Unit 3: The Basics: Radio and Podcasting


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As social workers, we have the skills to be successful in the media and on air. These basic social work skills include empathy, engagement, and advocacy. These skills are also critical as you connect with your audience. If we look at the public as “client,” we can reach countless more individuals by offering information about the issues they may be facing, how to seek help, and tips and tools. In doing so, we can inspire or bring hope, show people that they are not alone, share resources, and foster self-care and help seeking. Sometimes, individuals are trying to help others, and the information shared may create more understanding, fostering peer supports and related strategies.

Listen to an overview of The School of Social Welfare's Radio Show - The Social Workers Radio Talk Show. This audio video will provide a summary as to why social workers can use the media for advocacy. (Link removed)

But how can you be successful on air? In this lesson, we will cover some tips and strategies for radio podcasting.

Tips and Strategies


Host vs. Guest

This short self-created segment discusses the different roles of being a host versus being a guest, as each role requires different skill sets. (Link removed)

The Interview

This short self-created segment focuses on how to conduct an audio interview. (Link removed)

Unplanned Events on Air

You have planned for your interview, but what happens when the unexpected happens? How do you now let your segment fall apart. This short video provides strategies as to how to handle unplanned events while on air. (Link removed)


How do you end a show. In practice shows created by students, there have been various endings. From 'goodbyes' to 'thank yous' to people seeming unsure what to do and just hanging up with their guest on the telephone.

The host is the one who will end the show. It's your show. There are many different styles to end. One example is:

Pretend Guest - Dr. Ogden Rogers, Author of Beginnings, Middles, and Ends.

Host: We are out of time, Ogden, but I want to thank you for being on the show today.

Guest: Thank you for having me on.

Host: I hoped you all enjoyed today's show with guest, Dr. Ogden Rogers, author of Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. For more information on Dr. Rogers and his book, please visit (WEBSITE). Please join us again for another episode of (SHOW NAME) on (station name, i.e. BlogTalkRadio). Or instead of saying a show same, I'm your host (Your name) and I hope you join us again as we talk about social work topics. Always remember to include a resource so your listeners can find more information on the topic.

That is just an example, but as the host you want to end the show.

Web Tools

To gain skills, comfort, and see improvement in a task, it is necessary to practice regularly. A useful resource is BlogTalkRadio. Blog Talk Radio is a free Internet radio platform that allows individuals to host their own shows, which can be downloaded and shared. Users have access to a virtual board on an Internet radio station, and guests can call in. It is an effective practice tool, as well, as it can be set up to be private, so live audiences cannot hear the production. This site can be used in this mini-course to conduct interviews with peers and then play them back for peer and self-critiques.

Critiquing and Reflection

It is important to listen to your own work and the work of others. This is a way for you to improve. Self-Critique and Peer-Critique can help you identify areas to improve and then practice. When critiquing, think about the following:

  • Were you engaged in the show?
  • Did you find the host asked quality questions?
  • Were there questions that you would have asked if you were the host?
  • Did the guest get the point across?
  • As a listener who may be unfamiliar to the topic, was the show easy to understand and follow without the listener being knowledgeable in the field?
  • What was your overall impression of the set-up, the production quality, and show content?
  • What aspects of the show did you like?
  • What aspects would you have changed?

Student Samples

You will develop your own style for your show; however, it is helpful to listen to other examples of segments. Here are some short student practice segments in which you can hear their show opening, content, and closing. (Link removed)


In Unit 2, you used the Google Sheet to pair with a partner. BlogTalkRadio can be used for individuals who are not in the same location (instructions below), or a typical recording device can be used to record your segment. Please submit the link in the discussion section so that peers can listen to your segment.

Each student will pair with another classmate and each will spend 5 minutes in the interview seat to discuss a topic of their choice and then rotate for 5 minutes in the interviewer seat (10 minute total). The student in the interviewee seat chooses the topic. The topic will be social work related. Each student will provide the interviewer with a summary sheet about their topic so that the interviewer can form questions. The focus of this assignment will be developing comfort interviewing, asking/answering questions that will provide the listener with clear, concise information, and keep listener interest. Students will be graded on both their role as the interviewer for their partner and their role as the interviewee.

Tips to Remember:

  • Be sure to introduce your guest with a brief bio and let the listener know the topic in which you will be discussing.
  • As the interviewer, keep control of your show and how long the guest is speaking. Sometimes it is OK to interrupt.
  • Leave enough time to wrap up the segment and provide resources for your listeners.

Sign-Up here to Review a Peer's Podcast for the Unit 4 Activity. (Link removed)


Link to the Discussion tab at the top left hand side of the page to participate in the learning activity.

The discussion will be a self-critique of your experience with the podcast. Write a reflection about how you felt about each show, your performance, areas you felt you did well, and areas that you could improve on. To do this, you must listen to your show. Posts should be at least 2-3 paragraphs and should show that you took the time to reflect upon your assignment. Being media savvy requires you to be self-reflective on your performance and know your comfort level.

Signing up for BlogTalkRadio

Video Tutorials also available on Blackboard.

1) Log on to http://www.blogtalkradio.com and click ‘Sign Up’ in the top right-hand corner.

2) You will be taken to the ‘Select your account type’ page with a mix of memberships with fees and a free membership. Choose the FREE version at the bottom. Free benefits include:

  • Host your own live talk radio show using any phone and a web browser
  • 5 simultaneous guests/listeners on your show
  • Live chat with listeners
  • Promotional tools: share on social networks, embed on blog/iTunes
  • All shows archived as podcasts

The free account does not allow you to download your episode resulting in you not being able to make edits or upload the audio to something like YouTube. Some students have done the free 30 day trial of the Premium Version to have access to those features and then cancelled their account to avoid payment. That, however, is not expected of students and the free version is fine to use.

3) Create Your Account and take the time to explore how to use it.

4) Recording an Episode. The registered user will have a host number and a pin number; any guests will have a different number from the host to call during the scheduled show time. The host will have to unmute when the guest calls in. Be sure to do test shows to correct any technical difficulties. When the show is complete, you can send the link to the show.

If a student does not feel comfortable using BTR, you may use another sound recording device that will allow you to create audio files such as mp3s.


Proceed to Unit 4 Unit_4:_Now_What?_Promoting_on_Social_Media

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