INTERVIEW with Rafa Rodrigo, journalist, and Alfredo Corell, scientist and popularizer, creators of the podcast “Palabras al microscopio”, now available on Spotify and other digital podcast platforms.
-How did you decide to create the podcast Palabras al Microscopio? What is your goal?
-We met through a mutual friend and after a dinner, Alfredo was thinking about a scientific podcast and Rafa proposed him to create a joint podcast to join our two worlds (science and journalism). It was then when we thought of the concept of analyzing WORDS under the metaphorical magnifying glass of a MICROSCOPE and divulging from a social point of view. Our personal goal is to enjoy and interview professionals from all branches of knowledge that allow us to bring everyday concepts of everyday life to anyone, with a simple and accessible language, but with the rigor that science deserves.
-What have you achieved with it?
We have only been here for a short time, since November 2022, but we have already managed to create a community interested in popularization issues. In addition, we believe that we have a very personal style, since we are very different people, in styles, generations, tastes, academic background…
We have also managed to bring professionals from very different fields closer to listeners who perhaps were not lucky enough to know those profiles. The best thing is when someone writes to our networks and tells us; “thanks for introducing me to so-and-so, I didn’t know him and I love what he does. I’m going to follow in his footsteps”.
-What are the keys to get listeners and create community with a podcast?
Without a doubt, for us the key at “Palabras al Microscopio” is to create quality content. We have been waiting for weeks to record with certain people for scheduling reasons, but we prefer to delay than to record anyone. We care a lot about the rigor with which we tell things and we do a lot of research before each interview.
Another key is to have good sound quality. Nowadays there are many podcasts, but they don’t all sound the same. Differentiating yourself with a professional and well-edited sound is fundamental. And we take care of that.
Another factor that we think is remarkable is the periodicity. We always put out podcasts on the same day of the week and with a clear structure. We have a defined schedule and we respect that it is always the same, regardless of the interview we do. We prefer that listeners think it is “short” and are left wanting more.
And finally, know who you are addressing. In our case, we know that we are targeting a specific profile and we use a language adapted to it. But we are also committed to broadening the spectrum of listeners. There must always be a feeling between the creators. We love and respect each other and we understand each other’s space. There is a lot of freshness and spontaneity in our interaction.
-Which podcast platform do you think works best for you?
As of today, Spotify. But we wanted to be present on all the known ones.
-How is your relationship with the listeners/members of your community?
We care a lot about the community we are creating. For us they are people with names and surnames and we love to refer to them when we record. We usually send greetings to those we can (as it is done in conventional radio) because we are very grateful that people are faithful and listen to us every week. In addition to answering through our social networks and receiving their feedback.
We believe that the key is bidirectionality with the listener. In the 21st century, audiovisual media have to be interactive and a podcast (even if it is recorded) is the best opportunity to carry it out.
And in fact there are already many listeners proposing words to analyze under the microscope, with the topics that concern or worry them. In addition, we will keep these suggestions in mind for future chapters.
-What would you recommend to anyone who is going to create a podcast? What do they need to take into account?
Do it with passion! We are both passionate about doing everything with passion. Perhaps that is our main link. We can’t conceive of doing projects without leaving the best of ourselves in every step. We are passionate about our podcast and we really enjoy recording. In fact, we almost always spend a lot of time recording the interviewees – there’s a lot of laughter!
Also, we have to keep in mind the importance of being consistent, motivated, having a good feeling, being organized and trying to be innovative with the content and the way we tell it.
-Why do you think podcasts have experienced a real boom in recent years?
On the one hand, it has been something new in recent years and the innovative factor always attracts attention and interest. Also, they allow you to do other activities at the same time. Many of our listeners listen to us while they are cooking, ironing, in the car… If for example you watch a video on YouTube, you can’t do much else at the same time.
In our opinion, another success is that the Podcast is a tool that allows us to segment tastes. Ours is about social communication, but there are others about cooking, reading, meditation, psychology, etc. ….. Nowadays, almost everything has a podcast and that allows anyone to search for something concrete and immediate.
Duration is also important. We live in a world of immediacy and fast and fierce consumption. We have opted for an intermediate length, neither a mini-pill nor a one-hour episode that would drive out younger listeners.
-Where are you headed in the future? Video podcasts?
The future doesn’t have to be videopodcasts. It’s a good option, but the essence of podcasting is to be able to do more things at the same time. The trend could be towards daily podcasts, which are becoming more and more successful in our country. Daily pills, like a radio program, but created primarily for the Internet. In which you can explain interesting issues in record time.
-In Spain there is a real wave of podcasts that circulate in theaters and are recorded live with an audience. Do you think about it?
We are open to new proposals and we would love to do special episodes in theaters or auditoriums! Having the people who follow us close to us would be something very nice and hopefully one day it will happen. We also believe that “Palabras al Microscopio” is a very audiovisual podcast, which could become a very interesting television format or program.
Who knows? Whatever it is, we will continue to put passion into it, that’s for sure!
-Does the future of podcast monetization lie in this direction? Other trends that you think are possible in this regard?
Right now podcast monetization is one of the most difficult tasks. There are many of us nowadays and more and more people are joining this exciting world. Although it is remarkable to say that 80% of the people who make podcasts only broadcast the first 3 chapters before quitting.
A sure trend is the recognition of professional podcasters. Fortunately, there are already beginning to be awards such as the Ondas and many others, which recognize the different categories with awards. We think it is essential to value this universe in which there is a lot of work and many hours of effort.
For us, the podcast is a good way to unite the conventional media of all life (TV, radio, written press) with new technologies. Thanks to them, mini video podcasts could be a very successful meeting point between media and RRSS.