‘Three…two…one, and we’re live.’
About 47 days ago, I decided to host my first podcast on campus. My first experience can be loosely equated to that of a foreigner visiting a new country with no connections, while containing little to no knowledge of the host language. Hearing the countdown to go live on air was both an exhilarating yet incredibly tense moment that had me scrambling for my notes after forgetting that I even had notes for the show. Sure enough, there I was: hunched over the table as the blood in my veins rushed to my face—making the fact that I was stressed beyond imagination all the more obvious.
After about 15 minutes into the episode – and struggling to simply put words together – my friend and fellow speaker on the show, Caleb Daniels, elected for a quick break. He simply told me that I was doing way too much talking, even for a host and suggested I should begin more of a dialogue with him and my other friend, Giancarlo Gomez. It was in this moment the show dramatically improved. In this instant, the show became more natural and conversational rather than artificial and forced.
This attribute is seemingly apparent in most successful podcasts. People don’t want to feel like they are being told information. In a very tangential sense, this concept can be applied to the classroom setting. Students don’t want to hear professors creating a dialogue with themselves while neglecting to interact with the rest of the class. The same can be said for hosting a radio show: the listeners want to interact and feel like they are a part of the conversation.
Unfortunately, however, there are limitations on what you can and cannot say depending on the parameters set by the station. For example, hosts are not allowed to utter swear words on the air at most universities, including PLNU. On the other end of the spectrum, linguistic freedom is reliant upon either the level of independence of the podcast or the host’s notoriety. For example, renowned talk-show host and comedian Bill Maher built his reputation by obtaining contracts from Comedy Central and “Politically Incorrect.” Eventually, he gained so much respect and fame that he was able to start his own talk show, “Real Talk” on HBO where he is allowed to say virtually anything he wants in front of a live audience. These types of podcasts complete the relationship between interaction and the next most important variable for a successful talk show: preparation.
As mentioned, my first episode was a little rough, and there are two reasons for this. First, I had no prior experience. And second, there was little to no preparation done on my end. With hardly any notes to use at all, I relied solely on my firsthand knowledge of what I know of the video game and entertainment market – the main discussion point of my podcast. Suffice to say, the subsequent episodes afterwards have been much easier and smoother.
This is not to assume that I have everything figured out, or have become some ‘podcast’ guru, but the process is becoming more innate with every passing episode. And most importantly, it’s becoming more and more of a fun venture. Hosting this podcast has been a pleasure and a great learning experience; initially, I did it as working toward a career goal to become comfortable behind the microphone. In retrospect, however, I find myself doing it for the sheer excitement and encountering something new every episode.
Louis Schuler is a senior journalism major. He is an avid sports and video game aficionado. You can find him ranting about all things Nintendo related on his podcast on Point Radio.