Podcasters take aim, hit targets

Loose format: Richard Haridy (left) and Luke Buckmaster record in Buckmaster’s lounge room. Photo: Jason SouthPodcasting is a great format for talking about your passions, whether they are politics, music, sport or whatever sparks you up. Creating a podcast is like creating your own global radio show.

Podcasts have been around for a while but have not taken off in the way of blogs, Facebook or Twitter. This is a shame, because there are so many free, original and interesting podcasts around.

The word ”podcast” is a combination of iPod and broadcast. In 2005, The New Oxford American Dictionary selected ”podcast” as its word of the year. Since then, high-speed broadband and simpler ways of producing podcasts means it is easier than ever to get your voice online without much technical knowledge.

Put a podcast on your blog, website, iTunes, or pitch to other websites that host podcasts, such as radio station 3RRR, or topic-specific websites such as squirrelcomedy杭州夜网m for Australian comics.

Film reviewers Luke Buckmaster and Richard Haridy record The Parallax Podcast in Buckmaster’s lounge room. They have been podcasting for about a year, and their fortnightly half-hour podcasts are available on Crikey and iTunes.

”We love podcasting because it’s fun,” Buckmaster says.

They estimate they have about 500 listeners, based on Crikey page hit statistics, but this can spike up to 1000 when, for example, they have guests such as John Safran. ”That episode still gets traffic,” Buckmaster says.

They encourage listeners to tweet feedback and, sometimes, as part of a competition. ”It’s important to foster a relationship with your audience,” Buckmaster says. ”We keep the format loose, informal and light. We joke around. We have a drink while we’re doing it. We don’t write intros; it’s off-the-cuff. People can hear the difference between reading a script and talking naturally.”

The pair have learnt how to operate as a team, knowing when to speak and when to let the other person speak. ”It’s important to be in the same room. The most important thing is the chemistry between hosts.”

Haridy adds: ”Making podcasts gives us the freedom to talk about whatever we want to. We are not beholden to any formula in a radio environment – recently, Luke spoke to a taxi driver about films. We’ve learnt to make the show tighter, as well as more casual … We are creating the type of show we want. We ended up discovering our own formula.”

Haridy’s favourite podcasts include Hell Is for Hyphenates, a local film podcast; Doug Loves Movies; and This American Life.

They record using a Zoom H2N portable recorder. ”We put it on a table between us. This allows us to be more casual and not be worried about holding mics a certain distance away,” Haridy says. ”We record in chunks. We record the intro and outro separately. We review a film and then stop. I then take all the little bits and make it into a show. I edit it with Pro Tools, adding in soundtracks from movies.”

Over at 3RRR, human rights lawyer Ben Schokman has been producing a fortnightly podcast, Right Now Radio, for more than four years. His guests range from barrister and human rights activist Julian Burnside to people who work in the community.

”Podcasts are a way of getting the human rights message to reach new and different audiences than we normally would as human rights lawyers,” Schokman says. ”Podcasting is also a good experience for us to be better communicators – to deliver messages other than writing detailed legal documents.”

The two co-hosts record in the 3RRR studio, and individual reporters use a mix of hand-held recorders away from the studio. The podcast is edited using Audacity (audacity.sourceforge杭州夜网).

Endlessly talking sport in the pub with mates in 2005 led soccer fanatic Chris Knowles to make the podcast A Game of Two Halves.

”We record our conversations on Skype, as all of us are never in the same room,” Knowles says.

He also runs Melbourne Podcast Meetup, supporting podcasters since 2011.

”We used to meet in a pub and talk, but now we make it more practical and get people in to speak to us,” he says.

Past speakers include a radio documentary producer, a sound engineer, and a solo sailor who spoke about how he managed to publish a podcast while sailing across the ocean.

”People also come to the meet-ups for help on the technical side,” Knowles says. ”Understanding the equipment is one of the myths of podcasting. It’s actually easy to do. The content is the key, not the equipment. If the content is dull, it doesn’t matter how good the quality of your podcast is.”

Knowles is disappointed that there is no YouTube-type equivalent for podcasts. ”There is no slick, free tool for podcast distribution.”

Podcast tips

1. Before recording, listen to a few podcasts to get an idea of the good, the bad and the ugly. Look at some podcast reviews and rankings, for example: 52podcasts杭州夜网m; podfeed杭州夜网/feedburner_rankings.asp; podcastpickle杭州夜网m.

2. Have something interesting to say. Prepare an outline and some dot points, and then pretend that you are talking to your friends.

3. Prepare interview questions. Remember not to hog the limelight when interviewing.

4. Edit out the ums and ahs, as well as the boring bits. Add some music and sound.

5. Have a web page, Facebook or Twitter account so your listeners can interact between podcasts, and you can post updates.


■ meetup杭州夜网m/Melbourne-Podcast-Meetup-Group

■ libsyn杭州夜网m

■ podcastingnews杭州夜网m/topics/Podcasting_Software.html

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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