Your Podcast is Boring

This week’s newsletter is continuing the tradition of inviting members of our community to write From The Curator’s Desk, and for this edition, we’re happy to hand it over to Doris Onyango, a podcast producer and enthusiast who works as the Production Manager at SemaBOX.

Please send your guest writing pitches for this section to rose@barazalab.com if you’re interested in writing this section and you have something of interest to share to our community — a trend you’ve noticed or something you’d like us to think about. (Baraza Curator Christine Mungai is away on extended leave).

~ The Baraza Team

Let’s start with the obvious. Yes, I am a podcast producer. When it comes to podcasts, I have heard it all. But I am not a podcast snob (well… not an extreme snob). I enjoy listening to a variety of podcasts ranging from lifestyle podcasts to true crime. Mostly, I love podcasts that have had some thought put into them.  As a new form of media, podcasts have been a great avenue to encounter new thought leaders and content creators. 

Is it my job to tell you what is bad and what is good about your podcast? Your friends will not be that candid with you. So here I am, (ule shawry wa ma podcasts) to give you a few quick pointers to what I think podcasters are missing. 

STOP WITH THE RANDOM EPISODE! The thing that irks me the most is the growing tendency of posting random episodes. It has taken over podcasting of late probably because podcasters feel they have to beat and upload content on time. Don’t rush to beat a scheduled upload time. Podcast listeners have become very discerning and can tell when you are not ready to record and upload an episode. There is a reason why podcasts like “A country of gamblers” have high listenership. It is because they prepare for the episode and do extensive research. The bottom-line message is that if you are not ready do not record or upload.

YOUR BANTER ONLY MAKES SENSE TO YOU! When friends are creating a podcast together, there is great rapport. You have shared experiences and a wealth of inside jokes that are very specific to you. But remember, the hilarity in those stories and experiences may only make sense to you. How are we as an audience supposed to understand the back story you share? It is your job to figure out a way to bring your listeners into your world.

STOP SPEAKING OVER YOUR GUESTS. I listened to a podcaster tell a great story. Well, they tried to tell a good story. What would have been a funny and engaging 3-minute segment ended up taking over 20 minutes of the podcast? The host of the podcast really wanted to be the center of the episode and overshadowed the guest. As a listener at that point, I was not able to appreciate the potential greatness of the segment. It ended up being a waste of time. If you have a guest on your podcast, resist the urge of being the center of attraction and put the spotlight on your guest. 

THAT GUEST WAS BORING. It sounds like a mean thing to say but some guests are more entertaining and engaging than others. So be selective on who can and cannot be on your podcast. Giving a great interview is not everybody’s strong suit, so it’s on you to make sure your guest is at ease before the recording. It’s best to prepare them. If possible, send them a list of questions beforehand so that they can give them some thought ahead of the recording. 

AN EDIT IS IMPORTANT. Not everything you record needs to be in the podcast. Listen several times to what you have recorded. Edit or remove any redundant bits. Some sections can be a little bit sloppy and the podcast will do just fine without them.

Finally, creating a great podcast relies on continuous improvement. You may not get everything right the first time but with patience, you will see that each episode gets better and better. 

In the meantime, here’s:

What We’re Reading:  The House of Rust by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber

The vibrant imagination of the author brings this fictional coming-of-age story of Aisha, a girl from Mombasa whose father disappears at sea. Her daring adventures abroad as she searches for him in a magical boat and guided by a talking cat are woven into the tapestry of the Swahili people of the Kenyan coast whose lives are intertwined with their relatives across the ocean in Oman.

What We’re Watching: Trailers are out for the television series ‘Country Queen’ and promise compelling viewing in this drama that brings to the screen the struggle of an ordinary Kenyan family fighting corporate greed, corruption and the never-ending intrigues of land ownership. The series stars Akisa, played by Melissa Kiplagat, who is drawn back to her rural village when a mining company moves in and threatens the existence of her family and village neighbours. It was filmed in the counties of Nairobi, Machakos and Murang’a and delivers the story in a mix of English and Kiswahili.

The film release, slated for July 15, has been clouded by news of the death of cast-member, Olwenya Maina. Olwenya who plays a journalist in the series, died on July 4, just days before the scheduled debut exclusively on Netflix.

What We’re Listening To: Meanwhile, we’re still jamming to Usher’s Tiny Desk Concert on NPR Music’s YouTube channel. This is a nostalgic trip down the 2000 R&Bs memory lane when R&B was R&B.

As always,

Christine Mungai

Curator | Baraza Media Lab


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