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There’s no doubt that podcasts are the new Netflix—everyone is listening to them, talking about them and—not surprisingly—wondering whether they could make one themselves.
But is it really as easy as chucking on an iPhone recorder during a conversation and suddenly finding yourself as witty and erudite as Annabel Crabb or Leigh Sales?
Canberra Podcast and Voice director Kyle Hopkins has forged a career in sound recording since he studied at Lyneham High, got his degree at Charles Sturt University, and started recording friend’s bands before working in Sydney, Auckland and London in the music and recording business.
Now he is working with companies such as the Nine Network, Huff Post, Westfield and Future Women to deliver end-to-end production services for podcasting and voice-over.
The podcast craze has actually taken him a little bit by surprise.
“About five years ago, when podcasts were just taking off, I had my doubts. If you can’t get someone to watch 10 minutes of a video, I wondered how you would get someone to listen to someone talking for an hour?
“I am still not 100 per cent sure of the answer to that, but feel it has something to do with the fact that it is so engaging and intimate.”
It is also a Millennial favourite—with this demographic estimated to represent two-thirds of heavy podcast listeners.
According to the most recent ABC Podcast Survey, podcast listeners prefer original content rather than catch-up radio podcasts, they tend to be drawn to audio that “entertains, teaches or informs them” and word-of-mouth is the number one means of discovering new podcasts.
Women are the fastest-growing market share of listeners and ‘At Home’ remains the most common location for podcast listening at 76 per cent.
The research also shows that 1 in 2 podcast listeners claim to be overwhelmed by the increasing choice of podcasts available in a growing marketplace.
Kyle said his business was increasingly public service departments and cultural institutions who were broadcasting to specific markets, although he still found the time to work with individuals who wanted to record niche podcasts about their various interests (children’s literature and Star Trek being just two examples).
Kyle can work with clients to record professional-quality audio either in their homes or offices or at the ArtSound FM studio in Griffith.
Many opt to record on their phones or tablets with low-cost microphones.
While his preference is to record in a sound studio to produce the best quality sound, Kyle can also provide advice on phone or tablet recording steps, and how to employ relatively low-tech equipment.
“It’s true you can record a podcast anywhere from your living room to your car, but I certainly notice the difference in quality if you can move it into the studio.”
While he recommends prospective podcasters prepare their content as much as possible, much of Kyle’s work is editing recorded content to remove the ums and ahs and to make the conversations shorter and sharper.
“The real skill is what you can do with words. You can remove all the rubbish and just leave the gold.”
Then, when it comes to post-production, there is more room for enhancement. You can find an entire bank of royalty-free music to add some pizzazz to your words.
With podcasts drawing increasing audiences—an estimated 30 per cent of Australians now reporting some exposure to the medium—Kyle said it was increasingly accepted as a way to get information and messages into broader circulation.
“I mean, podcasts can be for everyone and can be about anything. It is always exciting helping to get an idea up off the ground.”