to guess.
Most podcasts won’t give you
a list of questions ahead of time,
but they’ll work with you.
Think about focusing your expertise.
I’m like pretty sure everyone in this
room knows a whole lot of things.
But what is the one thing that you are
trying to get across in this interview or
a conversation?
How can you kind of narrow
it down a little bit so
that you don’t overwhelm listeners?
Stephanie was telling me she did
an interview this weekend and it went so
off track and they had this amazing
conversation about all kinds of stuff that
now is not gonna make it into the podcast
because they ran out of time and
was not relevant to what they
were there to talk about.
You may get asked to do a pre-interview.
So that’s before you do the real
deal where you’re recording.
A podcaster might call you and just be
trying to figure out how you sound on
radio, on audio, not on radio,
get a little bit and
there might be screening you to see
if they want you to be a guest.
Or they might just be
trying to figure out like,
what are those moments where they’re like
really telling a compelling story or
really sound excited about what they’re
doing and that when you get to the real
interview will shape the way that
they go through their questions.
And then finally, like it is within
your ability to sound really great.
If you get invited to a studio
where everything’s set up and
they’re ready to go, that’s amazing.
A lot of times they may just want to
do it over the phone or on Skype.
You can like empower
yourself to help them out,
even by just recording yourself on your
end with a phone or a small recorder.
So you have the conversation, you’re also
recording yourself looking really close to
the mic and clearly, and
then you send them the file after.
And then there’s suddenly much
better audio than that like
breaking up sound over the phone.
Then the day that you’re recording,
try to go somewhere quiet where there’s
not going to be background noise.
Being outside, being in a hallway,
something like that, not going to cut it.
Be personable, like think of yourself
as a character on this podcast.
Really important,
think about like that storytelling and
how powerful that is in audio, how can you
tell stories that illustrate your points?
And finally, like have fun.
Podcasts are a lot of fun.
They’ll probably be some editing
afterwards, it’s a little different than
being on the radio, and
you have some opportunity to play.
So we’re going to play a, I think spot
on actually did this really well.
But I’m going to play another clip of
an interview where the guests really got
into that storytelling mode and
came across as a compelling character.
>> So, you wrote a book called Indebted
about the incredible burden that students
and families are taking on, and
how that affects their education and
their lives going forward.
Tell me about that work, what you
discovered and how you came to it.
>> I came to it because my
students brought it to me.
I work at NYU, one of the most
expensive universities in the country.
And it kind of showed up again and
again in my classroom and my office,
students would come to me to tell me about
the challenges that they were facing.
Both trying to get an education and carry
the debt they took on for that education.
>> And how does carrying that amount
of debt affects their educations and
their lives going forward?
It must be an enormous effect.
>> It is an enormous effect.
In part,
they take on the debt because they
participate in building a dream
with their parents, they want to go
to a school where they can really explore
their interests, get to know what their
talents are to kind of figure out who
their people are going to be in the world.
>> Yeah.
>> But that is very,
very expensive today and it then
puts limits on who they can become.
>> I like that clip because you
can tell the host Adam Conover,
who you must have have seen him on TV.
He was really prepared to start off,
tell me how you got interested in that.
He was asking those good
story telling questions.
Then the guest who-
>> Caitlin Zaloom,
who has the book Indebted
that just came out.
>> Yeah, she was also prepared with that
story about why this research mattered to
her, why she got interested
in this story and
was able to tell it in
a pretty compelling way.
All right.
We’re going to just go through a little
bit additional resources that both PRX and
BU has to offer.
Can you go ahead and
talk a little bit about this?
>> Sure.
All right, so first off, we’ve already
talked about the podcasting 101.
There’s also a companion
course which we designed so
that if you, like say one of
the things that we teach a lot is that
if you’re going to start this work,
be prepared to, you know, prototype and
test like iterate basically we do,
actually this Friday,
if any of you would like to come to
the podcast, garage, there’s parking.
We are having our teams,
our public radio station teams
are arriving in Boston today.
Tomorrow we’ll do a day
of training with them.
Then Friday morning we serve breakfast and
then each of them has about six minutes
where they pitch their podcast
to a room full of people.
They get verbal feedback
from four panelists and
everyone in the room writes them
feedback in the form of rose thorn bud.
Like you know what I liked,
the thorns are what I wish I saw,
the buds are like,
I wonder if you try this kind of thing.
This is gonna be their third and
final one before they have a big showcase,
which is going to be at
the Oberon on March 17th.
If any of you are like
wondering what you’ll do on St.
Patrick’s Day,
you are invited to come see this.
It’s kind of interesting because actually,
we believe in this idea of
getting a lot of feedback.
So getting a pilot test group,
somebody that you can,
give yourself room to experiment.
And just try stuff out.
