Behind the Mic: Communications class explores podcasting

The podium and the microphone –two devices invented 200 years apart –could both be intimidating. My communication class students had prior to this, worked off their stage fright with several impromptu, scripted , and extemporaneous speeches. But juggling the technology here could be demanding on the first try.

For this assignment two groups each worked on a short script – basically Talking Points – for their podcast. I asked them to create a show with a ‘story’ element. They then used Audacity to record it. The results shocked them, too! This group’s work turned out like a PSA with glimpses of Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds. They even downloaded and used a background music track from FreeMusicArchive!

PodCamp Arizona – as good as any paid event

brent_2.jpgKick yourself if you didn’t attend Podcamp Ariona.

As Podamps go, it was an experiment in self organization -taken to an amazing level. The venue –at the University of Advancing Technology— couldn’t have been better picked with classrooms bristling with technology, rather than a sterile hotel ambiance.

The presenters were people many paid events would kill to have on their roster. There was free music, food, and best of all a sense of energy that firmly planted Arizona on the Podcast map. There have been 23 Podcamps across the country before this. One attendee commented that he had attended a few more Podcamps and this by far was the best organized. Kudos to Brent and Michelle Spore for pulling this off.

Many takeaways from this one for me.

1. First, that knowledge is not always to be found in formal education packaging. Nor need it be “monetized” the traditional way. This was an event that was managed by a wiki, if that tells you something about bottom-up organizational power.

3. Third, those who have the best stories have the worst collateral. I say this in a good way, since I’ve seen to many slick PPT presentations, too many brochures in my marketing life that scream marketing, not substance. I attended a session by Marc and Nicole Spagnuolo on “starting from scratch.” Their logo looks like it was designed by a high school student with a Sharpie in the back seat of a car. Really, from scratch! Nicole was happy to admit that they use free survey software, low-cost service providers, print black&white stickers rather than expensive business cards, and barely know how to write a press release. But they are hugely successful!

4. Fourth, podcasters are not afraid to make mistakes, to start over, to admit they got it wrong. Zero egos.

And that’s apart from the lessons of podcasting, and connecting to audiences via a blog, a microphone, a camera…