How I Podcast: In conversation with Laura Krantz, host of Wild Thing
We’re talking with podcasters from all walks of life about their creative process, best practices, and why audio is one of the coolest ways to tell a story.
Some of the best podcasts are born from an obsession — in journalist Laura Krantz’s case, the subject of her show Wild Thing is the hairy North American legend, Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. As she searches for the scientific truth about Bigfoot, she uncovers that the pioneer of its research was actually her distant cousin Grover Krantz.
The serialized, independently produced podcast weaves in voices of the quirky characters she encounters in the Pacific Northwest, and paints a fascinating picture of who Bigfoot is, and what the narrative means to society. We chatted with Laura to learn more about her creative and technical process, and how she uses Anchor for her podcast.
What motivated you to start podcasting?
I have a background in radio, so I spent about ten years working for National Public Radio. Audio is really cool in the way you can take people places and help them imagine how a place looks or sounds. I felt that this story I wanted to tell of Wild Thing was best told in an audio format—I wanted to hear people’s big stories told by the people who were experiencing them.
What is your show’s format?
The show’s format is a limited series, which means that it has a beginning, middle, and an end. I would call it a highly produced story in the fact that there is a lot of sound, I go to a lot of different places, interview a lot of people, and then I weave that into a longer-form narrative over the course of the season. So it’s not an interview podcast, it’s not a news podcast—it’s very much a story in the tradition of old radio style, serialized stories.
Believe in Bigfoot? Think it's total BS? Host Laura Krantz spent a year in the woods and in the lab, trying to answer that question.
What’s your recording setup?
It’s pretty basic. For Wild Thing, I had a mini Marantz recorder and a shotgun mic, and that was the extent of it. And now I have a Zoom H4N Pro recorder because the mini Marantz died, but I still just use the one shotgun microphone. If it’s windy out, I use what they call a “dead cat” — one of those furry things that you put on the microphone to dampen the wind noise. And then I have a pistol grip so I don’t have mic-handling noise. That’s my basic recording setup; I take that out in the field — it goes everywhere with me—and then I also use it to track myself when I do the voiceover narration for the podcast.
How do you promote your podcast?
Prior to the podcast coming out, about a month in advance, I spent a tremendous amount of time reaching out to all kinds of different news organizations, all of my former colleagues, my former journalism colleagues, getting in touch with magazines and papers in the area where I had done some reporting. I sent them a pitch document that said: here’s what this story is about, here’s what I did in your area, here’s who I am, here’s a link to the trailer for the podcast (because then people could hear it if they didn’t want to read through all that text). I just kept trying to get as much media as I could over the course of the podcast’s run.
What’s your favorite Anchor feature to use?
The analytics are especially helpful. It’s really great to see where people are and where they’re listening. I can tell based on the graphs that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, tend to be really good days for downloads.
What’s your best piece of podcasting advice?
My advice would be: as much as you want to jump in when somebody is talking, especially if you’re doing an interview over the phone — don’t. Just take a breath, let people talk, and let them get their idea out.
How do you podcast? Let us know and tag Anchor on Twitter and Instagram. If you want to start a podcast but don’t know where to begin, try making something awesome with Anchor and share your story, idea, or observations with the world.