The companion course here will kind
of help you over the ten episodes.
The companion course gives
you a little quiz and
it gives you an exercise to do, kind of
building toward that ultimate moment so
you can kind of walk you
through that experience,
walk you through kind of the same
process that we use with our training.
There’s also the Podcast Garage.
So you’re welcome to come anytime,
we run workshops there on a regular basis.
One of my favorites is a podcast
class called What the F is
Narrative run by Karen Given,
who works here for WBUR.
She’s hosting Only a Game now and has
worked on that show for about 25 years.
And she said, I don’t know, sometime
in recent memory they were gonna move
from what we call in radio a magazine
style show with lots of small pieces,
to something more narrative.
She was like, and actually this is
true for a lot of audio journalists.
Narrative is kind of where we live,
because it’s very character driven by
the fact of like a lot of
the needs of audio listening.
But she was like, wow, I have really
no idea how to make narrative.
So she really went a broad exploration of,
how do you actually do this?
What does this mean?
What kind of storytelling devices work and
And so she’s hilarious.
It’s a great class, a four week class.
But we have lots of,
you can come and meet other makers.
You can start to develop that
community of people who will
give you real feedback about your work and
encourage you.
It can also be that you’re
gonna meet that producer.
If you have the body of knowledge but you
are daunted in any way, and understably,
by the hours it’ll take to produce
a really great sounding podcast,
there may be someone at the garage who’s
gonna have that skill that’s just been
kinda waiting for the good material.
So and so we really encourage you,
and the studio is lovely.
And you can come.
And this isn’t like a,
it isn’t really a hardcore sell here,
just to say that if you need the extra
help of some friendly people making
sure that the on-button is working and
everything sounds great,
the Podcast Garage is
a terrific resource for that.
You can of course actually make the,
you have access here at BU to studios.
People do make the podcasts
on their phone.
You can hide under your blankets and
make really great audio,
radio journalists have
been doing this forever.
It just gets a little hot after a while.
And it’s nice to have sunlight.
So Podcast Studio helps.
Here’s our classroom, so
finding a place you can come and learn.
Yeah, and then the gathering,
the community part of it.
Those are the key things that we
say we do at the Podcast Garage.
But there are more.
There’s some really good books
that are out recently too.
I don’t think we have a.
>> We have some in the handout.
>> Yeah, some of the slides, right,
there’s a Eric Nuzum, who was part of
the team that started Invisibilia, has
a book called Make Noise about podcasting.
And my favorite is Kristen Meinzer, who
does a podcast called Buy the Book, and
has a new book out called How To Be Fine.
She has a pilot, it’s like So
You Want to Start a Podcast.
A really warm,
lovely kind of step by step introduction.
One of my favorite things about working
in audio my whole career has been how
generous the community is, especially
when it comes to technical information.
So there are a lot of
resources out there for you.
You shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel,
especially when there are 800,000
other wheels out there.
So be sure to get some
advice along the way.
We also have some upcoming
events which I have mentioned.
The Maker Mingle, that is tomorrow night,
that’s a chance to meet those
people that might help you.
You are welcome to come to our creative
review, that’s on Friday morning.
We really do feed everyone breakfast.
There’s an audio production study hall
you can bring works that you’re on.
Heidi Shin does this really terrific
workshop about intimate interviewing.
Particularly if you are interviewing
people who don’t necessarily look like you
or have the same background,
like how to get that intimacy and
really approach people.
And then the introduction to podcast
scoring, a four week workshop.
Which is, I’ve been teaching beginner
journalists for a really long time.
And one of this most significantly
stylistic differences is the use
of music and narrative really for pacing,
and storytelling, and reflection.
Like This American Life is kind of famous
for doing action, action, reflection.
And the reflection is usually cued by
music, which gives you that moment,
like a beat, literally a beat for
you take in what they’ve just conveyed.
Now that I’ve said this,
you’ll hear it all the time.
So, but figuring out that scoring.
When I was training as a young journalist,
it was like you would never use music.
It’s emotionally manipulative.
And then it’s like, but
if you work in narrative,
you actually wanna use this as
one of those storytelling tools.
Much like you’ll be using your voice,
which is one of the greatest
things about audio in general.
The inflection, the warmth of just
the engaging way that the voice can be
to really pull someone in and keep them
listening to you is really critical.
That’s event on March 17.
There’s never been,
thank you all for being here so
that I can actually try
pitching PRX things.
So [LAUGH] I don’t really mean
to sound quite so pitchy.
But this will be a fun night.
And I think the tickets are a whopping
$10, so it’s at the Oberon and
we have free drinks after, so.
Yep, do you wanna talk
about the BU resources?
>> Just a couple of things.
I want to go back to what you said
about you don’t need a formal studio.
