Joseph Nathan Cohen

Department of Sociology, CUNY Queens College, New York, NY

Hosting Podcasts

This livestream was produced as part of the QPL Learning Series project.

Original Video Description

This discusses contemplates the task of hosting podcasts. Many podcast franchises succeed on the strength of their hosts. Hosts influence the character of podcast series. A great host can be the reason that people connect with a podcast. Bad hosting can ruin even the best show concept. A host’s performance is an important determinant of a podcast’s success. We will discuss the job of hosting. Expected topics include: What does a host do? Functional roles of a host. Is there a formula to hosting well? Research and show preparation Tips on managing small group interactions What makes for an “engaging” performance? “Authenticity”

Transcription (Auto-Generated)

all right welcome everybody and it just so happens as soon as i started the live stream something is burning my wife is cooking in the uh cooking something in the kitchen and she just set off this smoke alarm so uh welcome everybody hold on let me get out of here and switch into uh gallery viewer all right welcome those of you who are joining us on zoom uh to today’s presentation on uh hosting podcasts one second let me just oh hold on i gotta start recording there we go so as i was saying welcome to all of you who are joining us uh for this seminar on hosting podcasts my name is joseph cohen i’m a professor in the sociology department here at queen’s college in the city university of new york and i’m joined by some of my colleagues in the project uh jason tuga my co-director want to say hi jason introduce yourself i think your mic is off hi joe yeah um happy to be here as always and i’m excited for your presentation all right and ryan sperry uh from the sociology department at queen’s college right want to say hi hi how are you doing uh looking forward to presentation thanks for having me and then we have uh some uh team members here anthony borrelli and oscar rosario let’s put you on on on gallery view just so we can uh see the crew who is here and welcome to everybody else who’s participating and uh so without further delay why don’t we get started before we get started though we got a couple messages to tend to as always first uh stay up to date on uh all of our programming here at the queen’s podcast lab by signing up to our uh email list you can join at queenspodcastlab.substack uh at and there you can get access to the zoom uh the zoom address and the information on whatever programming we’ve got going uh jason and uh anthony can i make you guys my co-host just to to make sure that people get in here just so i don’t have i’m gonna make you yeah of course all right thanks i’m gonna make anthony i’m gonna put you on point for uh for co-hosting uh sounds good i’ll be looking for people yeah great all right let’s get back to it and all right sharing the screen so sign up to uh sign up to our uh our news group uh on october 27th wednesday october 27th join us for a discussion about celebrity and fame what is it how do people get it how do people keep it uh it is a uh an outgrowth of some of the work that i’m doing with ryan again to join us sign up for our email list or you can rsvp by emailing me at at in the coming uh weeks we have more great programming so put it on your calendar after uh the uh the the presentation on fame we’re bringing in some outside experts clayton childress from the university of toronto and dana weinberger going to talk about the writing business uh and then the following week hannah wall from berkeley is going to discuss creativity she just put out a very well regarded book on creativity we’re very excited to have her and then on november 12th steve von d’oran from van doren legal that’s a a law firm that represents content creators specifically we’ll come in to talk about the legal issues that you have to contemplate or be aware of when you are engaging in content creation i will tell you of everything that i’ve learned since starting this project the legal stuff was the biggest shock and the most uh important stuff it turned out uh so uh again a very very recommended uh session but today we are going to be talking about the art and craft of hosting a podcast and i want to start off by uh setting the stage with the original mc the people ceremony error all right this is like the oldest the oldest you know running currently running or unbroken professiona you know maybe is the the uh the antecedent of the podcast host is the people ceremonial and it is a person who is charged in the vatican with orchestrating all of this ceremony that takes place involving the pope okay it’s the person who is vested with the role of orchestrating the execution of a public event and um ceremonies those who know them apparently i’ve gone into the uh literature on this there are some who are very well regarded the stagecraft of the papacy is apparently a very big thing i had no idea and uh pictured here is a turn of the century ceremony oh i forgot his name i don’t have it but he’s very well regarded but the thing that i wanted the reason i’m presenting the the people ceremony area to set the stages to give you a sense of what hosting is at its root take a look at you know some of the oldest instantiations of that profession and this is one of them a ceremony air is what we call a master of ceremony an emcee and in podcasting the host very much plays that role what do podcast hosts do well let’s start off with uh by asking you guys so uh i i i guess those of you who are here are interested in podcasting when you envision yourself hosting like what do hosts do are there any in your view uh what does a host do what’s the role what makes for a good host if a host is doing their job well what do they do anthony go ahead uh in my opinion a host is uh curating a story or or giving away not necessarily telling a story but making sure that a story is being told or a conversation is going in a certain direction they’re uh curating that’s the word that just comes to my head uh the events of the podcast of the show of the ceremony they’re making sure things are going according to plan all right so so it’s like a state it’s stagecraft it’s like directing the flow of events and making sure that they’re going in the direction that you want yeah all right oscar in the same vein a host is somebody that’s kind of like they’re hosting an event they’re inviting other people along to just kind of see what they have to offer they’re the