Rockin’ Libsyn Podcasts: Samurai Archives Japanese History Podcast

This series is all about showcasing Libsyn podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!

Q & A with Chris from The Samurai Archives Japanese History Podcast

When did you start podcasting?

We actually started trial recordings in 2010, but didn’t actually start putting anything online until about 2011.

It took some time to get organized and figure out exactly what we wanted to do.

Why did you start podcasting?

I started a Japanese history website back in 1999, and have been slowly expanding into various other areas since then, from email listservs, an online forum, a blog, youtube, and on to social media.

Podcasting just made sense as the next step. I’ve always been an early adopter of online content channels, and I liked the idea of a new way to present history.

The problem with an independent history website in the post-Wikipedia internet age is that Wikipedia basically dwarfs and pushes out all of the independent scholarship.

So I really needed a new way to present content that wasn’t already monopolized, and essentially in a way that Wikipedia couldn’t capitalize on and mine for itself.

Podcasting was a perfect opportunity to move into a new space that was still an open frontier.

What’s your show about?

The podcast is focused on Japanese history, and we try to keep each episode stand-alone, rather than having it sequential.

We tackle a variety of aspects of Japanese history so that listeners can pick and choose what they want to listen to or might find interesting, and can start from any point. A lot of history podcasts are sequential and have to be listened to in order.

We intentionally wanted to avoid that. Variety is also important to me as the producer. We have round table discussion episodes, interviews, academic analysis, narrative history – we don’t stick to a single format.

Some people like the discussion format, some people like very academic analysis, some people like comedic banter, and some people like narrative history.

So we try to keep it interesting, and change it up every now and then. A little something for everyone interested in history.

What’s your podcasting set-up? Hardware, software, CMS, etc.

Our original episodes were done with a Sony digital MP3 recorder, later on a Zoom H1 digital recorder.

More recently because members have moved around we record via Skype, and individual narrative history episodes are done with a good quality USB mic and a pop filter recorded with Audacity via laptop.

Audacity is also the software of choice for editing. It’s pretty easy, free, and I’ve been using it for so long, I don’t know if I’m willing to put in the time learning new software.

How have you promoted your podcast?

Mainly social media – [Twitter][tw] and Facebook – and by appearing on other similar podcasts as guests.

That seems to be the way to go.

People don’t just listen to one podcast, they listen to a bunch, so the more involved you can get with other podcasts, the more people become aware of your show, and potentially become new listeners.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Hardware things like portable soundboard and microphone set-up, and tricks and strategies to get the best sound quality would probably be at the top of the list, particularly for recording group discussion, although I wouldn’t even claim to be an expert on it now.

Sound quality was an issue early on, podcasting was still relatively new back in 2010–2011, and we really had no idea how to get started or what we needed, so we just barreled ahead and hoped for the best, and eventually it came together.

Sound quality is probably the hardest thing to get a handle on, and it’s also the most important. We plowed ahead faster than our knowledge of the hardware, so I would recommend trying to nail that down as well as possible before starting, even if that means that you have to delay a bit while you figure it out.

A few of our very early episodes would have greatly benefited from a little more work on figuring out sound. So it’s good to realize that you might need to strike a balance between putting out content as quickly as possible, and preparing the best hardware and software setup you can when you first start podcasting.

If you want are at all interested in anything Japanese or want to get started listening to a history podcast, this is the podcast for you! You’ll always learn something new and you don’t feel as if you’re behind! Take a moment to subscribe you won’t regret it!

Do you have a love for a country or a part of history? Are you looking for another way to express your enthusiasm? Why not start a podcast? We would love to help you get started. We have a FREE monthly Podcasting QuickStart that gets you ready to go, and of course we would love to host your media.




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