For decades, consumers have tried to control how they get their entertainment. From tapes recorded at the right time to burning CDs with the latest MP3 download to VHS tapes littered with artifacts and distortion that recorded dozen of episodes of our favorite shows on the same tape, we have done everything possible to keep them on top of our favorite things.
Nowadays we don’t even bother owning a CD or even a DVD. The streaming services cater to the needs of anyone looking for the song that is in their head or the movie they haven’t seen since childhood. We have the internet to thank for that. And with the internet, not only have we found new ways to consume our media, but also new media, which is exciting for anyone who wants to hear their voice. One such medium is the podcast.
Even though podcasting is over twelve years old, it is still a form of media that is still new to many people. It is often referred to as internet radio, which is something true. There are many podcasts with DJs playing music, delivering news, and sharing a piece of life like traditional talk radio. The only difference is that anyone can, and that’s a great thing.
It can seem intimidating at first, as many podcasts are hosted by well-known comedians, actors, academics, and social media influencers. My time creating podcasts taught me one important thing. If you love what you are talking about, an audience will follow suit. There is someone out there who wants to hear what you have to say, no matter what it is. Are you a struggling artist? Talk about your process, what you love about the craft, and who inspires you. You will find someone who relates to you and is interested in what you have to say.
Podcasting is a tool that is just reaching its potential. Many use it as a platform to share their love for a fandom or to exchange stories and ideas, but it can be used for so much more. I worked for a small family business that did podcasts to promote their business. They did skits with a comedian and impersonator that were creative, fun, and informative. Other companies like Sephora and General Electric have used podcasting in creative ways to promote their products and their business. The only rule for creating a branded podcast is not to make it a commercial. Make it resourceful and light hearted and people will come.
But let’s take a step back and talk about how I got into podcasting and why I keep doing it eight years later. At a difficult time in my life, when I was homeless and living in my car, I needed a means to keep my mind occupied. I listened to a lot of podcasts to stay up to date and make me laugh. To name a few: Buzz Out Loud, the Frosty show, Heidi & Frank, Kevin and Bean, and so many others I can’t remember. The fact that these people, many of whom are professional broadcasters, encouraged me to do my own show. It was a form of therapy for everything that was going on in my life.
So I started my first podcast called Geek Love Radio (a show title I didn’t know I stole from an older, defunct podcast). I got hold of a Blue Snowball microphone and started recording my thoughts and feelings on MP3. I wrote scripts to make sure I had a purpose and spent hours recording myself, editing the audio on Audacity, the friend of every beginning sound editor, and hoping I didn’t sound like a complete fool .
I had a small, engaged audience that didn’t really interact with me, but for all I could tell they downloaded the show every week. And every week I wore my heart on my sleeve and prepared for the inevitable hate mail. Twenty episodes later, a listener sent my first email and I loved it. It came from a man in Ireland who was enjoying the show but felt the one-man format was a bit stilted. I appreciated the constructive criticism and was open to his suggestion that the show be co-hosted. He suggested himself.
I’m a sucker for Ireland. I’ve been fascinated by the country since I was a kid. Having a cohost from Ireland sounded like the best I could do. It made me international, which I think would attract an international audience as well.
Dave the Drummer from Ireland soon joined my podcast and I’ve been doing shows since then. I’ve tried to be unique on every show I’ve created. I did one on nostalgia, one on un-pop culture, and some on fandoms. Podcasting gave me an outlet and opened doors for me that I never knew were doors I could walk through. I’ve made new friends, been on other podcasts and YouTube shows, and been in the press at several local and not-so-local comic conventions.
I used to stop people from recording podcasts. It is a very saturated medium that many people are trying to find a way to avoid the noise. But also music, television and any other version of entertainment. This shouldn’t be a reason not to let your voice be heard. So, if you’re at all interested in recording your voice and podcasting it, do this. Get a good microphone, a quiet room, work on your editing, talk about something you are passionate about, and you will find people who will want to listen to you.