A scene from Channel 4's Fr. Ted
Podcasting over the last 11 years has led me to have some weird and amazing experiences. I once found myself in the Vatican interviewing the Pope's press secretary Federico Lombardi. The interview was done within 30 minutes, but we sat chatting in his office for another 2 hours, during which the Pope's right hand man decided to show me his recent holiday photos. His trip had been an official Papal visit to Cuba with the Pontiff. I flicked through the personal snaps in disbelief as I gazed on my interviewee, along with the head of the Catholic Church socialising with a familiar bearded man - Fidel Castro.
I have always loved the medium of podcasting. I like it so much that a few years ago, with a friend, I proposed a 'patron saint' of podcasting, which was picked up by international media in various countries. It still excites me that I, or you, sitting at home, can broadcast to the world with very little expense and no editor. While doing this I also get to chat to mates, about my passion, while interviewing phenomenal educators from all over the world.
A Brief History of Podcasting
The first ever podcast (or what has become known as a podcast) dates back to 1993, in the early days of the internet, when Carl Malamud created "The Computer Chronicles". This was the first computer-radio talk show. Carl recorded interviews with computer experts and made them available to download. It was described as asynchronous radio, that listeners could pause and restart at will, as well as skip content they did not like. Revolutionary!
In the year 2000 mp3 files and RSS feeds were merged to create the first 'audio-blogging' platform. Then in 2003 an RSS to iPod script was developed called iPodder. Then in February 2004, journalist Ben Hammersley, writing in the Guardian newspaper, suggested the term "podcasting" for this emerging medium.
Today almost 6 million adults listen to podcasts every week in the UK. This has doubled in the last 5 years and is expected to keep increasing. Comedy is the most popular genre and half of all listeners are under 35 years old.
It's very cheap: You can literally create a podcast and distribute it for free, using only a smart phone. Alternatively you can spend thousands of pounds on a studio. Most people do something in between. It's completely up to you. Read my blog on how we record here.
No time restrictions: Radio and TV have scheduling times, podcasts can last as long as you wish. There also doesn't have to be a uniform length for your episodes. We try to hit the 20 minute mark (or under) because the average commute to work is apparently 20 minutes, so our listeners can fit in an episode on the way to work. However we have been talking recently about returning to a longer time frame for some of our shows. One of the most popular podcasts in the world, The Joe Rogan Experience, can last up to 5 hours!
No editorial restrictions: Talk about whatever you want, whenever you like and interview whoever you want to. There is no editor dictating to you what you should broadcast. Obviously, don't be an idiot. Actually, be an idiot if you want to be, it's your show and people have the choice whether they listen or not, if they even know your podcast exists! One of the most popular episodes of a podcast (ever!) is a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, where he interviewed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (not the Alex Jones from the One Show 😉) and that episode would never have been allowed to air if it had been recorded for a radio or TV station (you can watch it here).
It's always there: Record your podcast and publish it and it will stay there indefinitely. I frequently come across podcasts that stopped being produced a few years ago. They are still great podcasts. Some podcasts become popular years after they were released.
Spend as little or as much time as you want on it: Edit your podcast or record it as live. Publish as you record on YouTube or publish separately. Write a script or don't write a script. It's entirely up to you how much time you spend on it. However if you want it to be good it should probably be researched and produced (not necessarily a lot).
Get paid: If your podcast becomes popular you can advertise or even make it available on a paid subscription service. If you have a good size audience the chances are someone will want to pay you something. Even if it's just to cover a few running costs.
Have the time of your life: Do it because you love it. You can broadcast about whatever you want, so make it interesting and exciting, especially to yourself. In this way, when you're on episode 67 and you're not sure if anyone is even listening anymore, you can still enjoy yourself.
We have 3 podcasts. You can listen to them all here. Our podcasts are:
This is our flagship show that features an interview with an educator at the cutting edge of edtech. We love doing this show because we get to chat to people from all over the world who are geeky about the same things we are geeky about. We also have a lot of fun recording. This show is 20 minutes long and a new episode goes out every Sunday.
This show is 10 minutes long and goes out every Wednesday. It features a different edtech resource or tool. We sometimes interview a person associated with the tool or we just chat about it ourselves.
In the Studio
This show is now discontinued but they are still available on our podcast channel. They vary from 25 minutes to 60 minutes long. They include extended interviews with pioneers of edtech.
Recommended Podcasts about Education
Educational Duct Tape Podcast
Shukes and Giff The Podcast
Google Teacher Tribe
The House of EdTech
Cult of Pedagogy
Ditch that Textbook
Other Podcasts I Listen to and Rate
The Infinite Monkey Cage
The Joe Rogan Experience
My Favourite Podcast App for Listening
Castbox (I love this app, it has every feature you'd want from a podcast app)