SAN DIEGO—In this age of smartphones, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t enjoy podcasts. Many people, including clinicians and researchers, are so taken by the medium that they wish to create podcasts on the topics that matter to them. How does one get started? In the ACR Convergence 2023 session titled, Going Viral: How to Achieve Podcast Success, real-life podcasters shared their wisdom.
ACR’s Official Podcast
The session’s first speaker was Jonathan Hausmann, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr. Hausmann is host of the podcast ACR on Air, which began in 2019. At that time, Dr. Hausmann was serving on the ACR’s Communications and Marketing Committee when the group proposed creating an official podcast for the organization. Without any prior experience, Dr. Hausmann agreed to serve as its host.
The podcast got listeners’ attention early on, and soon Dr. Hausmann was tasked with planning how best to construct each episode. One key to producing a high-quality show is mapping out episodes in advance. For Dr. Hausmann, this means creating a detailed flowchart of the topics being covered, laid out in a logical order that will make for an engaging interview.
Dr. Hausmann encourages podcasters to perform a deep dive into the material background for every episode. In the case of ACR on Air, this step routinely means becoming intimately familiar with the research literature related to each episode’s topic.
Podcasting is both a science and an art. The more a topic can be brought to life, the more the audience will want to listen. This concept was exemplified by an interview Dr. Hausmann conducted with Marcela Ferrada, MD, who was most recently on the faculty of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. Dr. Ferrada conducts research on relapsing polychondritis, a disease that she herself has. In this interview, Dr. Hausmann educated the audience about Dr. Ferrada’s research while giving her the opportunity to share her unique and compelling personal story of living with this disease.
Dr. Hausmann advises potential podcasters to use all resources at their disposal, including ChatGPT, to help formulate interview questions and summarize complex topics. Podcasters should also invest in high-quality sound and recording equipment, even though it can be expensive.
The session’s second speaker was Adam Brown, MD, a rheumatologist in the Department of Rheumatologic and Immunologic Disease at Cleveland Clinic, where he is also the associate program director of rheumatology. As the host of the podcast Healio Rheuminations, Dr. Brown is passionate about telling stories. He explained that one of the reasons podcasts succeed is because human beings, by nature, love listening to a good tale.