Podcasting do's and don'ts

Saturday, April 7, 2018
If you don’t know the work of the multitalented Dometi Pongo, you should. He’s a radio journalist, a podcaster and a newspaper reporter—not to mention a spoken word artist.

How would you caption this photo of Dometi and me by Cody Bahn?
So it was a privilege to team up with him at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 5 Conference in Chicago, April 7, 2018, to share what we’ve learned about audio production and podcasting.

Among the stuff we covered:

• Podcasting basics.
• Equipment do’s.
• Editing do’s and don’ts.
• Interviewing do’s and don’ts.
• Recording do’s and don’ts.
• Scripting do’s and don’ts.
• How to publish.

The PowerPoint presentation embedded below won’t capture all the fun we had—especially since it’s been converted from the original Apple Keynote to a less-excitingly animated PowerPoint file for sharing here. But if you’re just entering the podcast biz, or if you’re already into it and hoping to get better, this will be of some help.


National Lampoon's origins, recalled by founding publisher Matty Simmons

Sunday, January 28, 2018
Netflix’s comedic biography of National Lampoon co-founder Douglas Kenney, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, sent me back to my conversation decades ago with one of the story’s key figures, who shared his recollection of developments that made their way into the movie.

If you enjoyed A Futile and Stupid Gesture, you’ll get a kick out of this unedited April 30, 1987, interview with the Lampoon’s founding publisher, Matty Simmons.



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In 1998, a look to the future of working women

Thursday, January 25, 2018
From the perspective of the Women’s March and #MeToo era of 2018, a 20-year-old book that set out to examine “working women and the transformation of American life” offers insight into trends decades in the making.

Here’s my 1998 interview with author Sally Helgesen, who, over the course of three years, put a microscope to women in the Chicago suburb of Naperville—and found dramatic changes, which she documented in her book Everyday Revolutionaries.

One excerpt, as she discussed two-career families:

Helgesen: “Many of the women said to me … ‘My husband is tremendously helpful in the house.’”
Me: “You didn’t talk to my wife about this.”
Helgesen: However,’ they said, ‘I have to decide everything that’s done.’”
Me: “Oh, you did talk to my wife.”

Helgesen on technology in 1998: “The personal computer is what’s enabling the tremendous move toward home-based business, toward individual entrepreneurial efforts … among women. … That’s what permits people to have this freedom from ‘The Organization Man’ way of life, in which individuals were completely dependent on large organizations.”

Helgesen on the wage gap between men and women: “Of more concern really is the wage gap between those who have … something to offer the knowledge economy and those whose services are not as in demand.”

If you were a kid back then, odds are good you’ll recognize a mom or two here.

So: My interview with Sally Helgesen, talking about Everyday Revolutionaries, aired Jan. 25, 1998, on the late WNUA-FM, Chicago.



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How the Fantastic Four radio series disappointed Stan Lee in 1975

Thursday, December 28, 2017
1975: I was just beginning my radio career at college station WPGU-FM, hosting an investigative mini-documentary radio series, Probe.

What would be more natural to “investigate” than my passion for comic books—with what became the first of several interviews over my career with Marvel Comics impresario Stan Lee?

Presented here far more for the value of Lee’s remarks—including his disappointment in the then-new Fantastic Four radio series and his enthusiasm for Howard the Duck—than for my own stuffy and waaaay-underdeveloped on-air presence: Stan Lee on WPGU Radio’s Probe.



Enjoy this? Check out these much-more-polished later encounters with Lee, here and here.

(1975 photo: Alan Light.)