Instructions: Pick a podcast episode with multiple elements, such as music, interviews, news clips and natural sound. As you’re listening to the episode, pay attention to the timecode and make notes of when each segment begins. After you’ve listened to the entire episode, go back over your timeline and flesh out your notes, describing what happened in each segment. Be sure to include as many details as you can.
Here is an example of an episode of Can He Do That? by the Washington Post.
Podcast: Can He Do That?
Episode Title: How much power does a President have to affect an investigation?
Host(s): Allison Michaels
Guests: Susan Hennessey,
Posting Date: May 12, 2017
Total Length: 21:41
00:00 – The podcast opens with instrumental music
00:05 – Host Allison Michaels teases to the theme of this week’s podcast, talking about some of the news events that lead up to this week’s topic. She also points listeners to an earlier episode on the same topic. She asks question: What power does a President have to stop an investigation that he doesn’t want to see move forward? She then ends with introduction to podcast: “This is ‘Can He Do That?’” and she introduces herself.
01:00 – Music fades and Michaels explains the theme of the episode and introduces a news clip of acting FBI Director Andrew G. McCabe.
01:21 – McCabe news clip plays.
01:32 – Linking narration – Michaels elaborates on theme of podcast, providing background information to fill out the story.
02:16 – News clip of President Donald Trump on NBC News.
02:36 – Linking narration – Michaels reacts to clip, advancing the theme of the episode. With a list of questions, she lays out the scope of the podcast episode, what they’re hoping to answer.
02:57 – Transition music plays under introduction of first guest, Susan Hennessey of the Brookings Institute.
03:09 – Hennessey clip plays.
03:38 – Michaels begins interview of Hennessey in full, picking up from the previous clip and begins asking questions. Guest is in studio.
09:37 – Transition music fades in as Hennessey interview wraps up.
09:47 – Linking narration – Michaels provides background information with historical context. Music fades out.
10:20 – Michaels introduces her second guest, Marc Fisher of the Washington Post, with musical transition.
10:36 – Second interview begins with Fisher as music fades. Phone interview.
14:05 – Fisher interview pauses with host narration leading into clip of Washington Post Reporter Bob Woodward
14:12 – News clip of Woodward interviewed from TV plays.
15:07 – Michaels asks Fisher question based on Woodward clip. Leads into extension of interview with Fisher.
19:14 – Music plays as transition out of interview leading into summary by Michaels, who wraps up the main theme of the podcast. She reviews what we’ve learned from the interviews and summaries which questions are left unanswered.
20:49 – Music begins under conclusion.
21:02 – Michaels ends the podcast with an invitation to listeners to contact her via Twitter or email. She asks the audience to review the podcast on Apple Podcasts and share it with their followers
21:19 – Michaels reads the end credits into final music.
21:41 – End.
Once you’re done with your episode summary, answer the following questions:
- How did the podcast’s structure help to tell the story?
- Which elements contributed most to telling the story and why?
- Which elements contributed the least? Could removing them have made the story better?
- How did the podcaster tie the multiple elements together?
- How successful was the overall production of the podcast? How well was it recorded? Was there a consistency between elements? Were there parts that detracted from the overall experience?