Spotlight On: Voice Box Media Training

Published on May 21, 2018
Categories - Blog, Featured, Homepage, Q&A, Spotlight On

Ever thought about starting your own podcast? Voice Box Media Training was established by Perth local Sarah Tout in 2017 to help people find their voices and tell their stories really well.

Kira caught up with Sarah to talk about broadcasting, podcasts, and the magic of slow media.

Voice Box Director Sarah Tout – Image by Daniel Grant

What exactly is media training?

Traditionally media training refers to a kind of coaching to stay “on message”, to understand what you are trying to say, and to come across well if interviewed by media. I’ve broadened how I define media training to include skills in how to conduct an interview if you want to make a great documentary, a good radio show, a great podcast, a readable zine… any kind of media or broadcast interviewing.

We are also entering a really exciting time when the media landscape is broadening to allow a growing plethora of user-driven platforms and user-created media; such as podcasts, blogs, vlogs, Instagram stories and Youtube channels. I think it’s better for makers, and for audiences of these platforms, when the creators know a little about everything – how best to use your voice, connect to your audience, how to record and edit sound really well, and how to craft really good storytelling. So I’ve included options to learn these skills in my media training services too!

How did you get started in broadcasting?

I have been in love with radio since I was a teenager listening to triple j. I loved feeling connected to the bands, the DJs, the other people who cared about good music and interesting journalism. I got a sense of how listening to the radio could make you feel part of something bigger. I got involved in community radio as a volunteer when I was twenty and had my own weekly new release music show by twenty-one. I learned so much over a decade of interviewing my favourite bands, having to drive an entire radio panel and studio by myself, and creating and editing packages for radio.

Can you tell us a bit about your business, Voice Box Media Training?

After honing my skills as a broadcaster and creator of radio, I began running workshops and teaching everything I’d learned to other community radio volunteers. I discovered how fun it is to share my passion, skills and knowledge to help other people reach their dreams of hosting a radio show. It’s a beautiful thing to be a catalyst for someone realising a dream. I love it.

I’ve taught at the national Community Media Training Organisation and Murdoch University but I wanted to reach people who aren’t necessarily volunteering for an organisation or studying a degree. So last year I launched Voice Box Media Training with the vision of creating really accessible audio recording and editing training, vocal coaching, interview training and media skills training to anyone who had a dream project they want to realise, but who might feel lost about where to start.

What drew you to podcasting? 

I love slow media. Journalism is getting a little disappointing: our 24-hour news cycle sees journalists under pressure to rush out stories and get website clicks. This can lead to poor writing, as they don’t always have enough time or resources to find the truth or to provide their audience with a good piece.

Podcasting is different. It is slower. Creators take the time to have a longer conversation, or to curate a deeper look at a story or an idea. And whether that’s in 5-minute episodes or two-hour episodes, there is a more measured approach to the content.

Now combine that with the magic of how personal it is to connect to a voice, to feel like the presenter is in the room with you, to feel like you’re really getting to know the voices in the podcast or the radio program. There is an intimacy there that goes a long way to helping audiences feel more connected and less isolated. Even though audience members are likely listening by themselves, for the duration of that podcast you aren’t alone.

There’s a lot to like. I could rhapsodise about podcasting for pages but for the sake of We Love Perth readers I won’t. I just believe that at the very least, podcasts can be a beautiful moment of connection between host and listener, and at their best could be the salvation of our current media trends, providing us with a deeper look at news and stories and being a welcome answer to trashy click-bait media.

As a creator, I’m having a lot of fun researching and recording stories for my own podcast that will be released maybe sometime next year.

Do you have any favourite Perth-based podcasts at the moment?

I love Three Gates Media’s ‘Rare Air’ with Meri Fatin; really good interviewing, interesting stories and fascinating talent.

Any tips for our readers on how to come up with a great idea for a podcast?

Start by asking yourself – what do you care about, what do you know about? What do you have a genuine interest in that you’d love to talk about with other people who are really fascinated by that topic? What aren’t we talking about as a community that maybe we should be?

Then ask yourself how best to have that conversation in a way that tells a story – will you be able to find talent to speak to who care share engaging anecdotes/stories/perspective? Start with these questions, talk to friends about it, and see what it evolves into! Sarah

Sarah has just launched a new series of Winter Podcasting Workshops. Got a great idea for a podcast but don’t know where to start? Join this fun crash course in everything you need to know: understand microphones, how to record, what to say, and how to put it all together. Look at story ideas, structuring your podcast, making it sound great and getting it out to the world. Pitched for beginners but also really valuable if you’ve already begun your podcasting journey. Tickets via TryBooking.

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