ones that are sort of like running this place they’re they’re running the event so while the guests are the ones that are somewhat the main focus of every individual episode the host is the one that sort of like pieces it together they’re the one that provide the questions uh make sure that it’s going at a smooth pace you know making sure everyone’s voice is heard so it’s like they’re uh they’re there to sort of ensure that the showcase you know runs as planned is accessible is a place that you want to go to basically is is orchestrating the audience experience absolutely yeah i like that i like that a lot jason i was going to add that depending on the style of podcast and how big the enterprise is um the host is very much the tone setter so creating a hospitable environment that will put guests at ease so that they’re they want to open up and go places maybe they didn’t even expect to go and then on the other end um making it inviting for an audience yeah i love that it it it is though so i i wanted to start with two views on what hosts do uh in terms of roles and where they are in the podcasting process because um in podcasts podcasts are often one person enterprises or small enterprises where someone does everything and i wanted to pinpoint exactly what we’re talking about when we’re talking about hosting because hosting is only one of the many jobs that has to be done so one way to think about hosting is it’s a role in a creative enterprise right so when you have a creative enterprise there are people who put on different hats right there’s an executive producer who runs the organization hires the people uh works on setting the larger tone of the enterprise and then there are producers these are people who might conceive and shepherd individual shows or segments they help with the research they do the booking they might do the editing after the fact and the host now often many of the creators that ryan and i come into contact with play the role of executive producer producer and host but the host very specifically in multi-person operations is a type of performer it is sort of the face of the individual shows and of the series and it’s a a type of performance job in which you create um the raw material from which the final episode will be will be stitched together and then finally there’s the sound engineer which is where a lot of our interns are right now you know working the programs uh making sure it sounds good putting the audio together so you can think of it as a role it’s a performative role and i think everybody’s keyed into that right it is an organizational role at least organizational in the studio the other way to think about it is as a specific role that is part of the larger podcast creation process and and i i find it helpful to think of it like this a host job is to generate the content from which the final show will be created right so when you are a host you’re not really putting on a live show but rather your job is to create the raw materials from which an excellent episode will be created either from your own performance or by setting the stage so that the guest can produce something of value concretely the jobs that hosts do that there are lots of different jobs that a host can take there are different ways that podcasts can be organized but uh my sense is that uh all of their jobs there are at least four basic functions that hosts play or commonly play in a podcast enterprise uh so the first thing that they do is hold on the the the first thing that they do is they uh write and develop content so in podcasts the host will often play a role in writing the content if there’s any scripted material and even if they don’t write the scripts hosts will often have to adapt the scripted material to make sure that what they’re supposed to say is adapted to their performance strengths or their performance styles so even if a podcast host isn’t uh writing all of the material they will have a role in the writing process by making sure that the script is something that they can work with something that sounds good coming out of their mouth something that reflects the voice that they’re trying to establish and then in a lot of cases podcasts generate the raw material from which they’re created they do it through improvisation they do it improvisationally and in that sense a podcast creator is very much uh you know part of a part of the writing the material but it’s a different type of skill in addition to helping shape what is said a podcast host uh shapes the how things are said or the feel and the pace of of an episode and that’s what i think that’s what jason was coming uh coming from in his in part partly in his comments uh podcasters are or the podcast host is a performer it’s a character on the stage it’s uh it is a part of uh it is part of the experience that draws people uh to a podcast it’s part of what people attach uh how people attach to a podcast um shows have personalities and you as a podcast host will be the uh biggest factor in creating the personality of that show so you’re a performer in in in addition to being a content developer the third important role that hosts do is they direct the recording session so often it is the job of the host to make sure that interactions are orderly right that everybody isn’t talking at the same time that people are talking on topic that things aren’t meandering they also play a role in establishing the pace and the tone of the recording session and a big part of it at least for me i found is uh coaching and putting your co-performers at ease the the podcast especially when you interview people who are not professional performers themselves are used to being in the media um part of the job that you have as a podcast host is finding a way that you’re so that your guest can shine so that your guests can give their best material contribute the best that they have to offer because the better the raw material the better the episode and then finally and this is one that’s in the literature i don’t i don’t know about it as much and i don’t know what to think about it but i’m gonna put it in there for many podcast scholars they see hosts as playing a very important role in audience relations like they’re the human face of the franchise they are the person who is a stand-in for everybody who is doing work on a show and they’re a point of contact contact for the audience so the way you’re like the show’s ambassador you uh you know you’re you’re who people gravitate to and you are uh uh uh sort of you are a spokesperson for it