Samantha Holland began podcasting after Cru 17 as a way to continue the conversations about ethnic diversity. After a year of hosting her Listener podcast, she offers some of her thoughts in this recent interview.
What started you thinking about doing a podcast?
I really enjoyed Cru17 and thought important conversations started there. After the conference, I started brainstorming ways to keep those conversations going. Podcasts had become a wildly popular and effective medium and to my knowledge Cru wasn’t active in that space yet. I thought maybe a Cru podcast would help keep significant communication alive across the organization.
Do you have a background that prepared you for podcasting?
My first real job out of college was sales in a call center, and I remember getting feedback that my clients liked my voice. People have also told me that I ask good questions and listen well. So even though I don’t have formal training, I suppose I have some natural gifts from God that serve this project.
What advice do you give someone who wants to try it?
First I’d ask, What will your niche be? Listener aims to foster conversation by platforming a diverse cross-section of Cru thought leaders. There is definitely room for more than one Cru podcast. It would be awesome, for example, if there were a Team Leader “best practices” podcast promoting cross-pollination across cohorts. I also think an evangelism podcast would be interesting, where someone goes out on the street and has spiritual conversations with strangers–and records it (with permission).
What do you use? What would someone need? Equipment. Software. Platforms.
Anyone can produce a podcast–I learned how by searching around on the internet. I record all my podcasts using Google Hangout Meets and an iPhone audio-recorder-app called Voice Record Pro (Voice Recorder Pro is the Android version). I use the GarageBand app for editing and have a subscription on SoundCloud to host the episodes online. I typically record for 90 minutes and spend about three to four hours editing each recording. A new episode posts every other Tuesday.
What are the challenges?
My own insecurities are the biggest challenge. I’m humbled by the level of intelligence, thoughtfulness, and humility of the leaders with whom I record. It can be intimidating. I struggle with feeling anxious before each recording, because I like to be prepared and just can’t plan exhaustively for where a conversation might go. And the best conversations go places I never imagined!
How has God met you as you followed him in this opportunity?
It’s been a really personal journey dreaming up this project and watching God open all the doors to make it happen. I was at a place where I was between roles and our regional office had shut down during the campus reorg, and I wasn’t sure what was next for me. It’s a total surprise gift from God and so fun! He also uses it to keep me humble–I have a blooper reel a mile long and I usually don’t edit out dumb things I say. I mean, I guess I could try to make myself sound more polished for the end product, but it’s good for me to keep it real and just be a human being, you know?
What has been a surprise benefit of podcasting?
Learning a lot from the people I record with and from the prep work. To prepare for recordings, I read books and stay current on culture and world events. It keeps me sharp!
What keeps you going when you want to quit or don’t have time?
Feedback from staff. If my audience is not benefitting then why am I producing? Last week an influential female leader within the organization emailed me out of the blue to encourage me. I’ve never even met her, but some of her friends have recorded episodes with me. It brought me to tears to read her encouraging words.
Do you have a Scripture to guide you?
I’m a bit of a Moses when it comes to communication–I’m slow to speak and not a verbal processor at all. So I don’t feel 100% qualified for this project. I’m comforted that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His work in the world.
What tips do you have for interviewing effectively?
God graciously gave me a brilliant interview coach: Ross McCall, formerly with Worldwide Challenge and then DPS. I can’t say enough about Ross and the influence he’s had on my work. I’d never even met him when we started working together–I found him on Workplace! He helped me think through the art of asking questions and early on would listen to and critique each episode. I still aim to grow a lot in my interviewing skills. I think it’s something you can mostly only learn by doing
What do you need from your interviewee? (that is, the type of things from their end)
The best interviewees tell stories. I try to go up and down the “ladder of abstraction” in my podcast, and the best interviewees can go there with me: they can tell a story and then use it to make a broader application.
Guest post by:
Sam Holland enjoys literature, cinema, and social media as avenues for understanding the people of the world. The Listener podcast series is her latest endeavor to help platform Cru stories and ideas that foster conversation. A MABTS student at Western Seminary, she lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. To connect with Sam, find her on Facebook and on Instagram.