Seth Resler is our resident podcast expert. For years, he's written and produced podcasts, he coaches others on podcasting best practices, and he also conducts research in the space. When he joined our company just over two years ago, Seth made it a condition of his employment that he attend the Podcast Movement conference in Ft. Worth.
At last year's conference in Chicago, Seth created a novel session – the “Podcast Makeover.” It turned out to be both entertaining and substantive, and we're bringing it back this year as part of our “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” track. It's one part aircheck session and another part “Shark Tank.”
In today's guest blog post, Seth talks about that session, and offers a chance for podcasters to take part in this year's panel. – FJ
Last year, I hosted a “Podcast Makeover” panel at the Podcast Movement conference. We invited professionals from the worlds of broadcasting and podcasting to aircheck up-and-coming podcasters. And we did it live onstage. The goal was to see what happens when people actually listen to a podcast, and offer guidance gleaned from years of experience. It worked.
In 2016, our panel included radio shock jock-turned-internet broadcaster Tom Leykis, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Executive Producer Doug Berman, talent coach and author Valerie Geller, and Spreaker's Head of Content Rob Greenlee.
Together, they critiqued two podcasts: Simple Roots Radio, hosted by fledgling podcaster Alexa Schrim, a one-on-one interview podcast focused on healthy lifestyle choices; and Reinvention Radio, a roundtable discussion featuring Steve Olsher, Mary Goulet, and Richard Otey, as they challenge conventional wisdom on a broad range of topics.
It takes enormous courage to get on stage and allow a group of experts to critique your work in front of an audience. I salute all of the participants for their bravery. During the panel, we listened to the opening few minutes of each podcast, then asked the panelists to offer feedback. I wrote a blogpost about what we learned from the panel — in particular, how important that first 60 seconds of a podcast episode are in setting the tone and retaining the audience.
I followed up with our two podcasters several months after last year’s conference to see if they had made any changes to their shows as a result of our panel. I asked Alexa how the “makeover” went for her. She told me, “It was a fantastic experience. So many people want to tell you the positives, skirting around constructive criticism. It was great to hear experts breaking down the podcast and offering suggestions and feedback. Not too many people get a benefit like that.”
For Steve, I wondered whether there was one piece of advice from the panel that resonated with him. He said, “Being referred to as a ‘puker’” —Tom Leykis pointed out Steve’s forceful vocal delivery — “helped me to give serious consideration to my communication style.”
So, has Alexa made any changes in the way she produces her podcast as a result of the “Makeover?” “I cut out some of the beginning information that was rhetorical. I also take note to remove any redundant information or information that does not pertain to the main point. It's clear, entertaining, and exciting in the least amount of time possible.”
And here's Steve's progress report post “Makeover:” “We added several new segments to try and gain a better understanding of our listenership and their wants. Our download numbers have increased by about 30%.”
Alexa added, “My downloads continually go up from month to month. I have learned more about my communication skills, topics of interest, and what my audience wants to hear. There has been refining, experimenting, and branching out, but I am finally getting in a groove.”
Podcast Movement 2017: A Track for Radio
The Jacobs Media crew is returning to Podcast Movement in August – in force. This year, we are producing an entire day of sessions just for radio broadcasters – “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters.' Our goal is to enable on-air talent, program directors, and radio executives to learn how they can succeed in the world of podcasting.”
As part of this year’s track, I will once again host the “Podcast Makeover” panel. This year, our panelists will include Tom Leykis, Grammar Girl host Mignon Fogarty, and Entercom VP of Digital Strategy Tim Murphy.
And now we need a couple of radio people who would love some feedback on their podcasts. If you would like an exclusive opportunity to have your podcast critiqued by some of the best in the business, we encourage you to submit your podcast.
Podcasters and broadcasters alike are invited to our 2017 Podcast Makeover session, as well as our full day of sessions designed for radio people – “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters.” We're assembling a great lineup, including KQRS' Tom Barnard, Sheri Lynch from “The Bob & Sheri Show,” Cox Media Group's Tim Clarke, AmplifiMedia's Steve Goldstein, WNYC's Dean Cappello, iHeartMedia's Chris Peterson, and many more luminaries from the worlds of radio and podcasting.
We look forward to seeing you there!
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