Narrative Podcasting | Learning Out Loud

different podcast types

Learning. Unlearning. Relearning.

I produced my first podcast nearly a decade ago. I went on to create over 150 more plus taught hundreds / thousands of others how to do it themselves via my social media courses / masterclasses.

Over the New Year break I spent some time unlearning what I know from this Alex Blumberg “Power Your Podcast with Storytelling” Creative Live course. Once you acclimatise to the nervous teaching style (sorry), there’s some fantastic gems for those who are new to this narrative style via Alex’s huge pedigree in this space (award-winning reporter and producer for This American Life and co-host of NPR’s Planet Money plus his new Startup podcast series).

As I’m highly kinaesthetic in my learning style I’ve been doing to learn.

Offered here with permission from Dennis Hodges (the interviewee) is my first attempt at narrative style podcasting:

 

Here’s what I learned:

  • have the story in mind before you start: sometimes other stories come out during an interview although having a story you want at least enables you to come out with something solid;
  • focus on one thing: you’ll hear from the outcome that I focussed on just the politicians eyes work. There was lots of other stuff we talked about which was equally as interesting, just this was something that was very different;
  • you have to be ruthless: we spoke for over 30mins and I got it down to just over 4mins which was hard work cutting out good stuff;
  • getting the interviewee to record their audio doesn’t always work: Dennis has a lot of audio hiss in the background which I tried for ages to clean up. Getting interviewees to record a sample in the future will help a lot (my audio could do with a rounder feel to it as well for which I’ll use my new mic in the future);
  • editing takes forever: seriously, ages!

I’m relearning the medium and upping my game for wysdem.com, and during my research I’ve noticed four types of podcasts:

  1. Soloing / Group—just one person or a group sharing ideas / insights / observations. Sometimes scripted, sometimes loose in its form. Sparse editing is employed and it’s the main model used by most video podcasters / vodcasters / vloggers as well;
  2. Interviews—simple one-to-one question and answer sessions. Medium investment in editing to ensure tidiness and the focus is very much on the interviewee and their offerings;
  3. Narrative—heavily edited and crafted. Emphasis is on the storytelling and clarity of theme / subject matter.

Each have their place although the latter is gaining more traction although it’s obviously the hardest to do well with it’s focus on crafting something the listener consumes as a cognitive or emotional journey.

So feel free to critique and offer ideas / guidance on the above.

It’s a first offering and an attempt to ‘learn out loud’ so approach with kindness which I’m sure you will. Thanks in advance.

Podcast music credit: Toivo161 via freesound.org
Thanks to @foomandoonian for suggesting the ‘group’ type.

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