How to Start a Podcast

The Key to Making Your Podcast Stand Out // Eric Nuzum

January 24, 2020 Eric Nuzum
How to Start a Podcast
The Key to Making Your Podcast Stand Out // Eric Nuzum
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How to Start a Podcast
The Key to Making Your Podcast Stand Out // Eric Nuzum
Jan 24, 2020
Eric Nuzum

In this special bonus episode, Travis sits down with one of the godfathers of podcasting - Eric Nuzum.

Eric created and developed podcasts such as TED Radio Hour, Invisibilia, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and many others and he shares that wisdom and expertise in his new book Make Noise: A Creator's Guide To Podcasting And Great Audio Storytelling.

Show Notes Transcript

In this special bonus episode, Travis sits down with one of the godfathers of podcasting - Eric Nuzum.

Eric created and developed podcasts such as TED Radio Hour, Invisibilia, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and many others and he shares that wisdom and expertise in his new book Make Noise: A Creator's Guide To Podcasting And Great Audio Storytelling.

Travis:

Hey, Travis Albritain here. Uh, so I hope the, these episodes have been super helpful for you getting your show off the ground and having the confidence that you need to really launch a podcast, which is such an incredible thing. Now, I recently had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with Eric Nuzum, who is been an executive producer on some of the biggest podcasts in the world, many of NPRs podcast, Ted's podcasts , um, and just brings a lot of insight and depth of wisdom to podcasting. And so I wanted to share this with you as kind of like a podcasting 201. This interview is what to do once you have your show going and you really want to see what's the next step. What's the next level that I can get to with my podcast. Uh , he just wrote a brand new book on podcasting called Make Noise. I will leave a link to the book in the episode description. It's a fantastic book. So I hope that this conversation is helpful for you and that you get a lot out of it. And without further ado, here's my conversation with Eric Nuzum.

Eric:

So my name is Eric Nuzum and , uh, I , um, spent most of the early part of my career in broadcast and eventually worked my way up to working at NPR. And I started there in 2004 and listening less than a year later, I was in the , um, the cafeteria line at NPR and the guy who was our COO at the time was behind me trying to make some kind of awkward chit-chat . He says, well, what's interesting that you've seen lately. And I said, well, there's this podcasting thing. And I started explaining to him in the lunch line, just gotta make conversation. He's like, Oh, come by and give me a little spiel on it. And so I came, I made an appointment, went and gave a spiel a couple of weeks later, he shows back up at my door and says, you have a team of eight and you have 12 weeks. And at the end of that 12 weeks, we want there to be NPR podcasts. I'm like, okay. And we actually delivered it a month . We got an extra month. Uh , we delivered it. It was 32 podcasts. And then for the following decade, I kind of remained kind of the editorial lead on NPR podcasts, both figuring out how to take in pair programming and have it thrive in the podcast world, sound authentic there and also making new things that were intended originally to be in that space and did that for a decade. And then a couple of years ago, probably four and a half years or so ago, I left NPR and went to Ottawa, which is part of the Amazon. Uh, you, you extended universe and , um, uh, created original the original content team there. Uh, and then about a year or so ago , uh, one of my friends and I left and started magnificent noise, which is a , uh , um, which is a podcast production and consultation company , uh , based in New York. And ,

Travis:

And so now you have , uh , your first podcast related book , um , make noise. Yeah . And I love as I was going through and reading it. And , and specifically one of the things that you harp on , uh, which we'll dive into about the 10 word description, I was like, let me go back to the front cover and see if he followed his own rules. He did even got an extra word, despair, a creative guide to podcasting and great audio storytelling. Um, so why did you feel like now was the time to publish this book that you've been in podcasting basically since the beginning longer than just about anyone listening to this episode? Uh , so why did you feel like now is a really good time to, to bring this book out into the world and step into , uh , promote it?

