Many of the big names in podcasting performed at the first Now Hear This Podcast Festival Oct. 28-30 in Anaheim, California.
While they were there, The Fullerton College Hornet had the opportunity to ask many of them the question “What is your advice to people trying to get into podcasting?”
Podcasters such as Guy Raz, David Montgomery, Lauren Lapkus, Mike Pesca, Arnie Niekamp, Nate DiMeo, Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider offer advice for those looking into podcasting.
Host of NPR’s “Ted Radio Hour” and “How I Built This,” Guy Raz believes the most important thing to do when creating a podcast is to find your audience.
“I think the most important thing is to find your tribe so you don’t worry about doing a show for everybody in the world,” Raz said, “do your show about the thing that you really love and build your tribe. Build the people who are into that thing and I believe that is the best way to think of and conceive a podcast.”
“The Moth” and “2 Gays, No Girls, At A Pizza Place” host and storyteller David Montgomery believes a podcaster needs to deliver.
“Find your audience right away and have something to bring to the table. Have something to bring to the table for sure,” Montgomery said with a laugh.
Comedian and actress Lauren Lapkus from the Netflix original “Orange Is The New Black” and podcast “With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus” had advice on making a unique podcast.
“One of the main things I would say is to make it your own and come with a strong idea, but don’t be afraid to let it shift as it goes along.” Lapkus explained.
This is something that Lapkus learned through experience working on her podcast.
“Initially when I started the show, I would come with my character planned and I would’t say anything to them. They would come in with their thing planned and I would just say who I was, and we would make it mix together.” Lapkus informed. “And after doing five episodes, I realized it was more fluid if they told me the character or they created the character and told me as they were starting the show because it would go along with whatever theme they had.”
Allowing the show to change wasn’t initially easy for Lapkus though.
“That was a tough adjustment for me because even something as simple as putting a summary online of what the show is – ‘Oh it feels like a lie because those five episodes I didn’t do this’,” Lapkus continued, “but you just have to be like ‘Okay, it can change’ and if you feel it can be better by doing something, don’t be afraid to change it.”
Finally Lapkus believes what it means to you can separate the podcast from others.
“I think there are so many podcasts in the world and doing something that is fun for you is really important. That’s what makes them stand out.” she said. “You can have like 20 storytelling podcasts and the way that they do their show and when you can tell the people are so involved and passionate about it. That’s what makes me love “The Moth” verses another podcast.”
Mike Pesca, American radio journalist and host of podcast “The Gist”, gave multiple bits of advice for podcasters.
“The good thing about podcasting is the low barred entre but the bad thing about podcasting is the low barred entre, so it would be good to do it but do it with a mind on improving and also maybe bury the tapes after a little while.” Pesca said. “I would definitely recommend good microphones because I think that the biggest problem with podcasting is that it’s driven by the desires of the podcasters as opposed to the desires of the audience.”
Pesca goes on to explain that sometimes the sound quality of some of the podcasts are bad and that podcasters aren’t listening to what the people are saying. “You really have to think of the audience and if the audio is even slightly off-putting, people aren’t going to want to listen.”
“The Gist” podcaster then went into the length of a podcast.
“Also the length of the podcast. Often podcasts are indulgent and go on as long as the podcasters want them to go on when the best thing is to think of the audience.” Pesca explained. “Even with someone who’s enthusiastic about podcasts only has so much time in the day to listen so I would keep it tight.”
Pesca finished by going into developing your knowledge to make you a better podcaster.
“Think of them as a job. It’s good to learn about journalism if you’re going to be asking questions. It’s great to learn about storytelling if that’s going to be your kind of podcast.” Pesca said.
Arnie Niekamp, host and producer of “Hello From The Magic Tavern” focused more on the production aspect and agrees with Pesca when it comes to the sound quality.
“If you can, get as good of sounding equipment as you can manage because I think it’s harder to get people to listen if it doesn’t sound as good.” Niekamp said. “Also look around your community and see if there’s any kind of a studio that you could get access to. Like if your on a college campus or something, you might have access to more stuff than you think you do.”
Niekamp also explained that you can always get help with the technical side of the field.
“Collaborate with people. It’s a lot of work. Every aspect of making a podcast is a lot of work. All the technical stuff, just maintaining and keeping it online because every once in a while something will go wrong,” Niekamp said. “So find people that are excited about doing something with you and that are excited about doing those aspects.”
Niekamp thinks this is not only a good idea to collaborate but it’s also a rewarding experience.
“It will make it easier, it will also make it more rewarding because it’s more fun to share the process with people,” he said, “and it will make it better because it’s fun to collaborate with people.”
Host and creator of “Memory Palace” Nate Dimeo believes you should jump into a podcast and go from there.
“There’s no reason to not just get into podcasting. To be a podcaster, all one has to do is make a podcast and fundamentally it’s not that difficult to make one,” DiMeo informed. “So go make a podcast, expect it to be bad for awhile, and keep doing it until it’s good.”
“Also don’t hesitate to put it out because you never know who is going to listen and you never know what the fact of them listening to it does to effect the podcast,” he continued, “So don’t stop. Don’t plan it too long and just start making podcasts.”
Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider from TV show “Hotwives of Las Vegas” and podcast “Bitch Sesh” gave the final bit of advice for future podcasters.
“Find something you really like to talk about and hopefully other people want to listen” Schneider said. “Find something you’re passionate about that you don’t mind talking about.”
“We didn’t think anybody would listen to this,” Wilson laughed. Wilson went on to joke about finding someone to figure out how to record for you.