The Mysterious Performance of “Podcast Voice”


PodMov Daily: Thursday, September 16

Episode 505: Your Thursday Podthoughts

The Mysterious Performance of “Podcast Voice”

Whether you blame Ira Glass or celebrate him for it, ‘podcast voice’ is undoubtedly iconic. The New York Times’ Alexis Soloski spoke to producers, hosts, and voice coaches to learn more. As a non-podcaster, she was determined to find out how this influential voice is performed — and if she could do it herself. 

The NPR sound is analyzed more for what it isn’t: natural. In conversation with podcasting experts, Soloski discovers that code-switching and gender-based criticism are no less relevant than vocal exercises. Audio clips are embedded throughout, as well as (very cool) interactive audio graphics in the style of concrete poetry. 

This article is part of The State of Podcasting, a blitz published last spring by the Times. Read on for: The impact of Hollywood film and TV adaptations, young podcasters “growing up on mic,” show recommendations from 36 popular hosts, and a profile of Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr., co-creator of Gimlet’s Resistance.

Your Podcast’s ‘Villain’ Can Help Define Its Niche

To avoid blending into other shows, a podcast needs a foil. A presence to counteract. In other words, it helps to “define your show’s villain.” According to Counterweight Creative founder Jeremy Enns, it’s often easier to think about a show’s niche positioning by first nailing down what it isn’t rather than what it is.

Based on style, format, length, and other factors, you’ve already established an identity. Now, “pick a show or publication in your niche that you don’t necessarily agree with, and start using them as a measuring stick to present your show as a clear alternative,” Enns suggests. What angle does your show offer instead?

Obviously, do not call out an actual person or entity as your show’s foil. “Oftentimes, your chosen villain may in fact be a fantastic collaborator for your show as you may offer very different approaches to or opinions on the same topic,” Enns points out. Keep those friends and enemies close. NB: metered paywall.

The Ramsey Show: 1 Billion Downloads and Counting

Out of 2 million podcasts, only a handful have reached the 1 billion download mark. This year, The Ramsey Show became the fourth ever to earn the title. For 29 years on the air, financial expert Dave Ramsey has helped dedicated listeners navigate money and life. 

Each week, his impactful advice is trusted by millions and counting. “We’re teachers at the core,” said Brian Mayfield, Executive VP of Ramsey Network. “We’ve never seen anything grow the way the podcast world has grown, so we see tremendous opportunity there to continue to increase our audience.” 

Since The Ramsey Show began 15 years ago, callers have paid off a calculated $500 million. Ready for practical answers to the questions that matter most? Listen and follow wherever you get your podcasts.

Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Deep dive: Today at 2:00 pm ET, Edison Research will present the Latino Podcast (non)Listener Report 2021. Who are the 64% of U.S. Latinos who don’t listen to podcasts? Elsie Escobar explains why this data matters to every creator, regardless of target demographics. Free registration.
  • Magic button: Most podcast apps have easily overlooked settings that can improve your listening experience. In Bello Collective, Erik Jones takes a look into eight major apps. He even provides a chart to compare offerings like episode search, in-app rating, listening stats, and clip sharing.
  • Paper trail: Clubhouse has hired a veteran editor from NPR to lead news publishing, reports Taylor Hatmaker of TechCrunch. With NPR for 15 years, Nina Gregory has led the Arts Desk for the last seven. She’ll now work as a liaison between news outlets and Clubhouse’s audio communities.
  • Sonic youth: On September 23 at 2:00pm CT, SoundPath will host the webinar “What We’ve Learned About Kids Podcasting.” The creators of the award-winning Brains On! will share 10 years of hands-on wisdom, including research from the Minnesota Science Museum. Free RSVP required.

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