When we think blogging, we think writing. Recent weeks have emphasized images and other tools, but things still seem to come back to the written word. Briggs, in this week’s chapter on audio, proposes some ways to emphasize sound over sight. We’ll focus on one: Podcasting. Over the next several classes, you’ll be hearing from podcasters and planning out a podcast with your group to record in our own studio here in the Media Innovation Center. Read on, and think about what you might have to say.
What’s a podcast?
You could think of a podcast as an audio blog post. Instead of reading, you can download and listen, which is helpful if you like to do your “reading” while exercising, cooking, or doing something else. The process can be simple or complex, but it boils down to four basic steps:
This guide from DigitalTrends gets into more detail, but at minimum you need a theme (and usually some guests), a topic, a mic, and a (free) copy of Audacity; anything more can give a cleaner, more polished product but isn’t absolutely necessary.
With special guest, Trey Kay!
We’ll be joined this week by Trey Kay of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, host and producer of the “Us & Them” podcast. In preparation, I want you to check out some of his pods from Us & Them and Red State/Blue State.
- Hillers & Creekers (Us & Them)
- Rural Voters – You Can’t Ignore Us (Us & Them)
- Deanna, Tymel & Amarie (Us & Them)
- Appalachia, Meet California (Red State/Blue State)
- Why Is Joe Manchin a Democrat? (Red State/Blue State)
The best part is, you don’t have to sit at your computer for this assignment. Cue them up on your phone and go for a jog (or brisk walk)!
Audiences listen to podcasts via apps such as Stitcher (free), iTunes, or just listening to them streaming online. If you’d like some examples beyond the WVPB ones above, consider these examples of the form:
- Some of the most popular are attached to well-established brands such as NPR (This American Life, RadioLab, and Newsy are among Stitcher’s top-ranked).
- Comedians have been particularly strong adopters of the podcast format, likely because of their emphasis on the well-spoken word.
- 2014’s Serial, a 12-episode story about a 1999 disappearance, became surprisingly popular across multiple audiences, even high school students (there have been two seasons).
- Finally, there’s The Worst Idea of All Time, in which two New Zealanders watched Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups 2. Every week. For a year. In year two, they watched Sex and the City 2, and they’re currently working through non-sequel We Are Your Friends.
Your response this week should be enjoyable: Listen to some podcasts, especially if you never have. Pick some from the links above, or find some of your own. How do these (and Briggs’ other audio subject) inform your work? Have you now decided blogging is dead, and you’re going to become a podcaster instead?
In addition, what’s a subject (ideally one relevant to your group blog) you could see running an approximately 10-minute podcast on? Would you have guests, or would it just be you and your groupmates? What are some questions/topics you can set up in advance to avoid the dreaded Dead Air? Post your responses by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, October 21.