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And The Winner’s Are… 9th Annual Podcast Awards

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It’s time again for the annual Podcast Awards! The ballots have been counted. The awards have been handed out. Your 2013 winners are…

  • Best Video Podcast: Rob Has a Podcast
  • Business: NPR Planet Money Podcast
  • Comedy: The Morning Stream
  • Cultural/Arts: This American Life
  • Education: Grammar Girl
  • Entertainment: The “Walking Dead” Cast
  • Food and Drink: The Beerists
  • Gaming: The Rooster Teeth Podcast
  • General: Internet Box Podcast
  • GLBT: Throwing Shade
  • Health/Fitness: The Fat-Burning Man Show
  • Mature: Savage Lovecast
  • Movies/Films: Film Sack
  • PodSafe Music: Coverville
  • Politics/News: The Majority Report with Sam Seder
  • Religion Inspiration: Mormon Fair-Cast
  • Science: Radiolab
  • Sports: ESPN Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast
  • Technology: Tech News Today
  • Travel: WDW Radio
  • Best Produced: Rob Has a Podcast
  • People’s Choice: The Morning Stream

Congrats to all of the nominees and winners – and thank you to all the fans out there who voted!!!

Don’t Tell Me Your Podcast Is Funny

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funny podcast Don’t tell me your podcast is funny.

Being funny is not easy. It is also not something everyone should try.

Some people are naturally funny.

Some people are not. Those are the people who should not try to be funny.

There are few things less entertaining than someone trying to tell you they are funny. You never hear great comedians saying, “Thanks for coming out tonight. I’m funny.” If a comedian is truly funny, there is no reason to tell the audience he is funny.

Just be funny.

Or don’t.

You ruin your credibility when you tell me you’re funny. It is like saying, “To be honest with you …” When I hear that, I instantly think, “Have you been dishonest with me up to this point?” Don’t tell my you are honest. Just be honest. Don’t tell me you are funny. Just be funny.

Average television hosts will often say, “We have a great show for you tonight.” Have you ever heard a host say, “Tonight’s show is pretty average, but thanks for showing up anyway”? There is no need to tell me the show tonight is great. That is assumed.

If you feel the need to tell me you are going to be funny, you probably are not as funny as you think. Let the audience decide if your content is actually funny. Saying you’re funny does nothing to make your content any funnier.

This rule holds true for laughing at your own jokes.

When you laugh at your own jokes, it is as if you are telling me you think you are funny. Some of the best comedians deliver their jokes with a straight face. That makes the joke even funnier.

If you say something off the cuff that makes you laugh sincerely, that is natural and perfectly acceptable. When you are trying hard to be funny and simply laughing to encourage others to laugh, you cease being funny. You become the annoying guy at the party that keeps trying to be funny when the rest of the guests are tired of the routine.

Sitting alone in a room talking into a microphone to an audience you cannot see is one of the most difficult things you’ll attempt. You have no idea if the audience finds you amusing. It is nearly impossible to tell if the audience is understanding what you’re saying. Are they crying with you? Do they find your material funny? Is the audience as upset as you are? It is hard to tell. Every host faces the same dilemma.

You can only trust yourself. If you are passionate about what you’re saying, the audience will follow. You don’t need to tell them to be angry or sad. You don’t need to tell your audience to laugh. You don’t need to hold their hand and lead them. If you have faith in yourself and believe what you are saying, they will get it. Trust your words.

It takes practice to be confident enough to deliver your content without reacting as if you are also the audience. Hold back. Use restraint. Pause where you think the laughter would be … then move on. No need to acknowledge the laughter. No need to laugh yourself. Just move on.

When you simply move on, you allow the audience to decide if your content is amusing. Either they laughed or they didn’t. If they laughed and you moved on, perfect. Your joke worked. If they didn’t laugh and you moved on, perfect. You didn’t make reference to laughter anyway.

If you are laughing and your audience is not, you are laughing at a joke they didn’t find funny. You sound silly. If they are laughing at a joke and you are not, they are entertained and you are now focused on the next entertaining piece. Nothing lost. The audience doesn’t expect you to laugh at your own joke. If you didn’t think it was funny, you wouldn’t have said it in the first place.

Let’s back up a step.

