Publishing your podcast on time can be a daunting task for the average weekly show - which is what makes the schedule maintained by The Smart 7 podcast all the more impressive. Created by Thronecast presenter Jamie East and audio producer Liam Thompson as a short-form daily news show for commuters, The Smart 7 delivers seven news stories in just seven minutes, published at 7 am every day. Since launching in 2020, the show has amassed over 11m downloads and the winning formula of the show has led to the creation of East and Thompson’s own audio production company Daft Doris.
The co-founders have since launched numerous adaptations of the daily podcast, including regional variants in Ireland and Germany, as well as vertical-specific shows like workout podcast The Sweat 7and gossip podcast The Heat 7. East and Thompson sat down on the latest PodPod episode with Rhianna Dhillon, Andrea Fox, and Matt Hill to talk about their hectic production schedule, how they manage to hit deadlines every day, and their decision to expand the show to a global market.
Practice in advance with a few dry runs
“We knew what we were doing in terms of the content, in terms of writing, in terms of the sound and the production - but to actually get it out of the door on time the first episode was terrifying,” said East when recalling what it was like when the podcast first launched.
“Before we launch anything, we always do dry runs so the first week is getting the content right and the second week is getting it out on time,” added Thompson. “... I think with that kind of attention to detail… it should always be seven minutes and it certainly always has seven things.”
Create a rhythm that’s easy to understand and stick to
“There's quite a structure to (the podcast) so each of the slots are kind of different,” said Thompson when talking about curating the production schedule and script before airing an episode of the podcast.
“Seven and six tend to be front page or broadsheet headline kind of stories, five has been Ukraine quite a lot, four would be kind of an interesting inside page of The Times kind of story - maybe environment or something like that - three is sport, two is a celebrity interview or entertainment; showbiz and TV, and then one would be either a trailer… or a kind of bigger story from the entertainment world.”
Learn the basics
“Before I did broadcasting [or] presenting anything, I built stuff. I built websites. That's what I did. So I know code… I think understanding how to make stuff is really really important, especially in podcasting,” said East. “If you know how to edit, if you know how RSS feeds work and all that, even if you don't actually have to do it yourself, it just speeds the process because you understand when people are explaining to you a bit better.”