Topic 2 Developing a concept

An important first step in developing your podcast is coming up with a concept. How do you do that? Here are some relevant questions to think about.

What is your format?
The format refers to the form and style of your podcast. You have several options. For example, you might choose a format where you are a solo speaker during the episodes, or where you do a Q&A with one or more guests. You could also go for a more narrative approach. Of course it is also possible to choose a mixed format. It is important that the format matches your goals and what you want to discuss. The format must also appeal to your audience and evoke involvement. When you want to start a meaningful dialogue about a difficult theme, it can be helpful to invite guests. These might be guests who can express things well,  who appeal to the target group, who bring a certain expertise, who can open up new perspectives and/or who do not normally talk about the subject matter. Guests may also attract certain listeners, which can help you reach a specific or even wider audience.

Who will do the presenting?
You can present your podcast alone, but you can also enlist the help of a co-host. It can make the podcast more dynamic and interesting if you have a co-host who brings in their own perspectives and questions. It can also save make it more manageable if you can share the tasks of making a podcast with a co-host. But always choose a co-host who you can work well with.

What about the tone of the podcast?
It is also useful to think about the tone of your podcast: the way you communicate and convey information. What kind of style and language will suit your target audience and the topic of your discussion? Casual or serious, informal or formal, accessible or specialised, young or mature, spontaneous or prepared? Whatever you choose, you want to be able to reach your target group, so make sure the language is understandable and accessible.

Where do you record?
When thinking about the concept it is useful to think about the location where you want to record. You can record at home or in a studio, but you can also record on location. For example in a community centre, school or at a workplace. It can be a location where the subject of the conversation takes place, a place that supports the story of your guests and/or a place that appeals to the listeners. For a Q&A, it can help if the location feels familiar to guests and evokes a sense of recognition. When choosing a location, always take into account the ambient sounds. This can enhance the atmosphere, but they can also be disruptive.

How do you engage the listener?
You want to start a meaningful dialogue with your podcast, but how do you make the listener part of the conversation? There are several options. For example, give listeners the opportunity to submit questions that you cover in the podcast.  You can also ask your audience questions yourself. Invite them to share their experiences, opinions and advice on the topics being discussed, for example via social media. Bear in mind that a podcast about a sensitive topic like radicalisation or extremism can provoke strong reactions and robust discussions. Sometimes those reactions can be hateful or insulting to you or others. Think about how you can respond to this beforehand. We will come back to this later in the module.

Imagine: you decide to use an interview format for your podcast. Which guests would you invite and why?
Think about the topic of conversation, your goals, and what you want to achieve with your target audience. Please write your answer at the end of this Topic, Activity 1

Also consider guests who are almost unheard of on the topic, but may be able to provide very valuable or new perspectives. Who would you invite and why? Please write your answer at the end of this Topic, Activity 1

For the podcast ‘Resilience’ the interview format was considered the most suitable. The makers wanted to let youth professionals discuss how they approach creating conditions for resilience in the face of polarising, radical and other negative influences. Both to make the subject open for discussion and to highlight examples of how these issues can be approached pedagogically. Those involved with Free2Move in Zwolle talk about their experiences in episode 3.

Write your answers here