The Checklist

Creating a podcast can be a bit of a headache at times. Even if what you want to do seems simple at first glance, the logistics can get a bit hairy very quickly. I struggle to keep tabs on everything I’m doing at any given time, so to help I need to keep a checklist so that I can rest easy that the tasks have been done.

You can download the Podcast Episode Checklist to help if you have the same issue.

In creating any media there’s only so much headspace I want to devote to the admin side. I’m already busy thinking about how to make each piece as exciting as I can, so anything that can save me some thinking time on other tasks is welcome!

If you like the list and would like an interactive copy which links a spreadsheet into the document so that you can store the information for multiple episodes, please follow me on Twitter. You’ll receive an automatic reply with a link to the files which you can then add to your own GoogleDrive.

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Inspiration

I’ve been inspired by a multitude of different stories and styles over the years. Here are a  few of my favourites:

  • The Man Who Drew Cats, by Michael Marshall Smith. I love this story for the way it evokes simple characters.
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, by Roald Dahl. As a child I was fascinated by the idea that if I concentrated hard enough I could achieve anything.
  • The Problem We All Live With, one of the This American Life episodes that got me hooked. This is a really powerful report on institutional racism in the US education system – I’ve long wondered what a similar story would look like in the UK.
  • A Red Dot, from Love & Radio. A report following an unusual advocate, dealt with in a very open way.

Latecomer

I was a latecomer to Podcasts. I don’t think I owned a smart phone until 2013 and have never owned any Apple products. When I was travelling through Canada in 2015 I wanted a distraction for some of the longer sections of the journey and someone mentioned Podcasts.

The daft thing is I’d been listening to radio and audio books for years. I used to work as a sales rep and spent hundreds of hours a month in the car listening. Yet it had never occurred to me to download a podcast.

I got off to a good start – with an episode from This American Life which then pointed me towards Season 1 of Serial. I was hooked. I was engrossed in the style of the story telling, the mix of good journalism, story structure and emotive interviews. I’d also discovered that there was an enormous backlog of free content to download and listen to, new shows to discover, offshoots from existing shows and more. There’s a whole world in there that I didn’t even know existed.

A few months in it occurred to me that this was what I’d been looking for. Not as a listener (although I had) but as a journalist. I’d grown frustrated with the nature of working in news journalism and couldn’t see a way forward that would get me to writing and sharing the stories that were important to me. I was disappointed that the long form journalism that I loved seemed to be so niche, in any form, in the UK.

While this obsession was growing I started sharing some of the pieces with my Grandmother. She’s 93, with failing eyesight but a sharp wit and a wonderful curiousity about the world. I copied some of the episodes to CD to post to her. Then I realised that I could also record some chapters from books I’d read, or short stories. I began making recordings of some of my own writing, adding in pieces of music and learning the difference between the word on the page and in your ears.

It took a while to dawn on me that I could do this professionally, that those This American Life documentaries that I loved required a little bit of equipment, a little bit of knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm to learn along the way – That really this was the avenue for my writing that I’d been looking for for the past decade. So I’ve taken the plunge.