Podcast Ideas Are Waiting
In the 1960’s there was an explosion of creative energy released into the world the likes of which had never seen before. The avalanche of music and interviews occurred with the growth of the incredibly diverse FM radio stations popping up not only in urban areas but also in suburbia and on remote islands known as college campuses.
FM Radio has a tragic back story you can read about here: Tragic Birth of FM Radio
The energy released by the FM avalanche of music and interviews was in no small part responsible for the growth of art, music and culture into new directions during the 60s and the 70s, not only in the U.S. but around the world.
Choosing the perfect podcast idea is critical to your future success as a podcaster. The right choice can reach an untold number of listeners and create a successful engine of change in its own right. Give it some thought before you jump into the podcasting stream.
Not since that rapid growth of FM Radio in the 1960’s has there been such a concentration of a media type as we now have in Podcasting. And the availability of podcast ideas are limited only by imagination. Listening to podcasts for guidance, learning, fun and entertainment is far easier with podcasting then you might imagine and light years ahead of scrolling through countless websites.
People are looking for compact information delivered when they want it and in a form that fits their on the go lifestyle. And while there is plenty of room for lengthy interviews and instruction series that go on for a huge amount of time, it’s the compact podcast that gets to the point that entices the listener to stay around for further listening.
In the U.S. alone, over 90 million people listened to podcasts in 2019. And as a podcaster you can be assured that listener numbers and revenue will continue their upwards trends for the foreseeable future.
Take a leap and surf the podcast wave for a wonderful ride. The number of podcast ideas is only limed by imagination itself, and that limitation has yet to be found.
10 Podcast Ideas To Start You Off
1. Interviews are a podcasting staple and with good reason. When done well an interview transports the listener into a new world tinged with excitement and immediacy. Interviews are also a great resource for the podcaster themselves because you are able to tap into a wealth of knowledge that someone else has put together.
As an interviewer you want to get to 2 or 3 points of interest early in the interview process, this will allow you to grab the attention of your listeners. Once you have your podcast audience attention you can delve into the subject matter and have a deeper look at the nooks and crannies yet to unfold.
Setup your interviews into 2 parts. Create a 3 to 5 minute beginning segment that wets the appetite of your listener and allows them to grab some useful and actionable information. I created an infographic and post titled Podcast Interview Tips – It focuses on the 5 minute interview – Check it Out.
2. Reviews open the door to information with a unique point of view as well as being experiential. An experiential experience means it’s presented from a hands on point of view and not solely opinion based, and conveys that experience directly to the listener.
Review Podcasts come in every color of the rainbow and more. I’ve seen podcast reviews about religion, cars, food, books, movies, sports, farming, and even How-To Decorate Your Front Porch. Believe me if you create it there will be people who will listen. Of course not every topic will garner hundreds or thousands of listeners, but be assured there are lots of hungry listeners waiting for you to review what interests them.
3. Chapters (courses) In today’s marketplace how much time we think we have is the number one deciding factor in the decisions we make to listen or watch media. Like a neon sign in front of a store, time hangs in front of our decisions. Creating podcasts with the listener’s time concerns in mind will help lead to a successful podcast. Creating learning courses with chapters of 10 minute or less allows users a comfortable space to engage with.
10 minutes (or less) devoted to sharing a complete chapter is easily consumed by listeners. And listeners who feel they’ve come away with valuable info and knowledge will be more than likely to return over and over for more.
4. Unusual Ask yourself a simple question about what people love listening to. Who doesn’t love the unusual and the mysterious? Books, Films and Television have all shown how much people love diving into the unknown and seemingly unknowable.
Now with podcasting, the ability to share the mysterious and the unusual has never been easier. You can explore stories and landmarks close to home or halfway across the globe from the comfort of your living room. Do some research, turn on your audio recorder and create a mind-bending podcast. Take your listeners deep within the realms that seemingly can’t be understood with current knowledge, and flesh out the understanding.
5. Stories If you’re out for a walk or driving around completing errands wouldn’t it be great if the podcast story you are listening to would have a satisfying conclusion before you’re finished? Long stories are great but 10, 12. Or 14 hour audio books often are never finished because our interest in them wanes. Stories that start and finish in under 10 minutes are the perfect size for most listeners to grab hold of and enjoy.
