Edit Before You Publish Your Podcast Always

If you record content for your podcast never put it out as is, always edit before you publish.

I was so close to being sacked.  Sat there in the programme managers office. Her tapping her fingers on the table top.  This after her holiday was interrupted by a phone call from the lead presenter on the breakfast show.

After this episode my advice is – think about that edit. What consequence will it have for those who contributed? What of the impact on their brand and yours? What will the listener think?

Many years ago I made the decision to keep a mild curse or swearword in a pre-recorded piece that would be broadcast on the breakfast show.  I was close to getting the sack.   At the time I thought it was fine.

My remit as producer of the breakfast show was to be edgy; I didn’t want our show to be safe and cuddly. I wanted a little bit of edge to it. I thought it is the difference between good and great.

In today’s radio in the UK it seems very tame, but in 2004 on a female friendly station it was perhaps less so.

It was a driving feature we had been running for a week.   Each day we held a different experience where the team competed in our driver tests.

This one was a track day at the Silverstone race circuit.   The presenter was very tall, so much so that he had to remove his trainers to be able to fit into the car. It was a Caterham 7’s slick tyre car – great fun to drive, but not if you’re that tall!  That in itself was funny and used in the audio.

As he drove around the circuit I decided to hide his trainers.  I used the resulting audio from when he got out of the car to finish off the piece.  it would have been fine if it aired latter, but children could be listening at breakfast.

As he started shouting for his trainers I started to walk away from him. It gave a superb effect of the listener walking away as the action happened. I used it to end the piece. It was great, in my view.

He shouted… “Guys where are my trainers… come on guys… guys… guys…  stop pissing about with my trainers… guys, guys…” and faded.

The presenters used trainers
The presenters used trainers..

You can guess which word caught the ear of the presenter and then programme controller.  I still think it was a great bit of radio to this day.

We received zero complaints, I even had listeners tell me it was funny. The boss wasn’t so happy and the presenter was perhaps worried about his reputation – more so annoyed that he had no control if he could say the word or not.

I should have checked with him.

Some presenters I work with get annoyed if they don’t get at least one complaint about their content.

The point is I had made the decision to keep it in. I had edited, produced and I was responsible. I took the hit.

What of the podcast then? I recently read an article where an interviewee had asked for a pause in the recording of an interview to share off the record information only to find the podcaster had included that section within the published episode.

He was shocked even more when he asked for it to be removed and the podcaster said he wouldn’t. That is shocking.

As a podcaster you really need to think about the consequence to the person who is leaving their content with you. Always have permission. Always check they are happy. Always ask if there were anything they would like left out. And if someone asks for a change, you should change it.

I tend to have a contributor release form, I have authority to do almost anything I like with the content that is written in the subtext via that from – although people can and do change their minds. I think in some cases you have to respect that.

My advice is always check and think about the edit before you publish.

Learn More from The Radio Skills Podcast

Listen to Radio Skills for Podcasters episodes about interview skills and editing interviews like a pro to help you build your knowledge base as a podcaster.

Episode Three: Killer Interview Skills

Episode Eight: Learn To Edit Interviews Like A Pro For Your Podcast