Me and Adrian Storey launched a podcast last week. It was much more difficult than you would expect. Actually, probably not.

Here are some of the issues and ways they have been resolved:

Sound: Making a podcast sound nice is tough for a number of reasons. You need a nice microphone, a nice studio and decent production software and knowhow. Adrian has handled the production and has both the software and hardware. The problem was, before our first guest, Matthew Downs, spoke to us via Skype, we couldn’t get the microphone to work. So we just went through the computer and Adrian then touched up the sound in post-production. The sound is not bad, but it isn’t perfect. Is this being anal? Probably. But hopefully the sound will improve in future shows.

In terms of a studio, we are also aware that we are going to have to be quite agile. Sometimes we will be on Skype, sometimes with guests in my office and sometimes outside. So there are plenty of headaches to come there.

Finding guests: This is also going to be a challenge. We do not just want to get on our mate Trevor who is a wicked laugh. We want to talk to people who have interesting relationships with Japan and do something different to the norm. We have quite a few people in mind, but the logistics of recording with them, doing pre-production and post-production are all hurdles that will have to be dealt with all the time. And both myself and Adrian work full time, even if we are not going into an office every day. So do our guests. As such, for now we are sticking to a loose one-podcast-a-month schedule.

Getting the podcast out there: We are doing this podcast on a shoestring, and the cost in time is high. But at some point, it’s likely that we will have to pay for hosting services if we wish to continue podcasting. Initially though, figuring out how to deliver the podcast to iTunes and get it onto a free WordPress site was much more time consuming than it was supposed to be. And our system is not perfect. But here it is: Upload the podcast to Mixcloud, which offers free hosting for audio, then embed the link to the WordPress site. Then, upload the podcast to Podomatic, which offers a limited free service. After that, apply to iTunes using the RSS feed from your Podomatic account. As I said, not perfect, but free for now at least. When (or perhaps if) we start paying for hosting etc. getting the audio out from a centralized audio file would be nice. It’s difficult to track who is listening to the podcast as things stand.

Social media: This is a nice problem to have. On the YNFRH website, our first podcast has been shared 100 times via Facebook, according to the button at the bottom of the post. Is that right? Who are you people? Speak up! We would like to know what you think!

Funding: Really, this is the biggest issue. If we are to continue running the podcast we will need to either put our hands in our pockets or get sponsors. Or… what? We have discussed the idea that the podcast could get us noticed among people looking for people to write/produce or whatever. And that appears to have happened already. Within 12 hours of uploading the podcast, we had both received emails asking about rates for our respective fields, writing for me and camerawork for Adrian. But the truth is, I am already stretched workwise (I’m back freelancing for my sins. Here’s what happened last time.)

Neuroticism is a specialty of mine, and reading through the post to now, anybody would think I am hating podcasting. The experience so far has been quite the opposite. Getting to talk to Matthew was a privilege and an honor, the feedback to the first episode has been positive and this looks like being a really fun project. From now, changing this from being an experiment to learn new skills (and for now, that’s what it is), into something that we do, will be a challenge. Will there be a point where I can say “I write and podcast”? Maybe. Maybe not. I hope there will be though.

Just a couple of last things: The website for You’re Not From ‘Round Here is here. The Twitter account is here. Please follow and comment to that account. It would be nice if that became a place where we could identify exactly who is listening to us. And finally, please subscribe to us on iTunes at YNFRH.

And please, ignore the extensive moaning and fretting above, and look at the solutions. We’ve solved a lot of problems to get the first episode out. Solving more in the coming few months will be a lot of fun.

 

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