The DB Football Podcast by Derek Birch

The Purpose

The purpose of this project was to develop as a communicator, while working with a topic for which I have great passion. I have had the opportunity to communicate in a variety of creative ways such as photography, videos, team-based activities, and an assortment of other methods. I have never worked with any type of radio, broadcasting or podcasting, and I thought that completing this project in the way I did would provide me with excellent opportunities for learning and growth in a new medium.

The Project

My project was creating the DB Football Podcast. Due to my uncertainty in the area of podcasting, I wanted to work with a topic that I was most comfortable in. I listen to a variety of sports podcasts, and football is my greatest hobby. So naturally, I decided to create a podcast about football. Most podcasts that I had listened to about football were about reacting to football news that had just come out or providing analysis on games that had recently happened. I perceived that there was an area that was untapped. I focused my efforts on examining historical teams and players and providing interesting insight that may be different than what most listeners had already experienced. With all of this in mind, I set out and created the DB Football Podcast. Every episode required many hours to properly research and produce.

The first episode focused on the career of Tom Brady, and whether he was the greatest or luckiest player ever. The second episode was in regard to the key members of the Rams Super Bowl victory. Specifically, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, and Sean McVay. The third episode was covered the historic 2001 Miami Hurricanes, and whether they are the greatest college football team of all time.

The Challenges

The biggest challenges that I encountered along the way were underestimation and inexperience. Podcasting is much more complex than I had anticipated. It is not as simple as speaking for a half hour and having a finished project. I had to research, find, and buy proper recording equipment. The microphone I purchased, quit working half way through the recording of my first episode, which was definitely a challenge. I struggled learning how to use my recording program effectively and it was very tough learning to edit after recording. I knew nothing about how to upload episodes to streaming services. While there were various technical challenges, the biggest and most overwhelming struggle along the way the was the amount of time required to deliver a product I could be proud of. I would have never expected how much work and time I needed to produce a 30-minute episode that met my standards. I spent hours and hours researching, and then trying to write a script or bullet points that incorporated the information I wanted. The process of recording and re-recording was also more time consuming than I had expected. I had no idea the level of investment that was required to make even a short episode, and that was challenging for me.

The Project Process

First and foremost, I brainstormed a variety of potential topics for episodes. I then selected which episode topics were the priority and which order I would move through them in. I began the preparation of each episode by conducting research. I read, watched, or listened to as much information as I could on each topic. After my research, I began writing a script that consisted of word for word sections as well as bullet points to serve as free talking sections. After finishing the writing, I began the recording phase. After initial recording, I often re-recorded any sections that I felt needed improvement. Upon the finishing of recording, I edited the episode in Garageband and added any audio I used as well as my theme song that I purchased the licensing for. After the editing was finished, I used Spreaker to upload my episodes to a variety of podcast services such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. After uploading the episodes, I would promote the episode by making a post on my Instagram page. I also listened to the episode again, taking notes about revisions or improvements that I would like to make.

The Overview of Experiences

This project offered me a variety of positives and negatives. I had to work hard, very hard, to produce episodes that I was proud of and that I felt comfortable enough to encourage others to share. It was frustrating when I did not know how to do things, or when plans didn’t go as expected. When my fairly expensive microphone quit working, it was easy to be discouraged.

Putting these episodes out in the public for people I know to listen to was tough. I felt vulnerable, nervous, and even embarrassed about people knowing I had done this and then listening to what I had created. After I released episodes, I was so worried, but I was met with waves of encouragement and support. That was my highest high in this entire experience. People told me that they loved the show, they shared the link to it on their social media pages, they asked me when the next episode would be out, they told me I had a real knack for this, or that they had learned a lot from the episode. This made it feel all worth it. Investing 10 hours to create a thirty-minute episode seemed to feel worthwhile.

The Takeaways

There were a variety of insights and takeaways that I acquired over the course of this project. The first being, do not forget how much work and effort goes into the media you consume and enjoy. I now have a greater respect and admiration for all those who work in podcasting, or any other similar media position. It is not as easy or simple as it may seem. The second insight that I gathered was the importance of patience and diligence in learning a new skill.

A key takeaway I experienced in this project was to be encouraging to all who are making an effort to step outside of their comfort zone. The positive words and encouragement that I received made it much easier to move forward in my project and get over my sense of embarrassment and vulnerability.  

Treat people with love, care, and patience. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, do not let fear or uncertainty stop you from trying something new that you have a desire to experience.