Behind the Scenes at the Podcast
In 2017 we were asked by NHS England London to develop some materials to help mental health organisations to support people when there is an investigation into a serious incident.
The initial idea was to support the written materials with films, but when we started to hear the stories it seemed that podcasts would be a more effective and sensitive way to share experiences.
We worked with radio journalist, Jane Wyatt, to develop five podcasts. Jane is highly experienced, having worked for a number of radio stations here and overseas, including the BBC and Resonance. She has also written on a range of subjects, including articles for the Nursing Standard.
We learnt so much from this experience and about everything that needs to happen behind the scenes to make a podcast.
One of the first things we had to consider was the need to block out as much background noise as possible. Thankfully Jane’s experience and recording equipment helped and meant that, with a bit of planning, we were able to interview people in offices, at conferences and by phone. We also spent a few days in the studio at Resonance.
2: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.
The temptation was to identify a range of people, carry out some interviews and then edit, but we took a different route and approached it the same way you might plan a film or a book. We thought about the important themes and key messages for each. Then, we considered the narrative or “story arc” and this helped to identify the different perspectives needed. This early work helped us to identify who to interview and helped us to know how to prepare them.
Which brings me onto the next bit …
We put a great deal of resource into preparing people to take part. It’s not about telling people what to say, it’s about sharing why you are doing it, what you hope to get out of it, who the audience might be and giving people a chance to rehearse. We tried to look after people on the day by meeting up beforehand (people are nervous) and having a chance to de-brief afterwards (everyone has a little cringe – it’s normal).
Everything takes time: researching the themes, recruiting people to take part, writing and approving scripts (for the introductions etc) not to mention the editing process (which for us included giving everyone who took part the chance to listen before publication). So, my final piece of advice would be the double the time you think you will need.