and and what people feel of you those those feelings will move on to the podcast enterprise so you want to be able to uh develop positive relationships because you play a role in that so the first thing is what do podcasters do to review uh the first piece they write the content they are performers they direct they direct the recording sessions and they act as the public face of a franchise and so as a host specifically not when you’re wearing your producer’s hat or your executive producers hat or your sound engineers at but when you’re wearing your host hat those are four of the big tasks that you are responsible for um let me stop here and just ask if any of my collaborators have comments or anything to add did i miss anything on what podcast hosts do is there anything in there you think to add or to comment on uh i could offer one yeah i feel like it’s important for a host to do some research and keep the content fresh and relevant because it’s your job to as the host not only are you writing the script but you also you should also put piece together the information that you should be gathering you know you have to know what you want to ask guests uh for when they get brought on absolutely absolutely you know there’s a uh we’re gonna go to that point because it’s a very good point and it’s one that i i definitely believe it’s true before i move on though well let me ask you this let me ask you this let’s move to the next question because i think it’s sort of it uh uh oscar’s comment is a good springboard hold on i just lost my zoom i just lost the zoom toolbar don’t cheat when that happens alright there we go let me ask you this your opinions how do you host well is there a right way to host and a wrong way to host and what do you feel distinguishes good posts from your run-of-the-mill host uh let me let me let me let me go back to the discussion does anybody want to share uh information on someone who they love or what type of you know podcaster they like listening to do you feel there or do you feel like there’s not a right way to host what’s your view oscar i feel like one oh i feel like one way that’s definitely good to host is just knowing how to go with the flow you know obvi going scripted is obviously important but you can’t just try to control exactly how you want this podcast to go if a discussion goes one way you just gotta flow with it otherwise it’ll feel stilted and just kind of uh you know a little robotic and nobody wants to hear a bunch of robots talk they want to hear people talk going with the flow making sure that the show isn’t about the podcaster and of course it’s about the guests that you bring on i think that i like that i think that’s true any other views on what differentiates a a good from a bad podcast or a good host from a bad host in your view any views oh jason i would just build on what oscar’s saying uh first of all you know it’s a matter of taste so some there’s some things you like some some things you don’t know name this person but there’s a podcast host whose voice i find incredibly irritating but the person is very uh well prepared and has really like the narratives are excellent and so i still manage to be in you know so there can be kind of pros and cons i will say the one thing i uh like building on oscar’s first comment is being informed to me is make or break there are all these podcasts out there where it’s like um we’re a bunch of friends and we think our opinions are interesting and we’re going to sit around and talk about it that’s so boring yeah i i want somebody to know something you know yeah so i for definitely preparation is extremely important um and a lot of what you what comes across to the listener as improvised or off-the-cuff material is in fact has some very substantial planning elements to it and the improvisation is happening along a much narrower band of you know topics or issues than you might realize i’m going to show you how i go about doing that in my own podcast but in general it’s so wait before i continue i will say that when you read up on podcasting or when you go to other seminars i think there are many people who feel who have a very strong view of there’s a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this for example jason and i we we went to peek in on a seminar on uh vocal techniques for podcasters and we had a guy tell us that we should all be talking in a calm natural npr way uh that’s what i gathered at least he was like yeah you know you don’t want to sound radio announcer-ish you know no wcbs let me doubt you for this but like my sense of his advice and when we’ve interviewed people with media experience in the project with ryan it’s been my experience that people who come at podcasting from a big organization or from legacy media have a very strong view have stronger views about how people should or should not do things and i have a theory that part of the reason they do that is because they are used to working in an environment with very strong externally imposed editorial or performative guidelines and those guidelines are already designed to satisfy an existing audience so that chill and pr sound is probably great for the people who listen to npr right but i don’t know if that’s good always i could imagine a lot of scenarios where like some hep you know some peppy radio announcer voice is effective or does draw people in so i don’t know if there are so so many hard and fast rules and i know people have them but here’s my opinion and feel free to disagree with me um sorry i’m having a delay here in my view there are only two absolute necessities and i didn’t put preparation in here but i’ll explain why in a second i think it is possible to have something improvised that’s good at least once in a while but without preparation you’re just hoping to win a lotto ticket or pull it off it’s like it’s like giving that speech at school when you didn’t do the homework like once in a while you might pull it off but like you should always be preparing and jason i think i should even have this on it but here’s my here’s what i think are two big necessities one is clear distraction free speaking and two is the capacity to orchestrate usable moments let me explain so for speaking i feel like the only rule is that you should not impose a job on your listeners to listen to you should not give them reasons to you know find it difficult to hear what you’re saying so clear speech is just clear articulation trying to get rid of distracting noises or aspects of your uh speech that might pull people’s