5 Things You May Not Know About Podcasts (And Our Podcast Specifically!)
Podcasts are having a moment.
There's been a massive increase in listeners over the past few years. Since the unprecedented success of Serial in 2014 sparking the fascination with true crime, podcasts have only grown. In 2018, Listening Books created their own podcast, Voluminous, now rebranded as The Listening Books Podcast, all about reading and audiobooks.
Whatever you think about podcasts, here are 5 things you may not know about them:
1. If you don't know how to listen to podcasts, you're not alone!
I can't tell you how many times I've shocked someone by telling them there's a podcast app already on their phone. Admittedly, this only applies if you have an iPhone or iPad (just look for the app called Podcasts). If you have an Android phone or tablet then it's almost as easy - Google Podcasts and Stitcher are both great, free apps you can download. And if you don't have a smartphone or tablet, you can also listen to podcasts on your computer! We've made it easy to listen to our podcast by putting it on the Listening Books website. But you can also find it, along with thousands of others, on iTunes and other podcast websites.
2. Thinking of a name is really difficult!
When we first thought about starting a podcast, we spent a lot of time thinking about the name. It needed to incorporate both the 'audio' and 'book' parts of our focus. Also, we couldn't use a name that was already being used. That turned out to be more difficult than we thought! If you're struggling to think of a snappy name for your new podcast, we recommend asking around! Credit goes to a member of our library team for coming up with 'Voluminous'*. We liked the double meaning of the word volume, and that it also incorporated the word 'luminous', which gave us something to aim for! We ended up loving the name, even though one person who shall not be named (because I can't remember who it was) remarked that it made them think of a clowns trousers...
3. Try and allow a few tangents!
One of the benefits of listening to a podcast is you get insight into personalities. This was especially true with our podcast! When we put Abbie and Amy from Listening Books into a recording booth together (as we did in episode 5 of the first series), the result was irrepressible hilarity. They spun off into so many entertaining by not strictly relevant rabbit trails that I wondered how I would ever edit it down! In the end, keeping some of the weirdest tangents made the episode so entertaining to listen to, so don't forget to keep some of them.
4. Keep your bonus material!
Mark Evans, the writer behind Great Expectations, and our guest for episode 6 of Voluminous, was fascinated by shipping containers. We kept this discussion and posted it as a bonus episode later. This didn't make the cut for the episode he was interviewed in, simply because we were supposed to be talking about Dickens and Christmas, but it's stuck with me nevertheless. I guess because if pressed to come up with something that's, on the face of it, duller than a shipping container, I'd find it difficult. Yet this funny, wildly creative writer finds them fascinating. And that is probably what makes him so creative. Anyone can be interested in the obviously interesting. But to write or creating anything worth our attention, maybe it takes a willingness to be curious about the apparently mundane.
5. Your Audio Producer is Vital!
This is very budget dependent - maybe your audio producer is a professional with their own studio, or maybe it's just you with a microphone plugged into a laptop. Either way, don't forget to value the work they do. A podcast is reliant on great sound, and an audio producer makes that happen. Plus, the Listening Books audio producer at the time, Nik, helped in other ways! We decided to end our round-table episodes with some literary themed games, but every single time I tried to think of one I was stuck. Thankfully, Nik came through with some crackers! From anagrams to literary maths, he made sure we had fun.
So, what do you think? Have you learnt something new about podcasts? Let us know in the comments!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: Eight Podcasts Experts Recommend or Reading More Widely (And Playfully!) With Reading Challenges
This post was written by Jessica Stone, host of the The Listening Books Podcast.
This article was updated: 29th June 2021