Recording a Podcast… I didn’t see that coming. Blog post #2

Speaking is something we do every day, every hour of the day normally. Previous research by Louann Brizendine at the University of California found that women speak an average of 20,000 words daily compared to only 7,000 words for men. This means that on average, women talk nearly three times as much as men. Speaking, then should be an easy thing to do for a project, right? WRONG. Recording a podcast is much different than having a casual conversation in the living room of your house, it isn’t like talking with a group of people in a class room, and it definitely isn’t like what you imagined it would be like prior to recording your first podcast episode.

So… Yeah I recorded the first episode of my podcast series. I had my introduction all laid out, my guest made it to the recording studio on time, I knew how to use all the recording equipment, everything was right on track. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, talking, getting into the natural flow of a podcast, that is what. The first podcast is on the history of the co-operative movement at the University of Michigan. There was a lot of information we had to talk about, but no real structure that I had planned out. I thought it would be easier to just let the conversation flow, and the let my guest talk about what they found interesting from the research they had done. However, it is really important to plan out what specific talking points you will be using in your podcast and the order they will be in, prior to recording your podcast. Make sure you have some sort of starting question for your guest, something to get them thinking and talking in a natural way.

My first podcast recording experience definitely did not go as planned, but it will still make up an entire episode in my project. I will be able to edit it and make it more cohesive and naturally flowing with some time, and it was definitely a great learning experience that no amount of research could have replaced. Now that I have that first episode under my belt, I know that I have to research more podcasts tips and tricks, which I have already begun doing. Googling “How to record a good podcast” and “Tips for podcast conversations” has been helpful already.

I look forward to my next recording experience. I hope this post can be helpful to anyone working on a project, be ready to be caught off guard at some stage in your project, and try make the best of it!

5 thoughts to “Recording a Podcast… I didn’t see that coming. Blog post #2”

  1. Hey Ingrid,
    I definitely know what you’re talking about with the “flow of podcasting.” When I was a sophomore in high school, my friends and I had a podcast on a book series we all liked (yeah… let’s never discuss THAT again.) I thought since I listened to lots of similar podcasts that it would be easy for me to emulate how a podcast flows. I think it definitely is important to remember that this is not a normal conversation and to create some kind of structure to how you’ll be discussing the topic.

    I am also running into this problem with my video series. I just filmed the first one and getting my participant to connect her story with the larger topic was difficult. In fact, I am not sure that she totally did. Part of this will be my job to edit it to get the most coherent and cohesive story, the other part is that I need to be prepared for what I write to fill in the blanks and connect the two better.

    My suggestion for you would be to write an “Interview Protocol” or series of questions that you will ask to get you the information you want and keep you on track. When interviewing, the conversation should flow but also be willing to make adjustments. Since you are able to edit out silence, people thinking, or even your voice asking the question, don’t be afraid of silence! Let your participants think about how to answer.

    Good Luck with your second and third podcasts!

    -Adele Gendron

  2. I have never tried to record a podcast before, but I’m sure it is similar to simply listening to my own voice or playing back a video of myself. You really don’t realize how you sound or look to other people until you listen yourself. It is great that you recorded one of your podcasts early so that you can go back and take notes on the things you want to improve and implement those changes in your next podcasts. I also think it was smart that you did research on the issues that came up so that you have new techniques to try as well.

  3. Hey!

    Most of us are uncomfortable with the sound of our voices on recordings so kudos to you for overcoming that first mental challenge with this podcast. Furthermore, I listen t a lot of podcasts and I always thought that it would be challenging but I never attempted to take on the role myself. Hearing about your experience with the flow of the conversation and Allie’s comment in class about hearing all of your vocal flaws, I give you a commendation for your choice in media format to present your capstone. I now have greater respect for the podcast stars that I listen to every day. However, they are probably a year or two into their podcasts so the beginning jitters and conversational flaws are all worked out. I wish you the absolute best with your next two podcast interviews and I look forward to listening to them!

    <3 Julia

  4. Hi Ingrid,

    As a religious listener of podcasts, I have always imagined what it would be like if I were to be on one. Witty, sharp, eloquent, funny, you name it. This post (and rightfully so, no worries) definitely takes the greatness of my imagined scenario down a notch. I can imagine that with so much information to be packed in one of your podcast episodes, it can seem like making it natural is the best way to make it the most digestible for a listener. I don’t think you were necessarily wrong in that approach at all. But I believe there is a middle ground of preparedness that is both structured and free-flowing. With my own project, which has a foundation of originally being about nothing in particular, I have learned myself that there is a least a modicum of organization required to be both cohesive and captivating. I am sure the podcast turned out great anyway, but luckily it was your first and your next two can be that much better.

    ALSO: that point about the number of words spoken daily is shocking. I thought 7,000 was a lot :p


  5. Hey Ingrid,

    Definitely get where you’re coming from here. For the first half of this semester, I took a mini-course on Audio Essays (i.e. podcasts). It all seems easy enough on the surface: write a script, record some audio, do an interview, edit it together, nothing too complex. Except it’s so much harder than that. As soon as you start speaking into the mic, you realize your writing doesn’t match the tone an audio essay should. Interviews are far from effortless and require both parties to match tonally, or none of it plays. Editing anything into listenable content is meticulous work, a few minutes of recording could take hours to refine. That was my experience, at least, and even then, my interviews were only short segments in a larger project. An entire podcast that is meant to be like a conversation must be immensely more challenging.

    When you record, are you learning what the guest is telling you just then, or are you both on the same page in terms of exactly what content you aim to discuss? Knowing exactly where your guest’s insights will take the conversation will make managing the discussion much easier (and save you a lot of time when editing it all later), so if you’re not already, perhaps have a preliminary discussion on the subject with your guest prior to recording will make the flow of the conversation more natural. If you’re going in blind, though, I’m curious what techniques you hope to use in order to keep everything under control? I know I’d have a hard time with that, so I’m curious to hear about your own process.

    Hope it continues to go well!

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