Why I started podcasting

Podcasting Dec 07, 2021

I didn't really know much about podcasting until 2017. Before then, I thought it was just a YouTube show.

I used to watch a ton of videos on YouTube (to be honest, I still do lol) and one of my favourite gaming channels at the time had their own video podcast. I assumed the word meant that: a gathering of conversations, friends chatting about dumb stuff they've witnessed or done, and all of that is recorded in a talk show format.

And the idea was implanted in my head for a while.

Come graduation and my first job as Head of Marketing at a FinTech company, and I had the chance to build my own body of work. Not only through my job, but through my own sense of freedom: building my own blog, starting my own YouTube channel, stuff like that. To take the first step, I started writing answers on Quora, ranging from detailed deconstructions of speeches to answering questions on love.

The most popular answers, however, were tales. I called them Tales for Answers, to help with my prose and fiction writing (one of my...many hobbies). It was a chance to express myself creatively, and none is a better motivator than reward and clout at the time.

Building a following, I took it to the next level by checking out competitions. There was one online with a simple process: submit a story, get paid. Nothing too difficult. It was a good first step towards challenging myself, or so I thought. I wrote a story, and was about to submit it. And...well, I didn't.

I was scared. I bailed out last minute. I wrote for an audience, and I wrote for myself, but hwen it came to a time when my writing was about to be judged and ranked with other better writers, the thought of it repelled me. There's even a cash prize and everything. I ended up questioning my own ability, and in doing so questioned my own self-esteem: Did I really think I was good enough to submit stories to competitions?

All that was left were my thoughts, my regrets, and this draft in my hands. It was already finished. I could have just uploaded and be done with it. But it's such a waste: I've built an entire world, a foundation for a new universe in this one story (well, to me it was at least). For it to be archived and picking up dust in the corner was a massive disrespect to my own time.

Why a Fictional podcast?

There came a thought, a vision: a campfire, a narrator, telling us stories from a children's book, creating voices and making sound effects from just themselves. And us, the audience, captivated and huddle closer together, all to hear more of this interesting tale. Oh I love those so, so much. Campfire moments that help us imagine. I wanted to capture that energy through this story.

Thinking about it, you can't really capture that magic without a voice element. A story narrated is read, but a story read does not mean the other way. Pair that with my interest in voice acting (I told you, many hobbies), and boom! I started a podcast.

Years ago, I went to a poetry meetup and listened to a podcast episode there. It was beautiful, and I nearly cried. A narrative told of a burning historical relic. I could feel the emotion in that episode, and I never knew an audio piece could move me this way. I couldn't help but repeat it over and over again at home. I wanted to emulate that adventurous feeling on my own.

There in came the Blu Yeti, every podcaster's popular mistake, and I recorded my first episode in a thin-walled office space at 6AM. My colleagues didn't mind, they were never that early to work so all is well. And that's when Tempered Fables started.

Why does audio media appeal to me?

I couldn't articulate the magic that comes with podcasting and publishing that first narrated episode. Now I can.

We have different mediums in this world. Images, audio, video, text. Modern takes include GIFs, memes, 1337speak (I feel old for saying that omg). These are, in essence, different context-specific nuances and languages that fit well where they belong. They require a vessel for constant translation. That vessel is us.

In thinking about it this way, these mediums are split into different categories, and these categories are foundations of each other.

Secondary categories are things like GIFs, videos, text. But primary categories are empirical, pure forms of communicating. It is almost immutable. One of them, is Conversation. (You can argue for text to be a primary, but I'll leave that for another time)

Podcasting appeals to me because it's the best way to send conversations around the world. Society is unable to exist without the right conditions to create a two way conversation between two parties. It's that tension in the middle that becomes the foundation for civilisation. At scale, our conversations move the world.

From them comes the gold within the small moments where you realize, ah, this is his point, or this is how he is translating his intent, or the essence of someone's stories stems from her semantics and her verbal form. All of these stories and conversations lay on a spectrum of fact, fiction, and natural understanding. We can walk among these complexities without getting lost.

Isn't that beautiful?

Now imagine sending that energy everywhere. That's podcasting.

Imagining receiving that energy from a faraway place like the North Pole, or a longhouse in Sarawak. From the tallest of skyscrapers to the most humble of beginnings, anyone can podcast. Anyone can effectively move the world with their articulations at scale.

Such gold.

And that's why I'm in podcasting.

Tags

Norm

Norman Chella is the Podcast Rainmaker, Polymath in Progress and a very strange writer. His creative pen name is N.T. Cloever. You can find his words right here.

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