Will “Deepfake” Ruin the Podcasting Industry?

“Deepfake” videos and audio have the potential to destroy reputations, sway the elections, and maybe even start a World War. Deepfake (a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake”) is a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique called a “generative adversarial network” (GAN). Take a look at a few examples below:

These types of fake videos and audio are becoming more and more realistic. Soon, a human’s eye and ear will not be able to determine what is real and what is fake.

With that said, according to The Verge, Deepfake propaganda is not currently a real problem.

It’s a good question why deepfakes haven’t taken off as a propaganda technique. Part of the issue is that they’re too easy to track. The existing deepfake architectures leave predictable artifacts on doctored video, which are easy for a machine learning algorithm to detect. Some detection algorithms are publicly available, and Facebook has been using its own proprietary system to filter for doctored video since September.

How will “deepfake” Impact the Podcast and Audio Industry?

Well, similar to video, it is becoming easier to detect insidious and fake audio clips. In fact, in Jan 2019 Google released a synthetic speech database for ‘deepfake’ audio detection research.

Over the last few years, there’s been an explosion of new research using neural networks to simulate a human voice. These models, including many developed at Google, can generate increasingly realistic, human-like speech.

While the progress is exciting, we’re keenly aware of the risks this technology can pose if used with the intent to cause harm. Malicious actors may synthesize speech to try to fool voice authentication systems, or they may create forged audio recordings to defame public figures. Perhaps equally concerning, public awareness of “deep fakes” (audio or video clips generated by deep learning models) can be exploited to manipulate trust in media: as it becomes harder to distinguish real from tampered content, bad actors can more credibly claim that authentic data is fake.

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

As it relates to the podcast industry in general, we may not see too much of this “deepfake” audio. If we do, it will have very little impact.

Theoretically, someone could use a famous person’s voice and feed it into a “deepfake” algorithm and have this synthesized voice pretend they are doing a podcast. But what is the point of that?

We believe a more logical and practical use case would be to leverage this technology to make the podcast host’s voice scalable and dynamic for their host read advertising. Leveraging this technology for this type of automated audio advertising could allow dynamically generated host read ads to be served in real-time based on listener’s location, preferences, demographics, etc. Now that could be a better use of this otherwise useless technology.

Podcast Protocol: How to Interview Someone for a Podcast

The popularity of podcasts has grown significantly in the last couple of years.

What used to be a niche industry has now become one of the world’s favorite forms of entertainment.

Now, there are more than 73 million podcast listeners in the US alone. With so many people listening, more and more new podcasts are cropping up every day to meet the demand.

If you’re a podcaster, this means that your competition is tougher than ever. That’s why you need to up your game and put out high-quality interviews that your listeners will love.

In this post, well tell you everything you need to know. Read on to find out how to interview someone for a podcast.

Top Tips for How to Interview Someone for a Podcast

Set your podcast apart by recording interviews that are better than the rest.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Do Some Networking

The hardest part of conducting podcast interviews is often finding the right candidates.

Have you thought about how to find podcast guests? To build up a list of people to interview, you’ll have to do some networking.

Start by reaching out to people in your immediate social circle, such as close friends, co-workers, and family members. They may be able to start you off by recommending someone they know. Plus, it’s much easier to get hold of guests when you’re already connected by a third party.

Attend local events that are related to the subject matter of your podcast. Once you meet people face-to-face, you can follow up with them later on and invite them to be a guest on your show.

Get Your Pitch Right

You may have lots of ideas for people you’d love to interview, but have you thought about how you’re going to persuade them to take part? It’s not always as easy as just asking them.

You’ll need to craft a pitch to reel them in. If you don’t get this right, you could ruin your chances before you even get started. In some cases, they may not even open your email.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re inviting guests to be interviewed on your podcast:

  • Make the Subject Line Interesting — The subject of your email should intrigue the reader and make them want to open it to find out more.
  • Sell Yourself — Tell your potential guests why they should do an interview with you. Talk about any credentials you have and give examples of your past work.
  • Be Specific — Don’t send generic emails that look like they could have been sent out en masse to multiple guests. Add in specific references to make sure they know you’ve done your research on them. That makes it more personal.
  • Keep it Brief — If your email is too long, people will get bored and give up reading it halfway through. Summarize everything as briefly as you can to keep their interest.
  • End with a Next Step — Finish of your email with specific instructions with how to move forward if they wish. For example, they could fill out a form, or choose from a list of available interview dates. This makes it much easier to get the ball rolling.