If 10 minute (or less) stories seem like they may be unsatisfying, than maybe reading a bunch of Flash Fiction will help you to see that even 100 words crafted well can engage your listeners completely.
There was a time when radio’s most popular shows where serial stories with a huge cast of actors reading the parts for their listeners. There are no rules or production constraints that will stop you form gathering 3 or 4 people together to create drama, comedy, historical or science fiction series that rock the podcast universe with their originality.
6. Relaxation One of the great things about creating relaxation, meditation or guided imagery is how you can use your writing skills to create intriguing journeys that fulfill a listeners needs. People want guided relaxation and meditation podcasts to help them live a deeper and richer life. Can you help them?
Choose a theme for you guided meditation shows and jump in. An example could be climbing the 48 peaks in the White Mountains of NH. With each climb you gather notes that highlight a particular climb from beginning to end, giving your listener a journey of beauty and accomplishment to inspire their minds and hearts.
7. Art – Music Creating an original podcast in the Arts or Music category that is clearly presented with passion can easily become a hit. In spite of time constraints in listeners lives they’ll find time to revel in your presentation of art or music that adds richness to their inner lives.
Both art and music lend themselves to wonderful journeys of the imagination. Take your listeners to corners of sound and color they’ve yet to visit, yet to experience. Dare to explore places in art and music you’ve never been to before, and share all you find with your listeners.
8. Koans I use the term Koan as sort of a placeholder. In this case a Koan is a poem or short description meant to point to one idea or experience resulting in illumination or clarity. Each separate podcast can focus on a single idea using poetry, parables and yes koans to stimulate your listener to see things they haven’t seen before.
Koans aren’t puzzles or stories meant to confuse those happening upon them, they are moments within the present moment meant to expand that moment with clarity. And in the spirit of the Koan create stories or poems that clear away the rubble of thought and expose the here and now to your listeners.
One word of caution, don’t create media snacks of dogma or division pawned off as clarity, the world has more than enough dogma. What your listeners want more than anything is to listen and be challenged to see things slightly differently than when they tuned in.
9. Review Podcasts Create your podcast on top of what others are doing with their podcasts, review podcasts for things such as, listener engagement, getting to the point, are their guests prepared or rambling etc. This is a great opportunity to set your show apart from the masses of podcasts that are the same as the all the others.
With all the thousands of podcasts humming along the cables and dancing upon the WiFi signals all around us you can easily find a niche to review. What is best, what is new, what fails to deliver. However you see the shows being presented you can create a wonderful and popular show talking about other podcasts and why or why not they are worth listening to.
Be cautious in your presentations, I’m not advocating creating a snarky podcast but one that is informative.
10. On The Road Once you discover something you’re interested in, get yourself out into the world to find out more. An example could be visiting diners and interviewing owners and patrons or the diners. It doesn’t have to be diners, sailboats, rock venues or anything else you think is hot. The trick is to get On The Road to discover interesting and engaging angles to a subject that you truly are interested in.
If you have the resources pack your car and travel from place to place seeking interesting angles for your topic. If your resources don’t allow you to physically travel than open your web browser and start searching for those interesting angles that will allow you to create your show.
Your present and future listeners can easily tell if your podcast ideas are built around a connection you have with the subjects, or if you are merely broadcasting for cash and fame. Generally if your goal is only money you’ll fail. Let your imagination be your muse and not your bank account.
If your having trouble deciding on what your podcast should be centered on try creating a list of what your interests are. If you’re interested, that energy and desire will be apparent to your listeners.
FM disappeared in Norway in 2017 to be replaced by digital over the air Read More in this article from Time.
Some Other Podcast Ideas
I’ve scoured the podcasting-verse and found 10 podcast that are out of the norm, podcast that tap into their imagination. check them out for some inspiration.
1) Muse Stories: The Unusual History of Every Thing Here is a podcast with a conversational tone for those who enjoy listening to others talking back and forth between themselves. Some of their topics include, The Unusual History of Gnomes, The Unusual History of Straws, The Unusual History of Doll Houses, The Unusual History of Ancient Food and my favorite The Unusual History of Pizza, Part 1 and Part 2