My TV-watching habits are something that define me. The TV was almost always on in my house as a kid, and now I need to have it on for comfort. I even keep it on in the background while I work from home! The shows that I watch have always been one of the main ways that connect with others. Since TV has been a part of my life for so long, I consider TV watching to be part of my identity. I prefer to watch comedies, and I will almost always choose to rewatch something old than to start something new. Some people like to go hiking, or like knitting, or painting. For me, TV binging is an extreme sport.
In the age of the podcast, I have had many friends recommend podcasts to me and even have friends start producing their own podcasts. Since TV has always been something comfortable that I can retreat to, I was hesitant to start listening to podcasts at all, simply because they were new and scary. Back when I started a podcast myself, suddenly, podcasts became the main media that I consumed. I completely stopped listening to music and Netflix during the day and only wanted to listen to podcasts. I spent most of my day with the voices of familiar friends and stars in my ear. I had different podcasts that came out every day of the week, and struggled waiting for the next installments of my latest podcast obsessions. And now that I’ve gotten over listening to myself in recordings, I’ve finally been able to listen to my own podcast. I know, I’ve grown so much. I’m proud of me, too.
Like I’ve written about previously, I really struggled listening to my own podcast at first. I’ve always had trouble listening to or watching myself in recordings. In school, when presenting something recorded, I would have to leave the room while my recording was being played. I just couldn’t bear to hear my recorded voice. So when we started recording and Josh started editing our podcast, I just assumed that I would never listen to it.
It wasn’t until my friend Becky had me on her podcast and played the episode back for me. When I heard my voice on her podcast, I didn’t quite sound like myself. First of all, I had a bit of my cough, so my voice was rougher. Additionally, there was probably a bit of warping just due to recording. I just didn’t sound as bad as I remembered. I really don’t sound as whiny…it’s almost like my voice has dropped a half an octave since I last listened to my recorded voice.
In order to ease myself into listening to my own podcast, I started with the 5-minute intro. Holy wow, did Josh create a brilliant intro. I love the bit that he used for it and how much fun we were having. It was so crazy that I was able to listen to my recorded voice without cringing. Hell, podcast Renata sounded better than I do. She sounded more confident. I was then encouraged to go through and listen to the rest of the episodes we had recorded, and I keep up with our podcast when new episodes come out weekly. I still enjoy going back and listening to the intro when I need a little bit of a confidence boost.
It should come as no surprise (but still did surprise me!) that my podcast-listening habits are very similar to my TV-watching habits. When people started suggesting different podcasts to me, I decided to dive into some light-hearted and comedic podcasts. With so many new podcasts coming out by various comedians, this isn’t too hard to do. Much like television, I prefer my podcasts to be light, funny, and sometimes absurdist. I’ve tried listening to more serious and informational podcasts, but I fall off almost all of them. They’re just not as comforting.
My first friend to suggest podcasts to me, Emma, gave me an entire list of possibilities. She loved listening to podcasts on her commute and when she was doing anything around the house, so she was excited for me to get into them, too. I had been at a particularly low point emotionally when speaking with her about podcasts, so all I could think about was rewatching my familiar shows. When I suggested that I would probably also prefer to re-listen to familiar podcasts and asked her if she did the same, you would think I suggested eating a pigeon off the street. After hearing her literally horrified reaction, I considered that maybe I wouldn’t feel similarly about podcasts. However, I found that this tv-watching quirk also carried over into my podcast-listening habits.
Not only do I re-listen to podcast episodes that I’ve already listened to, but I also find it far more comforting to listen to familiar shows where I’ve learned the person’s unique voice. For me, this makes listening to my friend’s podcasts really awesome because I already know their voices and am connected with them. While part of a podcast network, I got to know the hosts of the other podcasts on the Be The Voice podcast network, Jess and Darren, personally, and I get to listen to them as soon as they come out. I tend to connect deeply with TV characters, and because of this, rewatching shows is easier than connecting with new characters in now shows. This also makes me feel very sad when a TV show ends, and podcasts are no different.
Like TV, I prefer my podcasts to be on the shorter end. I enjoy them much better when I can listen to a bunch of smaller, different stories than long, drawn-out ones. I would prefer to binge an entire podcast where every episode is a half hour than a single podcast episode that is an hour long. An entire hour is just so much more daunting. Plus, how am I supposed to pay attention for that long? Half hour episodes are the perfect length to keep my interest. Similarly, I like to listen to podcasts when they are just starting or only have a few seasons. If I feel like I will never be able to catch up to the current episodes, then I am much less motivated to listen.
With how much I enjoy TV, I never thought I would get into podcasts as much as I have, but I’m really enjoying listening to and discovering different podcasts. They are a cool, new medium that can be really great entertainment for me while I work. I should not have found it nearly as surprising as I did that I treat podcasts like I treat TV. But alas, I cannot escape my chronic rewatch-/re-listener mentality, need for lighter media, and preference for shorter length episodes. At least I’m consistent!