Don’t expect a reply to every pitch you send out. Some recipients will initially show interest and then ghost you, while others may not respond at all. For every ten emails you send out, expect to only get a reply from a couple.

You shouldn’t let that put you off, though. For some people, your podcast may not be a good fit, and for others, the interview opportunity may just come along at the wrong time. Not everyone will be able to fit interviews into their schedule.

Rejections for interviews aren’t always a reflection on the quality of your podcast. If you can’t pin down a particular guest you’d really like, don’t worry. Keep trying and you’re bound to find ones who are a good fit for your show.

Have a Format

If you’re interviewing guests regularly, you ought to have a defined format that you use routinely.

This doesn’t mean that every episode has to be the same. However, it will make things much easier for you, your guests, and your listeners.

Think about how you want to run your interview. How long do you want it to last? How many questions will you prepare? Will there be a theme?

Perhaps you’ll have one or two questions that you ask every single guest who makes an appearance on your podcast. This is a nice way to wrap up interviews and connect each episode and gives listeners something to look forward to in each one.

Whichever interview format you decide, make sure you remain consistent. Communicate your format with each guest before the interview, too. Then, they’ll find it much easier to prepare themselves for it. This way, everyone knows what to expect from your podcast.

Do Your Research

It’s absolutely essential that you do lots of background research on every guest you interview.

Use Google to research their background and find out more about their story. In doing so, look up some previous interviews they’ve done and see what kind of topics they usually talk about.

Then, look them up on social media and see what they’ve been posting about recently. That will show you what they’ve been up to, and also give you some inspiration for questions. If they have any exciting new projects coming up, you’re sure to find out about them on social media.

Lots of guests do podcast interviews to promote books they’re publishing. If this is the case with your guest, make sure you read the book before the interview. Get hold of a copy in advance and at the very least, skim it to get the gist of what it’s about.

Send Guests a Survey Before the Interview

Some background research isn’t always enough to find out everything you need to know about your guest. If you need a little more to prepare for your interview, consider sending them a pre-interview survey.

This gives you an opportunity to do some extra research and clear anything up that you’re not sure of.

You can either type some questions into an email or create an online survey that they can fill out and submit. The first option is easy to customize for each guest, but the second gives you a simple process to follow for each guest. Just send out the survey link before each interview.

In this survey, you can ask if there are any specific topics they’d particularly like to talk about and anything they’d like to promote or plug. You can also ask them to list any questions they don’t want to be asked, so you can avoid causing any offense or discomfort.

It’s also a good idea to include a question asking guests how to pronounce their names. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting it wrong and embarrassing yourself on the podcast.

Even if you think you know your guest really well, sending over a pre-show form for your guests to fill out is helpful for everyone. It allows your guest to get a feel for the types of questions you like to ask, and it helps you gather the information that directly relates to your show, as opposed to public information you can find on the web or through casual conversations.

Make it quick and easy to fill out, with only a few questions. Otherwise, it can seem like too much hard work for your guest.

Once you’ve received your survey, you can finalize your list of questions to ask.

Eliminate All Distractions and Disturbances

When you’re setting up for your recording, make sure there are no noises in the background.

This means more than just putting your phone on silent. While vibrations and notifications will certainly disturb your interview, there are lots of other things you should also worry about.

For example, someone could knock on the door or come into the room. Put a sign on the door to let people know that you’re recording and can’t be disturbed. If you have a pet, make sure to put them in another room.

If you don’t have a dedicated studio and can’t get any peace and quiet at home, consider renting a room just for the interview. That way, you can control everything and you won’t have to worry about any interruptions.

Let Them Talk

Don’t talk over your guests or interrupt them.