attention away from the topic of the show or what you’re trying to say and then you have to develop the ability to develop orderly lines of thinking in your own speech and orderly discussion when you’re managing other people so rather than just being meandering and letting people interrupt and just making it a battle royale free-for-all hosting well uh involves the ability to create a recording session that generates a conversation that people can follow that has a main point that isn’t hard to listen to um that isn’t annoying in some way although jason makes the point that sometimes there are people whose speaking styles you don’t like and you you listen anyways do you want to add anything to that jason or disagree or qualify no i think that’s right the only the one thing i would just emphasize is that uh the word distraction there i think is key and and one way to think about anything about a podcast is is this thing engaging or is it distracting and where something’s distracting that’s where you want to work differently or you want to do something in post you know um and i think just keeping that in mind is a great rule of thumb i think that’s true yeah distraction because destruction is pulling you off the activity that you’ve convened people to to come experience then the second thing is uh a good host has the capacity to orchestrate usable moments right and this is where preparation comes in and we’ll talk about it but that means you delivering a strong performance you being a person on stage who people like who does something that’s meaningful who does something that rewards like ads personally adds something that makes coming to the podcast worth the audience’s time uh it can be it can stem from uh improvising quality moments improvising now when i say usable or quality moments what i mean is you’re creating moments on the audio recording where in post-production people are like oh that’s great we gotta include that that was funny that was informative that was rewarding somehow so what you’re doing in the recording session is you’re trying to create moments that reward the listener and you can think of it as you’re creating candidates for whoever is doing post-production to choose it doesn’t all have to be great it’s okay if a joke doesn’t land it’s okay if a a question uh doesn’t work out because all of that can be uh taken out in post-production it’s not a live stage show so remember you’re creating raw materials and there are some concrete uh implications to that for example you can contrive you can talk to the guest on real time it’s not a live show so if you go to backstage talk with the guest you’re like hey would you like to tell this story now or hey would it be interesting for us to discuss this the pod the guest could be like yeah i’d love that or or i have a good story that i’d like to tell you just take that out and pretend like it came up organically in post-production so remember you’re not in a live performance when you’re hosting you’re in a recording session and you’re not creating the whole show by yourself you’re collaborating with whoever does post-production so what you should be focused on is creating good moments from which a good final cut of your episode can be developed but beyond those basics i think you have a lot of latitude um i think it is my personal view and this is just a personal views to take it with a grain of salt given that media is fragmenting so much wrong sort of all of our attention is spreading to these really micro targeted uh these really micro targeted specialty outlets who knows what will you know who knows what will attract people and what won’t you know we don’t have to have huge audiences you just want audiences who love you and who knows what there’s going to break so give yourself the ability or the latitude to experiment try weird things try different things my advice to you is one start with your authentic self start with who you are one because you can’t fake it two because everybody has something interesting and audiences who gravitate towards you might will probably be some somewhat like people who would gravitate towards you in real life so but you want to be a little more polished uh than you are you know you want to speak a little more articulately maybe you know a little more clearly a little more a little more professional but still be yourself take risks uh and uh remember that your unique character will help define the series of the franchise so you know part of who you are will be part of your podcast so be who you are and then just see who gravitates towards your franchise now over time your hosting persona within a series will evolve right you don’t you’re not the same person in every series who you are your persona in a series partly depends on the series and start with your authentic self start by asking what would i like to talk about if i were to meet this guest what would i like to ask if i you know that that’s how i do it and then just experiment with who you are and over time you will uh figure out you know what attitude or personality you want to project or what speaking or performance style works for you what rhetorical devices can you use that will help get you through interviews and help contrive good material and developing general interview techniques a lot of people talk about authenticity but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from others right so listen to other people and borrow tricks you like it’s not fake to learn from experienced people and it’s not inauthentic for you to adopt stylistic decisions that you appreciate right like you’re not going to go in and try to be tim ferriss you’re not going to go in and do an exact replica of uh terry gross but like if terry gross does something and you like it well you know use it you won’t like everything that terry gross likes and the things that you do like about terry gross are partly a reflection of what you like because you chose to gravitate towards them um oh margaret writes i think terry gross of mpr is excellent she prods the guest but she’s polite i love terry gross too right um but there are other formats where maybe politeness wouldn’t work you know sometimes there are some hard debating shows where everybody’s like edgy and at each other and that’s you know the audience must want some type of discussional bloodbath and so the the franchise will deliver it right uh so you want to emulate what you like of people but you also want to make sure it fits what you’re going for and if you like terry gross and you like somebody