Tag Archives: interviews

Podcasting Tips

Q&A with Ray Ortega of The Podcasters* Studio

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Ray Ortega is the guy behind the scenes at The Podcasters* Studio, guiding hosts in making high quality podcasts with the help of professional tips, tricks, and new techniques. Listen in or read some solid advice from an expert:

Do you mind introducing yourself?

My name is Ray Ortega, and to the podcasting community I often introduce myself as a hobbyist podcaster turned professional. I started a podcast and now I get paid to do it for a living by producing podcasts for a non-profit. I was able to turn it into a career and basically a dream job. 

How did you get into podcasting?

I got into podcasting back in 2005 when I heard two guys talking about nothing on iTunes in a section called “Podcasts.” I was fascinated by the fact that pretty much anybody could have their own show and potentially a global audience, so I spent the next couple of years learning the tech of podcasting and developed my own show in 2006, eventually launching it in 2007. I became so enamored by the whole thing that I dove in headfirst and never looked back. I learned so much that I was able to become an expert in the subject, and again be hired to do it for a living.

What kind of advice could you give to a new podcaster?

If you listen to any of my shows, at the end you’ll hear me say “go start a podcast or two.” What I mean by that is that there are no gatekeepers, there’s no one stopping you from producing a show, or two , or three, or four. My advice to a new podcaster is to just get started. A lot of people spend too much time planning and trying to make things perfect, and it never will be. The main, important thing you need to do is to actually podcast. That means recording something and getting it out on the web, and no one is listening in the beginning, so it’s a good chance to make mistakes. As long as you care about the content and your audience, you will be successful with your podcast.

Do you think professional tools are important?

“Professional tools” is a tricky term because it often invokes thoughts of really expensive gear. I have quite a bit of expensive gear in my studio, but you certainly don’t need to start that way. The most important thing I think about “professional tools” is using what you have professionally. That means knowing your gear and how to use it. You can great results out of a $50 microphone, and of course going too cheap will hurt the quality of your podcast. I am definitely all about producing quality content and letting the tech get out of the way of the content. If it doesn’t sound or look good, people won’t stick around, so make sure you’re using the right gear that is good enough to produce quality sound and/or video. Again, it can be as cheap as $50 microphone, and of course you can upgrade from there. “Professional tools” is sort of a misnomer, and the key is to use them professionally. Learn good mic technique and how to use them with the equipment you have to get the best sound. 

What are you podcasting pet peeves?

That would probably be too much advice about what has to be done. There are almost no have-tos in podcasting. In the beginning you need to set up your podcast properly with the right tech in the background, as the bones of your podcast need to be strong so that if and when you make changes you won’t lose your audience that you’ve spent time building up. Other than that there’s almost no have-tos in podcasting. There are certainly things you can do to improve your show, to improve the chance that people will find you, people will subscribe to you, people will stick with you, but it’s your show and you’re in total control. It’s a great place to experiment, see what works, and you make the calls. Don’t let people tell you you’re doing it wrong.

How do you know when you’re ready to make podcasting a full-time job?

If you’ve established yourself in the niche of your podcast, and you’ve shown the ability to produce quality content and grow an audience, you can start to go out there and look for people who are looking for your skills. I think that oftentimes people try to monetize their show, and they don’t think of themselves as their true value. When you start a podcast you essentially put yourself through “new media school” – you have to learn how to write content, produce the content, record it, publish it, get it on the web, promote it. You are everything, you’re a one man band, and once you can talk intelligently about the value you can bring to an organization, go ahead and start looking for people who are looking for your skills. 

What are your favorite community building tips?

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Go out and get people who are in your niche, and instead of viewing them as competition, bring them into your show. They already have an audience that is very interested in your topic, and there’s always room for great content. These aren’t your competitors, they’re your peers, and so embrace other people in your niche, cross-promote your shows, and introduce each other to your audiences. That is a great way to find a lot of people interested in your content quickly. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

Go ahead and get yourself out there podcasting. There are so many good resources, and there’s a great community of podcasters podcasting about podcasting – including myself. I’m on Twitter as @podcasthelper, where i answer podcasting questions totally for free and almost in real time. If you have a question, or if you’re finding you’re not getting past a certain barrier in your show, ask me. Work your way to starting your own podcast by taking it in small steps, accomplishing one small goal at a time. Create some album cover art, find some free or cheap music for an intro, and do that one day and then walk away from it. Record something, practice being on a microphone, record a demo episode, and get used to how to edit that. Play around, make mistakes, and don’t be afraid. So get out there and start your podcast!

Great interview, Ray!

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Podcasting Tips

Q&A with Mur Lafferty of I Should Be Writing

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Mur Lafferty is a bit of a Renaissance woman of the web, working as a writer, podcast producer, gamer, and geek. Check her out at The Murverse and her popular podcast I Should Be Writing, plus peruse her multiple accomplishments in other disciplines and plan to be inspired.

Do you mind introducing yourself?

My name is Mur Lafferty, and I’m a podcaster, author, columnist, and editor. I live in Durham, NC.

Nice to meet you! How did you get into podcasting?

In October, 2004, a friend of mine mentioned that he was really interested in podcasting, and I asked what that was. I thought it sounded awesome. For some reason, internet radio seemed complicated, but podcasting seemed easy and awesome. I thought about what I wanted to do and just decided to create an audio-blog / essay show. Later, I decided to launch a writing podcast. That show, I Should Be Writing, will celebrate seven years going this August. After that, I started loving the medium and have done several shows solo or for companies since then.

