Professor Martin Spinelli is something of an expert when it comes to podcasting. He has over 30 years of experience, from starting out as a radio producer and presenter in his 20s to becoming a podcast researcher and host for almost a decade. He’s now sharing his valuable knowledge of the industry with a new generation of students, teaching a podcasting module at the University of Sussex.
Spinelli sat down with PodPod presenter Rhianna Dhillon and reporter Reem Makari in the latest episode of the podcast to talk about the essential skills that students need to learn in podcasting, the most common mistakes they can make, the biggest success stories from his classroom, and what the next generation in podcasting can bring to the industry.
Focus on building a narrative
“I teach how to build a narrative, how to tell a story about how people relate to the world and relate really complicated things through stories, through narratives,” said Spinelli. “I teach them what's unique about podcast narrative, it is more intimate. There are moments of reflection, the host is usually more involved and more there as a character who's on a journey with a listener.”
You need to be able to think on your feet
“Planning is so incredibly important when you have a really, really complicated project,” said Spinelli. “So the art of being a producer is the art of solving problems, right? So if you want to be a good producer, you have to be able to take stuff that comes at you randomly and deal with it well.”
Learn the skills and introduce them to a different demographic
[Talking about one of his students who took their podcast to Nigeria]
“He took that model to Nigeria and is now doing a hugely well-funded podcast series about young entrepreneurs on the margins of Nigerian society called The Climb and he's doing that in conjunction with the LSE in London,” said Spinelli. “In Nigeria, a big country with 120 million people, he's at the forefront of introducing podcasting to more and more Nigerians.”