Wednesday is International Podcast Day, giving our community an opportunity to raise awareness of podcasting across the globe. One of the best parts of the day is how the internet is blanketed with podcasters sharing their projects and elevating their podcasting journey.
In this spirit we would like to share one podcaster’s journey. Clinton Alvord, a native New Englander, has been podcasting since June of 2005. His comedy4cast podcast (hosted on Blubrry) has won several podcasting awards and has been a finalist in both the People’s Choice Podcast Awards and the Parsec Awards. We asked him a few questions…
Tell us about yourself.
“If, after 15 years of podcasting, I haven’t told you enough about me already, I must have failed! But, okay, let’s do this. I’m just a kid with a dream. Well, not so much a kid, but it seems I’ve always had the dream of ‘putting on a show.’ I was always involved in school plays and performances of one kind or another. When I moved on to college, I helped set up the campus radio station. During my four years at the station I created dozens of commercials and short audio plays – which is very much the format of ‘comedy4cast.’
That love of writing and performing also led me to author several plays that were presented at our local ‘Star Trek’ conventions. I owe that fandom a lot, especially since I met my wife through a local Star Trek club. The next stop on my journey involved the 9-to-5 world of advertising. I became a copywriter. That was a lot of fun. It gave me a chance to once again work on radio commercials. Only this time, I recorded in a professional studio in Boston, with an engineer taking care of the tech side of things. With each step along this journey I seemed to be reaching a wider and wider audience. Little did I know that in 2005 podcasting would give me a chance to reach virtually the entire world.”
What inspired you to do your own podcast?
“As far as ‘comedy4cast’ goes, it was definitely inspired by those commercials and short plays I did back in college. I liked the short, dense nature of doing sketch comedy. Also, there really were no rules for those things. I mostly did what I wanted and sent it out over the airwaves. Writing for a corporation pays the bills, but sometimes there are a lot of ‘suits’ between an author and the audience. With podcasting, I saw the chance to go back to the days of just writing something that pleases me and sharing it right out to the world. Yup. As soon as I figured out how easy it was to do a podcast, I was all in.”
How do you prepare for an episode?
“Episode prep for me is all over the board. For instance, with ‘comedy4cast,’ it can be as simple as having a spur-of-the-moment idea, writing up a quick script and firing up the microphone. Or it can be as complex as literally spending more than 6 months developing the story, outline and scripts for my annual month-long April Podcast-a-Day Spectacular. Virtually everything you hear on ‘comedy4cast’ is written down in a script, so writing and refining are key. I am still working on the concept that ‘the enemy of good is great’ when it comes to deciding a script is ready to go.
Editing can take a while, too. I mean, sometimes I voice eight or nine characters in a single episode. On the other hand, for my other podcast, ‘The Topic is Trek,’ I come up with very detailed show notes, writing story snippets for myself and my co-hosts Chuck Tomasi and Kreg Steppe and researching topics for the show. But mostly the show is off-the-cuff. It’s just us sharing our love for Star Trek.”
What advice do you have for someone just starting out?
“Three things. First off, good on ya for deciding to join us! And second, don’t panic. No one is going to know you are doing a show until you tell them. Heck, if you’re like most podcasters, even your own family and friends won’t listen. So, if you feel like releasing the first few episodes under the radar, do it. It’s your show. Which brings me to my second point — stay true to what you feel like doing. Yes, listen to all the advice and feedback, but, ultimately, you are the one who has to do the work. You should be happy doing it and proud of the results. And third, reach out to the podcasting community if you have problems. I don’t think I’ve ever had a question that someone wasn’t willing to tackle.”
What are your thoughts on International Podcast Day?
“I think it’s a great idea. Shining a light on how much podcasting has grown since 2004 shows how this medium has helped change the world. It’s kind of mind blowing to think podcasting has only been around 16 years, isn’t it?”
So we ask you: What are your thoughts on International Podcast Day? What will you do to highlight your podcasting efforts on Sept. 30? If you are committed to starting your podcast, consider using Blubrry as your media host. If you have any amazing International Podcast Day plans, please share them in the comments below.
We’ll be speaking (and we’re the platinum sponsor!):