In the hope of launching more media creators like Davida Jackson, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library now makes podcasting kits available for checkout.
Podcasts have become a significant communications channel for people and organizations to engage with their audiences and promote conversation. According to Edison Research, a New Jersey-based political research company, 44 percent of Americans over the age of 12 listen to podcasts.
The library released podcast kits in late August to support more local podcasters who want to take advantage of these new audiences. Davida Jackson, co-host of “The Phone Wallet Keys Podcast,” has been podcasting for four years. She offers several insights for newcomers, and one of her key tips is to just get started.
To encourage new podcasters, Davida discourages perfectionism.
“It’s better to be done than perfect,” Davida said recently. “A lot of times people will stop or not even start a podcast or anything they want to do because they want it to be perfect…. Just do it.”
In the Phone Wallet Keys Podcast — named for the three things people need to grab before they leave their home — Davida and her co-hosts and guests discuss pop culture, social issues, and recent national and local news. One her goals is to promote civic engagement. With a background in radio, news, and marketing, Davida found podcasting to be a casual way to connect with the community and share her ideas. She relies on a podcasting studio in a coworking space.
Davida highlights the importance of consistency, audience engagement, and audio quality. Maintaining a consistent, regular schedule for a podcast, and keeping content focused on complementary themes and issues can help find and grow an audience. As the audience grows, podcasters need to communicate with them to better understand their concerns, wants, and needs, she said. The podcaster can find what social media and audio platforms they use, and what content they respond to. Davida said podcasters don’t need to be on every social media platform, but common platforms are iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Spotify. Last, she said, audio quality is important. “Make sure your sound quality is really good because if it sounds muffled or far away or if there’s an echo, you are gonna lose listeners,” Davida said. “You need to make sure that it’s clear crisp sound.”
The kits from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library include everything a beginning podcaster needs, minus a computer. The library provides a list of resources and instructions to help get started. The kits come packed in a small case with four microphones; three foam microphone windscreens; two microphone cables; two microphone stands; one Zoom H6 digital recorder; one USB cord; and one 64-gigabit SD card. To check out a kit, podcasters first need a library card, and then they can request one from the online catalog. The kits can be checked out for up to three weeks at a time, and they can be returned to any library location.