Eric:

That's a really good question because I think there's two factors. One, I think we are now at the point where there's such a groundswell of interest in podcasting that, that having a book about podcast creation, that isn't like tips for equipment to buy or how to make money at it, but it's really focused on how to do something. Well, that's a commercially viable product now. And I don't think even a couple of years ago, it was when I had been approached a couple of times about doing this over the years. And I'm like, I just don't think it's , I think it's a niche product. I don't think it's going to be worth my time to spend time writing that book. And , um, the last time I was asked about it, I said, yes, and was kind of shocked at the reaction. And you know , one of the great things about seeing podcasting evolve is watching at points like this , um, that this is, you know , a profession and a vocation and a hobby, and there are tools for it with a book or microphones or recording units or things that were literally unimaginable four or five years ago. Now I'm a, I'm a big fan of the Roadcaster pro, which is a little desktop unit though . I advocate a lot of podcasters buy because it's $600 containing technology that will cost you 10, $15,000 to duplicate four or five years ago. I mean, that to me is exciting and amazing. So first I think we've kind of matured into being an industry now that can support that kind of thinking and a product like, like a book. And the second reason is , um, there's so many new podcasts and, and the thing that surprises me is someone who is a consultant for a lot of people, individuals and I , I work with people who are sitting around their kitchen table, trying to figure things out up to some of the largest media companies in the world and the conversations they have are almost identical, even though you have many more dollars, much bigger names and , um, uh, you know , uh , resources and crazy resources compared to people who are trying to figure out how to do this with their friend, their obstacles are often the same they're kind of concerns or , or, or, or fears of how to get into this. And they get stuck on the same things too. And so when I started to realize how universal a lot of the problems are that prevent people from being able to achieve what they want to do. Um, I like there's, there's solutions to that. I've struggled through this a lot myself. So I just, and I was also worried when, when I was first asked about this book that I could write about a chapter and about that would be about it. And so I had a couple of days off, for some reason, I sat down and said, okay, I'm just going to try. I didn't even say yes to write in the book. I'm just going to try to write a chapter. And I sat down on a thought about what frustrates people and I just started. And it became very clear to me that there was something to be said to an increasingly growing community of people.

Travis:

Well, and what I appreciate about the angle that you took with the book is that it's not, it isn't, it, isn't a book for beginner podcasters in the sense that if you're just getting started, it's a very valuable resource to help you avoid some of those early mistakes, classic mistakes, rookie mistakes that you see, but it's also extremely challenging. Even for someone like myself, that's been in podcasting for years to like you start reading through this. And you're like, I don't do half the stuff that I even intellectually know I should be doing. Um , and one, one that I , I want to really spend some time with, cause I feel like it would be the most valuable for people listening is the 10 word description, because one of my constant wrestling matches is that I, as a, as a creative outlet, want my podcast to be self-serving in certain ways, right? Like I want to wake up excited about making new episodes. I want to , I want to expand my creativity. I want to try new things, experiment with new things. Um, but you do a really good job of kind of helping push against that and in a really good way, and the importance of staying focused and, and really being laser focused on why does your podcast exist for the expectations of your listeners , um, and making sure you over deliver on that. So I'd love to just, maybe even if you want to just share the anecdote that you had about your yoga teacher and kind of going through that exercise. So I thought that was a good story. And I think we'll flesh out the importance of having a really clear idea of what your podcast is about.

Eric:

