Okay, so you want to do a podcast, but try as you may, you can't get anyone you know to commit to being your co-host. What are you to do? Well, you could always interview people you do not know. Think Jon Stewart, David Lettermen, Inside the Actors Studio, Fresh Air, and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. There are plenty of examples to borrow from in the broadcast world, and Table 3.7 highlights some of the more popular ones. If done well, the interview cast can be one of the most interesting podcasts out there. If done poorly, it can be the worst (more on that in Chapter 7, "The Art of the Interview"). What follows is a small list of some of those that do it well.
Hosted by Rob Walch (co-author of this book), this podcast has been described as Inside the Actors Studio, except for podcasting. Rob releases two shows a week that typically run 20 to 25 minutes an episode. The show is G-rated.
5 Minutes with Wichita
Although this podcast could just as easily be placed in the Comedy section, it is at its heart an interview show. It just happens to be the funniest interview show anywherein broadcast radio and podcasting. Which is why Wichita Rutherford was the first podcaster signed to a Sirius Satellite deal, even before Adam Curry and Podshow. He releases one show a week and, you guessed it, it is 5 minutes long. The show is G-rated, and Wichita proved that you can be funny (very funny) without using the F-word.
This is one of those handful of shows for which you should know the website address by heart. This way, when friends, family, co-workers, or total strangers ask about podcasting, you have one that you can send them to for their first taste.
Wichita brings in some incredible guests (Charlie Daniels, Junior Johnson, Ricky Skaggs) and has a unique and hilarious interview style. This show may not be for everyone, because not everyone has a sense of humor. Many podcasters can learn a lot from this podcastjust because you can drop the F-bomb and worse on a podcast does not mean you have to.
Greg Demetrick is the host and producer of this show. Greg releases two shows a week. The first one is a short 5-to-10-minute show that gives the five questions for the week and invites listeners to answer them. The second show is the main show, and it runs 35 to 45 minutes in length and consists of answers from listeners and an interview with one specific guest. This show is PG-rated.
Bazooka Joe hosts this podcast where he interviews everyday people. He releases a new show about six times a week. The length of each episode varies from 15 minutes to an hour, but most shows fall in the 20-to-30-minute range.
J.A. Donnelly hosts this podcast with help from Shadoe Steele. They feature podsafe music and rare interviews. The show is released three times a week, and the length of each episode is 20 to 25 minutes. The show is PG-rated.
Asking the Tough Questions
Wichita shows us with his show that an interview can be funny, entertaining, and informative in just 5 minutes. Bazooka Joe shows us that an interview done well with good prep work can turn any average everyday person into a fascinating guest. Listen to these shows and ask yourself, Does the host sound like he or she is interrogating the guests or does the host sound like he or she is just having fun with the guests? The goal for any interviewer should be to inform as well as entertain the audience. When you can do both, you will capture your listeners' attention.
If you're fired up to put together your own interview-based podcast, be sure to check out Chapter 7.