All entries for Friday 31 March 2006

March 31, 2006

Warwick Podcast – 10th podcast released!

Writing about web page

We released the 10th Warwick Podcast today – Shaun Breslin talking about the development of China.

With another 3 already in the pipeline for next week (gulp) this is really ramping up for us as a communications channel.

Chris May surprised me the other week when he casually mentioned that we'd had 400 downloads that week of mp3 files from the site. I was pretty happy with that considering that we had limited promotion of the service to the University website and listings in a few podcast directories.

A quick calculation – 400 downloads a week for 6 months at an average of 20 minutes each = about 200,000 minutes of content.

Now I know that's crap maths (sorry to any maths or stats people) – but hey, this is PR so I am going to go with that :-)

I'd like to invite anyone who's listened to the podcasts to let us know what they think and what things they'd like to hear about. We are keen to make the casts as interactive as we can and comments help us improve what we do. Richard and I have a particular approach to this – may be right, may be wrong, but we are open to suggestion.

So far my tips for Podcasting are:

1. Keep it as short as you can – under 30 mins is great! Most radio programmes seem to work in short chunks of around 12 minutes. A Radio 4 programme is usually broken into chunks of around 25 minutes. I would guess that there are very good reasons for this.

2. Be relevant – We work very hard to try and relate content to topics and issues of general interest – especially news agenda items. It kind of makes things more interesting and demonstrates that Universities have something to say about broader societal issues. It's not enough to just record a bunch of lectures and expect that to be interesting.

3. Write down your intro and first question – boy does this make recording easier. Flying by the seat of your pants may be exciting but it makes editing suck.

4. Try and use a proper recording venue – the studio on campus is great as it is specifcally designed for this sort of thing.

5. If you don't have a recording studio or need to quickly re-record a question you can quickly rig up a little booth by getting three padded chairs to form an open-ended cube and crouching with your head in the middle alongside the recorder – this worked really well and made Richard and I feel ever so clever when we figured it out.

6. Don't edit out all your mistakes. Umms, Aaahs and similar help keep the recording human. If you want it to sound natural you have to leave some of this stuff in.

7. Don't try and sound smarter that your interviewee – nor should you think you can crush them with your carefully planned questions. You won't get many people agreeing to come back if you try and humiliate them – you are not Jeremy Paxman.

March 2006

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