Announcing The Blind Podmaker. By blind podcasters, for blind podcasters
I don’t know where the time has gone, but later this year it will be 17 years since I began podcasting. In that time I’ve used, discarded and upgraded a lot of gear, and many services have come and gone, but podcasting’s popularity continues to increase. The cool thing is that it’s easier for people to create them than ever. Someone in a bedroom with nothing more than a smartphone but a great idea and presentation style can take the world by storm. That’s pretty democratising.
With publishing having become so easy, there’s a catch. It’s hard to get discovered. I read recently that Apple has now hit 2 million active podcasts in its directory. With that many podcasts, how do you reach an audience, particularly if that audience is a niche one? I’m very fortunate in that I’ve been around since the beginning of Internet streaming and many people are kind enough to still listen to what I produce. Mosen At large gets thousands of listeners each week. But it is much harder when you’re trying to build an audience.
It got me thinking about the many well-produced, informative podcasts created by blind people, for blind people, that bring us so much value and knowledge. Some are connected with commercial ventures, but many are produced by dedicated volunteers who want to give something to the community. When you take a step back and think about that, that’s wonderful.
I’ve also been thinking about those who feel they have a podcast inside them waiting to escape, but they’re daunted by the technical side. Many sighted people feel this way too, but it’s even more daunting for blind people because not all podcasting tools and services are accessible. And even when they are, adding a screen reader into the mix adds complexity.
That’s why I’ve created a series of initiatives under the Blind Podmaker brand, and I’d like to outline them for you in the hope that you’ll play an active role.
Why the Blind Podmaker?
When I thought of this name, I have to tell you that if I weren’t so dedicated to the keto lifestyle, I would have awarded myself a massive dollop of double chocolate ice cream. But not everyone gets it, so I’ll explain it. The Blind Watchmaker is a theory used to explain evolution and is the title of a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins although he didn’t invent the term. So the Blind Podmaker is a pun based on that.
The idea behind The Blind Podmaker initiative is blind podcasters selflessly helping one another out. Well, perhaps not necessarily selflessly. No one knows everything, so if we all exchange ideas, we’re all bound to learn things we didn’t know before, even those of us who help more than we are helped. There are several initiatives already running.
The Blind Podmaker email group
This is a group where blind podcasters, or people who would like to start one, can ask questions and offer answers if they have them. Relevant discussion topics include:
- Recording software for all platforms
- Podcast hosting services
- Audio interfaces
- Interviewing techniques
- Remote recording tools
- And much more.
If you’d like to join the group, you can send a message to:
The Blind Podmaker club on Clubhouse
The Blind Podmaker club is the home of our weekly Blind Podcasters’ Roundtable. Sometimes we have a featured guest, at other times it’s an open forum where we ask questions or just geek out.
Those who are already podcasting can be made a member of the club, and when you become a member, you get privileges to start a room in the club whenever you want. In this way, I hope the Blind Podmaker Club will eventually grow and see a variety of people giving presentations throughout the week on a range of podcasting topics from a blindness perspective.
The Blind Podmaker podcast
Since this is all about blind people podcasting, it would be a bit odd if we didn’t have our own podcast, right? I’ll contribute what I can, and we’ll also be publishing recordings of the Blind Podcasters’ Roundtable for those who can’t make it to the live event on Clubhouse or who just want to hear it again.
However, I hope we will get a variety of voices and perspectives from blind podcasters everywhere. The idea here is that there is a single podcast where people can go for resources on podcasting when you’re blind. If you’d like to record a demo of a mic you have, or a service you use, or an app or plug-in that helps you do what you do, that would be awesome.
Similarly, if you’ve already produced podcast-related pieces for another podcast, please do feel free to send that material along as well. We’re not necessarily after exclusive content. Of course, do credit where it came from. So for example if you’ve produced a demo for your own podcast and you’d be willing to share it for this new feed, absolutely let people know where it was first heard and how people can subscribe to the podcast to hear more of what you’re doing.
If you have material that you’re willing to contribute, be in touch with me privately and we can work out the details.
Already, The Blind Podmaker can be found in most of the usual places, including Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify and most apps.
No matter how good our content is, none of us can possibly keep our listeners hooked 24/7. There’s room for all of us and as stated above discovery can be difficult, so why not help out our fellow blind podcasters and listeners by spreading the word about other content in this space? At our first ever Blind Podcasters’ Roundtable on Clubhouse, it was felt that we could help each other out by creating a way for blind podcasters to share podcast promos with each other. It works on an honesty system, so if you contribute a promo and expect others to play it on their podcasts, it’s expected that you will also play other promos on your podcast. As well as assisting a fellow podcaster, sometimes it can help to have a promo to break up distinct segments of your show.
I have created this folder in Dropbox and am happy to provide read-only access. So here’s how I’m thinking it will work.
- You contact me and request access to The Blind Podmaker Dropbox. You get read-only access and play the promos directly from the Dropbox folder. That way, you ensure you’re always playing the most current version of available promos.
- If you want to add a promo, email me a link to it so I can download it and include it in Dropbox. Promos should be no longer than 60 seconds and be well-produced. If they don’t meet this criteria, I’ll email you back to discuss.
Even bigger dreams
I have registered TheBlindPodmaker.com, and it’s my hope that one day, we’ll build a directory of podcasts hosted by blind people as well as a place for other resources. That’s something that I don’t have time for right now, I’m doing this mostly in weekends as a volunteer.
But if you’re a WordPress ninja and fancy turning your hand at creating such a system, I would love to hear from you.
Thank you, and I hope you’ll be a part of it
A huge thanks to everyone in our community who toils away to keep us informed and entertained. You provide a great service to people, and doing it well is hard work. I hope that The Blind Podmaker will be a vehicle for many people to contribute their expertise and be a big-hearted place where we all help each other out. When we give to the blind podcasting community, we all get so much back in terms of wider listener choice and even better quality.