“We don’t listen enough.”
That’s what PumaPodcast — the first podcast network in the Philippines — hopes to change. The network officially launched in August 2019 but a lot of their shows have already been available to stream since the start of the year.
As of right now, they have a variety of shows including a newscast called Headlines, a show that tackles legal issues, and another that discusses culture, politics, religion, and everything else that makes Filipinos well, Filipino. There are plenty more and you can check them all out on their Spotify page.
PumaPodcast believes listening gives us a new perspective on things we think we already know about. Which is why they set out to be on platforms that people are already on.
“‘How many Filipinos listen to podcasts?’ is the wrong question. The question is, how many people are on Google, Spotify, Youtube?” says our founder @robyalampay.
Filipinos are already on these platforms. It’s about introducing people to podcasts on platforms they already use. pic.twitter.com/aITLpLqZfT
— PumaPodcast (@PumaPodcastPH) August 3, 2019
To get a better idea of what the network is trying to do and also get some podcasting tips on the side, we spoke with one of their hosts — Ceej Tantengco.
Ceej is a sports reporter, gender equality advocate, and three- time Palanca Award-winning writer. She’s the host of Go Hard Girls which hopes to shine a spotlight on underrated Filipina athletes. It also imagines what the industry would be like if it was better for women.
Read the full interview below:
1) Podcasting appears to be enjoying some sort of renaissance, why do you think that is?
More than a renaissance, I think it’s that podcasts are finally hitting their stride in the Philippines. There have been individual podcasts by Filipino creators that have become popular locally, but just a few years ago I’d often hear people say they listen to Mo Twister but not really any other podcasts.
In America, podcasting is a culture that started, kept going, and it’s now at what the New York Times calls “peak podcast.” They joke that everyone and their mom has a podcast in America, but you also have incredible shows like Serial, NPR’s Invisibilia, This American Life and 99% Invisible that push the boundaries of audio storytelling way beyond the usual talk format. The variety is just incredible. One of my favorite podcasts is LeVar Burton Reads, where he picks a short story (usually sci-fi or speculative fiction) and turns it into something that’s both audiobook and immersive experience.
And as more Filipinos consume those kinds of podcasts from abroad, the market for local podcasts grows as well. We’re looking for local perspectives and voices that feel familiar. Here in the Philippines, I think the big wave has only just begun.
2) How did you decide what kind of podcast to do? What to talk about?
First off, It has to be something you’re passionate about. In my case, I’ve been a sports reporter for the past 5 years and I’ve seen the gender gap and how female athletes get less media exposure, or have to deal with gendered comments, or struggle to find sponsors compared to their male counterparts. There’s still a lot of sexism in how our society sees sports—basketball is for boys, volleyball is for girls, blah blah—and I always feel sad when people tell me that “that’s just how it is.”
So Go Hard Girls is me taking matters into my own hands and telling the stories of incredible yet underrated athletes. I’m extremely passionate about what I’m doing in the podcast, and I think that’s something you need to have if you’re getting into podcasting. Putting up a podcast won’t always be easy, but if you’re passionate, you have a reason to power through!
The second thing you need is perspective. A lot of my co-hosts on the PumaPodcast network have unique positions in their industries like Give A Hoot, which talks about communication from the perspective of professionals in advertising and communication strategy; or Te Talks, where former Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te explains legal issues that affect the Philippines. Why are you in a special position to talk about the topic and what do you add to the public discussion?
3) I don’t exactly have the best voice but I really want to do a podcast. Should I still go for it?
Podcasting isn’t like TV news where there’s a specific type of voice that people look for. Some podcasts are loud and funny, some are soft-spoken and reserved, some are formal and some are casual. But podcasts are audio products and voice quality still matters.
How comfortable are you in front of the mic? Do you stutter or have a lot of dead air? Try doing a test recording and listen to yourself so you know what to practice and how to improve. Editing can also help in cutting out any parts of the recording you aren’t happy with.
4) What equipment should I be looking at to get started?
If you’re just starting out, you could consider using equipment you already have. If you have a phone with a mic and you have a laptop, you can absolutely get started.
If you’re using basic equipment, though, then you should consider taking the time to learn some post-production software. There are free audio editing programs out there, like Audacity, that can improve your sound quality.
If you’re looking for something more ambitious, you can look into microphones. There are condenser mics, dynamic mics, handheld mics, lapel mics, etc. Some of these can plug straight into your laptop or your phone, and some have their own recording capability on their own. Some of them need an audio interface or a mixer if you have multiple mics.
5) Are there places where I can rent out equipment?
Yes! There are many studios where you can rent studio time—that includes use of their equipment, a sound-proofed booth, and a sound engineer who oversees the technical aspects of recording so you can focus on content—as well as post-prod services. If you are just starting out and experimenting, though, it can be an expense that you have to think hard about.
Roar Audio Productions in Makati, though, has a special hourly rate for podcasters that’s lower than the commercial rate for ad agencies and musicians. PumaPodcast’s production arm PumaPublic Productions also offers services for people who specifically are interested in narrative-format podcasts.
If you can’t spare the expense at the moment, you can still make do with what you have and then upgrade as your podcast grows!
6) What should I consider in selecting where to host my podcast?
Price is one thing. There are hosting platforms that are convenient because they’re free, and there are others that can be more costly, but provide more services.
Considerations would be storage (how often are you publishing and what file sizes are you expecting?), the platforms they publish you to, website hosting, or the number of unique feeds (if you’re planning to have multiple shows). What kind of data analytics do you want to get from your pod host? This matters if you have plans to monetize. The more intricate data/metrics, the more expensive the hosting.
7) Is there profit in podcasting?
Theoretically, yes. If you have enough of a following on a particular platform, you can make a profit through ad placements or branded content. Influencers and Youtube creators have done so, and podcasters share some of the same platforms as them.
But just like with social media and with Youtube, it’s not easy. Not everybody can just put up an account and make money off of it. It takes time, effort, and an understanding of your platform and the content you should be creating for it.
Ceej’s podcast Go Hard Girls is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to produce more shows. Click here if you would like to help out. A similar campaign is also ongoing for another show called Give A Hoot which is a series of conversations about stuff that excite or baffle communicators and social change agents.
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