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Podcasting – could do better

May 30, 2014 at 10:44 am / by

It’s reminiscent of a school report, but some podcasts really do need to stay behind after the bell has rung. I’d love to strike a line of red pen through some productions with a gigantic “No!”. It pains me to say it, but much of the podcasting world has no realistic sense of itself. Nobody wants to read an irascible critique in which I rebuke, fulminate and denounce. What I call the “cult of the reciprocal superlative” only permits wild praise and teenager favoured adjectives. Sorry – no can do.

Podcasting has undeniably been led by the major players : BBC, The Guardian, ESPN et al. The production values of broadcast are inherent to those names and the content they produce is, generally speaking, beyond reproach. You’d never accuse the Today programme of sounding like it was recorded down a bidet, or berate 5Live’s Wittertainment podcast for being incoherent or directionless. More often than not, a bottomless chasm separates the professional podcasts and the try hard general public.

This, sadly is driving the wider view of podcasting.

Why should the man/woman/eurovision winner in the street take this medium seriously if it’s falling short? Something needs to happen to halt this self perpetuating spiral. Firstly, bring on the humility. It’s pretty unlikely that your initial steps into podcasting will be perfect. It fact, they won’t be for a long time. You’ll try things and they’ll be too long, incomplete, patchy, rough around the edges and self indulgent. And they won’t improve until you take a look at what you’re churning out. I mean a proper, long hard look.In fact a stare. A hard stare that wouldn’t be out of place coming from Paddington Bear.

Permit me to give you some pointers. There’s absolutely no need to tread the path of delusional branding. You are not the “founder of the podcasting university” or the “UKs number one expert on podcasting for business”. No one is. I know that any podcast heaping praise on itself will usually begin with an overlong American voiced introduction and then a timid, off mic Brit who would give John Major a run for his money in the scintillating character stakes.

The much put upon podcast needs balance, variety and well executed interviews. If I hear another “business podcast” where a free platform is given to an entrepreneur, speaker, insert hyperbolic tag here, then I may need the intravenous Southern Comfort. There now seems to be a million and one podcasters who naively ask “tell us about your business…..why are you so great?” with no sense of research or impartiality. Flimsy interviews are usually a more crushing reflection on the host than they are on the guest, so do your homework.

Or you can see me after class.

 

 

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