How to Execute the Pre-Interview for Better Podcasts


PodMov Daily: Tuesday, October 6

Episode 300: Testing, One Two-sday

How to Execute the Pre-Interview for Better Podcasts

Sally Herships is the director of the audio program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. For those that put in the work, Herships writes, the pre-interview has the power to enhance the final product. It’s a “tricky dance” with your interviewee: “They are ready to talk. And you want them to — just not too much.”

The pre-interview may involve quite a bit of information. Make sure most of it comes from you. “A person’s story is like a kiss,” Herships says. “The first time they tell you can feel, and sound, pretty special. So it’s your job to dance around the edges, getting just enough information to ensure it makes sense to move forward.”

Herships advises on timeless skills: preparing for sensitive topics, fixing “the facades of bad talking,” and ensuring that your ‘expert’ guest knows their stuff. Above all, keep it brief: “Once people start saying things I wish they’d said on tape (things I know it’ll likely be impossible to get them to repeat),” it’s time to hang up.

Podnews: Inside the Making of True Crime Reporter

On the new podcast True Crime Reporter, Robert Riggs reveals the backstory of crimes he’s encountered in 30 years as a journalist. The Peabody-winning investigative reporter spoke to Podnews about the making of the show, how podcasting differs from broadcast journalism, and his approach to true crime.

Riggs advises aspiring true crime hosts to stop the copy-paste trend. “I felt some of the true crime podcasts were just regurgitating information gleaned from news articles and books,” he said of those he’s sampled. “I want to give listeners the inside backstory from the women and men who actually investigate the crimes.”

The conversation is sprinkled with useful tips, like this definition: “Rule of thumb, if I can say it better than the interview subject then it is not a soundbite.” Riggs emphasizes that podcasters need a mix of passion and patience: “No matter the topic, if you pursue podcasting it should be about a subject you love.”

The Contract Vault: Expert Legal Protection for Podcasters

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Every contract in The Contract Vault is authored by Andrea Sager, the go-to attorney for hobby and independent podcasters. Plan benefits include live Q&A group calls each month, so you can build your business worry-free. Ready to experience contract bliss? Visit on IG and come say hi.

I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Lookin’ fresh: Podpage has released a free, downloadable set of podcast player badges and icons. Designed to replace the “mismatched set of inconsistent badges” commonly found on podcast websites, they come in several sizes and formats for 22 different platforms.
  • Group chat: Tomorrow at 8:00 pm ET, founders of Blk Pod Collective and the Caribbean Podcast Directory will be on Instagram Live for an interactive talk about the Black podcast space in the US and abroad. Presented by the Afros & Audio Virtual Podcast Creative Kickback.
  • Dual credit: Don’t use two Nest Audio speakers for podcast listening, says Dan Seifert of The Verge. On Google’s new smart speaker, “the stereo configuration sounds odd, with enough of a delay between the two speakers to make it sound like voices are double-tracked.”
  • Tag me: What’s an ideal number of hashtags on an Instagram post? According to Jam Street Media, “no more than 15, but other studies show 5–10 hashtags might be the sweet spot.” Don’t get your podcast ‘shadow banned’ — avoid repeating the same group of phrases.

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