And I can tell you my favorite makeshift
studio was with John Rudolph in Cairo,
the Cairo Hilton,
with no air conditioning.
Because if you turn
the air conditioning on,
it smelled like the sewerage of the Nile.
Underneath two lamps with the bedspreads
over us, and that was our studio.
So you can make a studio
no matter where you are.
Padded cell, laundry closet,
whatever it is.
But we have nice studios
across the street [INAUDIBLE],
there are two podcast studios.
One is available to just comm students,
the other is available for outsiders.
I believe that’s where that
nutrition podcast is done.
And then WTBU has this unbelievable
beautiful state of the art studio.
We went down, Howard Stern is an alum,
so we went down to his studios, and
his engineers helped design
our brand new studio up here.
So It’s lovely.
So you can you sign up for
that as a WTBU podcast with WTBU.
And then almost, and there’s one on the
med campus, which is where Nick does his.
It’s the BU Godley studio.
And there’s a sign up thing over there.
And almost everybody on campus has free
access to Adobe Audition software,
which you will need to cut down the audio
after your two hour long interview and
you really want a 20 minute podcast.
That electronic razor blade
is gonna come in very handy.
So that’s I think available
to most people on campus.
So check that out.
Any others?
>> That is our formal talk, but-
>> Now it’s time for your questions.
>> Questions, yes.
Thank you and questions.
You are so ready to go.
>> [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you.
You have a question.
Do we need to mic, yeah, that?
>> Sorry, is this working okay?
>> Yeah, there you go.
>> Okay.
Hi, thanks so much to the three of you.
This was great.
I have two questions.
One is circling back to your comment
about adding podcasts to YouTube.
What is best practice for that?
Is it using audio with a still image,
or where do you see that going?
>> I think you’re seeing
it in two directions.
The first one is kind of the one.
It’s hard enough.
Once you get that podcast out,
making sure the art is good,
that the description is really compelling,
all of the,
that you’re then going to post
it on social media far and wide.
Like doing that extra work
to get it into YouTube.
I think it’s reasonable to say if you
can get the audio up there with a still
image and
make sure the description’s good and
your SEO, your search engine optimization,
is good, that’s great.
If you can do more than that, it seems
like the other thing people are doing is
making kind of compelling
clips of the video.
We’re building a new
Podcast Garage in Washington DC,
we’re going to install
video capability there.
Many of the studios are getting
that video capability now, so.
You could actually put a video
of your recording the podcast.
Actually, I don’t totally
see the appeal of this.
But I see my 14 year old daughter watch
TV on her phone everywhere in the world.
And YouTube is really targeted for
tween girls.
And both my daughters just like,
woo, they listen to it all the time.
So I think you can do that.
Joe Rogan is, you know,
has a really long podcast.
And he’s making a whole thing of
like a channel of shorts, you know,
specific clips.
So I think there’s two things, but
I always want to be mindful of
the amount of work it’s going
to take to make a good podcast.
I think you want to be really strategic
about your secondary work that you do to
get it out in the world.
And for me, most of that
YouTube work is secondary work.
So do hit the bar, but try to figure out
what’s gonna work for your audience too.
>> Great, thank you.
My second question is about frequency.
And you had mentioned that if you
don’t publish frequently enough,
sometimes you’ll lose that RSS feed.
What is that timeline look like?
Is it not publishing in three months,
what is that?
>> I think it varies by which app you’re
using actually, and where it’s hosted.
So I think that our
general recommendation,
this actually is one I kind of
struggle against, because there are so
many good short form
serialized podcasts now.
They’re kinda of my favorite in a way.
But PRX really will say that in
order to build an audience and
attract sponsors frequency is
your most significant thing.
So minimum of every other week is really
the way that you’re gonna build audience.
So that could mean that
you’re gonna build up
a stockpile of episodes
before you launch and
kind of give yourself a running start into
it, which is something that we recommend.
>> [CROSSTALK] Sarah Koenig
didn’t do when she did Serial.
>> Yes [LAUGH], Sarah Koenig, you really
gotta love her because she goes out there,
>> One episode,
there was a 40 minute
interview with some DA.
It’s like, clearly they had no
production values on that one but
they needed to post it.
>> Well no, and then she’s been mid season
and she’s like, we’ve been weekly but
now we’re going every other week,
clearly buying themselves sometimes.
So you see,
actually, some of the biggest names kind
of sorting out this frequency problem.
If you’re gonna do that seasonal
production, I really think and
here’s where you really might have
an advantage being part of an institution.
You are gonna need to find other ways
to reach your listener over time.
So whether it’s a newsletter,
whether it’s strong social media presence,
something in which the podcast is
one element of what you’re doing, so
that when you come back into production,
you can really make an event out of that.
And that can be a nice thing,
it’s like season two of what we’re doing.
Make sure you get press around it.
