One of the things that attracts me to podcasting is idea of connecting with others through a bit of self expression. New technologies – social media, easy to acquire recording software and the internet – has erased many of the barriers between a creator and a potential audience. And that’s a good thing.
Finding and keeping an audience in a world where it is much more easy to play the game, so a lot of people are, is a greater challenge. It reminds me of a statistic I heard once. The year Garth Brooks was signed to a major label deal, he was one of 30 new acts signed by a major label. A year later, after Garth had changed the landscape of the genre, there were 300. Not all of them made it. Some times I feel like one of the 300, fighting harder for a thinner slice of the pie.
But I still do it. I do it because I think I have something to say. Not for the sake of money or prestige, but for the sake of it getting said.
There’s nothing magic about having a microphone and a RSS feed. It takes attention and it takes work to move these things along. Part of having something to say is knowing how to say it. Storytelling is a craft.
Another important part of having something to say is REALLY having something to say, having something of value for the listener to take away. Finding a way, a good way, to tell THAT story is what I’ve been trying to do.
Something that I have noticed about a strong music scene is this: there are venues for bands to perform in, that allows them to suck. They don’t get a pass to suck forever, but they certainly get an opportunity to get better and cease sucking.
Podcasting is like that, too. I’m amazed by the vast difference there is in my show, my approach and the format of my stories since the start. Yes, I look back on those early shows with great fondness, but I don’t know that I really want anyone to hear them. But with each episode I feel the stories getting better and my ability to tell the story I want to tell getting stronger.
I started my first episode with an explanation that the idea of the show was based on the DIY approach. I still very much do that, it’s just that I can focus more on the DO than the YOURSELF these days. It creates an interesting paradox; the more I know how to do, the further I feel from perfection. Good thing I’m no perfectionist – I’d never get this thing off the ground.
All this to say that the next challenge will be how to keep the content coming while striving for that improvement. Many of my interviews were caught very much in the moment, in a quiet or not-so-quiet corner of a coffee shop, the hope being getting the interview fresh and right then. Finding suitable surroundings that are available at the times my subjects might be available is proving to be…time consuming. But it will make for better sound quality. This is just one of the many improvements I’m working toward.
A podcasting friend, Tim O’Brien of the Shaping Opinion podcast, a great show by the way and worth a listen, said it this way: “I’m always looking at what’s coming up.” That focus on the future, I think, is what gets you into the serious business mode, planning on being around and improving along the way.
I’m glad to be on this path, finding my voice. And I hope that my voice can find you.