Did you listen to the radio growing up? Do you still listen, or has your listening palate changed? Growing up in the ‘burbs’ of Chicago I was blessed to get to listen to the top disc jockeys on the air. THE station I listened to was the ‘BIG 89’ A.K.A WLS. Hearing ‘Animal Stories’ with Larry Lujack and Tommy Edwards was just pure magic. My listening palate has changed over the years by listening to podcasts. People such as Tim Ferris, Marc Maron and Malcolm Gladwell are today’s new disc jockeys.
These days, I’ve taken my passion of doing my own radio shows and transformed it into being a podcaster. Having self-awareness trained me early to understand that I didn’t have the big personality to be a morning show host (learned that the hard way). Instead, my path was as a morning show producer… oh, and stunt boy (more on that in another blog post). Learning early-on that being a producer was my gift and a vital skill that has helped me with building a podcast.
What does a radio producer do? Yes I made coffee; I should say that’s where I learned how to make coffee. As the morning show producer, my responsibilities included: booking guests, editing shows for a best of, helping with skit-writing, and compiling the questions the host would ask the guest. I even did voice overs for commercials. These are some of the same tasks you’ll be taking into consideration as you begin putting together your podcast.
Other things to consider… are YOU the host or will you have a co-host? What is your niche? (To put it into radio terms, what’s your format?) Meaning, who is your target audience? How long will each episode be? What production elements will you use or need? I have a voice over friend who was one of the morning hosts I used to work with. He does my intro and outro segments.
At this point, have you noticed there’s been ZERO mention of podcasting technical necessities in this article? You might be like me — when I first got into speaking, I wanted to jump on stage and just speak! But, like most speakers, I had to learn the basics before moving on to the fun stuff.
I get it — you want to just buy the best microphone, upload to iTunes and have a sponsor all by 11 AM, right? But, those things can’t happen until you deal with the basics.
Think about why you listen to what you listen to. As you begin to create your podcast, put yourself into the listener’s mind. What (knowledge, tools, skills, ideas) are they going to get by listening to your show? What topic(s)? Will your show be about building a million dollar business? Parenting tips for single moms of teenagers? Using social media to brand your new start-up?
Write your ideas down and look on iTunes to see who’s doing similar shows. Then, ask yourself how your show is going to be different?
I think we have a good start! So, let’s recap what you need to think about as you get started…
- Who is your audience?
- What will the topic(s) be for your podcast?
- How long will the show be?
- Are you the host? Do you have a co-host?
- What will the audience get out of your shows?
- How is your show going to be different from others on the same topic?
Figuring out the show you want to put together is a fun exercise. Don’t expect it to be perfect at first — it won’t be, and that’s OK. Launching it and getting good solid feedback will help your podcast grow. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be THE podcast DJ to a future listener who wants to be the next you!
Tommy is the executive producer and host of the podcast, “Blending the Family,” found on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. He has spoken at TEDx, Ignite Fort Collins, the Everything Dad Convention, among others. Tommy is the author of “25 Tips for Divorced Dads,” “Why Not You, Why Not Me,” and the soon-to-be-published, “My Dad’s Advice at 5:04 am.” He’s a dad to Betsy, Becca, Connor, and Duke and husband to Ann. You can connect with Tommy via his website at www.BlendingTheFamily.com and access his podcast on Stitcher.