Do whatever you can to hype
up that newness of it.
I think that that can be,
I think that can get you the audience.
I think you’re gonna struggle a bit
in the way that monetization sort of
works in this industry to get people
to fund it, if it’s irregular or
if it’s really limited, or
you haven’t yet demonstrated audience.
So it’s kind of a chicken and
egg problem frankly.
Other questions?
>> Hang on, we’ve got a mic coming.
>> Yeah, this just in [LAUGH].
>> Hi, thank you.
So if monetization is
a harder goal to achieve,
what is reasonable for listenership?
And 17 million is Serial, that’s the high
bar, and I guess the woman you showed,
I don’t know what the low bar is, but-
>> [LAUGH] Zero.
I don’t even think you
can find her podcast.
I did find something called The Advice
Podcast and episode two was called,
Oops [LAUGH], I was like, wow [LAUGH].
I say that when you ask people
how many downloads they have,
it’s kinda like asking people
about their weight, they will lie.
>> [LAUGH] >> Basically.
And one of the tricks, it’s not entirely
their fault because how we measure,
at PRX, we’re really concerned
about listens, which is literally,
what do you know about when
someone actually listened?
Cuz downloads can be the number, that’s
actually the common number people use, but
it’s a little bit deceptive.
My phone is downloading, probably 50
podcasts a week now, cuz I have so
many in my app, but I really don’t
always listen to all of them.
So that’s a bit of a false metric.
It’s kind of like page views
in terms of like unique views.
So I think we work with a lot of,
we actually have kind of a category
that our teams are in, and we love them.
But it’s under 50,000 downloads per
episode is kind of our beginning stage
Some of the biggest ones have,
the Daily what do they say they have?
20 million listeners or something.
So I think when you’re looking at it, you
can, like many things, just kill yourself
with envy and assume that everyone else
has more dent listeners than you do.
And I think there, you really want to
start to figure out how to engage with
your listener and get feedback from them.
Give yourself some way to kind of
ping them and get something back, so
that maybe you are going
to hit 3000 people.
But if you hit the right 3000 people,
that can actually be more successful than
hitting 30,000 people
with kind of content.
>> So one of the earliest podcast
that I heard about was grape radio.
Do you know this?
>> No.
>> These were four guys that sat around
and drink wine every Friday afternoon and
talked about the wine.
And then the wine industry said,
we want to give you our wine.
So then they started getting free wine.
And then they said,
we want more than that.
We want some money to pay for our time.
And at least the one leader of
the pack quit his day job, and
they just got drunk
every Friday afternoon.
What is wrong with this picture?
I don’t know, there’s a podcast called-
>> I don’t know if it still exists but
this was way back-
>> No, it’s a great idea.
There’s another podcast called the Whiskey
Cats where they talk about their cats and
whiskey, that’s it.
So they’ve branched out to whiskey
cocktails in season two, but
great monetization options.
Other questions?
Want to go here?
>> Bring the mic over here.
>> Okay, sorry, we’ll get to you [LAUGH].
>> So I was thinking back to
the slide that you had that was
Cell versus Sawbones.
And then you showed the differences
between the two of them and obviously,
you know, Sawbones has McElroy powers,
so it’s funnier and stuff.
But the other difference that wasn’t
on the slide was that they were clearly
intended for different audiences.
So I guess what I’m wondering is, if you
are say, interested in doing an academic
or podcast that maybe has an audience
more intended to be specialists,
how can you make make it dynamic and
engaging but without going full on comedy?
>> I think who’s doing the delivery.
I mean,
if the person has an engaging voice and
a nice cadence and
a little bit of levity to it,
just them talking about, if you listen
to the SPH3 guys that are doing that.
They’re basically talking about journal
articles at a high level that I don’t
understand, but it’s engaging enough
that I can get the gist of it.
So maybe having two people versus
one again, the journal article,
just reading it cold is pretty deadly.
But if you can get two people
kind of riffing off of,
isn’t this interesting that they’ve
pursued it this way versus that way.
Or arguing, this is really weird and
why did they do it that way and
somebody defending it.
Some tension in there will be good,
if the two people that are talking
are engaging, it’ll help.
But I think there are people that
just want to listen to the text
of the journal article while
they’re sitting in the lab.
And that saves them a ton of other
time sitting down to read it
while they’re driving,
whatever they want it and it works for
them, but most humans [LAUGH] want
something a little more engaging.
>> I can add to that.
I worked at Audible in the earliest days,
when we were making short form
downloadable recurrent content.
And one of our main products was a daily
read of the Wall Street Journal,
a daily read of the New York Times,
they still have this, Scientific American.
They were just straight reads.
And one of the challenges is they’re
written for the eye, rather than the ear.
And so it’s hard to make pure text that’s
written to be read actually sound great.
