Podcast Momentum

September 18, 2018

I now have 2 podcast interviews under my belt.  Content is posted, podcasts are being downloaded, YouTube videos are getting views.  Things are happening.  I am very pleased where I am with this project considering just 2 months ago this was only an idea in my head.

I am learning plenty as I go.  My first two guests, and likely many of my near future guests, are local political candidates for either Poway City Council or Poway School Board.  This is a great starting point for me to get the project rolling.  I am simply giving candidates a platform to tell their story, share their background, talk about the problems they want to solve and the big ideas they want to put forward.  As a host of this project, I am focused on starting the discussion, making my guests feel at ease and generally enjoying the conversation.  I am not their political opponent, so I am not strongly challenging them or debating them on the issues.  For the most part, I am using my 2 ears and 1 mouth proportionately.  As this project unfolds and I get a certain rhythm going, I plan to be more outspoken about my personal views on the issues.  That will come later on, perhaps after this election season.  For now I want to make it comfortable for candidates to join me in a non-threatening, relaxed podcast conversation just like 2 friends enjoying a cup of coffee or a beer.  I also want to personally get more comfortable as a host and as a producer.

While the project now is focused on political candidates, that is not the only area I wish to explore.  The local politics angle is timely since we have an election coming up in less than 2 months.  I hope to have a healthy amount of discussion in many other areas including sports, business, history and more.

A funny thing happened to me a few days ago.  I had to call GoDaddy about a technical support issue with this website and the tech guy was drawn to my project.  He immediately knew it was a podcast from seeing the photo on my front page with the table, chairs and microphones.  He developed his own podcast in a specific niche in the business world and developed a strong following of over 1000 subscribers (he later ended the podcast and focused on writing a book).  But he said he regretted that his podcast show title and his content were too narrowly defined.  He felt he didn’t have the freedom to explore other issues without damaging or confusing his subscriber base.  So when he saw my podcast titled with my own name and the word project, he was intrigued.  He said if he had to start up his podcast again he would do it just this way… simply exploring a variety of issues and letting followers see the world through his lens as a host.  Wow.  Here I am just getting this thing started and going off my own instincts, wondering, dreaming and doubting along the way, and this guy with experience likes where I am going.  Maybe I am stumbling into something good here.

It is wonderful to see some people already sharing the content online in social media.  I am hopeful that people will be drawn to the podcast organically through social interaction both online and offline.  In the meantime I will do some modest promotion on my own just to get the word out.

Technically I am improving as well.  The settings for the Mevo camera were not ideal in the Pete Neild podcast, but after making a few adjustments the video worked great for the Tony Russo episode.  It is amazing what that Mevo camera can do.  It’s like having multiple cameras and a crew of people operating the cameras and switch board.  But the whole thing is contained in a little cylinder smaller than a beer can mounted on a microphone stand.  I still may need to make some studio layout or camera placement decisions so we are not so close to the edge of the viewing screen.  I think the purple drape is working well to keep the background simple and the focus on the guest.  Maybe down the road I can get more creative in the setup of the podcast studio.  Dave Rubin setup faux walls, displayed interesting art, brought in comfortable furniture.  I may get to that, but for now the simple layout seems to be working.

I am also getting much more proficient with Adobe Audition and Adobe Premiere.  I build the audio piece first in Audition, trim the bookend junk off the recording, tack on the music pieces, optimize sound (normalize, limiter, compression) and then output to mp3.  I then import the mp3 into Adobe Premiere, synchronize the good audio track (mp3) with the scratch audio track (from the Mevo camera), mute the scratch audio, tack on the bookend graphics of the show logo and then output to mp4.  The audio files are processed quickly as they only about 100-100MB, but the video files are enormous.  The raw video from the Tony Russo podcast was over 8GB.  So the post production processing and the upload to YouTube (especially the upload) take a long time.  The YouTube upload can take 2-3 hours, sometimes more.

The music I use for the intro and outro are studio recordings of my outlaw country band that I played with about 5 years ago.  I am on bass guitar in those recordings.  I created a simplified logo for the bookend graphics to start and end the video, but I am hoping to improve these graphics in the future.  For now they are a good starting point.

I am wide open to questions and suggestions.  If you have an idea on the show format, the type of content we are exploring, the studio visuals, the graphics…  anything…  let me know.  I am hungry for input and happy to share what I am learning as I go down this path.