Who started the first podcast at all?

Podcasts - an unheard of success story ?!

“Podcasts are my greatest hobby,” announced sports journalist and podcaster Nora Hespers in her seminar “Podcasts - an Outrageous Success Story” on Friday, May 17th. After all, she now produces three different podcasts in her spare time. And the subject could hardly be more different.

In 2014 she started her first podcast ˏThe Anachronist´. In it, Nora Hespers tells the story of her grandfather Theo Hespers. He was a resistance fighter against the Nazi regime in World War II. “I started the podcast totally concept-free and clueless. I produced my content, recorded it and then just called the result a podcast, ”she admits. In Nora Hesper's experience, that's how most podcasters would do it. Few follow a strict concept. At first it was not clear to Nora Hespers that her approach could be classified into a certain genre. Until she got exactly this feedback: “Your podcast is like 'Serial', only in non-fiction format.” Incidentally, Serial is the successful US American podcast, in which various aspects of unsolved criminal cases are discussed. So The Anachronist´ should be like that too, except that her podcast contained historically correct and carefully researched incidents. A big compliment.

But Nora Hespers did not want to rest on this coincidence. When she did her second podcast ˏWhat do you think? ´ started in 2017 together with educational philosopher Rita Molzberger, a concept should come up. Also for the reason that her podcast partner is not really social media and internet savvy. To see whether their podcast has any potential at all, the two recorded a so-called zero sequence. An episode in which the concept was first tried out. “It was important for us to see whether our podcast was actually received by the target group. It's not always that easy with philosophical topics, ”says Nora Hespers. But the feedback was consistently positive. This is how the podcast came about.

But even two podcasts weren't enough for Nora Hespers. “As a journalist, I noticed that for many topics only male experts are consulted and appear in the reports. I thought that was unfair, ”she explains. That's why she started her interview podcast ˏMensch, Frau Nora! ´. In this, she holds discussions with exclusively female experts on various topics. No matter if artificial intelligence or genocide research. She has a simple mini-concept for this: Finding a problem, i.e. a topic that is otherwise inadequately represented in journalistic terms and providing a solution for it.

In retrospect, Nora Hespers can now say that a good concept is the most important cornerstone for a good podcast. After all, two of her podcasts have already been nominated for the Grimme Online Award. "Before you start a podcast, you should first think about some framework conditions," says Nora Hespers. Not only the topic, name, duration, regularity and target group are important. A unique selling point, the choice of the right platform and the right financing would also have to be taken into account.

As soon as this is done, you can start recording. And for that you don't need overpriced equipment at first. “You can all easily record podcasts with your smartphone. Maybe a cheap headset and that's it. You can always improve, ”advises Nora Hesters,“ Even recording via WhatsApp voice messages is possible, if you want. The audio quality is of course a different matter. ”She also has a few platform and program tips in store for post-production and publication. "Well then, I hope that you too will soon record your own podcast and make the podcast landscape even more diverse," says Nora Hespers at the end of the seminar.

Some of the students really intend to do this. Finally, everyone was enthusiastic about the lecture. With “many good examples”, “a great motivation to get started with podcasting” or “a great overview of the topic”, Nora Hespers received only positive feedback on her seminar.