It began as a simple idea. I was at dinner with an old friend. She and I were laughing over some wine and a delicious meal while we exchanged old stories and memories we shared. Our conversation, while humorous, did not lack some profound comments. It was one of those conversations that I knew I would look back on and wish I could replay. But then I remembered the year is 2018 and that’s exactly something I could do. That’s when I decided to start a podcast series.
With less than 30% of Americans listening to a podcast more than once a month, it remains a niche communications channel. For that reason, I receive many quizzical looks from people when I tell them I have my own podcast series. But with the technology as affordable and accessible as it is today, no brand, company or person should be daunted by the prospect of starting their own.
At its core, podcasting is a medium by which we can all share and archive the conversations we value. This was the core reason I started my own.
On a personal level, having a podcast afforded me an opportunity to sit down with others — friends, family, peers or general people of interest — who I wanted to know more about. I learned quickly that the most interesting content on podcasts are stories with rich detail. Interviews became a lesson in asking the right questions to yield the right stories that would entertain an audience.
From a professional standpoint, starting a podcast also became a creative way for me to learn media production skills that I could apply someday as a public relations practitioner. All I needed was some help from Google to learn about the most user-friendly platforms to host my series. Any of the production equipment I needed I could find and afford on Amazon with a college-student budget. Ultimately, having a podcast with a higher sound quality allowed the series to make it to Apple Podcasts.
Whether or not you have any interest in starting your own podcast, I’d still recommend practicing interview questions on friends and family. It is no secret that in the public relations field, practitioners have to be armed with the inquiries that will generate compelling content. As I practiced with people I knew, I found that my nerves resided and I was able to unearth that content. Whenever they did not answer questions the way I thought they may, I was comfortable enough to improvise.
So far, I have compiled more than a dozen interviews with friends, family, peers, colleagues and even a few strangers. With each episode published, it becomes easier to generate a thoughtful, entertaining and thought-provoking conversation audiences can enjoy.
While it remains a pet project that will probably be in its early stages for some time, hosting a podcast series is a niche hobby that requires creators to hone in on many skills required of in the public relations industry. The ability to create a podcast is right at your fingertips so don’t be afraid to gather some of your best friends, warm up your vocal chords and start your own.
Harrison Allen is a junior at American University majoring in Public Relations & Strategic Communication with a minor in Spanish Language. He currently works as the Graphics and Design Coordinator for PRSSA National. Previously, he served as co-director for AUPRSSA’s student-run firm Eagle Communications.