The beauty of podcasting is that it can be anything. Political rant? Sure. A debate on ancient history? Absolutely. There are two podcasting styles, however, which are proving to be the secret sauce to success for both professional and aspiring journalists: the talk-based format, and the storytelling format.
But talk is talk, right? Wrong! There are a few differences between these two formats, and it is up to each individual journalist to determine which format would be best for them.
The Talk-Based Format of Podcasting
When you think of talk-based podcasts, think “groupcasts.” There are many ways these groupcasts can be arranged. For example, hosts can moderate a panel starring distinguished guest speakers. Hosts can also create compelling conversation hooks in which they play off of one another for added excitement. There are many successful informal groupcasts, where friends get together to discuss recent events, such as celebrity scandals, in a way which makes their listeners feel like they are a part of a conversation with friends.
We can’t talk about groupcasts without mentioning the classic category of talk-based journalism: interviews. With interviews, hosts are to conduct research on their subjects well in advance, and empathize with them. Interviews can be done in a simple Q&A format, or hosts can take things a little further by (respectfully) offering their own opinions on what is being discussed.
The common thread with all these examples is that the host is expected to effortlessly mix information with entertainment when applying the talk-based format of podcasting.
The Storytelling Format of Podcasting
When most people think of storytelling podcasts- the first thought that would come to mind is the successful podcast Serial. Ever since the record-breaking success of Serial, countless broadcasting networks, indie podcasters, and media outlets have experimented with a similar model, with hopes of achieving similar success.
The storytelling format (obviously) offers a lot of variety for listeners in terms of subject matter. However, they are generally more expensive to produce than groupcasts, and also require more labor on the backend. That’s because they are generally expected to meet higher quality audio production standards, and hosts with distinctive personalities. There is also the requirement for editing to be absolutely perfect for this format, for seamless flow of content.
This format doesn’t always have to be about stories though. These podcasts can also be used as a tool for intensive courses. Think of it as the audio version of How To sites.
The Moth is for sure one of our recommended storytelling-style podcasts, check it out!
The common thread with all these examples is the fact that hosts are expected to be great performers.
Let us know which podcast format you prefer!