What is podcasting?

What is the big deal about podcasting?

Isn’t it really the same as radio?

Aren’t there better ways to tell stories?

Look, podcasting is very close to radio. It’s like radio’s first cousin, but it’s more personal. Radio is famous for being very intimate and being very accessible but podcasting is all ‘that’, raised a notch.

For a start, it’s very one-on-one. The person who makes the podcast is talking to the listener but in their headphones, so literally talking into their ears.

Also, it’s an opt-in medium, because a podcast is basically just an audio show that’s placed online. It’s usually part of a series, but it means that as a listener, you can choose when to listen. And so you pick this podcast to listen to.

So it’s a very close opt-in relationship with the person making the podcast. And when you find a new podcast that you like, it feels like finding a new friend. It’s just so warm, and it’s so informal. And it’s a simple way of connecting that can actually provide a lot of insight and information, or it can be really lighthearted and just purely for fun.

It’s so wide ranging. Because it’s so personal with the audio, don’t you think people have a better opportunity to connect with the stories and with the characters?

Don’t you think there’s more opportunities to develop a relationship with these stories and the listener than in other forms of media, say like print or TV or radio? Absolutely, 100%.

So, I mean, I love all kinds of media. I’ve written books, and I’ve made television documentaries, so I can compare them. And there are good things, obviously, about all of them. But with podcasts and with audio, there are various things that are unique that you should keep in mind.

Number one, when you interview somebody for audio, you don’t have to worry about their appearance. So they are much more relaxed. Audio doesn’t care whether you’re bold or beautiful, black or white, old or young. It doesn’t matter. So people tend to give you more revelatory interviews, which in itself puts you ahead of people in television.

And even YOU can be more relaxed, especially if it’s a one-(wo)man show. The other thing is it triggers the imagination; what they say about radio also holds for podcasts: it’s the theatre of the mind. Because you can’t actually see the person talking, you, the listener, supply the details in your imagination just like you do when you’re reading a really good novel.

And so you will actually conjure up this idea of the person speaking, and that invests you in the storytelling. It makes you a co-creator. It’s not the case of being a passive recipient like with television.

You’re actually working to sort of imagine the story, and so it stays with you and has more impact. And the other thing is that you can hear the depth of the speaker’s voice. You can hear so much in a voice.

You can hear emotion, mood, accents. You can hear how they’re feeling, and that develops empathy and connection.

Podcasts as an opt-in medium simply allows content to be broadcast and distributed via audio files over the internet. Podcasts can be downloaded or listened to online with a device such as a computer, smartphone or tablet. Podcasts usually are subscribed to by the listener, so that updates to the information in the forms of ‘episodes’ can be identified.

Other benefits of podcasting: -Flexible in nature: you can listen to it as you like when you like and you can listen to what you like. -Podcasting can be cheap and easy to make. — it’s a companion as you do other things: drive, walk, do household chores, work out.

Quality examples: I advise you to check out to what a quality podcast sounds like. We have included some examples from a few different genres. So you can choose what suits you best:

Crime- Phoebe’s Fall — A major investigation by The Age newsroom in Melbourne, Australia, into the death of Phoebe Handsjuk, who was found at the bottom of a garbage chute in a luxury apartment building.

Serial — Serial tells one story — a true story — over the course of a season. Serial has won every major award for broadcasting, including the duPont-Columbia, Scripps Howard, Edward R. Murrow, and the first-ever Peabody awarded to a podcast.

Society and Culture- Heavyweight — Jonathan Goldstein goes back to the moment everything changed. Millennial — A podcast about what no one really teaches you — how to manoeuvre your 20s post-graduation. Hosted by Megan Tan.

Science- Science Friction — Sex, death, war, parenting, politics, climate change, obesity — science is at the heart of the hot-button issues of our time. Do embryos have human rights? Will we colonise space? Is it OK to do genetic engineering in your garage? Can science stop suicide? This is the stuff of Science Friction.

News & Politics- New York Times — The Daily This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.

Embedded is an audio clip on what podcasting is and the technicalities involved (to aid audio learners)

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