If you’re not funny, that’s ok. You don’t need to be funny. You only need to be entertaining. Entertaining doesn’t necessarily mean funny.

Think about movies. Not all movies are written to be funny. On the other hand, all movies are written to be entertaining. Some are action flicks. Some movies are romantic. There are scary movies and suspense thrillers and mysteries. There may be some naturally funny scenes in the movies. But, not all movies are funny.

Not all podcasts need to be funny either. They only need to be entertaining. Know your limitations. If people find you funny, then knock yourself out. Be funny. Make people laugh. Some people have that talent. But, if you’re not funny, find another angle. Don’t try to be funny if you are not naturally funny. You’ll just become annoying.

How do you know if you’re funny?

People that love you will tell you if you are funny or not. Find people who love you enough to tell you the truth. A causal friend will not admit you are not funny. They don’t want to hurt your feelings. Casual friends won’t tell you that you look fat in those jeans, they hate your new haircut or you are not funny. Only people who have your best interest at heart will care enough to hurt your feelings in order to save you from yourself.

You can determine what is funny by listening to your show with others present. Don’t tell them where the funny parts occur. Just notice if and when they laugh. Over time, you’ll get a feeling of which parts are truly funny.

To figure out what is funny, you could also hire a coach. When you’re paying a good coach, you’re paying them to tell you the truth. A poor coach will tell you what you want to hear, so you don’t fire them. A good coach will tell you the truth. Your coach should tell you which parts are funny and which are not. You should also learn how to spot those areas, how to improve your show to make it more entertaining, and whether or not you should even attempt to be funny. A good coach will go beyond pointing out your weaknesses and help refine your skills, abilities and talents.

The occasional e-mail from a listener that says you’re funny is NOT a way to determine if you are funny. Three e-mails do not constitute a valid sample when you have hundreds or thousands listening to your show. Those e-mails only tell you three people find you funny.

Your mom will always find you funny. That doesn’t mean it’s true. You will never get an e-mail that says, “Hey, that line about the piano that you laughed at made me chuckle.” People don’t have time for that.

If you are unfunny to the point of annoying, you may begin to get hate mail. It takes a lot to get that kind of mail. Don’t take hate mail too seriously. Armchair critics are usually not very talented. They can’t do it, so they criticize it. Ignore them.

I’ve coached radio hosts for almost 20 years. One of the most difficult pieces of coaching is getting talent to trust themselves. They learn by doing and trying and failing and trying again. Over time, after reviewing many, many shows, the trust slowly builds. Confidence grows. Shows become stronger. The audience becomes larger. The influence of the host becomes greater. That’s when your show becomes truly powerful.

As you record your podcast, be confident in your content. Just put it out there. Trust that people will find it entertaining and amusing. Laughing at it won’t make it funnier. It also won’t make me laugh just because you’re laughing.

Just be funny. Or don’t. But whatever you do, don’t tell me your podcast is funny.

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for some funny podcasts for inspiration, try this list of the top funniest podcasts as picked by comedian Jordan Cooper.

The Top 10 Funniest Podcasts

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Not only are podcasts a great source of information, they also provide lots of entertainment options. I wanted to share with you the top 10 funniest podcasts out there, so I went to comedian Jordan Cooper of Blenderhead Media to get his recommendations on the best comedy podcasts.

Here’s Jordan’s take:

1. Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast

Comedian Bill Burr rants and rambles Monday mornings via cell phone for cynical insights into the world of comedy and touring.

2. Penn’s Sunday School

Examining religious news, talk about monkeys, and anything else that seems funny or makes Penn Jillette mad.

3. WTF with Marc Maron

Marc tackles the most complex philosophical question of our day – WTF? He gets to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own heard.

4. The Blenderhead Podcast

A dark, cynical and humorous take on the week’s news in technology, business and media with rants from the warped pessimistic mind of stand-up comedian Jordan Cooper.

5. The Nerdist

Comedian Chris Hardwick talks about all things nerdy with someone typically more famous than him.

6. Comedy Cellar Live From The Table

A weekly peek into the happening at the Comedy Cellar’s comedian table.

7. You Made It Weird

Comedian Pete Holmes asks other comedians to reveal and talk about their weirdest secrets.

8. No Agenda

Hosted by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak, the show is a free-flowing conversation that deconstructs recent news and media memes.