The main thing about writing for
audio is to write the way we speak.
But I think there’s a journalistic truism
that counts in podcasting, too, which is
try to find the compelling entry point in
that big body of knowledge that you have.
If you listen to the Daily, one of
the core things they do every day is they
basically start with,
what’s the flash of the new thing?
What’s the reason this
is in the news today?
And then they back up and they
contextualize it, and then at the end,
they kind of push it forward.
Sometimes we call this an e structure,
in terms of,
I would say 90% of their
episodes are in that structure.
So even when you have an academic topic or
you have something new,
know that the small detail or
that pivot moment, the moment in which
the research was found to be true or
untrue or there was a breakthrough,
maybe think of starting your story there.
Instead of thinking of having to start at
the beginning and lead to that big moment.
Don’t ever hesitate in any on
demand thing from going bold first.
Terry Gross asks her best question first,
she doesn’t wait Kind
of build us up to it.
It doesn’t assume that the listener
has all the time in the world.
So like pack a punch there,
don’t be afraid to make it compelling.
And then once you’ve got people then you
can go lots of places they will go so
many places with you, but you gotta and
be a person, be a real human being.
If you love it, have passion for it.
This is the most compelling
research you’ve read recently,
let them know why and
really go make it wow this is cool.
I didn’t know anything about this and
now I know a lot about it.
Or wow this person I really love
the way they think about I look this
is what I’m studying all the time but
wow, this is really meaningful for me.
It makes my work better.
Think about why your listeners coming in,
coming back to you.
>> Yeah, I think structure I actually
had this conversation with Nick.
Structure is really important.
Not going just in a chronological order.
And I just happened to watch
the movie Brief Encounter last night,
anybody seen it?
Good old black and white, lovely film.
It starts at the end, and
then it goes backwards.
There’s this dramatic scene, but
you don’t really know what’s going on.
And then it goes backwards and comes back,
this E structure, and you need to grab
them early with enough good information
that they’re going to stay with you.
>> Yeah.
Two questions over here.
If we can get the mic.
>> Thank you.
You’ve talked a lot about
podcasts as standalone.
Can you talk maybe a little bit
to it as an engagement strategy?
So there’s an app called 10% Happier for
meditation that I really like.
And they have a podcast to engage
their listeners that are separate from
the meditations they’re doing.
Maybe that versus blogging
versus newsletters versus.
>> That’s related to Dan whatever
his name is from ABC News.
>> Yeah Dan Evans.
>> He wrote a book called
10% Happier about.
>> Dan Harris.
Yeah, yeah.
>> Dan Harris, sorry.
>> Boston.
So, I have not listened to that podcast,
so I don’t know the reference.
So the question is whether it’s engaging,
promoting a product.
Is that what you’re asking?
>> Yeah, promoting a product or engaging
the users of an organization or a product.
Maybe comparing that to newsletters or
There are all these different
ways that you can do.
>> I think it depends on
who those core users are,
are they people who already listen
to podcasts and want audio content?
Maybe because they’re
listening to an audio app?
Or are they really active on Instagram and
that’s where they’re keeping busy.
Are there people who
are reading email newsletters.
There are easy ways where you can
prototype and test that out maybe.
Or even just ask them where do
you get most of your information?
Where do you go to find things out?
Usually podcasts are not an engagement
strategy on their own because it is still
a person who sounds like your friend,
they’re talking in your ear,
but you can’t always talk back unless
the podcast has a strategy where they’re
asking listeners to write in or
call in or come meet them on Instagram or
somewhere else to have
conversations about the content.
So it’s worth thinking about, like how you
want to engage with that audience and also
just, it’s really hard to get people to go
to different places than they already are.
So if you’re already trying to drive
them to an app or to a certain spot,
a physical place or anywhere else,
newsletters are great cuz
they come right to their inbox and
they’re probably already there.
If they’re not listening to
podcasts already saying hey,
get my app and also listen to my podcast
is gonna be a lot of asks for them.
>> Yeah, I think if I’d guess in about a
360 view sometimes like depending on what
your brand is, like if you put a book out,
is there a podcast add-on to that but
then always just have to make sure
that somebody’s going to find it.
It’s enough work that you really
want to make sure they can find it,
is it going to be enough work to support
the other things that you’re trying to do
whether it’s part of an app experience or
something else that you’re doing.
>> REI does this podcast called
Dirtbag Diaries for Hikers.
My husband listens to it okay.
And I don’t know if the podcast just
started it first and REI came to it or
REI started it but it’s engaging for
that crazy group of people that puts one
foot in front of the other all day and
they create a half hour podcast
that people wanna listen to.
>> [LAUGH] >> So they’ve grabbed their audience.
And they’re not advertising
REI roducts necessarily.