who’s polite i’m guessing margaret you’re somebody who’s polite you know and you like that type of discussion and if you were to run a podcast you would run it like that as well because that’s who you are you’re gravitating towards what you like at least that’s my suspicion without knowing you very well one thing’s for sure and jason makes this point you need to be prepared people who are not prepared in a recording session will babble they’re statements will often be more aimless the course of the discussion will often be more aimless and it will let look less like a carefully choreographed staging and it will look more just like uh you know some random collection of people getting together i have a couple tips for preparation then i’m going to show you how i do it the way i do it is not the way to do it it’s just what’s worked for me all right so a couple tips hold on before this comes up so a couple tips you should always be prepared always and start by knowing the show okay your preparation should be oriented towards uh creating a show that is consistent with the show’s general format what the show tries to achieve in general you you should be preparing to speak to the interests of people who listen who you know to listen to the show so start your show prep by knowing the show understanding the show the other thing to think about going into preparation is to understand the episode’s goals you know generally you’ll be the one who planned the show but if you aren’t if you worked with a producer ask the producer what is their goal also learn about the guest why is the guest here what does the guest want to accomplish being sensitive to those things will help you create an environment where the guests can be at their best and the guest walks away satisfied uh and at least in my field for my show i serve a pretty closed that available walk away satisfied from your show you will not have as much trouble getting guests in the future but it’s easy to get a bad reputation and be in a situation where you know you either have to draw from a pool of people who have no way of ever having heard of you you know or people who don’t care talk to your guests ask questions seek their input and the first step so once you have that information what i do at least is i start with a general sense of where i want to go in the episode what interests me what will interest my audience and i’ll try to get an understanding of what needs to be covered and then from that general road map i think of questions topics monologues and a dose let me give you a concrete example so this is a depiction of a process that i went through uh in preparing for an interview with a guest called adam sles and adam is an expert on 19th century populism so he’s a political historian and adam wrote a book on populism american populism in the 19th century in the midwest okay and i was interested in it because of trump i was like oh wow we could learn about populism maybe we can get some you know window into trump by asking how populism occurred in the past that was my personal interest so i was aware of that and then i thought well what would my audience like my audience would i know my audience well and that’s an important part of hosting i know they care about methodology so i put that on my you know to-do list and i wanted to give adam the chance to talk about his book so you create a a a brainstorm list of of uh ideas and then you try to think of a sequence of it so i came up from my interview with adam i decided on four steps the first step always is setting up the episode by making sure that people in my podcast at least so by making sure that people understand basic terms or they understand the basic concept so they can follow it’s just a way of getting everybody on the same page so all of my episodes it’s formulaic i start off by setting the stage for everybody and then strategically at the second stage i went into the history of populism and the main reason i did that was i knew that adam was doing a lot of book talks and i wanted to put him at ease and i knew that adam wanted to talk about the book so i wanted to basically get out of my guests started by talking about something that he’s comfortable with by making sure that what adam wanted to get out of the episode was there at the start and i wanted to create a situation where you know adam was comfortable and happy and i wanted to get us towards uh you know a loose engaged discussion and that’s the method that i chose in planning that episode the third part uh i spoke about methodology in part because i thought it would be the it’s just part of my mandate i we like to talk about methodology and i figured that would be sort of the slowest one i kept it short but i wanted it in there and then finally i ended with trumpism because i thought that that’s what interested me i think a lot of people would have been waiting to hear about it and trump gave it was a topic that could have gone in any number of directions and then i thought we could just go for it so do you see what i’m doing there take a look at what i’m doing so i had a guest i had my own goals and i knew what the guest wanted and i knew what my audience likes i brainstormed a list of steps that the discussion could take and then i settled on four big steps or segments in the interview and that gave me a road map and i talked to adam before gave him the opportunity to you know chew on stuff think about it but there was a path and because i had a path i was able to direct the discussion because i knew where we were going and then after that what i do is i set up a script but i don’t go by the script what i do is so if you take a look i i just did a screenshot i was trying to be stylized but i guess i didn’t do a good job so up here here can you see this on the screen so this is part of the introduction this is where i start off all of my episodes by talking about why i invited the person and what i thought was interesting so that part i was reading that was pure script and then what i did under that this is the first step the where i established the common ground and i asked and i listed out questions and i didn’t read them in order it was more like there was a pool of questions that i could draw to and i just picked what felt right at the moment so i didn’t go through a script in a hard way but rather i created a pool of questions from which i could draw on my feet or some anecdotes or some comments that i could draw on while the recording was going on so so for example here i have a question what is populism