Now that virtually everyone in the Western Hemisphere has the means to make and disseminate a podcast, are there any tips to guarantee success?
Jad Abumrad, a host of the enormously popular, curiosity-based podcast, Radiolab, strives for every show to sound like "two guys talking in a surrealistic multi-dimensional space." His degree in music composition at Oberlin College is an asset in achieving this goal, as is his easy rapport with cohost Robert Krulwich.
Radiolab's appeal is such that director David Fine singled it out for his American Hipster project, a year long investigation into the tastes of a certain segment of the populace. The resulting video above sketches out the creation process, from the first impulse to interview an interesting person to the finished episode.
It's not surprising that Radiolab's brass has seized on Fine's effort as a fundraising tool. His depiction of their behind-the-scenes labors is insistently upbeat, complete with a montage of laughing producers, writers and stars. As hard to as it is to believe this tells the whole story of what it's like to barrel toward a collective creative deadline, it's also hard to begrudge them their sunny depiction when Abumrad himself volunteers that the creation of a natural-sounding podcast is a far-from-natural thing.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway for aspiring podcast mavens is that quality wins out. Radiolab is rightly renowned for its excellent production values, a level of professionalism that has paved the way for a live show featuring such luminaries as comedian Demetri Martin and Pilobolus Dance Theater. If you're not familiar Radiolab, then we suggest you catch an episode, "Memory and Forgetting," below. More episodes can be found on SoundCloud.