Yeah. I think a lot of my work is just in general, a lot of my work, including this book is simply taking people's heads and pointing them in a slightly different direction. Uh , they're worried about what they're going to do whenever someone says they want to do a podcast. And I say, what is it? They often describe it from very features based perspective. Oh , I'm going to , I'm going to have conversations with women filmmakers about women in film, right ? That's a feature, that's not a benefit. Right. And I always try to get people in that perspective shift is, and this is where my history is . A broadcaster comes in and let's think about the audience for that. Okay. Let's not think about what you are right at this moment. Let's think let's start with the listener. And so, you know, I, I , um, you know, everyone, it used to be part of my kind of standard stump speech. I would say, even the yoga instructor down the street has a podcast. And one day I was in yoga class and my yoga instructor came up to me say , can I talk to you after class? My first thought was like, Oh, what did I do that required a talking to after class? I'm like, Oh, I didn't want to think about this. And I kind of forgot about it. And then he kind of came , he came up to me like either that day or a day later, a next class and said, Hey, you know, I I've , everybody tells me I should have a podcast. And I'm like, Oh, now even my yoga instructor is, has a vodcast or wants to have a podcast. And so I sat down with him and I started talking about some of the concepts that I use with broadcasters or media people and realized they were far too advanced for where he was at. He just had this passion to talk to people and he had something to say, but he had no idea of how to think about it. And so I ended up drawing on a piece of paper, a circle, or what became a circle with a couple of points on it. And it kind of developed an exercise that I still use with people all the time, whether I'm doing it in a bar napkin or on a dry erase board in a conference room where we talk about who is the audience for this, get incredibly specific about who they are and what journey are you putting them on? You know? Uh , and that's why it becomes a circle because all these things filled into a kind of flow into each other of asking yourself, what do you have to say to that person? Once you define them and you get very specific, I make people look up pictures and print them out. We put them up on the wall, we give them names and fake bios. And then we consolidate them all into like what we think the person is. And we know , what do you have to say to them? Who are you, what version of yourself, or what is your voice in this? What is your perspective, your personality, and then what is the outcome, the desired outcome. and then we get into this Exercise that I kind of force people into. And the way I usually do it now, since I , I always evolving this exercise is I make people write it. And then they, then they kind of hide it from everyone. And during the rest of the workshop, they can edit it. And at the end of the workshop, everyone reads their versions of these 10 word descriptions that describe your project and nothing else in the world, no one in the room should be able to say, yeah, there's also another , uh , podcast, a women talking to women filmmakers about women's film. You know, there's, there are others. So what makes yours distinct? Are you focusing on , uh , filmmakers in the Minneapolis st . Paul area? Are you talking about a specific age or a specific genre film, or a specific time period in which films were made , um, that include that in your description? So you're literally describing one podcast in a world of almost a million others, right. And that provides you with an editorial lens that you can then use to make all kinds of decisions about what's right for your podcast, from its title, how it describes itself, its artwork, the type of guests, you have, the kind of conversations you have the answer to those five questions, the basic things that go around the circle and the 10 word as you have that you have a huge amount of clarity that you never would've had before, or spent years kind of figuring out one episode at a time. And many people don't have years to figure it out.

Travis:

Sure. Yeah. Most people starting podcasts, aren't funded, it's all, you know , headroom and yeah . And a microphone and maybe this will work and maybe it won't. Um, and so, and I think something that you, if I had to kind of create a second subtitle for your book, it would be , uh, saving the world from mediocre podcasts.

Eric:

Yeah . Trying to,

Travis:

And , and not to say that anyone can't just buy a microphone and start a podcast with their friends. I think that's the beauty of podcasting. Um, but really appropriately matching the expectations that if you dream of creating a podcast that has a worldwide impact and is getting tens and thousands of downloads every single episode, then there's a certain threshold that you need to reach in the quality of your content and in the way that you stay focused on your lane and what makes you unique to set yourself up for that kind of success? Um, would you say that , that, that, that is true? Or am I totally misjudging?

Eric:

