One of the interesting things about the podcast industry is how much it can vary. Some producers spend most of their time working on just one show, but for others, they bounce between multiple podcasts at a time, applying different approaches and methods to each.
As a senior producer for Listen, Lucy Hunt falls into the second camp, working on the company’s original podcast Unboxed with Jordan Schwarzenberger, alongside a number of other projects. Hunt has also worked on a number of client podcasts for Listen, bringing her expertise to bear in making them sound as fresh and engaging as possible.
How many podcasts do you work on?
It always changes. I think that's the nature of being at an indie production company. At the minute I have two in production and then I'm developing ideas on the side, so it's always a bit of a juggle. But usually two to three in production at a time.
How many podcasts do you listen to per week?
I probably try, outside of work, to listen to between three and five – that’s one episode of different podcasts.
What's your podcast app of choice?
I am a very big Spotify user. I also like Apple. I've got an iPhone so it's very convenient! And obviously Spotify, I like to have some shows where you can only listen through that app, like Call Her Daddy. I like the fact that I get recommended different shows from both apps - I use it as a resource finder, in a sense.
What are your three items of essential podcast equipment?
I would say my iPhone, because I use it for everything from a timer to Notes to communicating with everyone. I love Notion, I feel like it really helps me structure my ideas and get my thoughts down in a way that is messy and then goes to organised. And a pair of good headphones. You know, classic.
How long does the average podcast take to turn around?
It's a difficult question because I've worked on so many different productions and it really is a broad range. I've worked on daily podcasts before, when every day you've got to turn out that different podcast. Obviously longer form, you could spend a long time turning around one episode. But I'd say on average, I work on a weekly basis.
What does your role involve on a day-to-day basis?
Day-to-day, lots of emails, lots of talking through the ideas and structure. Lots of development, whether that's on my existing shows or new shows. And managing the direction of a project, ensuring it’s always moving forward, how we can evolve, lots of research to ensure that we're at the forefront within our related areas of topics and themes for each different podcast.
What I love about this specific role is that it does change so often. Sometimes it can be organisation-heavy, depending where you're at in different production schedules. Sometimes it's development-heavy. Sometimes it's location-heavy. Sometimes it's edit-heavy. I really like that constant change.
What's one thing you wish every podcast host knew?
Know you will get better! Because a lot of people start off and feel a lot of pressure to be perfect and are really hard on themselves if they make a mistake. But you've got your producer there to help you through that, and as long as you're consistently working at it, you're gonna get better.
But also listen to yourself back – especially if you're not editing anything yourself – because producers and execs will listen to a piece of content quite a few times before it goes out, which is different when you're on the other side of it. So we know your habits really well and we know your areas of improvement really well, and we can guide you. It makes it easier working together when you have also spent time listening to yourself and understanding your behaviours when you're talking and sort of expressing through and sort of communicating with people as well. Like me saying “sort of”! That would be my feedback to myself.
What makes a good episode?
One that connects with your community and is providing value in some way, and questioning “What would the listener want from this episode?” I think we're all aiming to achieve that in this industry, whether it be building the community or talking to the community you're trying to build. It's really important.
How did you get into the podcast industry?
I really loved the audio industry as a whole and always thought the idea of developing was exciting. So I started off working in radio and developing documentaries. In my third year of university, I got a commission for a documentary for Radio 1. I was passionate about exploring new ideas andthemes. That naturally progressed into podcasting, as there was a lot more room for development and to evolve an idea than radio had to offer. And so I think podcasting offered me a flexibility to evolve and keep developing ideas in a way that I really enjoyed.
What was the last podcast you listened to?
The last one I listened to was Uncanny. I love spooky stories and scaring myself. But don't listen to it at home alone because it's actually really scary! It’s like getting insight into my brain, that kind of thing where you hear a bump in the night and the logical side of your brain goes, “No, it's just the boiler!” versus your imagination wanting to believe in ghosts.