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Talking About A Revolution: Creating your own Podcast

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6 min read

Talking About A Revolution: Creating your own Podcast

6 min read

Talking About A Revolution: Creating your own Podcast

The inexorable rise of podcasts in this country shows no sign of stopping, a recent Reuters report showed that Ireland has the third-highest listenership to podcasts across the world. Yet while audiences continue to enjoy this very digital form of modern storytelling, it’s also never been easier or more accessible for anyone to try their hand at the creative outlet that is podcasting.

Fun, personal, uniquely expressive – the art of podcasting has no boundaries or barriers. From true crime to arts and culture, by way of our own particular obsession with all things meteorological, Irish creators are making podcasts across a boundless canvas of subjects, and thanks to a new studio facility from Dublin City Libraries, this creative excellence will only continue to grow.

The Creative Studio, based at Ballyfermot Library is a free to use digital maker space facilitating the use of podcasts, digital stories and oral histories. Eddie Byrne, Divisional Librarian for Digital Services at Dublin City Libraries acknowledges how important a space like this is, “We are thrilled to make the Creative Studio available to our many library visitors. Now, aspiring podcasters, recording artists and filmmakers can get free access to a range of high end recording equipment and software in two purpose built recording booths. Until now such facilities would have only been available to the lucky few; now Dublin City Libraries is making this digital learning and creating facility available as part of its ever expanding range of services. It’s an opportunity for our many library users to create and to learn, to capture memories and tell stories, to express themselves. They can now do all this and more in a location that is free and accessible to everyone.”

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With more facilities like this available and in place, the only barrier to the actual creation of a podcast is the subject itself. We spoke to three Irish podcast creators on the joys and challenges and why for them, it is a truly unique creative expression.

Dave Hanratty created the music podcast NO ENCORE in 2016 and has interviewed some of the leading names in Irish music including Dermot Kennedy and Villagers over nearly 200 episodes.

“I think it’s fair to say that ‘I have a podcast’ has become the new ‘I’m writing a novel’ in terms of a clichéd thing to say or hear in 2020 and certainly in the last few years, but that’s in part due to how reflective, popular and valid it is as a form of creative expression.

NO ENCORE began as a vessel for three frustrated music journalists to speak their minds free of shackles and go from there, basically. Now, I think of it as my third band – the first two didn’t make it, sadly – in that it’s fiercely independent, often feels like work, sometimes feels a bit pointless and as if you’re just repeatedly hurling yourself into a great big void, but it also registers as something tangible that actually matters, even if just to you and an intimate community that you hear directly from every once in a while.

Am I making it sound negative? Whoops. I guess what I’m trying to express is that, like any creative endeavour, it’s a commitment and it can be hard to quantify what constitutes a ‘success’ or not or even if that’s how you should regard it. Ireland is bursting with personalities, many of whom now rock a microphone on a weekly basis, yet podcasting remains a tricky thing to acquire meaningful sponsorship, funding and regard for. I wonder if the country will catch up while I’m still hosting one.

Oh yeah, the whole ‘host’ thing. Honestly, I love it.

I love having a space in which to enter into good-natured – and hopefully witty – debates about music, which, for me and so many others the world over, feels like a human need as much as a beautiful endorphin rush of a thing. I love hosting interviews where I don’t need to transcribe them afterwards. I love the immediacy of being present for a unique moment in which recording equipment also happens to be there. I love that NO ENCORE has literally travelled the world with people who have told me stories of being far from home in places I’ve never heard of, listening to us as a way to feel connected to where they came from in the first place.

I love asking questions. I love hearing the answers to those questions. I love a real conversation.”

Above: Ireland has the 3rd highest podcast listenership in the world

Podge Henry started The Podgecast in 2019 and it quickly broke into the iTunes podcast charts Top 10. Some of his guests have included Rugby star Robbie Henshaw and social media influencer James Kavanagh.

“I initially started my podcast because at the time I was making YouTube videos but I found that they were far too time consuming. I then had a yeti mic for voice overs but started to get into listening to podcasts myself and thought I should give it a try, especially after coming up with the name. While it took more time to create than expected I felt a lot more comfortable making them as there was not a camera in my face so I wasn’t worried about how I looked etc. Then as the podcast progressed I slowly realised it was a completely new space for me to be creative and be myself.

Growing up, my dream was to be a talk show host and as I started to get guests on the podcast I was in some way achieving that but on my own terms. I think that’s what is great about podcasting, you decide the format, you decide the direction it goes in and ultimately you get to create something out of nothing. Even to this day I’m still finding its feet with it but that’s what I love about the creative process, it’s ever changing and with the podcast the audience are there every step of the way too. If I was to listen to my first podcast vs my most recent – they are completely different and I love that. For anyone who is thinking of starting a podcast I would say just go for it. It can be daunting to put yourself out there especially with how many podcasts there are but you will always find your niche.

Some people prefer to have it all laid out before starting knowing exactly how the show will go and what will be discussed which is great – but for the people who are on the fence and unsure about what content to have just try anything and you’ll eventually find what you like best. You don’t need fancy equipment, a studio or anything like that. Just a mic or a phone will do. As far as making content it’s relatively cost effective and you can be as creative as you want with it. That’s what I did, and I’m delighted where it has brought me.”

Podge Henry, The Podgecast

"For anyone who is thinking of starting a podcast I would say just go for it. It can be daunting to put yourself out there especially with how many podcasts there are but you will always find your niche."

Alex Cullen is a producer in the advertising industry whose upcoming podcast series focuses on maternity care for women. She began creating the series while on maternity leave and is readying it for an upcoming 2020 launch. 

“My maternity leave was coming to an end and I wanted to make a virtue of my experience somehow & share my own experience.

After my baby girl was born, I became fixated with Women’s Health in the Fourth Trimester. I was astonished by a lack of direction for Women in this phase. Information for me & my individual recovery just wasn’t as accessible as it was for my tiny baby. In this day and age, I couldn’t get my head around it. But I preserved and when I did find it, I discovered the most wonderful people, advice and insights.

One thing I knew I could do and I’m still doing is talk (a lot) about all this stuff. So when it came to finding a platform to share, Podcasting just made sense. As long as people are happy to take part, the conversation can go anywhere & it usually results in some very educational, validating & empowering rambles.

I loved the idea of taking it from conception to finished product. I reached out to all the guests myself. What I believe to be the most integral aspect however, is my continued & growing appetite for what the experts have to say, and the stories other women have to share. Every time I meet and chat with someone new, it sparks ideas for the next guest… If I didn’t have this, I’m sure the podcast would be lost. This is the magic that hopefully brings it all together!

Next steps for me are to release the series on a platform (ACAST, ITUNES, SPOTIFY etc). I’ve been told I really need to have a social media presence too! So these two big tasks are the next challenges for me. I may get some help with this where I need it…

Eventually I will be equipped with the experience to repeat the process with new guests and continue to upload!”

So now that you’ve heard from the creators themselves, it’s time for you to get creative and get recording! Visit www.dublincitylibraries.ie to learn more.

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