Finding The Voice Of Podcasts

My first podcast experience came about through listening to ‘Juan Epstein’ a hip-hop ‘nerdcast’ created by Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds. Setting it up as a way to work on improving their on-air rapport, Rosenberg and Cipha had just started a new radio show which lacked a little on-air chemistry, so they got into a studio to just get straight to talking to each other.

As traffic via social media has increased, many voices have been lost over the years. I remember listening to Choice FM whilst driving in my dad’s car and hearing the presenters getting into funny and interesting conversations. I loved it. It brought in a much needed break from all the music and stirred up conversations wherever you were. But a good few years ago, I fell out of love with Hip Hop music. Everything was laffy taffy this, stanky leg that. I couldn’t deal with it. So I started reading books instead. Mostly Dan Brown fiction type books. Then I remembered there was that format called podcasts. I started to search for more and soon discovered that ‘Juan Epstein’ was not the only hip hop podcast out there, so I got into listening to other podcasts that were available. Podcasts about politics, podcasts about relationships and podcasts about all kinds of random topics. I loved it because it gave me a chance to listen to people talk and they would talk about things that I didn’t always have a wide knowledge of. Taking a view of other peoples point of view, took me to also question my own ideals. It was great.

I wanted to find something that spoke to me as a photographer. I would often spend time on YouTube as it would give me a visual medium, which for photography is very important. One of the videos I loved to watch was ‘Fro Knows Photo’ which was a brand created by photographer Jared Polin. These videos were very informative and had great video tutorials on photography. Jared would often show his editing process and behind the scenes video of photoshoots. This was very important to me 4 years ago when I started to take photography seriously. Whenever people ask me if I went to school to study photography, I say “No. I graduated from YouTube”. When Jared annouced that he was creating a podcast, I was intrigued. I wondered how he would talk about photography without the visual representation. As I tuned into the first episode of ‘Raw Talk’, a play on the photography term ‘raw’ which refers to the unedited files from a camera, I discovered there were many more different layers to the world and business of photography and it had nothing to do with pictures.

As I listened to Jared described how he got started and how he conducted his photography business, I quickly learned the act of taking pictures is only the beginning to becoming successful. Listening to this podcast allowed me to focus for an hour every week and learn about how to respond to emails, when to contact clients about late payments and other situations that a working photographer would experience. Listening to his interviews with different photographers I got an insight into their world whether it be sport or nature photography. Tuning into like minded people being candid with each other is one of the many reasons I love podcasts. Especially when you can find one that revolves around a subject that you’re interested in. I found that the same concentration I gave to reading books, I applied to listening to podcasts. It helped me try different things in photography and hearing first hand from professionals what worked for them, enabled me to pick and choose what can be applied to my own work.

Fast forward to 2016, there are hundreds if not thousands of podcasts available. Last year, I decided to create my own podcast. I wanted to talk about my experiences in photography, what I get up to in London and the shows that I shoot. But, procrastination took over and I didn’t get on it straight away. Later on Twitter I spotted a link from Chuckie pointing to his new podcast, ‘Chucks Talks About it’ on Soundcloud. Listening to him I soon realised that he had something more I could directly relate to, and it was all in an accent that was just like mine. I called Chuckie and asked him which studio he used. He told me he recorded in his bedroom using his laptop. All this time I had been putting off my own podcast because I didn’t have the time to go to a studio and it didn’t occur to me that I could do it by myself. I thanked Chuckie, loaded Amazon and spent some money.

There is now a rising tide of Podcasts, specifically in London. Online radio shows such as ‘On Topic Talk Show’ with Dear Rob, Mr Exposed and Marv Abbey have now led to 2 of the hosts creating the ‘3 Shots of Tequila’ podcast. Chuckie has linked up with another media personality, Poet, to create the ‘HalfCast’ podcast. Others such as ‘Cut The Chat’, ‘2 Girls & A Mic’, ‘T.B.C.’ and ‘Don’t Forget To Eat’ have introduced a host of different people sharing their views. I’ve got to a point where I hardly listen to music during my commute. I’m spoilt for choice and I don’t have to just listen to Americans as British people are finding their voice and broadcasting it to the world.

Social media is limited. 140 characters is not enough to properly get your point across regarding complex situations. Podcasts are a perfect way to thoroughly explain yourself. It’s also a platform to chat shit and buss jokes. It’s a way to enjoy other conversations about subjects that you’re into. It will also open up the world to another insight into UK’s culture and the way we talk and think. Grime music has introduced our slang to the planet and podcasts give even more context to that slang within longer conversations. It’s another chance for characters to shine and express themselves. I use the platform to express my love for photography and talk to people who have a passion about what they do. It’s also a place for me to rant about things I don’t like and express my opinion about various subjects. It’s a chance to learn things from other people in other fields. I’ve had conversations about branding with Despa Robinson, video production with Morgan Keyz and DJing with Ralph Hardy.

The popularity of Podcasts is set to increase in the UK’s urban scene, with platforms like Soundcloud, iTunes and now Spotify offering a place for anyone to host their own shows, it’s another way for people to hear the different voices and opinions that make up our multi-cultural country so vibrant.

With the popularity of television reality shows, it may seem that everyone wants to be a fly on the wall of other people’s lives, but Podcasts offer a viewpoint. I can’t help but be intrigued about how people do what they do and how they got to their positions. I’ve named my podcast ‘Focal Point’ because not only is it a photography reference but I can focus on creative people and their craft, all while making a point to understand the process behind the work they’ve created. Somehow through my journey as a listener, I’ve found myself recording episodes that now live on iTunes alongside many others podcasts that I’ve loved listening to over the years. I finally have my own Talk show.