But it is definitely in
their wheel house and
they talk enough that it sends
people good vibes about REI so
as an advertising medium that’s
out of my wheelhouse completely.
>> [LAUGH] >> Question next to you yeah?
>> Thanks, great talk.
You talked about being a good guest on a
podcast but I’m curious if any of you have
good resources for being a better host or
asking better questions.
>> Research is very important.
Being naturally curious.
Don’t just look at the list
of questions in front of you,
just listen to what the person’s saying
and respond to it as a human would.
That’s a traditional problem with my
students is they come up with the five
questions they were supposed to ask and
they come back with the five answers.
And the guy says, well I murdered my wife
in the middle of those five answers.
And it’s like, did you ask him
about the murder of the wife?
So you got to barely be able to react
to the other person and interrupt.
If it’s like you don’t understand.
Assume that you’re
an intelligent person and
your audience is probably at
the same level of intelligence and
just sort of say, if I don’t get it,
my audience doesn’t get it.
So stop them and say,
can you walk me back with that and
explain that a little bit more.
I think those would help.
>> Yeah, I’ll add two things that
first I haven’t said this yet, but
I like to say it.
It took me a while to realize that Sarah
Koenig is the main character of Serial.
Like it is her journey that you’re
following whether it’s [INAUDIBLE] killed
his girlfriend in high school, or whether
the criminal justice system as represented
in Cleveland is a fair system like she
is on a quest to understand that and so
there’s a kind of a core difference.
When you’re a reporter, or
just a really smart academic,
you’re doing a lot of research,
you talk to people all the time.
It’s in fact, probably something
you think you’re very good at.
But a lot of times
you’re asking questions,
that you are going to somehow
interpret for someone else.
And when you are hosting something,
we have always said it’s like you’re
the surrogate for the listener experience,
but if you actually think of yourself and
your curiosity as the driving question and
the narrative structure, then you really
will structure your questions differently.
Really again, think about where’s
that key starting point, and
then how you how you
frame those questions.
I mean you can edit yourself down but how
you frame the questions is actually really
pivotal to like you have
to kinda kick that off.
You actually don’t want to edit your
questions out but you wanna get them kinda
right, make them short, kinda push the
story forward, kinda think about an arc.
Terry Gross.
I love using Terry Gross because she’s
just like still the best interviewer but
one of the points at which
they do the most editing is
in their list of questions.
Before they get even into the studio,
thinking about a narrative arc for
the interview, and then they edit.
It’s one of the most heavily
edited shows in public radio,
which is always worth saying, because
one of the problems about podcasting,
it sounds so easy because it sounds like
a natural conversation and often the most
edited sounds like the most natural
conversation which is very confusing.
Because it takes a lot of time to
make it sound that way even though
really be audible to like that work
was not is hidden when it’s well done.
When you’re thinking about how
you’re going to structure that,
is like a critical first step.
How do I wanna be on your
journey as you learn about it?
That’s the role to think about.
>> [CROSSTALK] >> I think of a tour guide sometimes.
>> Yeah.
>> Taking me on a journey.
>> Yeah, you’re walking me through
a place that I haven’t been to before.
>> Yeah.
>> Like I said for podcasting one on one.
[LAUGH] >> Interviewing.
Yeah, I did yeah,
that gives you some really concrete tips.
Any other questions?
We’re here all night.
You got anything we got you.
[LAUGH] >> I’m curious, you guys, why you’re here?
Are you producing podcasts?
Are you thinking of producing a podcast?
Do you love listening to podcasts?
>> Who produces?
>> Anybody a producer?
>> Nice, a bunch.
I know we have a lot of people
who have been guests on Podcasts.
Thinking about producing,
have a great idea, yeah.
>> One thing I want to talk about
a little bit looking at Bill Broadus,
who teaches film here.
The Dirty John, does that ring a bell
to people, did anybody listen to that?
It was an LA Times magazine piece
that then became a podcast,
that then became a Showtime serial drama.
Was a creepy guy and nobody liked him but.
>> [INAUDIBLE], yeah.
>> But it was an interesting
trajectory because, I think,
if you’ve got an idea, you don’t have
to go whole hog into podcasting.
You can start with something smaller and
then say, hey,
this has got legs, let’s try it here.
And then if it’s really good you
go to the Hollywood types and
say let’s bring it to another level.
>> [INAUDIBLE] Aaron Hernandez role.
>> Yeah, Aaron Hernandez.
>> Right, yeah.
>> Yeah, I mean,
sometimes I’ve been making a joke with so
many podcasts out there.
Everyone who makes the podcast is
really kind of desperate for content.
So sometimes I’m like, okay,
we should make no more new podcasts and
everyone should just help
everyone make their podcasts.
So, you might, I mean,
it can be quite daunting to
think about starting a podcast.
