9 Podcasters Explain How They Found Their Voice

9 Podcasters Explain How They Found Their Voice

After interviewing dozens of podcasters, everyone at Podchaser has come to one main conclusion – creating a podcast is harder than most people think it is. As part of our constant project to help new podcasters find their footing, we reached out to experienced creators and asked them the following question, “What did it take for you to get comfortable and find your voice as a podcaster?” Here’s what they had to say. Hopefully, you’ll grab some tips for your own podcast!

In this article: Sarah Marshall | Dallas Taylor | Kavitha A. Davidson | Richard Parks III | London Smith | Kate Wallinga | Connor Wright | Christina Friel | Lindsay Graham

How to find your voice in podcasting

Sarah Marshall - Podcaster

Sarah Marshall, co-host of You’re Wrong About

You're Wrong About Podcast

“A lot of my life has been about finding ways to unite the silly and the serious sides of my personality. For a long I believed they needed to exist separately, and though I loved comedy, and making my friends laugh, you would never have guessed it from most of my writing, or from the career paths I pursued. When we started making You’re Wrong About, we never imagined it being a funny show, just an informative one. But the humor arose naturally, as it does for me in personal conversations that end up in darkness, and can lean toward despair if you’re not careful. I realize now that by doing what came naturally to me, my voice on the show has become one I bring more frequently to the rest of my life: one that says everything isn’t okay, not at all, but we are here and we are together and we are doing our best to understand, and that it’s okay to laugh at what we can’t.”

🎧 Follow Sarah Marshall on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review You’re Wrong About on Podchaser

Dallas Taylor - podcaster

Dallas Taylor, host of Twenty Thousand Hertz

Twenty Thousand Hertz Podcast

“With Twenty Thousand Hertz, I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever been comfortable, I just tolerate it!  Regardless, it’s important to realize that there are ideas and opinions that the world needs to hear. Your voice should never be the gatekeeper. We need as many unique voices as we can get in podcasting. When I cringe at myself, I try to remember that the message needs a voice, and the only choice I have is for it to come from mine. “

🎧 Follow Dallas Taylor on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review Twenty Thousand Hertz on Podchaser

Kavitha A. Davidson - podcaster

Kavitha A. Davidson, host of The Lead

“Honestly, I don’t know if I’m quite there yet — I’m very much still finding my voice as a host. I’ve talked for a living in the past, mostly as a so-called ‘expert’ on TV and radio, but I’m relatively new to the podcasting world, and being a host is entirely different than being a pundit. I think what’s helped the most has been surrounded by an incredible team of podcasting veterans who continue to help me learn, and a huge part of that is realizing and accepting what I don’t know about this space. Collaboration is key.

The Lead Podcast

That being said, a huge part of podcast hosting is being comfortable with speaking with authority about an industry I’ve dedicated my life to: sports. In many ways, the challenges that arise in sports podcasting are similar to those in sportswriting, especially as a woman of color. The struggle against Imposter Syndrome is real, no matter the medium, but at some point you have to look at your body of work (and the work you put into researching each episode) and realize, ‘Hey, I actually do know what I’m talking about, and my perspective matters, even if it’s underrepresented and not always appreciated.’

Listening to other podcasts that are successful, either commercially or critically, has helped, but even then, what fits with one host isn’t necessarily going to fit for you. The word ‘authenticity’ is thrown around a lot, but there’s no one-size-fits-all method to coming across as real. I think the key is being authentically curious about the subject at hand, and sometimes that means asking questions that don’t always yield convenient answers for audio. But at least then, you’ve left nothing on the table.”

