Listening to these podcasts, I was intrigued by the 99% Invisible episode, Vox Ex Machina.
I think Roman Mars does an excellent job of holding his listener’s attention. This is not to say that the subject matter is boring or would be uninteresting but for its presentation, but his ability to establish an idea, get the listener invested in it, and follow through on it helps him stay at the forefront of the listener’s attention. At the very beginning of the episode, he introduces this story about the Voder, a machine introduced in 1939 that could synthesize the human voice. After introducing it and talking about it for a bit, Mars moves on to something that at first seemed completely unrelated, and then made the connection. Rather than introducing the main idea and then discussing related information, he starts with the related information and then explains how it’s connected to the main idea. The podcast was also well-broken-up. As lovely as his voice is, it would be harder to pay attention if the podcast was just Roman Mars talking at me for 25 minutes. The fact that he gets sound bytes from his interviews, and introduces different voices helps him break up the show and also creates the feeling that there are multiple perspectives being brought to the show instead of one guy just talking about what he thinks. This is clearly something Anna Butrico thought about when she used so many clips from other podcasts and had a friend voice Aristotle. 99% Invisible has been going for a while, so it’s no surprise that it’s a well-produced show.