“People who love podcasts are hungry for it and they go hunting for weird stuff,” he says. “Weird stuff resonates more.”
He’s using his podcasting studio Sounds Like An Earful to help people make podcasts, and to help build a podcasting community in St. John’s.
Postill started podcasting five years ago after giving up his small-tour-across-Canada life as a musician. He loved Radiolab because they love playing with sound as much as they love story, so his friend encouraged him to record their phone conversations and make a podcast out of them. So he did.
They’d start by talking about a subject like having children, and Postill would wind up calling other people like doctors or, say, the leader of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement and recording those conversations, too. He edited it all together into a quirky, goofy, surprising and honest podcast called Sounds Like An Earful.
People listened. “I mean, the numbers aren’t huge,” he says. “But every once in awhile, I’ll get an email from someone saying, ‘I heard that and it was really cool.’”
Sounds Like A Earful is now a full-fledged podcast editing and design studio with four podcasts: a fantasy fiction podcast called Gorbauuch, an instructional podcast called Oddhobby in which the listener is guided through a simple solitary activity, Postill’s personal podcast called Workshop where he makes music and talks to a depressed robot, and of course the original Sounds Like An Earful series.
The upcoming No Return Address assembles six people in his studio to read letters they all wrote the week before. The letters might be to their younger selves, to their boss, or to a neighbour who parked in their spot.
He’s looking at setting up a podcast book club where people would hang out and discuss what they heard and he’s building an incubator program to help people get their podcasts off the ground. People will pitch the idea they’d like to develop and every three months, he’ll choose one and offer his time, expertise and even some gear. Ideally, he’d be able to offer a small grant with it, too.
“I just think people should podcast,” he says. “When I was doing Sounds Like An Earful for the first three years, it was like going to school again. Every day I woke up with something to think about and some stranger to hunt down and talk to. It’s a great way to learn stuff and have fun and talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to.”
His advice to someone starting out? Don’t hide your weirdness. “I think that part of the success of podcasting is that you no longer have to be playing to the room to find an audience,” he says. “You can be as weird as you want. Don’t dull down your weirdness. It’s your podcast and if two people like it, that’s wicked.”
Postill will be heading up an RPM Record-a-Thon on February 1st at the Rocket Room from 9am to 8pm. He’ll be there recording an entire RPM album. People are invited to drop in and contribute, collaborate, check out his set-up and ask for advice. You can check out his podcast about recording his RPM last year at studio.soundslikeanearful.com.
And hey, comedians make RPM albums. You can definitely make a podcast RPM album.