🎧 Follow Kavitha A. Davidson on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review The Lead on Podchaser

Richard Parks III - podcaster

Richard Parks III, host of Richard’s Famous Food Podcast

“I’d long tried to repress or resolve the most contradictory parts of myself in my work. In RFFP, I’ve embraced those contradictions and brought them to the fore. They define me as a person, and they define my show. Excusing any platitudes, here’s what I try to keep in mind when I’m making the show:

Richard's Famous Food Podcast Podcast

Don’t aim at the middle. Believe in yourself. Surprise and delight yourself. Make it sound like what you hear in your head. Look at your scripts, listen to your drafts — Where are you slipping into somebody else’s voice? Where are you aping the cliches of other shows? Of speech that is not your own? Scrub those moments. Or, take those familiar rhythms, turns of phrase, story beats, etc., and screw them up in a way that makes them entirely your own. Sure, do the cliche — but own it, make it your own. Don’t let it make you its own. Own your thing and every decision you make while creating your thing. Make your thing feel alive. Show something new. Make yourself smile, make yourself feel something. Embrace your contradictions and those of your subjects/guests/interviewees. You can do serious journalism and also be a goof. You can make a documentary food show that’s also comedy. You can be avant garde and also kid-friendly. You can give platform to other voices and also be highly performative. You can make a podcast that’s also a cartoon. You can sing and talk and rap and rhyme and also inform and explain and be a journalist. Contradictions are good. We are all contradictory in our own particular way. Who are you and how do you see the world? Show me that.”

🎧 Follow Richard Parks III on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review Richard’s Famous Food Podcast on Podchaser

London Smith - podcaster

Dr. London Smith, host of Jock Doc Podcast

Jock Doc Podcast Podcast

“For the Jock Doc Podcast, we recorded our first two episodes in a row. Barely scripted, mostly improvised comedy. So when I listened back and found that we sounded funnier than some of my favorite podcasts, I became confident that we could go further. And as the host, I had to realize that I would usually not be delivering the punch lines. Once I understood my role, it became a fun challenge to see where I could work in my humor while still not necessarily being the ‘funny one’.”

🎧 Follow London Smith on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review The Jock Doc Podcast on Podchaser

Kate Wallinga Podcast

Kate Wallinga, host, voice actor, and producer of Ignorance Was Bliss

Ignorance Was Bliss Podcast

“I started out thinking I would create something in the genre I listened to most often: true crime. But soon, I realized several things: it’s a saturated market, people already did an excellent job at narrative and conversational topical approaches, and I’m better at just talking to people about whatever they bring. So I listened to my own skills and let go of my own assumptions about what my show was, and allowed Ignorance Was Bliss to become what it needed to be. No more emulating anyone else. It makes me happy and taps into my unique skills.”

🎧 Follow Kate Wallinga on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review Ignorance Was Bliss on Podchaser

Connor Wright and Christina Friel, Writers and Creators of Gay Future

Gay Future Podcast

“Before Gay Future, none of us had ever created a podcast before. There were truly no blueprints or examples for us to look to when creating it, which in part is what made it so exciting to make. What was the most important thing to us while making it is that we wanted to create something we would want to listen to. We weren’t thinking about curating our jokes or censoring ourselves to get a bigger audience, we just wrote what we thought was funny and compelling. And if people were on board with it? Great! Sometimes the thought of “will people even like this?” felt intimidating, but we knew if we tried to write what we thought would be popular, it wouldn’t have been us and it honestly would’ve sucked. We became comfortable in our voices by getting comfortable with the fear that maybe no one would listen to Gay Future. With that freedom, we held nothing back and were able to create something that honored our love of absurdist comedy, YA novels, and Clay Aiken.”

🎧 Follow Connor Wright and Christina Friel on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review Gay Future on Podchaser

Lindsay Graham, Host of American History Tellers, 1865, American Scandal, & More

Lindsay Graham - podcaster
American Elections: Wicked Game Podcast

“If 80% of life is showing up, the rest is not leaving. I took on hosting American History Tellers with no experience, just my desire to do it and my instincts on how it should be done. Now, I’m the host, creator or executive producer of American Scandal, 1865, American Elections: Wicked Game, and have more coming; there’s a lot to be said for faking it until you make it. “

🎧 Follow Lindsay Graham on Podchaser

⭐️ Rate and Review American Elections: Wicked Game on Podchaser

Have you found your voice?

Are you a podcaster who thinks they’ve gotten a hang of this whole talking into a mic thing? Let us know on Twitter! And if you have any suggestions for which podcasters we should feature in a future article, send over your recommendations.