How to build a successful Alberta-made podcast

In the last few years, the popularity of podcasts has boomed, as have the wide variety and number of podcasts available.

So, if you have a great idea for a new podcast, how do you get it off the ground?

READ MORE: First podcast conference in western Canada coming to Calgary 

The Alberta Podcast Network (powered by ATB) promotes and supports Alberta-made podcasts. It helps build audiences and matches podcasts with businesses and organizations. Currently, it includes about 30 podcasts.

“It really does run the gamut. There’s a huge variety of podcasts that we have,” network president Karen Unland said.

“We have a podcast called Bollywood is for Lovers, which is about Hindi cinema and a really deep dive on that. We’ve got Tim Querengesser’s Walkcast, which is about walkability and how to make urban environments more friendly for people on foot.”

READ MORE: Making Edmonton more ‘walkable,’ one app at a time 

Broadcast, which is Alex Zabjek and Trisha Estabrooks looking at women in politics. We’ve got The 4th Line, which is a great podcast on hockey from Calgary, and Tight Ends, which is a really fun podcast about football. It’s sports for the rest of us, she says. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

On Jan. 27, the group is hosting a workshop at CKUA called: How to start a podcast: from notion to reality. Experts will offer guidance on refining podcast ideas as well as providing technical advice. Unland said the workshop will also be beneficial to any Alberta businesses considering podcasting as part of their marketing strategy.

“If you’re going to make a podcast, you should listen to podcasts,” Unland said. “It’s really important you understand the medium and what works there. It’s also really important you understand, as a listener, what you would like.

“You should make it the kind of show you would like to listen to.”

However, Unland said podcast creators should always keep in mind their audience.

“You are performing and you are presenting something to the public. This isn’t just for you; it’s for them. So what do you need to do to structure that show so that people want to listen to it?”

After all, audience dedication and loyalty is the greatest measure of a show’s success, according to Unland.

“The success that really matters is how much your audience cares about you and what you’re doing. Even if it’s a smaller audience, if they love you — podcast listeners love their podcasts — then you’re successful.”

She suggests picking a topic that you’re passionate about and be focused in your discussion.

“Podcasting is a space that really benefits niche,” Unland said. “The more specific that you can be about what you’re doing, the better… It’s really key to be super passionate about the one thing you’re talking about and then go deep, deep on it.”

READ MORE: History Check app puts gems of Alberta’s past at your fingertips 

And, don’t shy away from giving it a shot. There’s a lot more to gain than lose.

“You don’t know until you try, right? And the way to find out if anyone would listen to it is to make it possible for them to hear it,” Unland said.

“So, make the show. It costs very little money and just a little bit of time to try. If you make a show that you would like to listen to, chances are there’s somebody else out there that’s like you.”

Anyone interested in attending the Jan. 27 workshop in Edmonton must pre-register online.

And, if you’d like to check out some Alberta podcasts, download the CKUA app and search under the “more” tab.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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