PodMov Daily: Tuesday, February 15
Episode 590: Testing, One Two-sday
In Podcasting, “It’s OK to Stop Doing Things.” Really.
“Lying to yourself is so easy to do when you are passionate about something,” writes The Double Shift creator Katherine Goldstein. For three years, the journalist’s acclaimed podcast has explored the tough realities of motherhood in America. Now, at the show’s close, she does the same for podcasting and parenthood.
Through the pandemic chaos, Goldstein’s ‘side project’ has taken a vast majority of her time and energy. (A “high-quality journalistic podcast on a tiny budget with no institutional support in a fiercely competitive media landscape” will do that.) What matters is the pivot, which she and her co-host have done beautifully.
Every creator needs an example like this. Last year Aria Bracci wrote a great piece on what happens when podcasters voluntarily hit pause. “I think this is an essential part of reducing the prevalence of this problem,” she said, referring to burnout and feeling creatively trapped. “It’s time to normalise ending things.”
Ear Reset: How to Avoid a Formulaic Sound
“I can’t tell you how many times people have told me with disdain ‘I’m sick of how formulaic podcasts have become,’” writes Rob Rosenthal of Transom. Over the past two or three years, these complaints have focused on the same kinds of melodramatic stories with “cheesy and predictable” sound design and scoring.
Rosenthal may have a solution (“or, at least, a way to help a little bit”) around that last element: Listening to sound art. There’s a “whole constellation” of approaches that podcasts often overlook, he says. “Even if it’s not your cup of tea, just dropping into that world for a few hours from time to time will open your ears.”
Sound walks are another form of sonic creativity that inspires the unexpected. To start, Rosenthal recommends listening to the work of Hildegard Westerkamp: “I’ve always found her inspiring and ear-catching.” Once podcasters focus on a variety of real sounds, the limitations of imitation become clear.
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Here's what else is going on:
- Tuned in: This evening at 7:00 pm, DeRay Mckesson (Pod Save the People) will give a 30-minute virtual talk on the state of podcasting as a civil rights activist. His work as an organizer and host focuses on innovation, equity and racial justice. Hosted by The Podcast Academy. Free registration.
- Dream jobs: This Thursday evening is Audio Career Speed Dating, an interactive networking and Q&A event from Pod People. At 7:30 ET, 10 industry professionals (senior producers, engineers, scriptwriters, and more) will share expert knowledge and connect with attendees. Free registration.
- Copy that: How can a podcast known for plagiarism be so popular? Frank Racioppi writes about clear patterns of unethical behavior that seem to just keep paying off. “When you just copy other podcasters’ research and report it as your own, true-crime podcasting does become a lot easier.”
- Paper heart: A new book by Siobhán McHugh, The Power of Podcasting: Telling Stories Through Sound, comes highly recommended. The award-winning producer, critic, and academic delivers case studies, history, and tips from 40+ years of experience. UNSW Bookshop offers a 20% discount.