What does a podcast host do?

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What is a Podcast Host?

A podcast host is responsible for creating and hosting podcasts. That is the simple answer to this question – but it requires that we answer another question: what is a podcast?

A podcast is a form of media content that was developed in 2004, when an MTV video jockey and a software developer coded the ‘iPodder’ – a program that let a user download internet radio broadcasts to their Apple iPod. This is how the term and meaning of podcast came to be, taking its name from a merging of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast.’

Today, podcasts are an enormously popular form of audio entertainment and have progressed beyond being downloadable radio shows. In very simple terms, a podcast is a series of audio episodes. It’s the streaming age’s answer to radio. It’s radio on-demand, to which subscribers usually listen on their iPhone, Android, or another mobile device.

Podcast hosts – also known as podcasters – are the people who create podcasts to entertain, to educate, and to connect like-minded individuals and communities. They often wear many hats, creating show content, booking guests, conducting interviews, editing the audio, and promoting the show.

To avoid any confusion, it’s imperative to make one distinction here. Our concern in this piece is the human podcast host, the ‘face’ of the podcast, the person who converses with guests and offers commentary that engages an audience. So, it is important to note that ‘podcast host’ is also defined as a place where podcast content is stored, along with similar terms ‘podcast media host’ and ‘podcast hosting platform.’

What does a Podcast Host do?

A podcast host interviewing his guest.

The responsibilities of the podcast host are rather wide. They include:

  • Interviewing guests who have expertise in a specific field
  • Creating show formats that will appeal to listeners and keep them engaged
  • Managing relationships with sponsors to ensure that they are happy with the exposure they are getting in exchange for their sponsorship dollars
  • Coordinating with producers, designers, and other staff members to create an episode’s content
  • Preparing for each episode by researching topics or contacting guests
  • Editing recorded audio files to remove any stutters or other mistakes in speech or audio quality
  • Reviewing subscriber feedback and responding to questions or concerns about previous episodes
  • Coordinating with producers to schedule guests for upcoming episodes
  • Editing the final version of each episode, including adding transitions and music

In addition to carrying out the tasks listed above, podcast hosts need to remain aware of trends influencing podcasting to keep their skills relevant and to maintain a competitive advantage.

Here are three trends having an impact on the field:

Podcasts Will Become More Visual
As they become more popular, podcasts are becoming more visual, meaning that podcast hosts now need to be able to create visually appealing shows that will continue to engage their subscribers. They will need to be skilled in video production and design, editing audio clips, and adding music and sound effects.

More Focus on Branding
The increasing popularity of podcasts is leading businesses to recognize their potential for reaching a wider audience or building their brand and reputation. Podcast hosts can capitalize on this trend by partnering with businesses to create content that is both informative and entertaining.

The Rise of Personal Brands
A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions, and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.

Personal branding is gaining traction in the business world. Podcast hosts can exploit this trend by building a strong online presence and promoting themselves as experts in their field through social media channels, blog posts, and interviews with other professionals.

To fully understand what podcasters do, it helps to have a sense of the different types of podcasts they host. While podcasts are as varied as the imaginations of their creators, and span genres from news and education and politics, to health and fitness and comedy, the vast majority of them can be broken down into one of four formats:

Conversational Podcasts
The most common podcast format is the conversational one. It is the most informal style. It can have a solo host or can be a roundtable discussion. It is often an interview podcast, a discussion between host(s) and guest(s), often focusing on the guests’ personal history or expert knowledge on a topic.

Narrative Nonfiction
This kind of podcast is long-form storytelling. It allows the host to tell a story about a true event or discuss a topic in a narrative style. Examples are human stories, obscure mysteries, and true-crime narratives.

Scripted Fiction
Fictional entertainment is no longer restricted to TV or movies. Fiction is doing well in podcast form, too. Scripted podcasts allow subscribers to tune in each week for new installments of dramas, sci-fi fantasies, historical docudramas, and comedies.

Repurposed Content
Content creators, including brands, bloggers, and TV shows, repackage their content into podcasts. This allows listeners to catch highlights of their favorite programs and to access condensed and easily digestible content.

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What is the workplace of a Podcast host like?

Podcast hosts generally work in a home office or studio. Some, however, may travel to different locations to record their shows. They typically work regular hours, but may need to work evenings or weekends to accommodate the schedules of their guests, to edit and produce their episodes, to meet deadlines, or to promote their show.

Because podcasts are not regulated, meaning a broadcasting license is not required to publish content, anyone with basic podcast equipment like a microphone, recording software, and a membership to a hosting platform can create their own show.

Monetizing a podcast is becoming a reliable way to make either a side or fulltime income, thanks to brand sponsorship, affiliate marketing, subscriptions, and paid content.

Podcast Hosts are also known as:
Podcaster