No, it's, it's, it's actually quite deliberate. Um, I spent a lot of my professional time kind of looking at things that , uh , work that other people do and that I do too , but obviously I do so many things in the rest of the world does a lot of other things. So I spend a lot of time looking at things, trying to kind of deconstruct why things don't work , um , and why they do work and then trying to figure out, okay, what's my spin on that thing that when I, you know, from starting my company to the work we did at audible to lots of things at NPR, w was the inspiration for a bright idea, was actually watching other people struggle with the same problem. And I can't help it apply that to many aspects of my life. And when I , um, when I give talks, one of the things that surprises people , um, pleasantly that they recognize this because I do it very deliberately is a lot of times when you see a podcast or someone with some modicum of success, get up on stage, it's basically show and tell and brag about how great I am and the work I've done. And shouldn't you be grateful to be in the same room with me. And when I, the book has this vibe too, and I definitely do it when I do the book tour things and when to do interviews or talk with people, one-on-one , um, I celebrate success as an elastic , uh, understanding of what success can be. And if you are doing a podcast with two of your friends around the table, and it's intended for 30 other people, and you are passionate about doing it, they love it. That to me is just as successful as S town or Ted radio hour or the Joe Rogan experience with millions of downloads. And you can equally have things that are at that level that ended up failing, because even though they're being downloaded millions of times, they've kind of lost their spark. They're not really kind of innovating anymore, so and so forth. So I think that success is really one of the benefits of defining your audience and understanding who you're speaking to is it gives you a real clear set of expectations around what success means. And you can have all passion in the world towards doing a podcast. And if you are out, your , your expectations are off about what you should be hearing back. What you should be seeing is downloads what you consider to be worth your time. It can deflate that passion. And I think that's, that's a crime. You know, passion is the one thing you can passion and curiosity are the two things in podcasting that you can't fake. You can kind of get up in the morning and say, okay, I'm going to be passionate and curious, curious today, I'm going to force my way through it. You can't fake it till you make it. You have to have it. And there are people who throw tons of money at podcasting and tons of time at podcasting, tons of resources. And they don't have those two things and they just, it ends up kind of flopping. And then they're curious as to why. So when I hear someone stand up in a Q and a session at a talk or whatever, and they tell me about their podcast they're making, and you can kind of tell them their voice that they're expecting me to be dismissive of them. I'm actually, I'm giving them my best thinking of like, okay, you want to make a podcast for people who knit at here's, here's three things you should think about. And this is how you could be the voice of a group of people who care about this the way you do, you know, and I think that's really important, important thing. And, and know , if you walk into podcasting thinking, you're gonna make a million dollars or every episode needs to have a million downloads. I can tell you now there's no mystery that you're probably going to fail. But if you set your expectations, according to like, I have things to say that I won't be able to sleep at night, unless I'm able to say them, or I care about something so much that I want to be part of the conversation around that thing. That's passion driving it. And all the other markers of success originate from that passion, Joe Rogan didn't get into podcasting for any other reason, other than it was fun. He had something to say, and it was basically, it was fun. Mark, Marin fun, you know , uh , Roman Mars, fun. I were glass fun, you know, and then they figured out how to make it into something that was big, but it started off just being fun.

Travis:

Yeah. You don't make a podcast, so you can be sponsored by cash app.

Eric:

Right. Right. But there are , you know, there's this comical New York times article that came out a couple of months ago, this woman, she and her friend put a , put out a marketing podcast and stopped a couple months later because they hadn't gotten any sponsorship offers. And it's just like, it was like, is this an onion article? It reads like, it's like, what were they thinking was going to happen? And , and I think that, you know , some podcasts that could be very good embracing what they are and have a fruitful long life and really be a rewarding experience, both for the creator and the audience, they get discouraged and stop because they just, they just don't understand how to set expectations. I think that's an important part of the creative process

Travis:

For sure. Well, and you touch on this a little bit in the book about the balance of ambition versus resources and, and you couch it in the terms of like, if you're doing a live radio show, there's only so much editing you can do. Uh , but if you have three months to plan out this serial podcast and you can do a lot more, but even applying that to time and financial resources for independent podcasters versus the podcasts that a lot of people see as being like, this is what a successful podcast sounds like. It can be very overwhelming to think, well, that's what I have to do to make a podcast. Um, but what kind of, what you were talking about, what counts as success for an NPR style podcasts with a team of 15 people is totally different than someone talking about what they're passionate about in their bedroom. Um, so I thought that was just a great point that you made in the book.

Eric:

Well , thank you. I , I think that , um, a lot of people , um, get very confused about the amount of resources they should be putting into something , um, and think that they can spend their way some companies, if they can spend their way to success. And other people think that I have to lower my editorial ambition, cause I only have so much time. And I think both those are absolutely wrong. Um , a w my company works on a podcast with SDR Parell , um, where she is giving therapy to romantic couples, and it's called, where should we begin? And then there's another , a new one we're doing with this dare , uh, how's work, which is looking at work relationships. And that whole podcast is designed around having a very limited resource, which is just time that she doesn't have time to sit there and spend 15 hours to prep something and write a huge long script. And whenever we get her in little grabs and dribbles and throughout her schedule. And so we had to design the podcast, not about money, not about, you know, you know, we had the best asset we had was the most limited thing we had, which was her time. And so we kind of figured out how to make the podcast with that as a factor, other, other , um, podcasts have different creative restrictions. You know, I am a believer that creative restrictions actually , um, editorial restrictions, time restrictions, asset resource restrictions are inspire creativity. And because people are wanting to come up with solutions to problems. So if you don't have a lot of time or you don't have a lot of help, or you don't have a lot of money, that doesn't mean you can't do something really exciting. It just means you have to think about how to work with those realities. Right. If I have two arms and I lose one arm, I'm not going to say, okay, well, I'm done living now. I figured out how to live with one arm, right? So what , if any scarcity of resource is something that is almost a scarcity of resources, something you can kind of counterbalance with something else.

