How do you make a podcast?

This is a question I have been ruminating on since spring, when we came up with the idea to launch a Hubbub podcast investigating environmental issues. After several months of trial and error “What On Earth?” was born. As podcast novices we dived into series one safe in the knowledge that sometimes to be good at something you are going to go on a big learning curve. With winter drawing in and a second series brewing, we thought it was time to share some of the things we’ve learnt from making our first podcast. Here are our three main takeaways:

1) You don’t need to do it all at once 

The topics we were looking at in series one were BIG and complex. Our second episode was confidently called Sustainable Eating, like we could pack all the intricacies of the global food system into one 30 minute episode. Spoiler alert: we couldn’t.

What became apparent as our guests began telling the story of food production is that each tiny part of it was a discussion and episode in itself. So, for season two we’ve ditched the grand themes and are nailing down into the nuances of the big topics. We hope you agree it makes for better listening.

2) It takes time to find your groove

The first few months of this project were just spent talking. Ross (our fab producer) and I spent afternoons with huge bits of paper trying to work out what we wanted to talk about and how we were going to say it. Somewhere in the mess of post-its and scribbles the format we eventually ended up with a format looking at the past, present and future of each topic.

The eureka moment came when we decided what we wanted to be, which is a bridge between science, environmentalism and social history. We knew we wanted to weave in interesting stories of how we go, to where we are alongside the science and the consequences. Thus the past, present, future format was born. If we had started recording straight away the entire process would have been much harder and we probably wouldn’t be making a second season. Having a format that you can come back to for each episode has been gold dust. 

3) Each episode is a chance to do it better

We knew from the off that part of this process would be a bit of learning on the job and the difference in quality and confidence between the first and last episode of series one is huge.

We saw each episode as a chance to learn from and make improvements on what we’d done before. But this was an experiment and we used it as an opportunity to try on different voices, tones and styles before landing on the perfect formula. Every episode was a chance to improve on what had come before and try something new. 

If you missed the last series you can catch all six episodes here or you can wait for series two landing on the 21st November.

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