Recently a listener to Missionary Talks contacted me and said that he was interested in doing a similar podcast. He asked if I had any advice for him. I do, and am glad he asked.
What you will read in the next few posts is a compilation of what I wrote to him and others who have asked similar questions.
Intro to the Intro
This is kind of an introductory post for several things I would like to talk about over a series of 3 or 4 posts. Mostly my thoughts on podcasting relates to recording an interview-type show like Missionary Talks. There have been a few other missionary interview podcasts that I know about and will probably point out through these posts.
I don’t intend to get into the nitty gritty of actually putting together a podcast website and posting episodes. Those are topics best covered by people like Dave Jackson at the School of Podcasting and Daniel J. Lewis at The Audacity to Podcast. There are several other podcasts about podcasting, but those are my two favorites. Though if you only have time for one, I would start with Daniel’s show because he has such good show-notes. You are able to skim through his archives and see the details of what he covers before you listen to a whole show.
As with any technology related topic, I recommend you listen to the most recent shows and work your way backwards instead of starting at number 1 and coming forward. There are things that have changed since Daniel and Dave started recording their podcasts. It is best to learn the current right way of doing things instead of hearing old information first that will just confuse you later.
Though I haven’t recorded a Missionary Talks interview in a couple of years, I still keep all the interviews available for anyone to listen to and enjoy. I have grand hopes of starting to record interviews again. But until then, I am pleased with the number of interviews that are available and I am glad for some of the decisions I made about the podcast early on. One of the biggest choices I made was to not date the interviews. Obviously they have a date for when they were posted to the website, but if you were to just listen to an interview, you would not know if it were recorded last week or 8 years ago.
Though listener numbers have dropped off significantly since I haven’t put up a new episode in almost 3 years, there are still over 1,000 interview downloads a month for the various episodes. When I was reading some of the stuff I previously wrote about Missionary Talks, it got me interested in going back and listening to a few episodes that I haven’t heard in years. That, in and of itself, may get me even more fired up about recording new interviews.
I have done a couple of posts specifically about the topic of recording interviews. I will cover some of that material again, but I will also include links back to other posts that I’ve done that cover a particular topic in-depth. In some cases those links will take you to articles I’ve written on other sites.
Learn How to Interview
I certainly don’t have a degree in recording interviews. However, I do have my own thoughts on what makes a good interview. I encourage anyone who is planning to do an interview podcast to do some studying on the subject.
Learn how to ask questions and how to shut up. The shutting up part is hard to do, but makes an interview much better. I know you got interested in podcasting because you like listening to your own voice and you feel like you have something to share that will benefit others. But, an interview should be about the other person, not about the host.
In this series I also want to talk about editing. Not so much about how to go through the process, but more about what you will and won’t say. Or, learning to censor yourself and put aside your pet topics for the greater good. This doesn’t apply to every type of podcast. For me though, I chose to interview some missionaries because of the type of ministry they were doing—not just because I agreed with everything they did or the way they went about it. That meant I recorded some interviews with missionaries I would not feel comfortable working with on a day-to-day basis.
To do that, I chose not to pick fights where there was no need. This will need to be an intentional choice on your part.
So, there are some of the big topics I plan to cover. I have written these same types of things in emails to other podcasters who have asked me about recording an interview-style podcast. Hopefully, this will be a help to others who want to get my thoughts but may not feel comfortable asking. Also this will help me have a place that I can point to when others ask the same questions in the future. This is not because I don’t want to answer questions, but because if I can get you to read this first, then you can ask more specific questions where I can give more helpful answers.