For my second experiment, I chose to look into podcasts. Podcasts are like internet radio talks. They are audio recordings of a conversation between a host and guest speaker or monologue of a person’s thoughts. Podcast topics range greatly from news, to business, to fitness, and they contain episodes that fit the theme of the type of podcast. Usually the content of podcast episodes provide exposure to new ideas or information that will provoke thought from the listener. Some benefits to listening to podcasts are increasing time spent learning, improving listening skills, enhancing focus, and stimulating imagination. They’re also perfect for the on the go lifestyle. That’s because they can be streamed on phones, tablets, and computers or downloaded and listened to anywhere, anytime.
All of those qualities are what drew me to podcasts. They are so versatile and are basically a combination of education and entertainment. My project is about the impact of climate change in California, especially in regard to the wildfires that have recently destroyed hundreds of homes and drastically changed the landscape. Creating a podcast episode will allow me to provide news and information about a current, ongoing issue. Since I am from California, I will also be able to include first-hand knowledge on the impact of the wildfires on residents.
Recently, I listened to Trash! from NPR’s Planet Money podcast. This podcast episode discussed the economic issues that have risen for America’s recycled products. Other popular podcasts include Freakonomics, This American Life, and Stuff You Should Know.
For the most part, they all follow the same format.
Podcast episodes generally follow this order with these characteristics.
- Intro – who the podcast speaker, outline of discussion topics, about 30s
- Jingle – easily identifiable and unique to podcast
- Outro – summary with conclusion
- Closing remarks – thank you, referencing next episode, resources, tagline
Depending on the type of podcast, some people may or may not choose to write a script beforehand. If a script is written, it is important to first think of a theme, topics to discuss under the theme, and the length of the episode. Straight from the beginning, the host should engage listeners early on to hook them into the episode. This can take the form of an interesting story or current attention drawing issue. Since podcasts are listened to, providing context and visual aids enhances the listener’s experience. Write for the ear, not the eye. Other tips include having variable sentence lengths, simple terms and no jargon, and a linearity to the episode. It should be straightforward, to the point, and without any unnecessary details that don’t add to the central argument. Listeners often remember the first and last things most, so a specific call to action is typically made at the very end.
If you want to learn more about podcasts, check out these links.