Editor’s note: Award-winning Chicago radio (WXRT, WGN, WBEZ) and Internet (chicagotribune.com, Rivet) newsman Charlie Meyerson’s taking his expertise in audience engagement and radio production on the road over the next few weeks. He’ll be leading the “Understand Podcasts” workshop March 23 for the Public Narrative program at Columbia College and delivering a lunchtime keynote address on the same topic March 29 at The Graduate School of Northwestern University in Evanston. With podcasting now an emerging priority for so many media organizations, CJA asked Charlie to share a few pointers for those considering a dive into that pool.
By Charlie Meyerson,
VP/Editorial, Rivet Radio
Fight for your audience’s attention. In the digital world, the competition — whether for text, video or audio — is just a click away. Don’t take a listener’s attention for granted. That begins with a great headline or title for your podcast — and not “My Podcast, Episode 4” — and it continues with a strong open that’ll give listeners a reason to stick around. Tips: Don’t waste time giving your podcast’s name or episode number or sponsorship until after you’ve given listeners a reason to stay tuned. And don’t spend a lot of time saying things like “Hey, we’re back” or “Hi, how ya’ doin’?”
Keep it simple. One of the most compelling podcast formats is also one of the easiest and most engaging: The interview. Find an interesting guest and then introduce her or him to your targeted listener, as if all three of you were standing around at a party. I’ve shared more detailed interview tips in a post for the Orbit Media Studios blog.
Planning’s essential. Script your open, your questions and your close in advance — and practice them. Keep your script relaxed and conversational. Aim to write and read the way you talk. As for the questions: Unless you have expertise of your own, keep your statements or opinions to a minimum. Be a question-asking machine, get out of the way as much as possible and make the show about your guest.
You’ll find lots more guidance for creating great audio on the Rivet Radio blog.