As well as stifling their answers, it will also be incredibly irritating for your audience to listen to. They have a chance to listen to you in every episode, so let your guests shine through when they come on.

In many cases, we don’t do this on purpose. It’s in our nature to want to fill in the awkward gaps and pauses in conversations. You may even want to do it out of politeness, so your guess doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

Leave spaces for your guests to respond, and then wait for a few seconds after they finish. This will give them time to think and encourage them to elaborate more.

Don’t worry about having long pauses or uncomfortable silences in the interview. You can edit any gaps out later if they stop your interview from flowing the right way.

Get Creative with Your Questions

Shy away from the same old boring questions that everyone else asks.

Listen to some previous interviews your guest has done to find out what they’ve been asked before. This will give you more of an insight into their mind and also tell you which questions to not to ask. That way, you can avoid boring your guests with questions they’ve been asked a hundred times before and instead surprise them with something more interesting.

When you’re crafting your questions, try not to make them too direct. Simple yes or no questions don’t give your guest much of a chance to tell you a story. Write open-ended questionsthat give them a chance to give long and interesting answers.

This way, your guest will make the interview easier for you by opening up and telling you stories. If you keep your questions short and direct, the pressure will be on you to keep coming up with new ones to fill space and keep the interview going.

Give them Challenges

Standard Q&A sessions are great, but they can be boring after a while. There are some other ways you can interact with your guests while switching things up.

You need to come up with new ways to get the most out of your guests. Every podcast is doing standard interviews. What can you do that no one else is doing?

Think of something that’s unique to your podcast, audience or subject matter.

You could pose a challenge for them, play a game with them, or ask them to give advice to problems that listeners have posed for them. Whatever you choose to do, both your guest and your audience will thank you for keeping things interesting!

Have Fun

This is one of the most important tips for podcast hosts to take on board. It should all boil down to whether you’re having a good time.

If both you and your guest are enjoying doing the interview, your audience is more likely to enjoy listening to it. When you laugh and joke around together, that feel-good vibe will spill over into the ears of your listeners. So, above all, make it fun!

Traditional Media Companies and Podcasting

Traditional media companies are starting to embrace podcasting and it is starting to pay off. The New York Times has one of the most popular daily podcasts called the TheDaily and it launched in February of 2017. In this short amount of time, TheDaily now has well over 100MM downloads and has reached over 2 million listens per day. They have increased their staff from 4 to now 17. Since TheDaily launched, the amount of podcasts overall have more than tripled and other media companies like the Washington Post, Slate and ABC news have launched their own successful daily podcasts.

Canadian content company Rogers Media, today announce they acquired branded content creation platform PacificContent for an undisclosed amount. Rogers owns 29 TV stations, 23 “conventional and specialty television stations,” 56 radio stations and began expanding into the podcast space last year with the launch of its Frequency Podcast Network.

The future of podcasts will be similar to how the Internet evolved. As podcast technology continues to improve, this will help democratize the creation of podcasts where quality will improve and the amount of new audio content entering the space will accelerate rapidly. We will also see more and more short form audio podcasts enter the market with the proliferation of smart speaker devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Purpose, Vision and Values: Finding Your North Star in Podcasting and Business

When starting a podcast you by default are becoming an entrepreneur. If you are 100% focused on making your podcast successful and profitable, then you must run it like a successful and profitable venture. The best way for you to start with an extremely strong foundation is to develop your organizational or (podcast) purpose.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

The podcast purpose statement acts as the unifying principle that drives everything the podcast business does. It helps guide the business to become what they envision. We will talk about a few examples of organizational purpose statement below. These are from fortune 500 companies but you can apply it to your podcasting business even if it is just you and a microphone.

When an organization finds a way to express the company’s impact on the lives of their customers, greatness ensues. Consumer obsessed organizations that constantly find themselves thinking and doing things that improve the lives of the consumer become the leaders within their industry. Customers do not buy what you do but rather why you do it. Within podcasting, the successful serve their listeners first before anything else. This means developing great content, worthy of your listeners time.

