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November 22, 2014 by johnnyseifertradio

This morning I was sitting at my desk trying to be healthy eating Midfields Granola mixed with Greek Yogurt and honey with some blueberries and it got me thinking. Why is it that I am eating non-commercial granola especially made to cater for my tastes? The owner Sharon Davies told me that she has found a way to make a profitable-business out of something so simple as oats. In Britain we are very fussy people and Sharon has come up with variations of granola to target different audiences. For example, you can have nuts or you can have it nut free. You can have gluten or you can have gluten free and so on.


Secondly, earlier this week I visited my  dear model- friend Amy Zwirn who has turned her hobby of baking into a profitable business by baking in her house and selling her products under her business ‘Amy’s Bakes, Bars and Bits’. Amy bakes cakes, cookies, bars and everything in between out of a normal convectional oven using her own utensils that she already had. The cost to start up this business is low, she is selling foods that everyone craves and yet she is having fun.

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So, relating this to our world of radio this got me thinking about the idea of podcasting. The only podcasts I knew where the podcasts that gave you the highlights of a radio show. For example, on BBC Radio 1, Greg James has a podcast weekly that showcases his features and then extra content so that you feel part of a little exclusive club away from the everyday dipping in and out radio listeners. In short, a podcast is audio that can be downloaded and listened at one’s own time usually with straight audio without music due to PRS restrictions. As Matt Deegan, Folded Media stated “Podcasting has evolved in a strange way. Its roots come from RSS – website feeds that you subscribe to, so you get the content in a feed reader – like Google Reader or Netvibes, without having to visit the website each day.” There are many different types of podcasts that exist that are usually known through word of mouth. For example, in the USA there is a series called ‘Serial’.


From the creators of An American Life, Sarah Koening narrates a story over several Serial podcasts episodes that describes the unsolved murder of a person named Hae Min Lee to find out the true killer. The podcasts vary in length with some being fifty three minutes to some being thirty six minutes. Helen Zaltzman from the Answer Me Podcast recently spoke at the Student Radio London Training Day and stated that her ‘Answer Me This’ podcasts were timed by the length of a car journey. Her podcasts along with her friend Olly Mann answers questions that you just do not expect to usually get asked. By recording the podcasts in her flat it becomes a cheap way of producing quality audio which is more about the talent then it is about the studio set up such as recording on Ipads.  As it is a podcast it leads to their being no time constraints as obviously you do not need commercial breaks or travel news splitting up the segments. Back to Serial, the narration of the story is different to an audio book as audio is inserted from locations such as police interview room and a classroom which makes the narration become more real as it is multi-layered over the locations. In addition, instrumental music is used to create an atmosphere and set the mood in contrast to using popular CHR and AC songs that takes the audience away from the story and into hearing their favourite songs to start getting happy and singing along to. Again with Midfields Granola and Amy’s Bakes, Bars and Bits, the costs are relatively low and they are funded by a company who are advertised both before and after the episode. This idea of producing podcasts whilst finding a full time job led me to Podium.Me.

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Podium. Me is headed up by the inspiring Camilla Byrk, Cheeka Eyers and Penny Bell. These three beautiful women (inside and out) volunteer each week in their homes to remotely help 220 journalists between 16-24 who share a passion for telling personal stories that have affected them that week. This week I attended their conference at Thomson Reuters, Canary Wharf with speakers including Louisa Compton, Editor of BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat,  Steve Ackerman from Somethin’ Else, David Terris, MD of IRN along with Emma Barnett and Victoria Derbyshire both from BBC Five Live. Each speaker interpreted journalist, radio and telling stories in a different way of which I will serialise in blogs to follow. I have only been with Podium less than a month but the encouragement they have given me to my stories has really been appreciated. Currently, I am producing podcasts on male grooming, insecurities and recovery from addictions. But, why are more people not joining in? After studying a degree in radio for three years, I was exposed to different types of recording equipment including Myrantz, Edirol and the traditional radio studios. However, at Podium, to make it accessible for its journalists, they encourage the use of smart phones such as using the ‘Recording Pro’ app on the Iphone. This app is amazing! I can choose the quality, I can set the levels, I can save in Wav, Mp3, Mp4 and even edit on the app itself. I then send the recordings from my phone to the Podium.Me dropbox, what could be more simple? The training day exposed me to the other podcasts that have been in production recently from the Podium journalists. I always say this, everyone has a story. Everyone has a way of interpreting a story.

Podium help its journalists by inspiring them with a weekly brief that allows journalists to record for a specific topic if an idea has not been sparked in that particular week. For example, recently there was a podcast called ‘My Parents Do Not Talk English’. However, as us broadcast journalists are creative, one Podium member was inspired to look at parents who are deaf and how their children interact with them and wider society. What makes these style podcasts different to the rest is that it is looking at the world from a youth perspective who are stigmatised for creating a ‘Broken Britain’ due to the same old news stories such as the University Fee Riots in 2011. Furthermore, as an incentive Podium has links to BBC Radio 1, Somethin’ Else and the BBC World Service so I would encourage anyone trying to get their first job in radio to sign up as one door is opening and many other doors will follow…apparently. That little business idea that you have be it in radio with podcasts or internet radio or in your everyday life may lead to big things. Do not forget, ‘Everything Happens For A Reason’.


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