Reflections on Podcasting for Company Grade Leaders

The Thumbnail for Team CCL’s Podcast

CCLKOW is a weekly conversation on military affairs jointly hosted by the Center for Company-Level Leaders (CCL) at the US Military Academy at West Point and the Kings of War (KOW), a blog of the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. The views expressed here are the author’s alone and do not reflect those of the US Army or the Department of Defense. Read the post and join the discussion on Twitter #CCLKOW

This week’s #CCLKOW is written by CPT Micah Klein, a Logistics Officer and the voice of team CCL.

It has been two months since team CCL launched the “Leaders Huddle” podcast. In this week’s #CCLKOW feature, I wanted to take the time to offer some advice from our readers who may be considering the use of podcasting as a tool in their own units and solicit any subjects that our #CCLKOW follows might like to see us cover in the upcoming episodes.

Our podcast has been on the shelves for 60 days now and I’d like to share some of the insights I’ve had so far about the venture. There are five members of the core team that help make things happen each week so that Tom and I from @cocmd can launch one episode every two weeks. David Weart (@dweart19), the founder of the Podcast and its leader, carefully creates a production schedule with topics and reaches out to the potential interviewees with his ideas. Dave Lora, our co-host, is the frequent second voice on the show and takes the lead on the production piece during weeks that David is unavailable. Westly LaFitte is our marketing manager and helps create a “voice” for the podcast to help us get the word out to the community for each week’s episode. Guillermo Guandique crafts the show notes and reviews each podcast for any post-edit errors before the podcast is ready to go live. I do the editing and our technologist, Tom, launches each episode on the stream. For individuals who are considering creating a podcast for their own military organizations, it’s important to have the right members on your team. Teams too large can suffer from role confusion, while teams that are too small could find themselves under water since there are a number of hours of work that goes into creating each episode.

Another thing we learned is that you don’t need to have a fancy studio or recording room to create a podcast episode with good audio quality. You do, however, need a decent quality microphone to help with voice clarity. Although we wouldn’t recommend recording in your unit’s orderly room, recording in a battalion conference room with signs on the door that alert outsiders to what you’re doing will work just as well. We record in the CCL office most episodes. Our after hours episode was recorded at Westley’s house in the basement.

Cost could be another concern if you’re debating about starting up your own unit-level podcast. Don’t let that be a concern. Apple offers free hosting on the iTunes platform as does Google Play. To get started, we needed a microphone, recording software (we use soundtrack pro), and the time to put some focus into the Podcast. As a Leader Development tool, some of these costs could be offset by your unit.

We currently have 8 episodes launched. The first is a pilot episode describing what the podcast is all about. From there, we’ve published episodes about what Company Commanders expect from their new lieutenants, advice about creating a well-developed LPD program, actionable steps for creating your officer evaluation report (OER) support form, advice for standing up a new company from scratch, fundamentals of an effective training management program, and how to make the most of your staff assignments. We have 12 episodes recorded and more ideas in the chute. We wanted to take advantage of this week’s #CCLKOW to hear from you on what topics you’d like to see featured on the podcast. There’s only one question this week. Much like previous weeks in which we’ve asked for what you want to see us write about, what would you like to have team CCL create a podcast about?