In some cases, businesses may combine their purpose and mission statement into one statement. For others, they may have a purpose, mission and vision statement. Do whatever works for you and your organization. To simplify these concepts, think of them as the WHY, HOW and WHAT statements within an organization.

Your PURPOSE guides you. It is WHY you do what you do.

Your MISSION drives you. It is HOW you will accomplish your purpose and fulfill your vision.

Your VISION is where you aspire to be. It is WHAT you want to achieve in the future.

Southwest Airlines’ purpose is to “connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”

When we break this purpose down, we also see that they rolled in the mission into this statement as well.

“To connect people to what’s important in their lives [WHY they do it] — through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel” [This is HOW they are going to fulfill their purpose and vision}

Every decision that Southwest makes comes down to this purpose statement. For example, when a question like, “Should we charge for bags like our competitors are doing?” is asked. The answer is a pretty simple. No. Why? Because charging for bags is not very friendly and it will make it more expensive to travel which in turn will make it harder to connect people to what’s important in their lives.

In other words, Southwest wants to give people the freedom to fly and anything that comes in the way of that, goes against their purpose and vision. Southwest’s vision is to become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline. This is where they aspire to be. It is clear, concise and very quantifiable. They will be able to review customer reviews and feedback to see if they are meeting their high standards of being the most loved. They can look at data and compare whether or not customers fly with them more than they do the competition and they can benchmark their profitability comparing it to all other airlines.

Southwest Airlines wants to democratize the skies and give people the freedom to fly. They want to connect people to what’s important in their lives and they do this through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. Their vision is to become the world’s most loved, most flown and most profitable airline.

Let’s look at a few more examples to help this concept resonate a bit more.

Your PURPOSE guides you. It is WHY you do what you do.

Your MISSION drives you. It is HOW you will accomplish your purpose and fulfill your vision.

Your VISION is where you aspire to be. It is WHAT you want to achieve in the future.

Google’s original purpose was to democratize access to information. Their vision was to be able to provide the right answer, at the right time with one search result. Essentially their audacious goal is to answer any question instantly and give you the one right answer. Google is still not quite there but their mission to “organize all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” drives them to accomplish their purpose and vision.

Google’s Purpose (WHY)- To democratize access to information

Google’s Mission (HOW) — By organizing all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

Google Vision (WHAT) — to provide the right answer, at the right time with one search result.

In 1980, Bill Gates developed a statement that had their purpose, mission and vision all rolled into one. Microsoft’s original statement was to ensure that the world had “a computer on every desk and in every home.” Just imagine that for a minute. In the 1980’s very few people had a computer in their home. In fact, in 1977 the founder of DEC, whom Bill Gates once idolized as a kid said, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

Microsoft’s audacious goal and purpose helped to align the team to accomplish extraordinary results. The statement was clear, articulate and you could visualize and quantify it. However, this didn’t come without its limitations too. Sataya Nadella, Microsoft’s current CEO who started at Microsoft in 1992 as a programmer always thought the statement had a flaw.

He told USA Today in an interview, “When I joined the company in 1992, we used to talk about our mission as putting a PC in every home, and by the end of the decade we have done that, at least in the developed world, It always bothered me that we confused an enduring mission with a temporal goal.”

Today, Microsoft’s purpose is “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” This too will help drive and align the organization forward in an effort to fulfill their purpose.

This purpose statement falls right inline with the TO_______ SO THAT _______ template we will review in future posts. TO empower every person and every organization on the planet SO THAT they can achieve more.

Nadella says this purpose and mission “is ambitious and at the core of what our customers deeply care about. We have unique capability in harmonizing the needs of both individuals and organizations. This is in our DNA. We also deeply care about taking things global and making a difference in lives and organizations in all corners of the planet.”

The impact Microsoft wants to make is to help every person and organization on the planet achieve more. But in order to do that they need to contribute, take action and empower people and organizations every single day through technology.

As Nadella told his team, they need to “build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Our platforms will harmonize the interests of end users, developers and IT better than any competing ecosystem or platform. We will realize our mission and strategy by investing in three interconnected and bold ambitions.