but then i i came up with a little bit and i just made a decision i forget if i used it or not okay for each step in the path i’ll try to think of questions stories uh anecdotes discussions just try to get a mix of stuff because you’re really you’re managing an interaction rather than acting out a script and then what you do is you let that pool of questions and that road map be your guide i want to stop there so uh are there any questions so far on show prep at this phase i would say hold on let me just make sure here any comments hold up jason yeah i’m thinking of terry gross uh i think it’s really instructive to listen to the variety of prompts she gives her guests and i say prompts because it’s all questions right and she occasionally asks a long question but most of them are quite short so like for she had quest love on this last week he has a new book out this amazing book that’s called music is history each year uh uses a song for for each year he uses a song as a lens for thinking about that year of his life and uh i these are not these these are hypothetical but she varies things like for example i mean here’s one question she could vary a few ways that she tends to do um so you grow up in a show business family what was that like or you grew up in a show business family tell me about that she often says tell me about that um or she could simply say you grew up in a showbiz family and see what he says right or um you know for the year um 1988 you talk about public enemies fear of a black planet stop right and then see what happens if you’re not always asking a very directive question you’ll get surprising things out of your guest right and that and that’s where i think when you’re talking about show prep the host at that point is in a combination of roles producer and interviewer and those aren’t exactly the same thing some shows have separate people doing those jobs right so i think it’s useful to think about that and then also because i’m teaching podcasting i’m hearing from my students quite a bit if you’re if you’re not a person who’s done much public speaking i’m hearing from them that it’s actually takes a an enormous amount of practice for them to sound like themselves huh what do you mean by that like uh their inclination is to over perform yup or hold back you know one of those two things a lot of them are doing um and and they don’t like it right so and they’re sort of practicing finding the thing that actually sounds to them like a person they recognize you know that’s awesome that’s all you know but that i think that’s what i was trying to get at when i was like just let your persona develop like be patient with yourself yeah you know chances are even you though you feel you sound a little bit robotic it’s fine you know you don’t hate on you’ve heard people speak a little bit robotic it doesn’t destroy you know the experience and you’ll get better you know and it’s also like people again i think we talked about this in a previous session most people are very forgiving and you’ll find that most people have something nice to say and it’s very easy to get fixated on maybe the one jerk who says something but like don’t ryan you want to say something yeah um all this is so interesting because i didn’t really think about uh interviewing in in these ways that you guys are talking about it but then when you when you speak of in these terms it really makes me realize why i like certain interviewers like terry gross right i know we keep coming back to her but she’s kind of like the goat of you know interviewing right and the greatest of all time i mean right and the one thing that she does that you know jason was just pointing out too the way she leads people i think there’s a couple things she does that are really great she’s and maybe this is related to her being comfortable with her public speaking self that she puts everyone at ease everyone seems so comfortable when they’re interviewing with her right and and then that allows them to with her prompts to get them to open up about stuff that they’re not really originally there for right like she will get the content of a book just so the viewers know what’s going on but then she always gets something extra out of them you know maybe it’s like oh you grew up in that family what was that like that probably that maybe wasn’t in the book right but maybe it was but it gets something extra out of them and i think that your last slide had a lot of that too right the way you laid it out i think was great you kind of got the the essence of the book then you kind of get them comfortable talking about what they’re comfortable about and then you kind of introduce the the connection to trump which was something extra maybe that wasn’t in the book so i think there’s a lot of formula here i never really thought about it until you guys laid it out now that being said i think there’s as you said there’s styles that are different right yeah i mean terry gross doing sports radio would not work in fact i i find it infuriating when npr talks about sports because they just they just don’t do it right you know or if espn talks about politics if they don’t do it right so there is something about the style there that’s across uh that doesn’t always work for everything that’s good jason yeah just um to go on terry gross for a minute she does an interview on jesse thorne’s podcast the turnaround which is where he interviews famous interviewers and it’s interesting to hear her talk about how her persona her persona has evolved over time in really making joe’s point and she talks about and and we hear a little bit of older npr footage from her where she does sound quite different actually and much not nearly as loose um and then she describes some examples of early work she did that was bad but it’s also interesting to notice the interplay between um between jessie thorne and terry gross because terry gross she might reveal a little bit about herself during an interview like something like she’ll say i’m short or something or or occasionally she might be like i have a husband but you know she’s not telling you her her painful emotional experience right but jesse thorne it intros the show by saying i had a migraine that day i was interviewing my hero i was mortified i think i probably did a terrible job i can’t listen to it right and he like a few times he kind of apologizes to terry gross during the interview and he pulls it off because it’s part of his persona you know that’s it’s able to do that he reveals himself in general um so just to