These podcasts came in at a hugely handy time, as I was listening to them within a few days of recording my interview that was going to be the main body of my podcast. Listening to these – and other podcasts that we were assigned for this class – I’m slowly beginning to realize that I’m not a huge background music person. This is perhaps why I enjoy a very limited selection of podcasts. I’m a huge listener of NPR and BBC radio, which rarely has any embellishment. I think I was going to take my podcast in that direction, and listening to some of these podcasts solidified my intentions going into editing my podcast.
My biggest issue with Courtney Danforth and Harley Farris’ podcast (KairosCast) was that it sounded extremely scripted. When Danforth said “I’m really excited about using audio for some in class activities too”, the way she said it made it so obvious that she was reading off of a script right in front of her, which made it difficult for the listener (me!) to engage with the content. I was too distracted by her tone of voice and the forced way in which she was trying to feign enthusiasm as though it was a normal exchange/conversation. I thought Farris (the guy) was a little bit better, but I also cringed when he said at the end “I’m about to collapse over here” closing out the podcast, because again, it sounded so obvious that it was being read off of a script.
Besides the element of artificiality, it may be a personal aversion, but my philosophy when it comes to podcast production and editing is that the content should be the main focus. A sizeable population of listeners are already not going to be the best auditory information retainers, and having extra distractions certainly does not help. For instance, the chimes that they were ringing at the end of the podcast to signal that they were finishing up – also as an element of humor – was just plain distracting and cringeworthy.
I was also not a fan of “People, Place, Things”. The feedback noises that they inserted between their exchanges was so, so annoying – to an extent where I slightly felt nauseous after listening to it. However, at the end, I sort of thought – maybe they were trying to stir up this sense of annoyance in their listeners to communicate their message that a podcast is ultimately anchored in an entertainment model. However, the background music and the random screeches (from the feedback noise they inserted between words in a sentence!) made it extremely hard to enjoy the podcast.
However, i thought Eric Dettweiler’s podcast was BRILLIANT – mostly because it fit in exactly to everything I experienced when I interviewed Megan for my podcast. This was my first time actually interviewing someone on tape, so I was extremely surprised when I listened to everything on playback and everything sounded extremely natural! I chose not to go with a script, because I was afraid of sounding like the first podcast. Instead, I wrote all the questions in advance and had it in front of me, and also on a whiteboard behind me so Megan could anticipate the questions that were coming up.
I think my experience as a coxswain however, helped me a lot. As part of my job, I’m always talking into a microphone, communicating messages and making calls to the guys in my boat. In order to get better, coxswains are encouraged to record their own voice and listen to it, no matter how horrific it sounds the first couple of times. I’ve also gone through this process, and now am a little more comfortable with how I sound on tape. I think knowing the way you’re going to sound helps a lot when you’re taping an interview, because it allows you a little more leverage over the interview. I had that extra sense of confidence because I knew how I was going to sound when I listened to the tape later.
However, I did suffer from the “verbal tics” that Dettweiler mentions. The toughest part of the interview was when I had to tie Megan’s response to the former question to how I was going to frame the next question, and because a lot of that was “on the fly” and unscripted, there ended up being lots of awkward pauses as I chose the words in my head, and a lot of “ums”. Editing those out will be interesting – I have yet to do it but I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to do.
Overall, I’m excited to start editing my podcast, but in terms of stylistic choices I think I’m going to go very minimalistic with my background music/sound effect choices, and make it very content-based – because those are the podcasts I personally enjoy the most.