Mark Pesce from The Next Billion Seconds - Does your story have 'Landing Pads'?


Mark Pesce - among many other things - has been podcasting (and teaching it) since 2005. As you would expect from an award-winning Technology & Science podcaster, Mark is methodical in his approach, and has been doing it long enough to have worked out the most efficient practices. Read about them below.

PodcastOne Australia's Alex Mitchell on stage with Next Billion Seconds host and creator Mark Pesce.

PodcastOne Australia's Alex Mitchell on stage with Next Billion Seconds host and creator Mark Pesce.

Aus Pod Awards: What is your podcast origin story?

MARK PESCE: I taught podcasting at AFTRS in 2005, just after it went into iTunes. I started doing it regularly, when Jason Calacanis asked me to do an Australian version of “This Week in Startups” - that’s been going five years now! I love “Planet Money” podcasts and I strive to be 1% as good as they are!

What preparation goes into an episode before you begin recording?

  1. Find a theme - and how does it fit in with an ‘arc’ across a series?
  2. Story arc - what’s the path you’re traversing from beginning to end?
  3. Opening and closing ‘landing pads’ for the story - find them in your own experience or in the experience of others.
  4. Write a script BEFORE you go into studio. Get it all down, even if you depart from it wildly.
  5. Brief your guests - many haven’t done this sort of thing before and are scared.

What mics, editing software, studio gear and facilities are used to produce your podcast?

  • Rode smartphone mics - these are incredibly useful, as they transform a smartphone into a studio!
  • Rode iXY - great sound capture for iOS
  • Rode NT-USB - great studio mic
  • Audio-Technica AT2020 - another great studio mic.

I have an iSK RF-5 sound reflector for doing high quality recordings outside the studio - it works quite well. Use Audacity software to capture and make minor edits, but my audio engineer handles all the mixing. And if you use MacOS, get to know and love the Audio Midi Setup app - it’s VERY IMPORTANT.

What aspect of podcasting takes up the most time?

Pre-production is where I spend half my time, and post-production the other half. Actual production is relatively quick.

What advice would you give to a podcaster who's just starting out?

Plan. Plan. Plan. No one wants someone bloviating in front of a microphone. Ever.

Please complete this sentence: "I feel most connected with my audience when..."  When I am speaking from my passion.

What's next for The Next Billion Seconds?

Series 2 of The Next Billion Seconds is all about the changing nature of truth - really happy with where it’s going and excited with the shows we’ve got in the pipeline!