Travis:

So I want to get into some, I guess, some more practical questions that I think will specifically relate to , uh , questions that independent podcasters would have. Cause that's, most of the people that'll be listening to this. Uh , the first one would be , um, the, the nature of the launch and how much of early success is attributed to the connections and exposure and the network that you have and can tap versus the quality of the content itself. Um, cause I know a lot of independent podcasts just feel like, well, I'm in control of making a podcast. I'm proud of, but I'm not friends with Mark Marin . I'm not friends with Joe Rogan. I'm not a part of the NPR podcast network and getting airtime on all those other shows. So for them, for an independent podcast or this trying to pop this, trying to really have a great launch and get some positive momentum, what are the things that they could focus on that might be more in their control?

Eric:

There's a lot more in control than most people think. I think people look at the resources that some podcasters have and they think I don't have that. So I can't set my ambitions high, but there's again, there's a work around for almost everything. Um , I say all this with a caveat that the best marketing plan starts with an a tenacious efforts , just make the next episode better than the last one. Like how can I make it better? How can I be sharper if I'm interviewing someone? How can I think of something? They get something out of that conversation. That person hasn't sent 80 times, if I'm doing a narrative, how can I, can I bring more to the story or tell a better version of this story and just being relentless in pursuing, being a little bit better every time you do it, because you could have the best marketing resources in the world and a crappy show. And it's what you'll see. Or even you see all this all the time when celebrities jump in, there's a huge splash. And then where are they? Two months later. Now, if they're still doing it, it's not, as you know, they're not as high up in the charts. They're not commanding the attention. They were people aren't as excited about it. Cause they've heard the reality and the reality, isn't all that great. Um, many times, not all the time, obviously, but , um, so I think that having great content is key. Number one, and always trying to improve it , uh, is , is part of that as well. Uh, so if you don't know a Mark Marin, or you don't know a Joe Rogan or don't have an NPR or Radiotopia or whatever , um, how can you create something that may not be one friend, but there's a bunch of other friends. So if you are making a podcast about beekeeping and you are trying to make it a podcast for other enthusiastic and beekeeping, like where do those people congregate? They congregate and Facebook groups and conventions and newsletters and websites and forums, whatever. Like you can sit there and list off without spending a lot of time. Like where do these people congregate? And I mentioned this in the book, it's actually all ideas that I have stolen over the years from various guerrilla marketers , um, that you really have to build a network of people who are connected to the subject matter, who have a little bit of influence, even a tiny bit influence. And if you look at like, if you get 20 people to tweet on your behalf who are reaching the people you care about or have those friends, that's more powerful than one big, huge thing. If you're trying to make a podcast about beekeeping, you actually don't want Mark Marin tweeting about you. Cause most of his audience, aren't going to care about what you're talking about. But if you go to the people who do care, find out where they are, build yourself into that community and say, Hey, I'm doing this for our community. Would you like to be part of it? You know, the story in the book I tell, which is , which is, which has proven true time and time again, which is a podcast I was working with as a client is like this guy. I don't even really charge him very often, but I like this guy. He's like, I feel kind of flat-lined , I can't get my numbers to grow. And I said, for six weeks, start off every episode, he's doing a weekly podcast. Start off every episode with, if you love this podcast, I need something from you to help it grow. Um , I need you to tell one person, I need you to tell one, find an email, a tweet, Facebook posts , reach out to someone and tell one person and six weeks went by and I'm talking to him and I called him up and he's like, something's wrong? I don't understand what's happening. Like what is happening? He's like my numbers are up 35%. There's no mystery to that. You asked your audience of people who love you and care for you. And in his case where he was already doing like a, like a listener support thing that were giving him money said, look, what I need from you now to really keep this going is just to share it with somebody. And they did it and it worked right. Didn't cost a dime. And it's probably there's no I say frequently and people raise their eyebrows. When I say this who are at larger companies because they spend a lot advertising podcasts. I tell them I have never seen anyone spend a dollar advertising, a podcast that paid back. I just don't think it works. I do see network effect of, I love this. Listen to it. You'll love it too. That works. You know, bringing people onto your podcast and kind of you being guests kind of swapping guest spots on each other's podcasts works dropping in promos into one podcast. Feed works , uh , dropping an episode into a podcast. Feed works like all this stuff works and it doesn't cost anything. Right. And if you can't do that on a massive scale, like at Radiotopia or a Stitcher, you can do it on your friends and other podcasters or find people in like a ring of influence where you can all support each other. Uh , what they, I mentioned the book is find five other podcasters and agree that every week you're all going to promote one of you and you just circle it around. So every, so every, everyone gets a turn being in the spotlight and you spend the other four or five weeks giving the spotlight. And that works. It works. We , we, we, we, we figured that out at NPR and the NPR still follows those tactics today that we developed the best marketing we have is just telling people who probably are interested, that they would like it well, and I love