Maybe there’s another way that you’re
actually going to vet that partnership
that Lindsay was mentioning.
It’s worth thinking about that too.
>> And put yourself as a guest
that people really need guests.
Yeah, there are a whole businesses and
services online that just help
you find guests for your podcast.
Cuz it’s hard to keep up that frequency.
>> Yeah, Kristen Meinzer,
I mentioned earlier about that, so
you want to make a Podcast book,
and she does By The Book podcast.
Which they live a self-help book for two
weeks and she and her comedian companion
talk about what happened to them
while they lived the self-help book.
But she pitches herself.
She told us she pitched herself
last year to 150 podcasts and
she got booked on 100 of them.
With no sense of reciprocity where she
would then have to have them as a guest.
But it’s a really great promotion for
her and she’s just very dogged about it.
She would just like kind of write to them,
say I love, she loves Dolly Parton is
one of her deep verticals of knowledge.
And so she would look for
every Dolly Parton podcast and
say I’d be a terrific guest.
Do you need anyone, and
she would find a really clever angle.
She’s a good journalist so
she would pitch it and she got on it.
It’s great publicity for her podcast.
>> But that’s good cross promotion for
everybody, right.
If you’re a guest on this person’s in
they’re on yours, you’ve doubled your
listenership, potentially, because you
now met people of like-minded ideas.
>> And if you’re a guest, they’re a good
podcast host, and if you are the host or
you are the guests.
They should ask you to be promoting
the podcast in their network.
So another reason I have a good friend
who was recently, she’s an ED specialist.
And she was on a podcast in which she came
to me later and she was like, I was so
excited to be asked but
the audio quality is so bad.
I don’t want to share it with anyone.
And I was like, man, that poor podcast
host really lost an opportunity
to have my friend Maude share it.
Just by not doing a little bit of
extra work to make her sound great,
so that she would then be proud of it.
She’s not the fussiest, I mean most
people will be pretty cool with whatever.
But you can think about how to engage
them as part of the way that you spread
the word and
just do a little bit of initiative.
They just asked her to
record on her iPhone.
I know she could have managed that.
So I was like, call me next time
I’ll tell you how to do it.
[LAUGH] >> Are there questions, yeah?
>> [INAUDIBLE] >> Oops, do we need the, sorry.
>> So the question is,
how to interview people remotely.
Well, there’s a couple different, I mean
being able to talk to them by phone.
So if you are going to
record on your iPhone,
here’s where you’ll tell
the person on the other end.
You say, okay, turn your put
your phone into airplane mode.
Get the voice recorder memo on the iPhone,
but Androids also have memo apps.
You’re going to talk to them on
either another phone, a landline or
you’re going to talk to
them over the computer.
I mean, I think it’s generally good
to have a backup if you do this.
So I would be on your end,
if you’re the host,
I’d be recording whatever the phone tape
too, just in case something goes wrong.
But if you can sync up a really
clear sounding recording that
the person’s been doing on their end.
You send the file, you can sync it up and
it sounds like you were in the same
room together basically, that’s-
>> The key is where they put that phone.
Right, if they put the phone on their
desk and they’re sitting back like this,
you’re not going to get much.
You gotta really instruct them.
>> That’s a key thing.
>> I mean if you’re on Skype with them and
you can see them, or Zoom with them,
you can see that, they put the phone down.
>> Yeah.
>> And you can hear it.
Just like hey, you gotta bring
that back up to your mouth, yeah.
So yeah, sometimes you can put it on a
stack of books or sometimes I use a water
bottle, so it’s kind of close
to my mouth when I’m talking.
So yeah, we got a mic?
>> Question?
>> Hang on, we got a mic coming.
If you use Skype you have to
acknowledge that you use Skype.
I don’t really know how they’ve
managed to do that for everyone.
But it’s one of those weird features.
That’s why on the radio you’re always
like, they connected to us by Skype.
They have to say that, so.
>> Hi, on the similar note,
if it’s live, I mean,
you guys mentioned how live is
becoming a popular way for podcasting.
>> Like a live event, the live
events are becoming popular, yeah.
>> Yeah, and then of course
streaming it out on YouTube as well.
>> Yeah.
>> What’s the best way to work with
someone remotely when it’s that situation?
If it’s even possible.
>> I don’t think you’re
likely to see that situation.
>> Okay,
>> You see people at a live event and
they’re either doing a show on stage and
recording the audio for later, or
maybe streaming and at the same time.
They’re going to want someone on stage
with them or in the studio with them,
right, cuz it’s kind of part of
what people are watching for.
You’re too young to know who Ted Koppel
was, but there was the green screen,
right, and the guest was 5,000 miles away.
But they look like they’re right there,
that technology is all gone,
we don’t do that anymore, so.
>> Okay.
