Podcasting – Part 4: Does anyone know the way to… podcaster

IMG_20151018_123526Perhaps this is the point in the series that I should point out my bias.

I’d consider myself to be a few things (yeah, yeah, keep it to yourself) such as a husband, a writer, a trainee journalist and – one of the things I’m most proud of – a podcaster.

Not a lot of people really know what that means. A ‘podcaster’ in its most basic form can probably be interpreted as: “someone who records audio conversations and releases them as an MP3 file.”

If you ask Google to define the word ‘podcaster’, it returns a description of what the word ‘podcast’ means:

podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio or digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.

Therefore, I think it’s safe to assume then that a ‘podcaster’ is somebody who creates digital audio media that can be downloaded or streamed. You don’t have to be a professional – you don’t even have to be any good at it, I guess! But you do have to actually do it.

If you delve a bit deeper into it, it might then surprise people to know that producing a podcast – good or bad – takes up a lot of time.

In my case, producing the weekly Failed Critics film podcast, that’s time spent scheduling guests, drafting written agendas, researching film news, (unsurprisingly) actually watching the films we’ll be discussing, preparing notes and reviews for discussion, distributing preview screeners amongst the group when necessary, editing the recorded audio, publishing and promoting it. All of which is done for free and it’s not uncommon for it to take around 10 hours per week.

I was lucky enough to inherit a website and podcast in 2013 that already had most of the heavy lifting done for me. For others, it shouldn’t be taken for granted just how difficult it is to get a new series off the ground and grow it to a high enough standard and listenership that the creator deems enough to continue devoting so much time to.

However, it is a moniker that provides me with an enormous amount of satisfaction. Owen Hughes, podcaster. To me, it’s a term that expresses a wide variety of skills and knowledge.

What does it mean to others…? Well, it’s hard to know for certain. Ten years ago, it probably meant something completely different. It was a word that came with a certain assumption that you knew what you were doing.

However, if you’ve ever subscribed to a random selection of podcasts recommended to you in iTunes, you’ll realise that isn’t necessarily the case any more. It’s full of podcasters just giving it a go. Trying it out for themselves. And that’s a good thing.

With 17% of Americans over 12 years old listening to podcasts (that’s over 46 million people without even considering the wider international audience) and with that figure growing exponentially year on year, at least these days you can assume that the majority of people you meet will know broadly what a podcaster is. Even if they don’t know exactly what that entails…

In my final part of this series, which will be published tomorrow, I’ll try to give an insight into more background detail on what goes into creating an episode of our podcast.

Below are three relatively new podcasts that – if things all work out as planned – will hopefully go on to be very successful. So far, so good!

The Adam Buxton Podcast – Remember how in part one I said that Adam & Joe were basically the reason I started listening to podcasts in the first place? Well, thankfully Adam Buxton is back with a brand new solo series. Up to episode five, featuring conversations with guests like Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux, it’s utterly absorbing and highly recommended.

Pick A Flick – A simple premise: the audience ‘pick’ the ‘flick’ that the contributors to that episode talk about. It’s still very early days at just three episodes in, but knowing the shows creators like I do, I’m confident it will be a fun hour or so spent in their company every week.

My Dad Wrote A Porno – Each week, Jamie Morton reads out a chapter from a porno that his dad wrote called ‘Belinda Blinked’. Yep. Just take a listen to the trailer to see why the first four episodes have quickly become essential listening for podcast fans.

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