Confessions of a First-Time Podcaster or "Why it's so important to leap before you look"

Confessions of a First-Time Podcaster or "Why it's so important to leap before you look"

There were two ways it could go.

Our ChicagoNow Community Manager, Jimmy Greenfield, had just sent out an email letting the bloggers on this platform know of a callout for new podcasters at

Now, here’s the thing. I had never done podcasting before.

I’ve listened to hundreds, maybe thousands. Really like most of them. Love some. But done them myself? Nope.

So when Jimmy asked, I almost hesitated.

But then I quickly remembered what happens to hesitators.

So, I replied, “I’m in. I’ll send a query to Yak Channel. Thanks!”

Which I did.

And they liked it. Phew.

Which made me happy.

Until I realized I actually had to learn how to do a podcast.

Which made me nervous.

Now, here’s the thing. I can write. And I can talk. I even have recorded music in a studio.

But I’ve never been a podcaster.

So, Step One: learn how to podcast.

Equipment? Check. Got a nice microphone for home recording. Plus, it looks impressive in front of our computer. Always a plus when my kids can see how supercool their Dad is.

Software? Check. Downloaded easy-to-learn and use audio recording and editing software. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Always a plus for young, starving podcasters. (Ok, well I’m not that young, and I actually had a good breakfast today.)

Understanding of podcast-related technology and terms? Um….. well, let me get back to you on that.

Intro and Outro Music? I’m a musician but I didn’t think my mixture of rock, blues and funk would quite fit the mood. So, instead, I went searching. Until I found the music that starts and ends my podcast. I contacted the musician, and he gave me the greenlight. I mention him at the end of each show. And if I ever make it really big, I’m sure I’ll thank him in my acceptance speech.

Special sound effects and production elements? Yikes. For now, I’m just glad I could figure out the music part. I’ll add in sound effects and other neat production elements as the podcast evolves. Or maybe the people at Skywalker Sound are available. (Wonder if they work pro bono? Yep, back to that free thing.)

Content? Uh-oh. Just realized I’d better have something to say. Funny how that became the last thing on the list. Ok, well, it will be the first show so I’m going to have to explain the whole “Where are we going so fast?” concept. That’s a good place to start. Then I’ll ask people to send in their own moments for future shows. Hmmm, how am I gonna make that happen (see “Technology” item above)?

Content format? Wait, what?! I thought I already had this content thing figured out. Well, sure, if I were writing a blog or article. But writing for a podcast is different. After all, if I just write out the show and read it verbatim, it’s going to sound like I just wrote out the show and read it verbatim. Actually, there’s another word for that – boring. So, instead, I’ll use bullets. Basically create messaging points beforehand and then use impromptu wording during the actual recording to bring it all together. That creates a final product of structured spontaneity. Much better for the listener. And actually a lot more fun and in-the-moment for me.

Ok, so I took all of that above. Mixed it in a bowl. Added some salt, pepper and a touch of compelling humor, and did my first podcast.

How’d I do? Well, I’ll leave that up to you to decide. You can listen to the first episode of the “Where Are We Going So Fast?” podcast here.

If you like it, you can leave a comment below. If you don’t, I believe there’s a technical glitch and the commenting feature below won’t work. 🙂

But, before you leave, there’s something else I wanted to share. Something critically important.

Namely, that this entire adventure reinforced an important lesson for me. That sometimes we’ve just got to go for it. Even if we’ve never done it before. Even if we’re a little (read: a lot) scared. Even if failure is hiding just around the corner, wearing black, a mocking smile on its face, hoping you stumble into it.

Because really that’s why we’re here, isn’t it?

To try.

Yep, with apologies to Yoda, sometimes we will try… and sometimes fail.

But, over time, if we keep trying and keep getting better and keep being sincere, we will succeed.

In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” there’s a part where Harrison Ford has to cross a huge chasm to save his father’s life. He stands at one side, looks down, looks across, sees there’s nothing in between him and the far ledge, and then understands that he has to take a leap of faith. Of course, he’s not really pleased about that. It literally scares the heck out of him. And we see the moments where doubt and belief ripple across his face.

Knowing though that if he doesn’t take that leap, his father will die, he puts his foot out slowly, very slowly, and takes the first step. As his foot comes down, it mercifully hits something solid, and a bridge, always there but camouflaged, appears as he slightly shifts his perspective.

And that moment is the most important of all. For all of us, no matter how it shows up in our lives. When we create ourselves – and, by extension, our reality.

Now, of course, if I didn’t podcast, no one was going to die?

But who’s to say that if I didn’t try, I might not also begin to shy away from other similar leaps in the future.

Because shying away tends to build upon itself, until we’re left curled up on a couch somewhere, waiting for the phone to ring.

And, of course, beginning to podcast is in no way the same as jumping across a chasm, right?

Well, actually, come to think of it, it is.

On one side, I wasn’t a podcaster.

On the other side, I am.


Contact me at or @jameswarda. Join my Facebook page. And listen to my podcast. (Wow, I’m so demanding, aren’t I?)

Comments Note: All comments are reviewed. Any that are considered to be a personal attack or hate speech will be removed. In my blog, I try to be respectful at all times. I expect the same from my readers, both in responses to me, and about or to each other. And, again, thank you for reading. After all, without you, I’d just be keeping a diary.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Leave a comment