Podcasting through the lens of authentic soldier stories
By: The Canadian Army Podcast team
The main concept behind the Canadian Army Podcast is straightforward: soldiers talking informally about a topic but in a focused way. A metaphor might be a small town radio station post-game wrap up show after their hockey team plays at the local arena.
We believe in striving for authentic soldier stories. The focus of our storytelling is on what the average soldier would want to hear and on maintaining our credibility with that core listener. We also like to ensure we tell our stories in a way that others who are interested in Canada’s military but who are not soldiers will find interesting as well.
We choose the podcast topics during our weekly team meeting, based on suggestions from our listeners (a contact email is in our show notes), what is of interest on Army social media, ideas from elsewhere in the Army, tasks from our chain of command, and our own team members.
At any one time, we have a list of 20 or 30 show ideas. We select topics based on the timeliness of the idea. Maintaining a balance of subjects that reflect the various components of the Army, its key activities, and geographic diversity are also considerations.
Recent episode topics include Snipers, A Black Woman in Uniform: Her Soldier Story, and Medics. In the past we’ve covered topics as wide and varied as The Future of the Army, Electronic Warfare, and Arctic Training. On average, the podcast gets 2500 downloads per episode, and listeners complete 75% of an episode (based on podcast platforms for which statistics are available).
Our podcasts are carefully planned but not scripted.
- Once a topic and guest(s) have been selected, the podcast manager initially develops a line of questioning.
- The podcast producer follows up with guests in a pre-interview in which the proposed topic areas are discussed.
- The podcast producer and host then meet to discuss the information gathered to create a story arc plan for the podcast, as well as outlining the final question list.
- During recording, the host uses the question list as a guideline, following the flow of the conversation and shaping it as it evolves.
We strive for a balance between fact telling and anecdotes that illustrate the facts, planning a story arc that not only unfolds logically but also allows guests’ passion for the topic to develop during a conversation.
Some podcasts can be done in a matter of a week or two. Others can require months to bring to completion due to availability of our staff, guests and technicians. For example, those with guests recorded outside the country require coordinating an audio technician and recording location. We aim to release a podcast in both official languages every two weeks, and thus have several projects in development at any one time. We take a hiatus during the summer months and also don’t publish during periods such as federal elections or budgets.
A good connecting thread is key to making any podcast more compelling, and the Canadian Army Podcast strives to do that by weaving authenticity and humanity into some seriously good stories.
Give us a listen, share your ideas for future episodes, and stay tuned as we drop more of Season 3 in the coming months.
You can listen to the Canadian Army Podcast through the following links:
- The Canadian Army Podcast
- Full episode list
- Subscribe on Spotify, Apple, or Google
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