Travis:

How everything kind of comes back to understanding your listener super well, the better you understand the listener, the better able you are to , to make those decisions about what to include and not include in your podcast, where to find more of them , uh , how to speak to their pain points and why they would want to listen to a show like that. So, so I love that it all kind of comes full circle. Now, one other thing I want to make sure that we have time for is you go pretty in depth in the book on the art of interviewing. And I call it the art of interviewing because every single person brings their own sense of curiosity and their own angle of the kinds of questions they'd like to ask and the process that they have. But I would love just to hear you walk through kind of the process of preparing for an interview, what goes into that? And then even after the interview is done, when you have all the tape that you're going to have, and you have to figure out what's going to make it into the final episode, what kind of decisions that you make as a producer to really create the best episode possible?

Eric:

That's a, that's an interesting question because of all the things I wrote about in the book , uh, interviewing is the thing that I think I am weakest at and have struggled the most with. Um, uh, you know, there's two basic forms of interviews. One is when you're like out in the field, working on a narrative story and you're interviewing people who will be part of your narrative story that you're producing. Um, if you have any clip in any narrative podcast that came out of an interview, most likely, and , uh, I love doing that. And actually I think I'm , I'm , I'm competent at it. Um, uh, I am not someone who shines in like a situation like what we're doing, being the questioner. I find it really difficult for me to do, and I've struggled with it to the point that I didn't really do that much of it anymore. Um, because I just think there's other people I'd rather put the position of doing it cause they're stronger at it. Um, but in my struggles with it, I've learned a couple perspective approaches that I think really help . And the first one is to stop pretending to be Terry Gross or Howard stern or Trevor Noah or Ellen or whomever you admire. Who's an interviewer. And just trying to be that person like you're a play acting. And , uh, I think that's , that's where most interviews go sideways is people forget to just be themselves. If you aren't, if you don't have a sense of wonder about your , your subject, there's lots that you want to ask them. If you're a curious , um, you shouldn't be doing that interview, they aren't the right booking or you aren't the right host for that conversation. And so that's like number one, 80% of problems are solved with that. Just that perspective shift. But you know, so let's say you are really curious. Um, you want to go in and interview someone? I believe I make my staff do this. When we're doing interviews, I train the people that we work with to think like this, have you walk into that interview with a plan, you what you're going to talk about? You know, what order you're going to talk about. Things in you have written out questions, you've debated questions with your colleagues, or if you have them or had somebody to give you feedback and give you like, what are we really trying to find out here? And what are we trying to know? Um , why do we try to learn? Um , and you come up with a real rigorous plan and then you go into the interview prepared to throw it out. If you want to. Um, I often counsel people, we went out and did a field recording the other day of I'm like, you know what you need to get in this interview. You know what the table stakes are for this to be an interview. So go in , get that. And then don't worry about the rest. You'll remember questions that were on your list. You'll think of new questions you'll be listening so that you'll follow up on things and just make sure that you have both the discipline to have a roadmap of where to go. But then the freedom of allowing yourself to just follow your what's . What , what the moment feels right. And trust that that's probably, if you find it an interesting subject, most other people are in your audience are also gonna find it interesting. Then in , in you scale this, depending on the amount of resource and time you have , um, you afterwards, what I like to do my process is I use a program called descript, which is a fantastic program where you dump audio files in, and it does an AI transcript kind of on the fly and you can edit the text and it actually creates a , a pro tools and audition session for you based off the cuts he makes. So we often make the first cut of an interview in the script just based off paper, without even listening to it. But you go back in once you've had that you've dumped into scripted, happens like in a minute. And I believe from even in an entry level, you get a certain amount of time that they will do it for free. So it's very low cost. And , um , you look at what you have and you read it and you I'd Mark it up like, okay , this is this section. This is about when they were, you know , learning to play guitar. And this is a section about their first band, and this is a section about their recording contract. And this is a section when they brought the song, right. And I kind of write this. I'm like, where do I want to start this conversation? And how do I make it flow? And I make little notes and , uh , treat an interview. Like it's a story. Like you're actually creating something that is meant to be listened to in an order as if it was, you were telling a story and even very technical interviews still can follow into that same flow. And that's when you start to edit. And whether you have an hour to edit or 20 hours to edit, there's a version of that process that you can use of if I only have an hour to edit something. And sometimes when you're editing on deadline, that's the reality of it. Okay. Where are, what are the most important beats here and how do I get rid of everything else? I don't worry about time because in podcasting, there are no rules. So you can make it whatever length you want to usually make it as good as it needs to be in not a minute longer.

