Why Start A Podcast?
Podcasts are HUGE right now! Here’s a list of my faves. I’ve never dreamed of doing one myself, but I know a lot of writers who have thought of starting one. Which brings me to my good mate, Vanda Symon.
Local is Cool
OAR’s studio recently had a refit, so now it has acoustic sound baffles, professional microphones, and earphones. There’s a sound engineer in another booth so the sound quality is very good.
Vanda’s been running her radio show for ages – she’s even interviewed me a couple of times! (To me, as a newbie, all the technology felt quite intimidating – I was in awe at how Vanda handles the equipment).
Although Vanda began with a relatively small show, on a local radio station, podcasting has allowed her to branch into other radio activities. Part of this interview deals with where podcasting can take you.
If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, or keen to find out about a great podcast focussing on local content, this post is for you.
So enough of me – over to Vanda!
Lessons Learned from Podcasting
Tell me a little bit about yourself – what made you begin Write On?
I had absolutely no intention of producing or hosting a radio show! Someone else had pitched the idea of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors having a programme on the local Community Access Radio station, and we all thought it was a great idea, especially as she was prepared to do it… then, after securing a sponsor and all lights green for go… she had a position come up in another city. Arghhhh, someone had to be brave and step into the breach, and that someone was me. I was petrified.
What have you learned from the process?
Getting involved with Community Radio was one of the best things to happen to me. Hosting the radio show gave me the self-confidence to feel happy doing public speaking – very useful for an author. The skill of being able to interview people lead to opportunities chairing panels at festivals and interviewing some very cool international authors at public events, such as Kathy Reichs, Ian Rankin, and Greg Hurwitz. I had to learn the technical elements of producing your own show, which means that when I am live on air I am basically running the station…oh, the power! You learn how to think on your feet – what to do on live radio when your guest is a one-word answerer, or you guest likes to take the scenic route to tell a story. You learn to stay calm under pressure, especially when there are technical glitches and you are doing live radio. It is a wonderfully enriching experience, and best of all, it’s a lot of fun.
What other radio experience do you have?
As a result of the Write On Radio show, I was asked to do regular book reviews for National Radio, and even Dunedin Television! I often get asked to do the Morning Show on Otago Access Radio when their regular host is away. Doing the Write On Radio show has opened some interesting doors.
What would you say to anyone thinking of starting a podcast?
Do it! It may seem rather terrifying, but it is great for your confidence, broadens your horizons, you get to research some cool topics and meet fascinating people. Prepare your material well and embrace the opportunities. What’s not to love?
What’s been the most random experience to date?
The strangest thing is having people come up to you in the street or at the supermarket and say they were listening to you on radio – I still find that odd, gratifying, but odd.
Do you have any other “top tips”?
One of the best, best things about hosting the radio show has been the fantastic people I’ve been able to meet. From authors to booksellers to publishers to illustrators, to book lovers. These individuals are passionate about their writing or their industry and it has been a blessing to be able to talk to them about it. I always read the books of people I am interviewing, and it has been fascinating learning new things about topics I would never normally have read about. It has forced me out of my comfort zone and opened up new worlds of knowledge and opportunities. Hosting the radio show has been brilliant!
Want to find out more?
You can find out more about Vanda on her website: www.vandasymon.com
And you can listen to her podcast here