How To Tell A Story From NPR’s Former VP Of Programming

How To Tell A Story From NPR’s Former VP Of Programming
Audience
How To Tell A Story From NPR’s Former VP Of Programming
/
Episode April 23, 2020 00:34:05

Hosted By

Matt Medeiros Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

This week on Audience we chatted with Eric Nuzum, an expert who started NPR’s podcasting efforts back in 2005. Eric help found some of NPR’s most successful shows, has published three best-selling books, and co-founded a podcast production company called Magnificent Noise.

Recently, he found time to write and publish his fourth book, Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling. The words of wisdom and exercises on being a better storyteller lead Craig to his position to sit down with Eric to pick his brain. Throughout this interview, they focused on how to conduct a more engaging interview, why DIY podcast networks succeed, the similarities between hobby podcasters and big budget productions, and where podcast advertising is headed in the midst of COVID-19.

Listen to the full episode now for Eric’s expert insights on all things podcasting.

How Can Interviewers Create A Good Story?

With Eric’s experience being the interviewer, interviewee, and producing interview-style podcasts, there’s no better person to ask about how interviews create good stories.

He points out, when compared to monologue episodes, interviews help people who aren’t accustomed to telling their own story. Rather than the pressure to grab the mic and figure out their own way forward, the interviewer leads the guest to the questions the audience wants to learn about. But the tough part is the communal lift involved in getting the good story. There’s more than one stakeholder involved in shaping the narrative so it’s everyone’s job to keep the interview’s focus on the information that’s most useful to the audience.

Another key to getting a good story is the interview needs to feel natural, organic, and authentic. Podcaster’s most common hangup is trying to emulate someone else as their interview persona. While trying to mimic another person, you’re pretending to be an interviewer instead of actually engaging with the guest. Eric’s tip is to get out of that mindset and get back to being genuinely curious about the person you’re talking to. An organic, give-and-take conversation will help create a more riveting story arc.

Eric’s biggest interview tip: don’t ask questions you already know the answer to. It leads to inauthentic sound bites and a guest who can’t wait to end the conversation.

For podcasters without extensive media backgrounds, make creative decisions is difficult. What’s your advice to people who are intimidated or frustrated by this part of producing a podcast?

To promote his most newest book, Eric is often on the road talking about podcasting. From boardrooms to coffee shops, how to tackle the big creative decisions plagues every podcaster no matter their experience level.

Eric found both corporate conglomerates and podcast hobbyists struggle with the same frustrations. With so many decisions to make, combined an abundance of available options, every person he’s encountered is looking for the same information. This should be encouraging for beginners because it means having a big budget or a room full of media professionals doesn’t guarantee a hit podcast.

Since podcasting is a relatively new industry, it’s still considered the wild west of content channels. This is great in terms of the limitless ways new hosts can enter medium but also a curse as more options can hinder creativity. Eric suggests leaning into the minutia and really nailing down the details of your podcast. Start with who your audience is, what information you want to tell them, and then think about which format best serves that setup. Use those boundaries as guidelines when you’re at a crossroads and need to make a big creative decision.

DIY Podcast Networks, Where Do You Stand?

Back in December of 2018, Eric wrote an article for Neiman Labs predicting the rise of DIY podcast networks. He bet podcasters would start banding together to form smaller networks to cross-promote each other’s shows to their respective audiences to mutually grow.

He’s prediction continues to ring true in 2020 so we asked him what makes for a successful DIY network. The short answer: a high degree of related appeal. The podcasters who partnered with other shows where the audience had enough overlap have found a great growth opportunity in DIY networks. They saw that people interested in subject A would likely be interested in subject B then found hosts producing podcasts in those niches.

They also didn’t shy away from cross promotion. Both in frequency and repeating their messaging, successful DIY networks made a concerted effort to to advertise the network’s partners. Eric mentions consumers need to hear things at least three times before they really stick. Considering many listen while performing other tasks, continuously promoting the same message is the best way to make it stick.

If you’re considering starting your own DIY podcast network, focus on the overlap and work with hosts who aren’t afraid of lending airtime to promote everyone’s show.

How Will Podcast Advertising Change Due To COVID-19?

