D.C. Chapter discusses podcasts that are addictive

Steve Martin discusses podcasting at the October 2018 DC Chapter meeting

“If you’re not podcasting, you should be,” said Steven Martin during the October 2018 meeting of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Religion Communicators Council. The DeRose-Hinkhouse winner for podcasting in 2017 led a conversation on the art of creating content for this audio-only medium, which brings you to your audience.

Martin serves as the director of communications and development for the National Council of Churches, and he hosts the National Council of Churches Podcast. He has a breadth of experience with a variety of traditional and digital media, including video editing and filmmaking, podcasting, social media strategies, and more.

“There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for podcasting as a medium,” Martin said. He reviewed how podcasts can focus on providing niche content, providing new opportunities for communicators.

He outlined four basic types of podcasts:

  • Produced stories (such as Serial)

  • A solo voice (where the host writes an entire script and just reads it)

  • Multi-host (where the hosts can talk to each other, related to the sports talk format; such as Pod Save America, Pop Culture Happy Hour)

  • Interview-based (a host talks to a different guest in each episode)

The podcast Martin runs for the National Council of Churches is an interview-based one. He recommends that anyone getting started think about the format they want to use and listen to podcasts that do it well to get an idea of how others brand their podcast.

Keeping consistency in your podcast’s branding and release schedule is key, Martin said, as it’s easy to build a podcast, but it’s tricky to keep an audience. Branding and release consistency are crucial – listeners should be able to depend on each episode having a familiar feel and sound (such as using the same music in each episode in the same way), and they should know the release schedule. So, if you say you are going to do a weekly podcast, Martin said you must plan to release one each week in order to keep your audience.

Podcasting equipment

Martin also shared some tools of the trade at the meeting. When choosing a microphone, you will have to decide if you want to go with a “condenser” or “dynamic” microphone. While condenser microphones are cheaper and have a USB connection built in, they will pick up everything in your office, such as a noisy air conditioner. He recommends dynamic microphones, although you will have to make sure the host and a guest speak very close to the microphone to get a good sound. They will require a separate computer interface (you normally can’t plug them straight into a computer), but they are better for busy offices.

Doing remote interviews for podcasting is easier than ever with the advent and availability of Skype. Martin recommended a $10 plug-in called “Call Recorder” for Skype that intercepts the audio and makes a high-quality MP4 file of your remote guest.

Martin’s most pressing advice was to give podcasting a try. “If you don’t have the tech skills, you know someone who does,” he said, encouraging others to get out there and just do it.

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