When creating a work of audio, there are two dimensions at play: content and production value. The content is the idea, the actual information you need to create (script or topic list, music cue sheet, direction). The production value is the quality of the delivery (recording, mixing and artwork quality). Most successful podcasts and audio dramas have a high standard in both regards. You might already have a good quality recording environment and premium access to resources like music libraries, but lack a good idea or compelling topic. In this two-part post (Part 1: Production Value), we’re looking at ways to improve the both the production value and content of your podcast. Let’s focus now on creating the content that attracts your audience.
When creating a work of audio, there are two dimensions at play: content and production value. The content is the idea, the actual information to be created (script or topic list, music cue sheet, direction). The production value is the quality of the delivery (recording quality, vocal talent, artwork quality). Most successful podcasts and audio dramas have a high standard in both regards. But if you’re aiming to create your own podcast or audio drama, you don’t always have the resources to hire actors, composers and sound engineers to make sure the final master is of a high standard. You may have great written content waiting to go, but lack the production value. In this two-part post (Part 2: Content), we’ll look at ways to improve the both the production value and content of your podcast.
Happy African Village is a medium fast, royalty-free African podcast music track. Its Mood is uplifting, happy, upbeat and exciting, while the Instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, skin drums, shaker and hand claps. My Suggested usage is for children, festivity and team building moments.
Sometimes the most fun performances are had when you volunteer your time, equipment and effort to give back to and build your community. The Subverse is a hip hop crew from Cape Town. Like many others, they are intent on breaking down barriers through music. According to their Facebook page, the aim of The Subverse is to connect musicians and like-minded people and to work towards a database of support. They invited us to join in jamming with them using our live electronic devices and instruments. So, this is what happened!
Improvising with The Subverse
The group spontaneously created much of the music on the night. The ability of rappers to improvise so skillfully is always impressive. Using their environment and crowd as the inspiration, they perform a type of lyrical jazz!
The parties involved in creating this event included:
Musicians Gareth Harvey of OctaveLeap, Django Flaherty and myself kept the tunes going. Music included samples from pioneering South African artist Digital Sangoma. Lastly, if you’re interested in how Cape Town’s musical landscape is changing with the times, keep an eye on my social work category.
Unsolicited advice on your unfinished creative work is one of the most common reactions you’ll ever receive. But it seems that no matter how many times you go through it, it always stings to hear someone offer their two cents on your latest draft. Especially if you’re only sharing it to air the work out and let off some steam after an uphill slog. So, what do you do when impulsive and often ignorant feedback pin you down?
When This American Life launched its groundbreaking show Serial in 2015, they chiseled into the relatively misunderstood medium all sorts of legitimacy and validation as both a storytelling and journalistic medium. Since then, we’ve watched the floodgates open and podcasters compete to fill the feeds with spoken word, interviews, music, theatre, book readings and inspired messages on every topic imaginable, from news to horror fiction to hip hop culture.
Alibi is a South African radio show by award-winning journalist Paul McNally. The story follows the case of a man who may have been wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years. The story, which begins in Johannesburg in 1994 and tracks the case to the present day, was originally aired in 2017 on SAFM over the course of eight weekly episodes.
Listen to an episode
Presented by: Freddy Mabitsela & Paul McNally
Additional production and music composed by: John Bartmann
Mixed by: Kutlwano Serame
Additional scripting by: Elna Schutz
Editorial help by: Tom McNally, Gavin Haynes and Kyla Herrmannsen
Editorial oversight by: Franz Kruger & Nooshin Erfani
Press and Awards
- We won The Vodacom Journalist of The Year Awards 2017 for Best Radio Feature
- Memeburn listed us as one of the top South African podcasts.
- The Irish Times listed us as one of the best new crime podcasts.
- TalkCentral featured us (around the 45 minute mark)
- Chai FM featured us for a full hour on their show Corruption Busters.
Ever watched a film where someone throws a beer bottle out of shot and the sound of it breaking just…isn’t how it would really sound? Or the overt ‘creaky doorness’ of a creaking door makes you laugh out loud? Sure, probably only audio editors would notice these moments. But in a radio drama or a podcast, the same sound effect in the same context would seem way more obvious and out of place. Why is that?
Somewhere Nice is a medium fast, royalty-free African podcast music track. Its Mood is gentle, calming, nostalgic and uplifting, while the Instrumentation includes electronic beat, plucked sounds, skin drums and shaker. My Suggested usage is for sentimental moments, sunset moments and travel memories.
West in Africa is a medium fast, royalty-free African podcast music track. Its Mood is upbeat, happy, uplifting and exciting, while the Instrumentation includes acoustic-guitar, skin-drums, hand-claps and woodblock. My Suggested usage is for childrens’ activity, festivity and team-building moments.