Thinking back to the Financial Crisis of 2008, legacy advertising networks are what fell first. The institutions behind print magazines and newspapers felt the biggest effects but newer digital platforms didn’t. Eric believes the same trend will happen during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The podcasting industry is in a relatively stable place. As advertisers start to make budget cuts, they’ll reduce spends across the least effective channels first. Podcasts have proved to be an extremely valuable way for brands to connect with their audiences so they may not see a drastic change in sponsorship revenue. It’s more likely the legacy digital and print media channels will feel the biggest shift.

Resources Mentioned InThis Episode

Other Episodes

Episode cover

April 15, 2021

Podcasting through the lens of Evo Terra

On this episode of the Audience podcast, Matt is talking with Evo Terra from Podcast Pontifications. Evo is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies. He has also launched and run one of the first large podcast networks, and built a successful strategic podcast consultancy. From public speaking to podcasting, Evo has an amazing way with words and he shares a few of his pontifications and advice with us today.  Today, Matt and Evo talk about livestreaming, to social audio, to Evos’ advice about effective and efficient CTAs. He shares his knowledge and aptitude about the industry and his visions of what the future of podcasting holds for us. If you have any questions about this episode or want to get some of the resources we mentioned, head over to Castos.com/podcast. And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at castos.com/subscribe. Today you’ll learn about: Dystopian ideas that keep Evo awake at night Advertising in podcasting versus on YouTube What if podcasting companies buy advertising platforms? What are the unintended consequences for the industry? Livestreaming podcast episodes The eternal question: “How do I make my show better?” Evo’s 90/10 Rule of Online Video ...

Play

00:34:43

Episode cover

March 17, 2022

Creating an audio experience w/ Eric Nuzum

Technology is only good if it solves a problem. In the case of podcasting it definitely does solve problems. It’s basically broken down all major barriers to access when it comes to creating and distributing your audio.   But creating a good podcast is so much more than simply choosing the right microphones, the best software and distributing an RSS Feed. To make a good podcast, you need to create an audio experience, ideally an experience that is unique to your show.    Eric Nuzum is an expert in doing that. At NPR he helped bring to life shows like the TED Radio Hour and has worked on bringing shows like ‘Fresh Air’ and ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!’ into podcasting. He was also vital in the creation of the critically acclaimed podcast,  Invisibilia. Eric is the founder of Magnificent Noise, a podcast, audio and creative consulting company.    Links   Magnificent Noise :  maginifcintnoise.com    The Ted Radio Hour:  npr.org/podcasts/ted-radio-hour   Invisibilia:  npr.org/podcasts/invisibilia   Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel:  whereshouldwebegin.eshterperel.com    Connect with Eric on LinkedIn:  linkedin.com/ericnuzum   Connect Stripe to Your Private Podcast    Castos offers integrative tools to create revenue for your private podcast. View our blog and Matt’s YouTube Video ...

Play

00:22:15

Episode cover

February 17, 2022

6 Ways to be a better podcast guest

Chances are, if you're listening to this episode, you produce a podcast. There's a 90% chance that podcast is an interview show. There's a 50% chance you've had a guest on said show that made you exhale a gigantic w-t-f was that when the conversation stopped. We've all had that guest. They sounded good on paper, but when you hit record, the whole vibe fell flat. So, the mission for today: share this episode with your potential guest. Because, dear guest, my friend the podcaster here wants the best show possible. Here are 6 ways to be a better podcast guest. Number 1: Do some research Spend some time researching the podcast you're going to be on. Listen to an episode that catches your eye. Read the show notes from the guest interview before you. Heck, download the transcripts and breeze through how our podcaster frames questions. Anything is better than nothing at all. Especially if you were one of those guests that used a booking agency to get you on the show. Number 2: Bring the energy but not too much Be excited to share your story or lesson or moment. You don't have to over emphasize everything, or even feel like you're putting on a performance. Working off of the energy of the host is key, match them to where they are in _their_ performance. We don't want answers to silently fade out. It's like eating the empty calories of a bagel. I'll probably get some hate mail for that, but the idea is to deliver on your promise. We're all sharing this precious time together. Number 3: Say no to AirPods Never. Use. Airpods. On. A. Podcast. Interview. Ever. If you plan on appearing across more podcasts, which ...

Play

00:05:31