If at this point you do not have a podcast of your own, one of two things hasn’t happened yet: your station has not asked you to do one or you have not asked your station if you can do one. The third scenario involves the talent who doesn’t feel compelled to add the extra workload and the station who simultaneously doesn’t see the value in forcing more content especially if their library is still nascent.
For the podcasting curious talent and news directors, there are a few modern traits of shows that have outcomes beneficial to everyone involved. Here are some suggestions of how to launch or redevelop a podcast associated or at bare minimum tangentially associated with a station.
1. Every podcast now should be doubled in both the video and audio medium. All interviews can be recorded using zoom or various other platforms. Streamyard offers an inexpensive opportunity to stream your shows live then you can download the video and audio recordings. Your audience knows your face and therefore you have to continue to be a visual presence. The video show can end up on Youtube or Facebook. Clips should be created from your show for shareability and secondarily, the possibility of content for your linear employer. In the symbiotic world, your show (while extending your personal brand) will not only be embraced but pushed through your station’s platform. Going rogue with a podcast without a vibrant social following that is accustomed to you posting a lot of content is a recipe for a long slow grind to build an audience. Work with your station either directly or indirectly.
2. Stay in a lane. I get it that you are a general assignment reporter but your dream includes hosting a lifestyle show or travelling like Anthony Bourdain. Welcome to the club and at the same time, don’t stop visualizing. But to get to those places, you have to grow an audience and you can only initially grow an audience by giving them what they expect from you. I’m the play-by-play voice of the Washington Football Team, On my sports shows, I don’t stray too far away from that topic because I know that’s what my fans are tuning in for. The rule here is be an expert which will then give you the opportunity to be a generalist. If your audience is accustomed to you doing local politics, start with a podcast about local politics. There is nothing more confusing than looking at a social profile, seeing them as a journalist by day and something entirely different by night. Trust the process by building loyal fans who are interested in what you have to say which leads to a time where you share your interests too.
3. Use proper equipment. The pandemic showed everyone how to be their own engineer. Get a solid background (I’d assume you have one now that we are over a year into the pandemic). Buy a good microphone (I use Shure and Audio Technica but there are other great options) Spend a little extra on a good USB Interface (Scarlett Solo is the one I use). Teach yourself how to use the bells and whistles of a streaming service (like Streamyard) where you can play sound or video and produce your show up. The product should look and sound professional.
4. Be prepared to share 1-2 clips of your show daily and remember to tag everyone who is in it and your station. Circulation of this is far more important than your average selfie. These must remain on brand as well. Again, if you are a confusing person to follow because your content doesn’t match your interests, this is a losing endeavor. If you and your station are coordinating shows together, make sure a proper professional overlay (descriptive graphic) is created to seamlessly build your clips for social and give the video version of your show a professional look and feel. Create artwork compliant for Itunes (google it) that reflects what the show is about and isn’t too busy.
5. For news directors: Allot proper time for this to be done correctly. If this is treated as something that just has to happen as part of the modern work week for your talent and editors, it will be treated that way.. Give a solid half day to the creation and execution of the podcasts. Should you not be getting worthwhile content for linear inclusion as well as a polished product, then it is time to intervene. But if there is a blanket, “just slap something together because everyone is doing it,” mentality, this will become a waste of resources.
This is just a start.
For stations or talent looking to jumpstart their podcasting operations with a review of current content and ideation for future storytelling, contact Bram Weinstein at Bram@ampiremedia.com.
Bram Weinstein is the co-owner of Reel Media Group with Stephanie Siegel. They have been consulting talent and leadership at stations across the United States for 7 years. Bram also runs Ampire Media, a podcast/streaming network based out of Washington DC that produces a dozen weekly programs and creates various white label podcasting.