Finding time for podcasting

The nature of creative activity can be its all pervasiveness. This podcasting medium is addictive. To misquote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: There is an infinite number of ideas and a finite amount of podcasting time.

Be prepared once you start for a growing number of possible shows you think would make great podcasts. Not just in your niche but in any number of them. Some may even seem like a better idea than the one you started with. This can be a little frustrating.

But I would urge you to stick with your first idea for at least a twelvemonth. Podcasting takes time to have an effect. So you really do need to be in the game for the long run.

So to actual timings. How long will this all take? How long is a piece of string?

The first thing to consider is show length. Say a half hour show for example. Well again that depends. Is the half hour going to be filled with a monologue? Say a history show. Then the actual process of recording and editing will take about hour, max. This will not be the case first off but will come in time. Reading a script into a mic can be done without the need to edit it much, once you get good at it. Therefore the major time consideration for a history show would be research and script writing. This can be done ahead of time. That way you have a few scripts or even episodes up your sleeve.

As a rough, very rough guide, we tend to speak at about 140 words per minute. So half an hour equals about 4000 words. For World Organic News, I tend to range between 1100 and 1800 words and this equates to 8 to 14 minutes or 137.5 words per minute and 128.6 words per minute respectively.

These numbers will change with your own cadence and delivery. I can knock off a script in about thirty five to forty minutes but I have always been a quick writer. If you’re not, then that’s more time outside the recording process. For the “Skibbereen Soundscape” episode of Sound Collages I spent about 15 hours collecting soundscapes, writing a script, recording and editing. The piece is only three minutes long. To be fair I was experimenting and worrying too much but it was also a huge amount of fun and very satisfying.

For an interview style program you will need to commit, at least, the same half hour, obviously but more likely twice that amount of time for recording. You need to connect with your guest on site or remotely, establish rapport and sound levels. These things take time. Then there’s the editing process. These shows can be highly edited or “live to drive”. The latter would only respect your listeners if the interview went remarkably well. Factor in the time to find guests, write show notes and so on and a half hour show would take at least two hours a week.

Back to the original question: Do you have time for podcasting? I think we can all find the time for podcasting if we are really enthused. The process is addictive, in a good way. Just hold yourself back from exploding out to 15 shows and forming a podcast network until you have a handle on the realities of the process. Stay humble and always bear in mind the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Takeaways

  • Everything takes longer when you first start
  • You will find ways to save time ~ batch production
  • You can work on a rule of thumb: 140 words per minute
  • Allow two hours work for a half hour show, minimum