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Audio: A few good tips.

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

A curated list of audio and podcast advice, for Prof. Dana Sajdi's HIST1806 class.

Audio recording and troubleshooting: Hearing hiss in your audio? Popping your P’s? Here’s a helpful guide from NPR’s Training division on how to avoid common audio recording problems, complete with short audio examples so you can really hear it.

The art of the interview: Third Coast is like the SXSW of podcasting. Everyone goes, everyone loves it, and the organizers tape every lecture and post it online. This is a particularly good one on how to do a good interview, by Karen Duffin, the former co-host of Planet Money. It’s a bit long -- remember, this is a taped lecture -- but there are some great nuggets in here.

The Longform Podcast: Each episode is a 45-minute conversation with a journalist about their work, philosophy, and insights. Listen for two things: First, how these successful podcasters think about their audience and content. What makes a good podcast? What was the moment that a print writer decided a particular topic or angle was best suited for audio? Second, listen for how the Longform interviewer interviews them. Which questions work well and why? There are a few episodes dedicated to people who have done podcast work -- Nikole Hannah-Jones may be the best.

Other conversations I can recommend for this class include #471, Sarah Marshall -- she runs a recent history / pop culture podcast about misremembered moments called “You’re Wrong About.” And episode #378, Ashley C. Ford -- because she’s absolutely delightful and is an incredible example of a podcast host who is warm, funny and relatable.

On cinematic writing, by Nancy Updike: Also a long one, but this essay is gold when it comes to scripting. This American Life often sends it to new writers to help them understand the show’s writing style.

A layout of different podcast formats: The Interview, The Co-Hosted Conversation, the Monologue. The Story. The Repurposed Radio Show. Or something that's Bite-sized for a quick commute. Choose wisely, or mix it up!

Quick tips from podcaster Jordan Harbinger: I'm not super familiar with his podcast, The Jordan Harbinger Show, but his tips on interviewing and thinking about your audience ring true to form.

And here’s a 2-minute pick-me-up from Ira Glass, if the process ever gets you down:

Great examples of history-forward podcasts:

Fall of Civilizations: I found and fell in love with this podcast at the beginning of the pandemic, when it felt like the world was ending and a historical perspective gave me a chance to feel like “this too shall pass” for a moment. The Byzantine Empire episode is my personal favorite.

Stuff You Missed in History Class: Two women, correcting the stuff you learned in history class. Or pulling out some incredible oddities that never made it on the syllabus.

Kerning Cultures: Often, but not exclusively, about significant historical moments in the Arabic-speaking world.

+ Ottoman History Podcast and Turkey Book Talks, of which you’re probably well aware!

More fun troves of information:

Facebook groups:

These can be helpful for networking, quick questions, job listings, etc.


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