>> But I wonder if you could put a Zoom TV
up next to your live event and
bring in somebody.
>> Sure, yeah, beam someone on.
>> I don’t know what the visual quality
of that Zoom would look like on
the YouTube, but.
>> I mean I’ve mostly seen where they
pre-record or pre-interview a person and
then they bring
the interview at the moment.
So I’ve seen that, but I was just
curious if that’s even possible.
>> Yeah, I think live, your best bet
is to be as live as possible and
have your guests live if at all possible.
Then you get the audience,
once you get rolling,
they’ll can give you a lot more
latitude of your questions.
It can be a little bit more
authentic with them actually
>> You come to a show like
the Catapult Showcase, though they
have scripted stories that are really
written to be a live storytelling event.
So they’re taking you through a narrative
and they will play recorded audio and
then just kind of have a picture or
even the person talking up on a screen.
Or maybe just some lines to indicate
that this is audio that you’re hearing.
>> Yeah, yeah.
>> And out of curiosity,
Instagram just started
monetizing Instagram Stories.
So I would imagine they’ll play
around with podcasts eventually,
to compete with YouTube, really.
So maybe you guys [CROSSTALK].
>> We have some.
We have one podcast we work with and
they have built an amazing
community on Instagram.
They post these old photos that
their core audience is really into.
They have people responding
to them all the time.
They’re always doing Instagram Live
Events, and they have a really hard time
getting people from Instagram
to go listen to their podcast.
Even though the Instagram is
there to promote their podcast.
But that idea, again,
that it’s really hard to get
people to move from one platform.
>> It’s just way too much.
[LAUGH] >> It would be so
great for them ,if they could start
putting their podcast right on Instagram.
>> They’re called Long Distance,
they’re about the Filipino diaspora, and
Filipino history there.
>> Great,
>> Great example just to look at,
what an amazing podcast
Instagram looks like.
And a great show.
>> Yeah, yes, we’re really good.
One last question maybe and
then we’ll can we’ll stay here to answer
questions individually, but there’s
one in the back in the red sweater.
>> I guess I was just wondering in
terms of editing and adding music, and
so forth, what’s the breakpoint?
How much do I need to learn,
as the podcast producer,
in order to do that myself?
And when is it more cost effective
to hire somebody to do it?
>> Rachel can answer that question.
>> [LAUGH] >> Adobe Audition,
very simple editing,
you can learn in an hour to or
two, basically how to cut
down a long interview.
When you start layering in music and
ambient sound and
multiple voices, it just gets more
complicated with every track that you add.
But that’s doable, as an interview
type thing, that’s totally doable.
But sound design,
I find that is way out of my wheelhouse.
I find that really challenging,
a lot of this is pod free music so
it’s kinda sketchy music.
So your favorite song you can’t
use because it’s copyrighted and
you’re really working with this stuff.
And I don’t know where the best
to get in and get out,
and where’s the drama,
I just don’t have the ear for it, so.
That’s an art more than a skill.
>> Yeah,
there’s people you can hand that off to.
I mean, I think you have to kind
of give yourself a learning curve.
You’ll get faster at it,
but there’s probably a period of time
in which will be very painful to you.
I mean part of it’s just cuz
you’re learning what you like.
And kind of, I say that it gets harder
each time because your standards
rise as you get better at it.
So there’s a long time in
which you are a beginner.
And then figuring out the scoring,
I still, probably because of my training,
I’m a pretty good dialogue editor.
But I like to hand stuff off for
that final scoring and
mastering just cuz it’s
not really my wheelhouse.
And other people are excellent at it,
and they make it sound amazing, and
that’s money well spent,
basically, for me, so yeah.
>> I think we are related actually.
>> [LAUGH] >> I’ve come to the conclusion, tone deaf,
but otherwise we’re smart people.
>> Sorry, one suggestion,
cuz I, just this morning,
the Student Podcast challenge that NPR has
put out their Student Podcast channel.
Because I needed an answer to that
exact question, I just happened, and
there is an episode, everything you need
to know about using music in your podcast,
[INAUDIBLE] 10 minutes.
>> Yeah, [INAUDIBLE] short resource.
>> Ten minutes.
>> Yeah,
also Gimlet just put out Gimlet Academy,
which you have to be on Spotify,
but it’s a five episode podcast,
essentially, about how to get great tape,
how to think about interviewing.
I always enjoy hearing Alex Bloomberg,
talk about craft.
He’s really one of the best and
not only is making it, but
also talking about how he makes it.
And I found it really, it was great.
I already know all this stuff, but
I have an endless appetite for
listening to these things.
It was very good, very well done.
So, yeah, well, thanks so much.
What a pleasure, thank you.
>> [APPLAUSE] >> We’ll be around for a little bit,
happy to chat more.

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