When we think blogging, we tend to think writing, but these next two weeks will emphasize sound over sight. We’ll focus specifically on podcasting. Podcast listeners have shot up recently, so let’s see what all the fuss is about. Over the next several classes, you’ll listen to some podcasts and plan out one 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 a few 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 high-end equipment absolutely isn’t necessary.
Some Appalachian examples
- 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 (the NY Times has a great guide for getting into pods). 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).
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 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, Nov. 3.