On Oct. 6 – 8, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel hosted LA’s sixth annual Podcast Festival, bringing several of the top podcasters in the area under one roof for a weekend of special showings and ideas exchange. However, although this festival was generally targeted at experienced podcasters, many of us who are inexperienced with or unaware of the podcast world would profit greatly by learning from the event as well.
With the world of podcasting concentrated mainly in the 30 or above age range, teenagers often overlook the benefits of becoming podcasters themselves.
“On a podcast, a person can honestly do whatever they want,” revealed Chris Mancini, co-creator of the festival and co-founder of the podcast Comedy Film Nerds. “If you have something you’re passionate about, a podcast is a great way to connect with others who share the same interests.”
Unlike other creative outlets such as television or journalism where the content is catered towards a specific audience, podcasting allows a person to generate their own audience. The existing podcast topics today range from the video game League of Legends to musical theatre to the current political system. As long as a person wants to talk about it, there will always be someone who wants to listen.
Furthermore, the probability of gaining popularity is extremely greater with podcasting because of the little competition. According to Rob Walch, Vice President of Podcaster Relations with Libsyn, the ratio of bloggers to podcasters is 2,000 to one. When specifically regarding women, that number jumps up to 7,500 to one. Thus, podcasting is an extremely safe choice when compared to other popular platforms such as YouTube, especially since the audience is immensely loyal.
However, aside from personal benefits, podcasting also offers practical advantages in the form of educational assistance. When interviewed, Walch recounted an experience in high school where his best friend received acceptance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology despite his grades being below average. Walch recalled how his friend started a podcast focused on his experience with college applications, interviewing the deans of each school he was interested in applying to. Therefore, when it came time to actually applying to the colleges, he had connections from within that fought to get him into the school.
Being the founder of a podcast allows students to showcase a talent that is not affiliated with the school they are attending. It is a great way for them to show colleges and companies that they are marketable while also creating a portfolio and making connections.
Therefore, teens from across the globe should attempt to podcast before writing it off completely.
“It is not that difficult to start,” explained Amirose Eisenbach, founder of Radiant J. Productions. “Today’s technology and resources make podcasting very easily accessible.”
The amount of help a person can obtain from online videos and guides is extensive. They contain useful information on how to get started, what equipment to buy, and how to build an audience. All a person needs to start is a clear vision of what content he or she wants to create and a name for their show as well as something to record with.
“Nothing has to be perfect,” advised Graham Elwood, another co-creator of the festival and co-founder of Comedy Film Nerds. “Just create what makes you happy, and you’ll never regret a second of it.”
Podcasters interact with audience members and fellow podcasters at the LA Podcast Festival. Courtesy: Slum Visions (Anthony Arias)