note that it’s there’s not a question of what’s right or wrong it’s a question of what fits yeah also like um one thing that you mentioned with terry gross that i i wish i had given more examples was when we were talking about rhetorical tax that you can assume yeah like just the the statement without a question just laying down a statement that’s actually that’s a rhetorical tactic right that is a way of developing a communication that is designed to discombobulate or provoke something but she’s asking things in a strategic way and the more podcasters you listen to or the more you pay attention to the art of interviewing you’ll pick up tricks you know i remember once for example i was listening to a sports podcast and somebody made an outlandish claim and the coast was like do you really believe that and it really threw the guests you know off and then they started doing it and i was like oh i totally gotta try the do you believe it move in my podcast and it totally worked and i’m not saying like the do you believe it move is it in and of itself not a great move but the point is to see these things as moves to see them as like tricks or hacks or tax and try them out for yourself because again what you’re trying to do is create interesting moments is to create super moments and as a host that’s why you can’t do it formulaically like there’s there’s a human element to this and what works for me will not work for other people so you also have to think about what works for me right like i’m sure if i was like super a super handsome guy or whatever i could be flirty and that would work it would it would be very bad in my situation in my podcast you know doing research in that type of environment so there’s no hard and fast tricks you’ve got to figure out tricks that work for you that help build your persona jason is your hand up her okay just take it down i also here i wanted to just make this point it is true that a good show is about the uh is about the guest however there have been times where a guest for me has not panned out as well as i hope sometimes you get guests and you know they’re great when they’re in written form and you meet them and you’re like oh you’re not a conversationalist in a way a host can be a backup and i underscore backup performer in the sense that when i go into an episode i try to have some original material that has some redeeming value i try to create a setup that is has a nugget that might be illuminating or thought provoking or might be funny i try to think of stories that i can tell that the audience might enjoy or might find funny in and of themselves and so if the guest is someone who fails to generate a lot of quality material and that happens uh maybe at least your material will have some redeeming value now that’s a risky move it’s a move that you can do well i don’t know it’s a i mean it’s a risky move but you’re putting yourself out there and and in some measure i think podcast audiences go there for the host and so think of yourself you don’t want to be the primary content producer there’s nothing worse than a host who has a show about themselves but think of yourself as a backup performer someone who can just stick some nuggets in there to maybe either spice up an already great dish or to i don’t know you know what they mean but uh yes uh oscar i mean just depending on the guest some people just sort of feel more comforted if they it’s the difference between like making somebody feel like they’re just having a conversation versus we’re live on stage get ready uh you’re gonna be speaking to thousands of people and we want to know exactly what you want to know so how is it with the camera just sort of pushed into their face as they’re talking you know uh obviously it’s that part where you’re trying to make them feel comforted but by the end of the day being a good backup performer is letting them know we got backup you’re not doing this alone yep sometimes too you know listen you can tell a story and if your host finds it funny or thought provoking it might cause them to follow up like if if the material that you’re bringing if the anecdotes the stories the questions are good chances are the guest is gonna like him too or at least there’s a chance the guest will like him and if you can expose the guests to sort of a new tack or something and they enjoy it and it provokes them to talk well that’s how you can get that heated up discussion right that’s how you can get that free-flowing discussion let’s see jason do you want to uh yeah i just put link in the chat to an alternative style of editing that can sometimes deal with the question of uh whether the guest was vibrant or not and this actually i mean in this episode i don’t think that was the issue but it’s it’s pretty interesting what they do here so um switched on pop is a music a pop music podcast hosted by a songwriter and a musicologist whose names are nate sloane and charlie harding and they did an episode on bts the k-pop group’s big summer hit butter and they’re analyzing it from uh you know a musicology perspective and then they bring in one the primary songwriter um and they’re not all in a room with her having a discussion and so they edit it like this they say um things like her name’s jenna andrews jenna told me how the process got started and then they just let her talk for a while right and then and they don’t they’ve edited out entirely their part of the conversation have re-recorded it and edited it together and then they do something else um in the second half of it you know bts has like huge super fans who are also cree content creators of the k-pop world right they make so one of the one of the creator roles is translator so somebody who translates the music from korean to other languages um and they they introduced this super fan by saying one of bts’s super fans has called us out because we’ve only done episodes on their english hits and so we she’s right and we decided to talk to her and then something happens there that’s really important is these two white guys now have a korean guest who’s a super fan and a translator who becomes the expert and is schooling them on no you know um but again they edit it that same way um they don’t they don’t pretend they’re talking to her live they they edit it in by saying you know uh borah told us about why translators are so important in the k-pop world and then it’s just some audio of her saying that so that’s nice one i love that because it’s true again like the interview is the raw material and you can spin it a bunch of ways