To podcast or not to podcast? Podcast!

Photograph of Sennheiser 825S microphone

You’d think that with more than a decade’s experience in radio I’d have started podcasting ages ago.

Three years ago I bought an iPod so I could listen to podcasts. It’s languished in a drawer ever since because, to tell the truth, I don’t like blocking out the world and living within a music bubble. Life does not need a soundtrack, but it does need more people paying attention to the reality around them.

I’d also resisted podcasting because as a (former) broadcast professional there was creeping perfectionism. I wanted any podcast o’mine to be really good, lest I be judged by my former peers. But no more.

This Internet thing looks like it’s actually going to catch on. The time has come to start using my production and presentation skills. So, a podcast… How and what, exactly?

Here’s my thinking so far. I’d like your comments.

  1. Content: general talk show, I reckon. While I could focus on some special-interest topic, the bulk of my work with ABC Radio was in general daily talk programs. I’m thinking I’ll cover the same material as my blog.
  2. Frequency and duration: weekly, with 15- or 30-minute program. In so many aspects of life, regularity is the key to success. Internet media needn’t follow a strict broadcast-style timetable, but you still need a reasonably predictable schedule so people incorporate your program into their lifestyle.
  3. Format: I’m not sure. Certainly audio-only is easier to get going initially, but I reckon that it’s worth doing a video podcast for three reasons:
    • If I use Ustream or or whatever to allow a “live audience” to chat back as I record the show, then it’s trivial to add moving pictures.
    • Video allows me to show images or even short movies of what I’m talking about.
    • Many people expect video, and if nothing else it helps promote my image as a brand. People remember faces — even non-glamorous ones like mine.
  4. Style: personal, somewhat sarcastic. Have a listen to The Bugle and you’ll get a feel for what I mean.
  5. Schedule: TBA. I need to find a regular slot in my week for program preparation (pre-production), recording and post-production. Those slots can probably move around a bit, since in the Internet age we all live 24/7. However it does strike me that the Snarky Platypus and I generate so many script ideas after our gym sessions that we could well build the schedule around that.
  6. Title: TBA. Does it need a title? Maybe “Stilgherrian Live” will do, eh?
  7. Starting date: soon, very soon. I don’t want to build my production environment on my battered old PowerBook G4 because it’s being replaced with a shiny new Macbook Pro in a week or two and I don’t want to re-do that work. Or is that being perfectionist again?

Anyway, they’re my thoughts so far. What do you reckon? Are there any topics or styles of material you’d like me to cover? Anyone you’d like me to interview?

Meanwhile, what use is a 60GB 3rd-generation iPod that can’t play video?

8 Replies to “To podcast or not to podcast? Podcast!”

  1. “Title: TBA. Does it need a title? Maybe “Stilgherrian Live” will do, eh?”

    Still Gherrian’ After All These Years.

    *nyuk nyuk*

  2. I think life needs a soundtrack — being accosted by homeless people in the CBD while listening to Toto’s Africa or being caught in a brief rain shower to Melissa Tkautz’s Sexy Is the Word makes these events even more special than they would be otherwise.

    Most of your thoughts seem good. I am unconvinced at the need for a video podcast though, unless you’re planning to include significant meaningful visual content.

    Title… Stilgherrian: Up Close and Moist?

    And I want to hear you interview Julie Bishop.

  3. @Snif: Ho bloody ho. 😛

    @Snarky Platypus: Your musical taste is, as always, impeccable. I have edited your comment to link directly to the songs in question.

    As for video, well, I’m thinking each episode should include an interview. Even if it’s just “talking heads” people do prefer to see who’s speaking. That and I want to explore the idea of micro TV channels, live to the web from a laptop, anywhere. But you’re right, I should KISS for the first few eps.

    I’m currently thinking that my theme for episode 1 is “China”. Zern Liew is about to return from visiting China’s three largest cities, Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjing. We could record the interview in the Chinese Garden at Darling Harbour, as they have special events to promote through May.

  4. Well the comments have been positive so far, so it’s “Go”.

    When I said “record the interview”, I meant streaming it live to teh interwebs as it’s being recorded too. The program — is “program” still the right word? — will be “recorded live”, as that’s the medium I want to explore. Plus the”live” thing always adds energy.

    I spent quite a bit of time last night playing with CamTwist, a live video switching application for OS X — i.e. what you’d use to present live TV. I learnt (1) it’s easy to use, at least for an experienced broadcaster, and (2) my battered PowerBook G4 isn’t quite up for the job.

    I also noted that interviewing Zern about China might not match the “sacrastic” tone I mentioned in Question 4 above. More thought needed. More comments needed!

    @Garth Roxburgh-Kidd: It’s altogether appropriate in this context that you found me the Max Headroom pilot. Just like Edison Carter, we now have the technology to broadcast live from anywhere we can get a broadband data link. Last night I guesstimated that a new Macbook Pro would let me do a 2-camera broadcast with decent-quality graphic overlays.

    Maybe it is Stilgherrian Live after all…

    I’ll do technical tests late this week. Episode 1 will be some time late the following week. Maybe Thursday 8 May, though I do note that Friday 9 May is my birthday. Is it all about me?

  5. Content I’m sure you can easily find obscurely interesting contents to talk about every week as you do here. Well, your tag cloud obviously shows the direction you are going.

    Frequency and Duration Go for 30 minutes and keep it tight. Don’t give the audience everything in one go.

    Format Your text should be transformed to sight & sound which more complex but more flexible and get more impact if you do it right or it can be a just waste of bandwidth and time.

    Style It’d be delightful to share your sarcasm more to the world and less with me. hehe

    Stil Alive is my title for you.

    Now I read your blog. Better late than never. 😛

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