Hopping on the Podcast Caravan With One Foot Still Dangling Off
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Hopping on the Podcast Caravan With One Foot Still Dangling Off

#GrowthGoals: One content creator’s forage into the podcasting space. A blog series exploring the well-intentioned attempt of a content creative to learn about a new trade.

Not long after I decided I wanted to make a podcast, I tried to learn about the industry. Yet, I was cautious to not overwhelm myself, nor drown myself in the business of podcast making, before creating one.

My basic approach was: What were the trends? How was I going to define my place in this space?

Hopping on the podcast caravan, I got the feeling that it was still a welcoming place.

Being a woman of color, I felt encouraged to write something, say something, because, for the first time in my career, there appeared to be a sense of value placed on my perspective, which I had not felt when I worked at other mainstream media in the mid-1990s. Diversity was talked about but hardly implemented back then.

Maybe there is something about podcasts that makes me feel they are accessible? Maybe it’s a trend of digital media that is changing, allowing new voices to be heard. For reasons I could still not put my finger on, I felt podcasting remains a place where you can talk about issues, concerns, puzzles in your life, and feel safe.

For reasons I could still not put my finger on, I felt #podcasting remains a place where you can talk about issues, concerns, puzzles in your life, and feel safe. Click To Tweet

While at Werkit 2019, a podcast festival for women and non-binary creators, I listened to Tanya Somanader, Chief Content Officer of Crooked Media say: “Podcasting is an intimate medium, it’s a place where persuasion, convincing and storytelling can actually change people’s minds.”

Kerri Hoffman, CEO of PRI/PRX followed by saying: “There aren’t a lot of gatekeepers and intermediaries right now. I’m bullish about making room for new entries to come in, whether it be through training or podcast garages.”

The questions and fears that arise when you decide to make a podcast:

In the podcasting space, the values of openness; of artists maintaining control over their creation and content seemed attractive to me.

Yet a lot of questions were circling around in my head:

  • What are the audio skills I need to make a professionally sounding podcast?
  • What kind of team did I need to build to really make this stand out?
  • What were the stories I wanted to tell?
  • Could I actually make money doing a podcast?

Some intimate fears about my abilities also arose to cast doubt on this whole endeavor:

  • How would I use my skills as a print journalist to make them work in a podcast, which are fundamentally intimate and personality-driven?
  • What business did someone like me, of Gen Y, have making content for audiences that were mostly Gen Z and Millennial? Could what I say hold meaning for them?
  • Could I actually make money doing a podcast?

I took the information I learned about the industry and did as any good Quaker or fan of Ben Franklin would: I made a pros-and-cons, points-to-consider chart (filled with liner notes of the internal dialogue in my head):

The pros and cons of starting a podcast.

As you can see, I had to stop with the industry stuff.

A wave of overwhelm (the business side of podcasts) rose in my heart, quickened by worry. It’s too much, I thought. I didn’t want disillusionment to take over. I would return to the creative process to keep myself inspired.

Elizabeth Chey

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Chey consults international, community-based, and small nonprofits on communications, advocacy, strategic planning and capacity building. Her passion for arts, peace building and development compels her to tell complex, intimate stories about people working for social justice. She earned her MFA from New York University and a Journalism degree from Northwestern.

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