'Rule number one of podcasting is you're not going to make Serial!': Oxford Sparks's Emily Elias on managing expectations.
Emily Elias is an exceptionally talented podcast producer and presenter, with a warm, distinctive style, which for the past couple of years she's been lending to the wonderful Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast as its producer and host. When I met up with Emily recently we spoke about why podcasts are so popular right now; how to communicate complex research in an engaging way; and whether or not there's a secret magic ingredient to all successful podcasts.
Here are Emily's 3 Top Tips for budding research podcast producers:
1) You're not going to make Serial! Take the pressure off yourself. If you're going to do it, have your own goals, know what you want to achieve, and make that your standard. Your standard is not what the NPR (America's National Public Radio) standard is, your standard is not what the BBC standard is, it's your own personal standard.
2) Plan. Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan, plan, plan. You will avoid so many pitfalls in the future if you have a good plan going into what you're wanting to do. Whether it's per episode, or for the whole series, just write it down on paper and have tangible goals that you can cross off a list, because it can get really discouraging if, hours of tape into the project, you don't have an idea of where you're going.
3) Always wear headphones. It's the easiest thing in the world! And you'd be surprised at how many people don't do it, even professional people, who have too much faith in their recorder and their ear and they don't realise that you need to be listening to what you're recording.
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Here are 3 excellent examples of Emily's work on the Oxford Sparks 'Big Questions' podcast series:
Peter Barker runs Orinoco Communications, a digital communications company specialising in helping research groups from science, the social sciences and the humanities to bring their research alive and engage with the public.