and you should always have the availability of post-production in mind for sure and then i also like you know i love i i i also believe in uh having a very humble attitude going in because humility you know it makes you interesting and just about everybody has interesting knowledge that i you know i don’t everybody has something interesting piece of knowledge that i don’t possess or a view that has merits over mine and it’s i think it’s always great even when you have just a super fan i’m sure they got something and if they don’t come up with anything you can cut them out in post-production anyways so it’s like no lose um i love that that’s actually that’s a cool concept so i put the i i on youtube i also reposted that a great mention all right we’re running out of time i just have a couple other points on hosting always remember okay so uh a couple more points one always remember that coaching guests is part of the job your episodes will work best when you find a way to get people to give you their a material right that’s how i always see it like i always feel like i have an author and they got there they got some great material locked up in there and i have to find a way to contrive the experience of the recording session to get them in an emotional place to get them in a mental place where they’re going to give me all their best stuff and come up with some great stuff give me the their best improv improvisational efforts they’ll give me the best delivery they’ll mine their you know they’ll they’ll put in the most effort um make sure though don’t assume that your guests know what to do guests can often be very nervous and it’s very helpful to just tell them not just before the recording session but during the recording session tell them that they can interrupt any time be like listen you’re not live this is all in post-production you can ask me a question anytime you don’t want to talk about something let me know we just will take out whatever you don’t want and i find that puts guests in more of a place of ease and check in with them during the recording session and and don’t be afraid to ask them what direction they they they think the the the the podcast discussion should take uh you’re co-creating so think of it as you guess you’re bringing somebody in and you’re making a show together it’s different from a live event because you can take away all that backstage talk take advantage of that the other thing to remember is to know when to fold them and what i mean by that is when you record a podcast it will feel very different from how a podcast sounds and it’s the difference between uh it’s the difference between uh a rough draft and a published draft of a book right and what will happen is you’ll be talking with people and then eventually you know when you get to the part of the discussion where everybody’s like yeah and you got nothing else to say and it just peters out sometimes well one the experience of that i have found can distress audiences they’re like they feel like they did something wrong when a discussion peters out you know and he got nothing to say but that’s so not the truth the truth is is that i always edit out essays to discussion points to end them while they’re running hot and i introduce the next topic right after and so it gives the impression of a really intense discussion where people just were fully engaged and nothing petered out in the in the whole hour but really the session was an hour and a half and i just took i got rid of all of the uh bad moments or the moments when people just ran out of stuff to talk about so let discussion topics run their course when a conversation dies down go into your repository of anecdotes and questions and pull something else out and then when you feel you’ve run out of topics wrap up the session remember it’s not a live show you can take out all of the awkward silences and then uh finally uh the last point to make and then we’ll adjourn is remember the host is the face of the franchise there are many people who go in to uh who who who contribute to making a show like the joe rogan experience or fresh air with terry gross when we imagine it we think terry gross is doing everything personally and that the show’s her and we you know because we tend to personalize our relationships with media people that we interact with we tend to imagine them as personal relationships and we draw analogies between how we would interact with people in everyday life and the media we consume but like terry gross is the face of a franchise joe rogan is the face of a franchise they’re not involved in every decision they don’t do every job but they are there and as ambassadors of the franchise there’s a lot of things that you can do to forward the franchise social media crossover events what i mean is appearing on other people’s podcasts uh you know writing blogs and things like that and doing other promotional stuff so i think i’ll stop there uh are does anybody have any anything else to add anybody on the panel any comments questions anything i missed anything you disagree with uh i could uh sometimes i just think a podcast should just be fun you know like well depending on obviously what the purpose is you know if you’re trying to run like a professional more business related thing you know you do you and you do what’s important but if it’s just something on a light subject there’s just just enjoy it you know no point in running a show if you just feel passionless about it that’s for sure although always prepared right oh yeah definitely it’s like the fun but it is and it can look spontaneous but there should be careful orchestration but i have to say i i think ryan will agree with me uh podcasting and other web 2.0 platforms like blogging and youtubing and things like that the number one thing that keeps franchises alive is the creator’s passion to keep creating and you won’t want to create unless you’re having a good time so always make sure that you enjoy it because it won’t last if if you don’t enjoy it any other comments or anything to add ryan jason anthony bernard margaret well all right so let me just finish off with a message all right so hold on wait for my share screen to activate all right so uh a final word uh this presentation is part of the queen’s podcast labs learning series these are free educational resources that are brought to you by the state and city of new york these are your tax dollars at work our work creates free public resources non-commercial scholarly 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