Get with the programme: how to make an audio show squib

Our critic switches sides to learn the technical skills involved in making a podcast

For this job, which I love, I spend a lot of time listening to audio: radio programmes, podcasts, soundscapes. I wonder about the presenting, I unpick the construction, I notice how music and other sounds are recorded, how they come in and out. I think about tone, and how we’re led through a story. I don’t do this all the time, by the way. It’s a bit pointless over-analysing a political phone-in show, or a bro-ski podcast where everyone talks over each other. Also, I often let a show take me over and take me where it wants. Still, it’s interesting; to properly listen, try and work a programme out.

Understanding how audio is made is important for a reviewer. And I have some practical experience: I’ve presented and interviewed for radio for over 20 years. But though I’ve been in many rooms with producers, pointing at lines dancing across a screen, saying, “I think that bit should go there, not there,” I’ve never made a programme myself. So I decided to learn.

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