1. Reinvent productivity and business processes
 2. Build the intelligent cloud platform
 3. Create more personal computing

This is essentially the WHAT they need to do everyday in order to make their WHY a reality.

Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, authors of the best selling business book, “Built to Last,” found that there were a variety of components that lead to the enduring success of some organizations. One of these components is what they call a,”deeply-held core purpose”.

Collins describes this organizational purpose as “the organization’s fundamental reason for being. An effective purpose reflects the importance people attach to the company’s work-it taps their idealistic motivations-and gets at the deeper reasons for an organization’s existence beyond just making money.”

As a podcaster, how can you identify your core purpose?

Collins shares five characteristics of a company’s core purpose:

  1. It absolutely has to be inspiring to those inside the company.
  2. It has to be something that could be as valid 100 years from now as it is today.
  3. It should help you think expansively about what you could do but aren’t doing.
  4. It should help you decide what not to do.
  5. It’s truly authentic to your company.

When developing your purpose or in our case your podcast statement, first answer these questions to help you articulate your vision, your mission and your organizational purpose.

Why does our podcast existence matter?
What is our most important reason for being here? Why?
What would be lost if this podcast ceased to exist?
Why are we important to the people we serve?

Collins says, “You’ll know when you finally identify your core purpose because it will be accompanied by a strong sense of conviction. Your team will feel a deep “yes!” when it is uncovered.”

Remember, there is no right way to do this. As you can see, companies approach purpose, mission and vision statements differently. Do what is right for you and your podcast. The important thing is to just take immediate action.

You can develop a separate Vision, Purpose and Mission statement, you can use the TO _________ So That________ template or you can do what Southwest did and combine your Purpose (WHY) and your Mission (HOW) into one emotionally charged statement that resonates with you and your team. This will help you make the right decision, motivate you and your team, and inspire you to accomplish extraordinary things.

Podcast Market Stats and Data (May 2019)

According to research firm WARC, the podcast market has been experiencing rapid growth and this trend is estimated to continue. From 2013 to 2018, podcast ad spend has increased 1,344%. It is estimated that by 2022, total podcast adspend will reach $1.6B and will make up 4.5% of all audio advertising market share.

Total Podcast Advertising Revenue in 2018

2018 saw a 46.9% increase in podcast advertising spend reaching $649.8 MM. It is estimated that 2019 will grow 36.2% YoY and reach $885MM. Some of the top podcast advertisers so far within 2019 are ZipRecruiter, Geico, Indeed, Squarespace, SimpliSafe, Quip, Robinhood, Zenni Optical, Madison Reed, Casper, Skillshare, ThirdLove, Care/of, Stamps.com, and Progressive.

According to Magellan, 56% of the brands on the IAB list have not advertised on podcasts yet.

Advertisers are flocking to podcasts for a variety of reasons. According to Nielson:

  1. High Brand Recall — 440% increase in brand recall compared to display advertising
  2. Purchase Behaviour — 61% of the listeners are more likely to purchase the advertised product when they hear it on a podcast compared to 56% when they don’t hear the ad.
  3. Audio Consumption — 80% of listeners listen to most or all of the podcast episode.

Total Number of Podcasts and Episodes in 2019

How many podcasts are there? So far, effective May 1, 2019, there are roughly 700,000 unique podcasts and over 29MM episodes. This equates to approximately 1.3B audio minutes of content.

Total Podcast Listeners in 2019

According to Edison Research, there were approximately 144MM US listeners that have at least listened to a podcast.

Over the last month, roughly 32% of the US population, or 90MM people listened to a podcast. Last week, it is estimated the 62MM people within the US listened to a podcast.

On average, a listener within the US listened to 7 podcasts last week.

The Demographics of Podcast Listeners Within the US

  • 45% of monthly US podcast listeners have household income over $75K. This is compared to 35% for the total population.
  • 27% of US podcast listeners have a 4-year college degree compared to 19% fo the total US population.
  • 40% of US listeners are between the age of 12–24.
  • 39% of US listeners are between the age of 25–54.