written by
David Hooper

The Podcast Sausage Factory

Podcast Hosting Skills Media Training 4 min read

In 2017, I started a daily podcast for podcasters. It was part of a 30-day podcasting challenge and, because of the limited time, I didn’t put a lot of thought into its name. I called it Big Podcast Daily, which combined the name of my company, Big Podcast, with the episode frequency.

After 30 episodes, I kept going. After 240, I’d had enough. I changed the name of the podcast to reflect something more specific as to its content and sustainable as far as the release schedule, Build A Big Podcast.

With those 240 original episodes (and mentions of them) still around, the name Big Podcast Daily would pop up from time to time. Every time I thought I’d changed the last mention or link over to the new name, I’d run into something that mentioned the old one.

And that got me thinking... Why not bring the original name and episode frequency back, but do it in a way that was sustainable?

That’s what I did. Like the original, I set up an account on Anchor and kept things simple. The episodes are recorded directly into the Anchor app and there are zero edits.

There’s only one problem with doing a podcast like this – the lack of preparation on the front end and polish on the back end isn’t very respectful of listening. Because of this, most people don’t listen to a podcast like this.

In my book, Big Podcast, I ask the question, “Is it worth doing a podcast if nobody listens?”

The answer? It’s not – except when you’re doing a “Sausage Factory” podcast.

The Sausage Factory Formula

It takes a lot to create a great podcast. As a host, you need certain skills in place. Personally, after voicing the audiobook version of Big Podcast (get it free with Audible trial), I wanted to get better at reading, specifically being able to deliver a convincing performance of something on paper – a guest introduction, an ad script, or a book.

As a host, I’ve also found it beneficial to be able to think on my feet, responding to guests and co-hosts with relevant questions, information, or stories. And all podcasters have had things “go wrong” during recordings or live performances, so it’s helpful to be able to improvise, stretching out a story or filling time when needed.

These three things, reading, thinking on my feet, and improvisation, were all things I wanted to work on. So I decided to make Version 2.0 of Big Podcast Daily an opportunity to do this. Every episode includes the following elements:

  1. Reading
  2. Improvising
  3. Answering random questions

I call this “The Sausage Factory Formula” and here is how it works:

Reading

Reading. Literally. For me, this is often “radio episode prep” from a service designed for radio jocks. Birthdays, weird news, etc. However, I’ve read everything from modeling contracts, to airplane safety manuals, to book reviews, to keep things fresh and keep me on my toes.

Improvising

One of the great aspects of reading prep material for radio jocks is the lightheartedness of its content. Because it’s designed to be “safe” and not piss people off, so they don’t turn the dial to another station, nothing is too deep. These stories of “common” experiences and celebrity news give me a lot of easy material to add my own spin by telling improvised stories or giving a personal reaction, which is exactly what I do.

Answering Random Questions

Any time you interact with another podcast host, a co-host of your own podcast, or a guest, you’ll have to answer questions. And it’s important to be good at this.

Part of the reason to practice this skill is developing the ability to think on your feet, so you can’t know the questions you’ll be answering ahead of time. Fortunately, a tool like Pod Decks, decks of cards with different questions on each, is a good way to mimic the process. Another alternative is picking a random question from a list of “Table Topics” questions used by Toastmasters.

You see the question, read it, and immediately answer it – that’s the process.

Is Anybody Listening?

Probably not. But having an audience for a podcast like this isn’t the point – the point is for you to do what it takes to become a better host for the podcasts where having an audience is important.

Why Bother Releasing A Podcast To Nobody

Plenty of podcasts, maybe most podcasts, are released to a very small audience. So don’t get upset that you’re releasing this one to nobody, because there’s not much difference.

But you are releasing it, because making it available to the world ups the stakes. Even if nobody listens, the fact that somebody could hear what you do will make you put more energy into it.

Nobody > Lots Of People

When you’re working on something, “nobody” is better than “lots of people.” You don’t want your Sausage Factory podcast to be the first time somebody hears you – your first impression needs to be good if you’re going to grow a big podcast audience.

And that’s exactly what you need to do a Sausage Factory podcast – this is how you get good.

So get on it. Start an account with Anchor and record your first episode. Then do it daily.

YOU DON'T NEED ANOTHER NEWSLETTER! But since you're here, how about some podcast marketing tips?
Sign up for our newsletter