How to make one and who to listen to.
By Katie Schmitt, PT, DPT
Podcasts: Everyone seems to have one, but why should you listen to them?
What is the point of taking time away from patients to either listen to others talk about patients or to talk yourself about all things physical therapy? In this ever-changing world, technology is making things smaller, more intimate, and connecting us like never before. The podcast is a way to highlight those you think are incredible, to share experiences with patients that may impact treatment for others’ patients, and to keep the passion burning for our amazing profession.
Want to listen to one, want to start one? Here is our guide on five things you need to know about starting a physical therapy podcast and five physical therapy podcasts to add to your rotation.
Topics of Conversation
Where do I start my podcast? This is a question often asked. Take the advice of Mary Poppins, “Well begun is half done.” Before grabbing a microphone, think about your point of view. Are you a former dancer, who now understands the issues with telling young performers to continually tuck their bottom? Have you made the transition from corporate executive to physical therapy and understand how to motivate a great team? Whatever it is that makes you light up, the special thing you could go on for hours about—that is your starting place.
Know what you want to talk about and that will speak to who you want to talk to. Are you talking to other physical therapists, patients searching for advice on running, business leaders making a small community great, or something else entirely? Your physical therapy podcast does not have to be all about special tests and therapeutic exercises. You can network with doctors, lawyers, artists, moms, kids, athletes, gamers, the list goes on. Think about your podcast like a TV show: Who is watching?
Banter Makes It Better
Great podcasts, great newscasts, great radio shows, all come from great hosts. You do not have to sit alone in a room and perform a soliloquy into your computer. Find someone to talk to. Reach out to people that you admire and interview them. Similar to “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” build banter with a friend. In the end, not only will you be able to share information and learn from those you admire, but you will also truly make new friends and bring people together.
This will take time. If I were to email Chris Powers, Lisa Howell, or Jill Cook, chances are they would not get right back to me. These folks are amazing in the field, they are busy, but they do love the field and the research and if I am polite and persistent, then perhaps we can start a dialogue. (Full disclosure: I have learned a lot from these folks but never talked to them or emailed them. If they are reading this, thanks for being so amazing!)
Getting Content Out There
When you know your point of view, and have someone good to talk with, it is time to make a record of the conversation. There are myriad ways to record physical therapy podcasts. Getting together in person you can use Windows Movie Maker or Photo Booth, which come standard on a PC or Mac. Google “voice recording software” and you will find plenty of free or upgraded software for download. Meeting online, you can Skype, FaceTime, or GoogleChat. Websites such as iTunes, SoundCloud, or Anchor will let you upload the audio files.
As far as hardware, many computers have good built-in microphones. For chatting, headphones with a built-in microphone work well for capturing clear conversation. For editing, go back to your PC or Mac and spend some time with iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. For those who are completely unsure, head to the local college, pop into the theatre or music department, and ask a student for help. They will give you the tools to make something great, and in turn you are giving them a professional chance to put their skills to use.
Taming the Audience
There is a beautiful passage in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. An exchange happens between a fox and the little prince. The fox teaches the prince that he has to be consistent and show up at the same time every day so that they can be friends. When they first meet, the other is no more special than any other little boy or fox. Once tamed, they are unique to each other, “something that is special in all the world.” At first your physical therapy podcast is the same as all the rest. Be consistent, stay on message, and yours too will build connections and become unique.
Think about how much time you have to put into the podcast. If you are running your own practice, perhaps posting a physical therapy podcast once a month is enough to ask. If you were in media before physical therapy, perhaps you can put out a podcast a week. Consider the time it takes to find someone to interview, edit the interview, post the podcast, and market the content. Do not overwhelm yourself by taking on too much. Come up with a production calendar for the next six months and stick to it. Include the time you will release the podcast (for instance, Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month) and make it a hard deadline.
Getting the Team Involved
So now you have a 15-minute physical therapy podcast that you are excited about and want to share. How? Get the team involved. Have your staff share the podcast with friends. Market the podcast on your professional Facebook page (set up a professional Facebook page if you do not have one yet). Interview others who have a podcast and have them interview you and share the others’ content on your web pages. Put up a sign in your waiting room, put posters at a local Starbucks, network with a local physical therapy school by getting their students excited, interested, and sharing. Reward those who share the podcast the most by offering them a spot as a guest host or interviewee in the next episode.
Let Your Ears Be Inspired
For this article I kept an eye on my own Facebook feed, to see who popped up the most, who had tamed me. I also reached out to those I have had the pleasure of working with as my physical therapy journey grows. I give a special thanks to Karen Litzy, Jenna Kantor, Nick Bracciante, and Jon Bernfeld for their wonderful insight. These folks are great at what they do, are inspired when it comes to physical therapy, and inspire me to keep reaching. Here are my top five podcasts to check out.
- Healthy, Wealthy, and Smart—Dr. Karen Litzy, PT, DPT, MS, with cohosts Jenna Kantor, PT, DPT, and Shannon Sepulveda, DPT
- DanceWell Podcast—Marissa Schaeffer, PT, DPT, and Ellie Kusner, MSc
- Tough to Treat—Susan Clinton, PT, DScPT, and Erica Meloe, PT, MBA, MA
- The Knowbodies Podcast—Eric Dykstra, PT, DPT; Will Boyd, PT, DPT; and Nick Bracciante, PT, DPT
- Embrace Your Core—Jon Bernfeld, PT, DPT, and SPEAR Physical Therapy
Working on this article, I received a great quote from Dr. Karen Litzy:
“In today’s world, where everything is moving so fast, our attention spans have dropped and today’s news is already yesterday’s news. It is so special to be able to sit distraction free with someone and share a deep and sometimes intimate conversation for any length of time. I think that is the special beauty of a podcast.”
Katie Schmitt, PT, DPT, is a new grad PT from Columbia University Medical Center. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.