Rodney Gordon from OzPodcasts talks Curating Australian Podcast Content
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Rodney Gordon is the Brainchild and Curator behind OzPodcasts. A single website with the sole aim to promote awareness of Podcasts by Australians young and old. I caught up with Rodney to discuss his thoughts on the Podcast medium and the state of the Australian Podcast ‘scene.’
I hope you enjoy my chat with Rodney as much as I did talking with him.
An Interview with Rodney Gordon (OzPodcasts)
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
Rodney Gordon: By day I manage projects and content creation activities, by night (and on weekends) I’m a family man and in the limited spare time I have after all of that I make podcasts, help run the Australian Podcasters Facebook group, and run the Australian podcast directory website OzPodcasts.
Anthony Pollock: Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind OzPodcasts.
Rodney Gordon: Podcast discovery is still a problem today, but it was even worse five years ago. OzPodcasts has always tried to connect audiences with Australian content.
OzPodcasts started a number of years ago, I am the current custodian but there have been a few operators prior to me and in many ways I am just continuing their hard work. I’m mostly keeping the wheels turning by getting new submissions on the site, but in the last year I’ve worked on updating the look and feel of the website, some new logos and branding are in the works as well. After looking the same for a while it needed a facelift.
Anthony Pollock: Tell me about your first podcast listen and what made you decide to start OzPodcasts?
Rodney Gordon: This is sort of essential to my perception of podcasts, and why they are so important. Presenting independent voices that are more human, more relatable and less “produced” than mainstream media is what makes them interesting, and made me a deeply passionate podcast consumer right from the first time I heard them.
It’s a blur as to what the very first podcast I heard would have been. In the mix are a couple of all-time classics: “Get This”, “Australian Gamer”, “Stop Podcasting Yourself” and “Comedy Death Ray” (now “Comedy Bang Bang”) were among the first shows I discovered, and they were all in their infancy at the time. By the time the Ricky Gervais podcast was breaking records for podcast downloads, I was already across what a podcast was, and turned my efforts to getting others addicted.
Anthony Pollock: What’s on your Podcast playlist at the moment?
Rodney Gordon: How much time have you got? Being a power-listener, I have more than 50 current subscriptions on the go. Some of the highlights are shows like “Knowledge Fight”, “QAnon Anonymous” and the Australian show “The Hypothetical Institute” that are helping me get my head around some of the conspiracy nonsense that we’re seeing here and around the world.
Anthony Pollock: What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to running OzPodcasts? How do you overcome them?
Rodney Gordon: Honestly, the biggest issue I face with OzPodcasts is managing my own ambition for it. I have a Trello board full of ideas and thought bubbles that are grouped by varying degrees of difficulty. I have to manage the investment of my time and money versus the benefit that the site and the Australian podcasting community will get from it.
Ideally I’d be able to update the site with more content, a better social media strategy, create a newsletter that offers new content recommendations, facilitating in-person and virtual meet ups across the country, and so much more. Someone please invent a few extra days in the week, please.
Anthony Pollock: Do you run a Podcast yourself?
Rodney Gordon: I do! Two, in fact. For about seven years I’ve run a Formula 1 focused podcast with my old mate Zach called “Superlicense”, which is basically a casual, armchair look at the sport. We aren’t racers ourselves, or technical boffins, so it’s a gentle landing pad for those who are new to motorsport.
Recently I launched a music focused podcast called “This must be Talking Heads” that examines the back catalogue of the band Talking Heads where I breakdown each song on each album. It didn’t occur to me at first but someone said they loved “nerding out” about their favourite music. That was a shock, actually, but I guess I have to take that as a compliment.
Anthony Pollock: Many of us creators work on projects outside of our 9-5 jobs. Do you have any advice for balancing careers with passion projects/side hustles?
Rodney Gordon: It pays to think about this stuff before launching a show. So many people start a podcast and burn out after a month or so. It can be a harsh reality check when you pour your heart and soul (and sometimes a heap of money) into something that doesn’t change the world the way you’d like. All I can suggest is to practice the principles of lean content production, keep it as small and manageable as you can, do what you can when you can, test and learn, do more of what works and be ruthless with whatever doesn’t work.
Look to grow slowly and don’t hope for miracles. It helps if you are presenting something that you are insanely passionate about, and have a unique perspective on. And if your goal is to attract a large audience (not necessarily everyone’s goal, but a common one) then look for the stakes of what you are presenting and any way that you can raise them, and find the emotional truth of your show. All of that is easier said than done, but that’s the rub.
If you can get all that right, it’ll help take some of the pressure off that work/life balance, but there’s no silver bullet that I’m aware of.
Anthony Pollock: Do you have any upcoming events/projects/releases you would like to discuss?
Rodney Gordon: If you’d asked me six months ago I’d have told you about my exciting new Talking Heads podcast, but right now I’m keeping my head above water.
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to do this! Where can readers find you and OzPodcasts?
Rodney Gordon: I spout a lot of random nonsense on twitter at @rwgordon, but everyone should check out the OzPodcasts website (www.ozpodcasts.com.au), the F1 show I host called Superlicense (www.superlicense.com.au) and the Talking Heads podcast (www.thismustbetalkingheads.com).