Congratulations on the podcasting going for seven years! At Blog World this year, you’ll be talking about how to give a great interview. Can you give us some basic dos and donts of giving a podcast interview?

Most of the biggest problems with interviews are very basic. Remember that it’s not a friendly conversation, not a back and forth. It’s an interview, focused on your guest. Don’t focus too much on yourself. Don’t ask yes/no questions. Don’t throw your interviewee off with an unforseen request. (I’m going to send you a writing sample, we’re going to pause, and then you’re going to give me a critique, OK?) Remember to ask questions, period. Complimenting your subject is flattering and nice, but not good for interviews. If you must compliment, do a followup. “I loved your second book. Can you tell me what was your inspiration for the antagonist?” or “Your latest movie was amazing. What was it like filming on (location)?”

What are important tips to remember for podcasting in general?

Make sure the sound is loud enough, but don’t modify the sound too much unless you’re a pro. Normalize is your friend, remove noise is not. Try to keep the show under an hour. Engage your listeners and encourage them to write you.

Great technical points! How important social media to your podcast?

Vital. People engage me on Twitter and Facebook, spreading the word, asking questions, etc.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Blog World? Where do you hope podcasting is going?

I’m eager to meet my peers and learn what others are doing with podcasting. Where is it going? Well, I want to just make sure it keeps going. We need to focus on mobile support (I get a lot of people unsure of how to subscribe to my show on their phones). We need more authors to podcast their novels, bringing back the serialization of Dickens’ day.

Great ideas. Anything else you’d like to add?

Nothing comes to mind!

Thanks so much for the interview, Mur, it was a pleasure!

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Podcasting Tips

Q&A with Wendy Wagoner of Voiceigniters.com

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Wendy of Voiceigniters.com has true-blue radio experience behind her belt, and now uses it to teach new and upcoming broadcasters important skills on approaching a microphone and monetizing content. Check out her interview on how to earn your stripes in broadcasting.

Hi Wendy, can you introduce yourself?

Let me first say thank-you for letting me be a guest on Spreaker’s Blog! I started in the radio business in 1984. I was studying Radio/Television Broadcasting at California State University, Fresno and worked overnights at KYNO AM. I graduated with a BA in Radio/Television Communications in 1985 and moved back home to Santa Rosa, Ca. My first full time gig was at KMGG… I was so excited to have my own show! Now I teach Broadcast Performance at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Ca. Recently, I launch VoiceIgniters.com, an online 4 week short course jammed packed with everything a person should know about professional online broadcasting and generating revenue.

A true radio veteran! How did you start your experience as a broadcaster?

I started out working the overnight shift (12mid to 6am) while still attending college. It was quite the balancing act working difficult hours and attending classes…but I loved radio and was willing to work any shift just to get my foot in the door at a radio station. Working the overnight shift was a great way to “learn the ropes”.  I always tell my students…if you want a career in broadcasting you must be willing to work at any station that will hire you. You must be reliable and available for any opportunities that come your way! You have to “earn your stripes” before you can hit the airwaves!

Great advice! What does it mean to you to teach young people how to broadcast?

Teaching broadcast performance has got to be one of my greatest joys in life! I’ve been to “the top of the mountain” in broadcasting and now I get to pay it forward. I now have a successful formula in bringing out the best in my students. Students are always telling me how much they’ve learned about using their voice. Their self confidence blossoms! They can’t wait to start their own online talk show or music show! For myself, there’s nothing better than to hear one of my students flying solo on the Internet and doing it professionally.

And it should definitely be satisfying as well. What inspired you to start an online course in becoming a broadcaster?

I’ve had such great success teaching Broadcasting at the community college level. I decided it was time to branch out on my own. I did some Internet research and discovered two facts about online broadcasting…1) There are thousands of young people broadcasting online.  2) Only a fraction of those young people have any broadcasting skills. So, I designed an online course that is robust in broadcast content, it’s very affordable and it only takes 4 weeks.

On what fundamental points do you focus your course on?

VoiceIgniters.com focuses on the 4 most important areas of online broadcasting to increase your audience and generate revenue:

1. The Internet, Microphones, and Spreaker.com

2. Talent Development

3. Programming elements and the importance of program flow

4. Effective promotion to generate revenue

After 4 weeks of instruction, you will be ready to professionally launch your show on the Internet!

I also provide an option of 4 more weeks of professional critique of your online broadcast.

Great! We look forward to hearing from some of your students (wink)! What do you think is currently missing in the podcasting world?

When I started researching podcasting, I found that there was very little professional training available. I also found that any training that was available was way overpriced for most young people. My goal with VoiceIgniters.com is to educate and inspire online broadcasters to follow their passion without costing a fortune.

Lastly, anything you’d like to share with the Spreaker’s community?

I want to thank Spreaker.com for letting me talk to your community! If you are ready to take the first step in having a professional presence on Spreaker.com, let Voiceigniters.com change the way you broadcast forever. Most importantly, after nearly 30 years in radio broadcasting, I know how to develop talent and add a professional sound to your show.

As a gift to the Spreaker community, I would like to give each member 10 free videos of the top questions people ask about online broadcasting and what you really need to know about online broadcasting to be a successful show host.

All you need to do is go to www.voiceigniters.com/landing and enter your information in the form. You’ll receive a link to your 10 free videos. Don’t worry, VoiceIgniters.com won’t send you any spam and you can opt-out anytime! If you have any questions about VoiceIgniters, please feel free to email me at: voiceigniters@gmail.com

I wish you all the best of luck and encourage you to always follow your passion!

Thanks so much Wendy!

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