5 Roles of a Podcast Producer
Updated April 7, 2020 | Jon Street
It’s something we’ve talked about before, but podcasts come in all different variations of style, genre and approaches. Most new podcasters are simply looking for a way to have their voice heard by the world and have no experience being a podcast producer.
Maybe they have a business approach or philosophy they feel others would benefit from. Maybe they have a personal story about wellness or a radical life change that they want the world to hear. Maybe they have professionals or people in their network who are working through industry changes that they would like to talk through as a resource for others in the industry. These are all valid ideas for new podcasts.
Most of these concepts are very simple and easy to execute with little headache by just getting a few microphones, a few pointers on recording high quality tracks and finding some simple intro and outro bumpers. These few basic elements will help you have a cohesive, well crafted podcast.
But for some podcasters, they want more. They want something that is more of a creative expression of their idea through more complex structures. Or perhaps they are interested in telling a story through their podcast, one that they would like to be engaging and captivating for the listeners. This can be an overwhelming thought for podcasters, especially for those just getting into podcasting for the first time. A podcast concept like this usually requires a lot of planning and preparation ahead of time. It requires someone to have an overall vision of the goal of the podcast and know the steps it will take to get the objective completed.
But it requires more than just finding a visionary for the podcast to succeed, it’s about finding or becoming someone who can execute the game plan to get the job done. This is often where a podcast producer comes into the picture.
The image of a podcast producer may drum up different pictures for different people. Maybe you think a podcast producer is some sort of app or software used to compile a podcast episode. Or perhaps you see a podcast producer as someone who is paid a high salary and who is hired to make your podcast for you. Or maybe you see it as someone who works freelance on your podcast to help you make the podcast come together.
While there are elements of all of these concepts that are true, simply put, a podcast producer is someone with the knowledge and experience to get a vision of the podcast (or help develop it) and see it through to completion on their own or with a team. They are, for lack of better imagery, the glue that holds the podcast together and makes sure it all stays intact from start to finish. But what exactly does a podcast producer do?
The more complex the overall concept of the podcast, the more a producer will need to do. For simple, straightforward podcasts, the podcast host usually takes on a lot of the responsibility of the producer, at least in the administrative areas. If there are additional elements that require support, a producer will be brought on to support the overall goal in some way, shape or form. If the podcast concept is very complex it may require a team of people to work together to fulfill the roles usually associated with a producer. Who the producer is and what the producer does will be tailored to the overall vision and complexity of each podcast. While there is no set description of what the producer does or does not do, here are a few key areas they will focus their time and attention towards.
As part of the overall process, the podcast producer will help develop and maintain the creative vision of the podcast. They will help map out the story that’s being told, what needs to be done to tell that story, and who will help to tell the story. They will identify what things need to come into the overall gameplan. They will help make sure that the rails are being laid down through the overall vision-casting, but will also help to make sure that the train is keeping its course and going where it needs to go through execution. Now sometimes that game plan will develop and adapt as things unfold (especially if it’s an investigative-style podcast), but they will make sure that the overall concept is being maintained from start to finish.
Getting a podcast episode going from start to finish can be a lot of work, especially if it’s a more complex concept. The podcast producer is someone who has enough vision and knowhow of what needs to happen that they are able to oversee the entire process from start to finish and either deliver the results needed themselves or work with someone else who can. They make sure that all the elements come together in a smooth, cohesive way.
Another responsibility that often falls to the podcast producer is coordinating the interviews for the guests or people being interviewed for the podcast. Now, this is more complex than simply making phone calls, sending emails and keeping the calendar. Remember, the producer is tasked with making sure the overall vision of the podcast is coming together. So as they are planning and preparing the interview elements of the podcast, they will also need to identify each person’s role, how they fit into the overall picture and then develop interview questions or talking points based off of this. The producer will be the one who guides the host or interviewer on making sure the content is effective and worthwhile.
After the vision is cast, the interviews are scheduled and completed, the podcast needs to be prepared for the world to hear. That process involves editing, mixing and mastering the content recorded into cohesive episodes. This will likely involve a lot of elements like narration, incorporating news clips, music transitions and other elements to help tell the story. The producer’s role will be to either execute this process themselves, if they have an editing or engineering background, or work with the production team to make sure the vision is being carried out.
After the vision is cast, the interviews are scheduled and completed, the podcast needs to be prepared for the world to hear. That process involves editing, mixing and mastering the content recorded into cohesive episodes. This will likely involve a lot of elements like narration, incorporating news clips, music transitions and other elements to help tell the story. The producer’s role will be to either execute this process themselves, if they have a editing or engineering background, or work with the production team to make sure the vision is being carried out.
A lot of the things discussed here are overall observations of the role and responsibility of the podcast producer. As I mentioned, these roles may be taken on by the host, divided between a team or sourced out to a dedicated podcast producer. The question of whether or not you will need to bring on a producer will inevitably come down to whether or not you feel up to the task of doing it yourself. If you feel excited about taking these tasks on, you will likely be able to do it, or at least get the ball rolling.
If you have a concept or vision but feel terrified at the thought of seeing the plan through, finding and working with a producer may be a great benefit for you and your podcast. If you do look for someone else to bring on though, make sure you have an open conversation about your strengths, your weaknesses and where you need help carrying out the vision. Make sure you identify what everyone’s role will be so you can work together for the common good.
Finding a producer is a challenge, especially one you can trust. The Resonate team has a lot of experience working with podcasters of all levels and bringing our expertise to the table to help podcasts shine. Due to popular demand, we have worked hard to build out a set of podcast producer services. Learn more about our team of experienced podcast producers and how they can help you here.
Podcasts are a great way of getting your message and your story out to the world. If it’s a task you feel unable to do yourself, partnering with a podcast producer is a great way of seeing your show through to completion.
A producer can help develop the vision for the podcast and help find the best way to tell the story through its episodes. They can also help ensure the overall production process of the podcast is completed efficiently while overseeing the interview and preparation process. They can oversee the post-production process as the episodes come together and make sure the podcast is performing as planned. They are an invaluable part of the process and help make sure the podcast succeeds instead of flopping.
If you have any questions or concerns about podcast producers, reach out to the Resonate team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the Operations Manager at Resonate Recordings, Jon leads the production team and ensures that all our podcasters have everything needed to release consistent high-quality episodes. Jon and his family are from West Palm Beach, Florida and now live in Simpsonville, KY.