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What is podcasting? Isn’t it just turning on a mic?

Sep 16, 2020
2 min read

Well, yes. And no.

Photo by Will Francis on Unsplash

Yes, because, by definition, a podcast is really just an audio file uploaded to the internet, which can then be downloaded and streamed. That’s the simplest way to think about it. Technically you could take whatever device you’re using to read this, record yourself, and post it online. There are different apps that let you do that, and even slap on intro and outro music for you. Voila! You are a podcaster.

But what makes a podcast stand out? When I say no, it’s not just turning on the mic, I’m speaking for how we at PumaPodcast think about it. We launched our podcast network in 2019 and have created over 20 shows and 350 episodes.

Our vision is to create a world that listens. We believe in sharing the joy, power and value in listening — whether through original features and documentaries, or branded content for clients.

Sure, there are great “hot mic” pods out there. That’s when people just talk into the mic, like live radio. I know I enjoy a few, and it’s those pods that got me started listening, shows like Smodcast or How Did This Get Made? At this point hot mic specialist Joe Rogan reigns supreme as top podcaster. As a result, many think all you need is the gift of gab.

But there are now over 1,000,000 podcasts worldwide. If you’re just talking into a mic, then you’re like everyone else talking, and it’s harder to grow your audience. Instead of encouraging listening, you might just be adding to the noise.

So if you’re thinking of making a podcast, you might be wondering: How do I stand out? Well, here’s how we do it differently. We don’t do hot mic shows. Sure, we do interviews. Long interviews, in fact. But before the interviews? There’s pre-production: R&D, script outlines, sound design.

After the recording? Meticulous post-production, editing, revising scripts, editing again, incorporating music, finding ways to tell the stories best, more editing. We’re inspired by podcasts like “Serial,” “Planet Money,” “Twenty Thousand Hertz,” and “This American Life.” This approach lets us tell more complex, engaging stories.

Turning on a mic is just one piece, somewhere in the middle of the puzzle that is putting together a podcast.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about the different pieces that we work on — not just to put together a podcast episode, but in trying to build the first podcast network in the Philippines.

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