Travis:

No, I love that. I love that advice. Um, and I was at on first overwhelmed by the amount of editing that goes into it because your background is NPR. Um , some of those shows where it's 15 hours at times of prep for an interview. And then that long, if not longer on the backside , on the back, on the backside to actually create the episodes. Um, and for me, it just gave me a real appreciation for when I listened to a podcast of that quality of a production, just how much goes into it. Uh , but then also on the, on the flip side of that feeling at peace that, you know, I don't have to compete with that. That's not my metric for what I'm trying to achieve. And , and that's totally fine. I don't have to be NPR to have a great podcast.

Eric:

No. And you could also, you know , think of the reality of like what , what if you have time to, I always tell people take the amount of time you have to spend an episode and divided in half half of it should be before you do the interview and half of it afterwards. And , um, if you only have two or three hours, you can devote to it. And there are many people that's the case hour and a half thinking about how you want to do the episode hour and a half afterwards to clean it up and get rid of the stuff that doesn't really feel exciting to you. And that's enough, you know, I think any investment of time is a good investment of time. You know, I see some of these people, I just talked to a couple of them for , for my, my media tour of, you know, they , they crank out an episode a day, you know, they, their , their limit is how many hours they have in that day to prep for an interview. Do the interview, cut the interview and post the interview in a day. Right. You know, and that's, and they turn out good stuff. So sometimes just because like an NPR takes 15 hours of prep and 15 hours of editing doesn't necessarily mean they end up with something that's 15 times better than the guy has an hour to prepare in an hour to edit afterwards. I think that's a false

Travis:

Final question for you. What would you say is the piece of advice you find yourself giving most often to people that are just getting started or on the front end of their podcasting kind of trajectory.

Eric:

I often tell people , um, forget about format and function and worry more about function. Like who are you talking to? And what's your message. If you want to make a podcast about the future. And you're really excited about the future and think the future is full of great things. That's a very different podcast than if you think the future is dire and maybe the end of our species, or what have you. Right. Um , those are two very different podcasts. So when you say you want, even when you want to have a podcast of interview with people about the future, what does that mean? What does your message, your attitude? What are you bringing to it, your perspective, and spend as much time in the questions about like, what format should I have? Should I have a cohost? Should I have any people, should I be interviewing once all that stuff is like the last thing you think about and just spend time thinking about who are you, what do you have to say and who you want to say it to? And that most people don't take the time to think that through. And that's why most people struggle.