I never used to get podcasts. I mean, I understood why they were useful and why people loved them, but I could never focus my brain enough to really listen and get something from them.
The hubby, on the other hand, he loves a podcast. He also hosts one – for those playing at home, check out The All-New Adventures of the Doctor Who Book Club podcast – and so I roped him into speaking at Sutton Writers to introduce members to the wonderful world of podcasting. He was ably assisted by Andy Mallon, who edits the Man Booker Prize podcast.
I created a little cheat sheet for the boys to share with the meeting’s attendees, which I thought may be useful to share. I will add one essential podcast to the list, though: I’ve recently rediscovered the amazing Joanna Penn, and urge any and all writers to check out The Creative Penn podcast, released every Monday. I’ll write a love letter to Ms Penn in good time.
In the meantime, the below are podcasts recommended by hosts and editors to any writer who wants to learn more about the medium and how you can put together a compelling narrative with audio.
We discussed the following podcasts…
Welcome to Night Vale
A twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
A scripted series starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris and David Cross. Homecoming centers on a caseworker at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor, and a soldier eager to rejoin civilian life, and is presented in an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions, and overheard conversations. The result is an innovative, immersive audio experience; a mystery unfolding across 12 episodes.
From the creators of This American Life and hosted by Sarah Koenig, Serial tells one true story over the course of a season. It has won every major award for broadcasting.
John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.
Reply All is hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, and is downloaded around 5 million times per month. “‘A podcast about the internet’ that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.” – The Guardian
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
Relive the magic as this podcast explore themes such as ‘commitment, ‘revenge’ and ‘forgiveness’, creating time in your week to think about life’s big questions. Because reading fiction doesn’t help us escape the world, it helps us live in it. It engages in traditional forms of sacred reading to unearth the hidden gifts within even the most mundane sentences.
Simon Mayo’s Books of the Year
Simon Mayo and Matt Williams invite the world’s finest authors in for a chat. Plus the best unpublished work and your reviews.
“A literary podcast with a difference.”
Writing Excuses is a fast-paced, educational podcast for writers, by writers. The goal is to help listeners become better writers, whether they write for fun or for profit, whether they’re new to the domain or old hands. We love to write, and our listeners do, too.
All-New Adventures of the Doctor Who Book Club
Hosted by Chris Hawton and Matt Savelkoul, and “one of the best Doctor Who podcasts” according to iTunes reviews. Join us as we discuss a different Doctor Who novel each month, book club-style, and explore the written worlds from a variety of Doctor Who book ranges.
The Man Booker Prize Podcast
This audio series takes as its focus the prize’s tagline, Fiction at its Finest, and guides listeners through the Man Booker Prize. Features well-known literary figures, industry experts, past Man Booker Prize winners and some surprise star guests, all of whom share a love of books.
What you’ll need to record a podcast
A free, open source audio editor you can use it to make your own recordings, remove noise, cut and combine clips, apply special effects and much more, and achieve truly professional results.
Free telecommunications software from Microsoft.
Records your call and saves it on your phone or computer. www.telestarint.net/call-recorder
Plus a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a microphone to plug into your computer. (Chris uses Sennheiser headphones and an Audio Technica microphone.)