9. Never Not Funny

A party conversation with comedian Jimmy Pardo as he shoots the breeze with guests from the world of comedy, share stories and laugh at life.

10. Doug Loves Movies

Taped regularly at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles, comedian Doug Benson’s sits with guest comics to talk movies and play movie-themed games.

Have you listened to any of Jordan’s picks? If not, what your favorite comedy podcast?

Nathalie Lussier Talks About a 50 Year Old Technology that is the Hidden Profit Center Behind Your Blog

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Play

Speaker: Nathalie Lussier
Session: Why This 50 Year Old Technology is The Hidden Profit Center of Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 2:30PM

Nathalie Lussier, pronounced as “regular Natalie” Lucy-ay, is the Raw Foods Witch. She first learned about the concept of raw foods in early 2005. Like most people, she experienced tons of resistance (both internal and external) when trying to go raw. In March 2006, she dove head first and went 100% raw for 30 days. Since her 30-day raw trial, she’s learned what are the best ways to transition to a raw diet – and she can use her wisdom to help you make changes in your diet and in your life!

In this interview Nathalie talks about:

  • Using a 50 Year Old Technology to Make Your Blog Profitable
  • Strategies for Getting Your Blog Right the First Time
  • Why You Shouldn’t Chase the Next Big Thing
  • Key Mistakes Bloggers Make
  • Why Your Hosting/Design Is Really Important
  • Repurposing Your Content for Good Use

Finding Podcast Sponsors: What NOT to Do

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BlogWorld 2010 Speaker: Jean MacDonald
Getting Sponsors For Your Podcast: The Nuts and Bolts

Friday, October 15, 2010
12:15PM – 1:15PM

Tradewinds D/8

Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing formats of communication in the 21st century. Listeners love podcasts because podcasts are focused on their interests and, usually, cost-free.

But it’s not cost-free to produce a podcast, even a modest one. Equipment and bandwidth cost money, not to mention the time spent recording and producing a quality podcast. Many podcasters seek out sponsors to help defray costs, perhaps with the goal of turning a hobby into a profitable business.

Together with Dave Hamilton of BackBeat Media and The Mac Observer, I’ll be presenting a session on how to get sponsors for your podcast. Dave is a podcaster himself, the host of the popular Mac Geek Gab, while I am a partner in Smile, a Mac software company and the sponsor of several podcasts. If you have been thinking about approaching sponsors, or have been approached by sponsors but aren’t sure how to respond, we have a bunch of practical tips for success.

We’ll be talking about what you SHOULD do as you try to find sponsors and get them to sign on with you. But as a quick session preview, here are 3 things you SHOULD NOT do.

Obvious Form Letter

Podcasting is a niche medium. Sponsorships work best when there is a clear affinity between the podcast and the potential sponsor. A form email will not impress a sponsor looking for a unique audience.

If you’ve used a potential sponsor’s products, say so. Give some details. What if you haven’t used a potential sponsor’s products? Well, that could be a sign that this particular company is not a good fit for you and your audience.

Complicated (and Possibly Irrelevant) Offers

When you first contact a potential sponsor, you want to persuade them to listen to your podcast. Make a compelling case for why they will be interested in the podcast itself. Don’t tack on a lot of ancillary offer information. If an advertising manager isn’t sold on your podcast, they won’t care about the various types of banner advertising they will get on their site.

If you produce more than one podcast, don’t try to sell a sponsor a package if the podcasts are unrelated. Unless you know for a fact that the sponsor is passionate about tarot reading AND iPad apps, for example, you will give the impression that you haven’t researched your potential sponsors’ target audience.

Big Media Kit Attachments

Before you send a media kit, you need to have some indication that the company is interested. Media kits are big files. No one likes to get big files that they are just going to trash. Especially in the age of mobile computing, don’t become known as the person who sends out unsolicited 10 MB .zip files.

Instead, boil down the facts of your podcast to a few bullet points that you can add to your email signature.

Jean MacDonald is the partner in charge of marketing at Smile, which develops Mac, iPhone and iPad productivity software such as TextExpander and PDFpen. Under her direction, Smile has developed a large portfolio of podcast sponsorships.

Blog: http://blog.smilesoftware.com
Twitter: @macgenie

Image Source: iStockPhoto

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