Episode 4

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Published on:

18th Oct 2023

Christopher Phin gives a tip about naming your show

Tips & advice from podcast industry figures.

Guest: Christopher Phin

Job title: Creative Content Lead

Company: Message Heard

In this episode, Christopher gives a tip about naming your show.

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This podcast is produced and edited at The Sound Boutique by Gareth Davies.

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Transcript
Speaker:

Hello, my name is Christopher Phin.

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I'm the creative content lead for

Message Heard, and today I'm gonna

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give you a tip about naming your show.

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Message Heard is a podcast production

house based in London, and we make a

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whole bunch of shows for branded clients.

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We do co-productions, we make our own

editorial shows, but my role within the

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company is as creative content lead.

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And what that mostly means is that the

majority of my time is spent working

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on the branded side for the shows that

we make for a really wide variety of

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different clients, whether those are

B two C, B two B, or internal shows.

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And my job really is to.

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Do the most work I can at the start

of that process so that we can help

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the companies we work with shape the

stories they want to tell, figure out

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the best formats for the stories they

want to tell and get that message heard.

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And the point there is really, I mean, you

know, this is a bit inside baseball, but.

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Within the company.

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The way I state my job is I wanna get

the client as excited about the podcast

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project as I am about the ideas I've

had for how they can tell those stories.

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And then I wanna turn around and make

our team of producers internally within

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message heard as excited about that

way of telling the story as well.

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Doesn't matter if it's the most exciting

client or the least exciting client.

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I want us to be excited about the way

we can tell the stories in our engaging,

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exciting, and ultimately effective way.

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Like most people, I started off in

podcasting as a listener and in fact,

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I started off as a radio listener.

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I would be working late

as a waiter, as a student.

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I'd come home and stick the radio on.

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It'd be either Radio four or the

World Service, or weirdly for me

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talk sport, which is odd because

I like neither sport nor right

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wing provocateur or commentators.

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Um, but something about it really

worked for me at that time.

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But, so I started listening to radio and

then gradually did that really, uh, like.

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Many people do this.

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That slide into podcasting of consuming

some of the radio shows, especially from

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Radio four for me, that I would enjoy

as podcasts, as on-demand listening.

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And from there I got the itch.

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And at one point, when I was particularly

creatively unfulfilled in a job, I started

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my own little podcast and it was just me.

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Tasting different whiskeys, and talking

in the microphone about my experience of

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them and the sort of history of whiskey.

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That podcast is still ex instant, but

it's been many years since it was updated.

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But And that kind of festered for a

while until I was working at publisher

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here in Scotland and there were some

internal changes, which meant that I was

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making my own role redundant, which is a

fun trick to pull off if you can do it.

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And at that time, had some

conversations with the chief exec.

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I.

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Did a few different roles, but the one

thing that came out of those conversations

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really was starting the podcasting channel

at that publishing house in Scotland

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and ultimately developing a slate of

a dozen, 15 more shows across lots of

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different verticals within the company.

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If you ask a lot of people what

they love about podcasting, they'll

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point to the fact that it's very

accessible, and that's true.

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They'll point to the fact that it can

elevate underrepresented or marginalized

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voices, and that's true, and those

are things I love about it as well.

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But for me, there's one particular

thing that podcasting is brilliant at

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and that is turning dull activities.

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Great.

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So if it's something like your commute,

and not to be too dramatic, but your

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commute is basically time stolen from

you by capitalism, it's time that you

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don't have under your control that.

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a societal machinery

has taken away from you.

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as podcasters, we are in an astonishingly

powerful and privileged and honored

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position such that we can be the

reason that when you are leaving

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your house, Over morning, your

thought isn't necessarily, oh God,

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I've got to spend 40 minutes crushed

into somebody's armpit on the tube.

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It is, thank God, finally, 40

minutes of me time that I can catch

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up with that show that I love.

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I can sit virtually next to

the table where these people

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are having a conversation.

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I can walk sneakily.

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Virtually alongside these

people as they talk.

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It's time for me.

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I am reclaiming that time and

that intimacy of connection, that

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authenticity of voice, that ability to

be connected with people in time that

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otherwise would be ripped from you.

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That is intensely powerful.

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Every single day, if I go on to

podcasting subreddits, there are

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dozens and dozens of people posting

the variants to the question.

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Can you help me think up

a name for my podcast?

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And very often, when.

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Elucidate on the, you know,

the format of the show.

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It will be what one might kindly

refer to as quite a generic concept.

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You know, And what they want is

a, a name to go on top of that.

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And very often they're quite hung up

on uniqueness, which is hard to do.

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Podcasting, millions and

millions of podcasts out there.

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But actually my contention is that

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Christopher Phin: if you find it

hard to think of a name for your

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podcast, then your podcast isn't good.

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Yet.

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If you up with a podcast and then

just cast about for a good name

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then you probably don't have a

particularly well conceived show.

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The solution therefore, isn't

necessarily just trying to come

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up with a bunch more names.

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It is to rework your format

and the mission of the show

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until the name is obvious.

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In other words, the name for your podcast

should be a natural and inevitable

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consequence of its format and its mission.

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However, you can work backwards.

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So if you've got a fairly generic

idea for a show and you cast about

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for some ideas and like a hilarious

and neat pun occurs to you, that is.

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Too good to leave on the table.

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What you actually then have

to do is go, well, what format

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points could I put in place?

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How can I adjust the mission of this show?

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Maybe it was something snarky that you

come up with, but your show wasn't snarky.

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Do you wanna pivot it to be a snarky show?

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Maybe it's a show where you are

elevating user generated content,

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you're bringing voices in from

externally, and that's reified the name.

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What can you do with that?

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How can you ensure that the name

isn't just a coat of paint that's.

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it's licked over the thing that you've

made, but is actually an inevitable

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and and fundamental part of the

entire raise on debt for that podcast.

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You can find me@chrisfinn.com.

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That's C H R I ss P H I n.com, and you

can see all of my links in the show notes.

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Thanks for listening to Podcasting People.

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Oliver Moore £3
Keep up the brilliant work Gareth! This is exactly the kind of show the podcasting industry needs!
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About the Podcast

Podcasting People
Tips & advice from podcast industry figures.
Welcome to Podcasting People, a bite-sized podcast featuring amazing people working in the podcast industry. Guests describe how they got into podcasting and what they love about it, before giving advice and a tip for fellow podcasting people.
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Gareth Davies

Composer of music, producer of podcasts. Latest series: Toad & Friends (Warner Bros. Discovery). Gareth is also the creator of The Music Room, a community and content resource for composers, songwriters and musicians, and the Podcasting People community.