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Niches & Case Studies

Podcasting to Learn More About Yourself: Dave Pickering from Getting Better Acquainted

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In our Podcaster Showcase series, we interview a podcaster who’s finding success with their show. We delve into how they started, how they’ve grown an audience and what they do to get a return on their efforts. The aim is to share experience and learn from anyone that’s making it work!

This week, we’re talking to Dave Pickering from Getting Better Acquainted.

Give us a written trailer for your show. Why should we listen?

Join Dave Pickering on his journey to get better acquainted with the people he knows. Part interview show, part oral history project and part autobiography through conversation. GBA won a British Podcast Award in 2017, was nominated for a 2012 Radio Production Award, aired for 3 seasons on Resonance 104.4 FM and was featured on BBC Radio 4’s In Pod We Trust, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Helen and Olly’s Required Listening. It has been recommended by The Guardian, Time Out and the Financial Times.

Why did you decide to start the podcast?

I made a podcast for a year where the version of myself was not one I enjoyed spending time with. I wanted to make a podcast where I showed the different people I become when in conversation with others, and I wanted to learn to listen to other people more. That was a starting point, but the show very quickly became about so much more than me.

What equipment do you use to record?

A Zoom H2n for recording conversations. A Marantz PMD661 with a dynamic microphone for recording intros and outros.

What’s your recording environment/setup usually like?

I record conversations in quietish environments – bedrooms, living rooms, cafes, offices, parks, etc – but I aim to record the room as well as the voices. I set my microphone up close enough to capture all the voices well, but it’s on a table or similar rather than in front of peoples faces. I always monitor the sound through headphones.

What is your usual editing process?

I edit for flow and sometimes content rather than for length. The show is a long-form show. But I do edit very carefully, editing to help myself and my guests express ourselves as clearly as possible. I used to edit out all the ums, but these days I leave a lot more in. But I am editing to a tight deadline, as the show is weekly so the editing I do on this show is, by necessity, less polished than other work I do. After editing the conversation, I add music, an intro and outro and a cold open clip. Editing an episode takes between 2.5 and 7 hours, generally around the 5 hour mark; when I do documentary style specials it takes much longer.

What are the top 3 ways you’ve gained new audience members?

Having occasional guests who have large followings or platforms. Being featured on local and national radio. Being reported on and recommended in national press and online media.

How do you get a return from your show, whether monetary or otherwise?

In money terms, people can donate to the show if they want. Not very many people do, though. I have got a lot of paid work as a result of doing the show and it has helped me just about pay the rent as a freelancer.

The returns I get from it that aren’t financial are much more important though: hearing it has touched people and helped them understand themselves and others better, experiencing it enrich my own life, having it make me see things differently… these returns are not really quantifiable; not all of them are things I can put into words, but they are the reason I make the show.

What unexpected benefit have you gotten from your show?

Making this show has fundamentally changed me as a person: it has challenged and changed my views, opening up my mind to so many other people’s experiences; it has meant that I have made new friends, found new collaborators and had experiences and opportunities I would never have had.

It’s helped me understand who I am, who other people are, and strengthened and deepened my personal relationships.

What 1 piece of advice do you have for a new podcaster in your industry?

Make a podcast because you love what podcasts do, or what podcasts could do, not because you want to make money or get exposure.

About Dave

Dave Pickering is an award winning storyteller and podcaster. He is the host of the Getting Better Acquainted podcast, The Restart Project Podcast, the Hackney branch of the true storytelling night Spark London and host and creator of the performance the variety show Stand Up Tragedy. He co-produces the magical realist family drama podcast The Family Tree. And he is the person the solo storytelling show What About the Men? Mansplaining Masculinity and BBC Radio 4: Four Thought’s Liberating Men.

You can follow Dave Pickering here: @GBApodcast

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