The Waveform is a newsletter from Red Cup Agency about the next edge in podcasting. In each issue, I’ll stay on top of things for you. When we launch a new show or post an episode that stands out, I’ll drop that into the newsletter.
I’m Lee Schneider, founder and lead producer at Red Cup Agency. Did someone forward this email to you? You can subscribe.
You may be considering being a guest on a podcast or doing a podcast for yourself or your company. Maybe you’re worried that you have the right recording facilities. Hey, you can stop worrying. While waiting for recording studios to get back into full swing, we’re recorded more than a few tracks with the voiceover talent speaking from a closet. We’ve used plenty of spare rooms, offices, basements, and downstairs dens. Not only that, but we’ve used every kind of weird sound dampener you can imagine, including one called a Kaotica Eyeball. (It wins the award for best name)
If you’re thinking about recording a podcast, as a guest or as a host, let’s start with a couple of tech tips:
Once you have a lock on those three things, everything else falls into place like magic. We send guests and hosts microphones, and we coach them through recordings. We’ve worked hard at Red Cup to perfect a system to remove the distracting sounds of the room and make recordings made in different places sound like they happened in the same place.
There are two actors in Mission of the Lunar Sparrow and only one of them is human. This audio drama is a proof of concept to show how to make a podcast that falls between a radio play and an audiobook. Andia Winslow plays the lead and does a wonderful job.
Last week, NPR launched a subscription service. It allows listeners to opt out of ads for NPR podcasts. The price of the “sponsor-free feed” matches Spotify’s $2.99 per month subscription and offers ad-free versions of its shows. Look for a shakeout of subscription services vs. “free” distribution of podcasts via RSS. Soon, producers will have to take sides, deciding whether to be free or offer subscriptions.
This from The Daily Beast: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow “is seriously considering leaving the network when her contract ends early next year.” Media wags say she is considering opportunities in streaming and podcasting, a nod to how powerful the podcast medium has become.
This quote from Katherine Wilkerson made me think somebody should make a podcast about it:
“The climate crisis is not gender-equal or gender-neutral,” said Wilkerson, author of All We Can Save and The Drawdown Review.
Men have a larger carbon footprint than women, by 16 percent, according to one study. And the top 1 percent of income earners globally, who are overwhelmingly male, are responsible for more carbon emissions than the bottom 50 percent of earners. According to the U.N., that’s roughly 70 million at the top, compared with 3.5 billion at the bottom. Yet it is women and girls who bear the burdens in the wake of more frequent climate disasters. Those burdens include displacement — 80 percent of people displaced by climate change are women — as well as increased homelessness, poverty, sexual violence and disease.
A podcast I produce, The Glo Podcast, is a series of conversations about yoga and life. Its vibe is sincere, biographical, and rooted in discussing how we might become better humans. In complete contrast, there’s the podcast we just wrapped on after two seasons, Same Same but Tech. It’s a clever jokester of a show, and between the laughs it went deep on how tech transforms culture.
They are dramatically different podcasts. It follows that the audio trailers we made for them were also dramatically different. For The Glo Podcast trailer, we needed the music to wrap around itself and tell its story in a spiral, much like the way the podcast tells its story. The trailer for Same Same but Tech is straight like an arrow with its snappy lines and oddball sound effects, just like the show.
Working with the creative teams for both groups, I wrote both trailers in the same week, switching back and forth from one to the other in the same hour. You’d think I’d get myself terribly confused during this process, but there was something that made it simple. The host of each of those podcasts has a strong identity.
You may have heard people say, “podcasting is all about the host.” This is true. The hosts of the best podcasts record their shows as though the two of you are the only people in the room. This is sometimes called podcasting’s intimacy. You can’t dial it down to just one word. That would be misleading. Success no doubt starts with the distinctive voice of the host. They are usually born with it, though it can be coached and made stronger. But week to week, episode by episode, the host depends on a supporting cast of writers, editors, mixers, and composers. We producers build a house for the host to inhabit. It’s a house made of audio design.
Working with teams large and small, I take podcasts from the glimmer of an idea into production and distribution. We make trailers, ad spots and promos for your podcast, and we find new audiences for you work with cross promotion.
You can read freely at The Waveform. I’m not tracking opens, clicks, or forwards. I’m not analyzing your IP address location. It’s just you and me, writing and reading. This is a small part of the vast Web focused on people and dialog, not marketing data collection.