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Fox Podcast Talks Tech in 60 Seconds

One of the shortest daily podcasts out there, FOX on Tech squeezes the tech news of the day into pithy one-minute audio shorts.

FOX on Tech
Fox News Channel

New York, NY (June 21, 2021)—Podcasts, by the nature of their open-ended format, afford creators the license to define the length and pacing of the stories they tell. Episodes of the exhaustively researched Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music, for example, routinely clock between an hour and two hours-plus in length. The aptly titled Longest Podcast in the World set the record at 36 continuous hours.

Brett Larson, editor of the FOX on Tech podcast
Brett Larson, editor of the FOX on Tech podcast

“Usually, podcasts are as long as they are interesting,” says Brett Larson, editor of the FOX on Tech podcast and morning anchor on Sirius FM’s FOX News Headlines 24/7. FOX on Tech goes the opposite direction, squeezing the tech news of the day into pithy one-minute audio shorts which are made available to listeners as a podcast and through terrestrial FOX News Radio affiliates.

“Day to day, there’s always something that’s going to happen—there’s a new phone from Apple, there’s malware you have to keep on the lookout for, there’s a massive data breach—but some of the stories are kind of tied together,” says Larson. “The podcast platform allows us to do more interesting stories in the field of technology.”

FOX on Tech began as a feature segment on FOX News Headlines 24/7 and as a download for radio affiliates throughout the U.S. The segment was so popular on radio that the network decided to add the program to the lineup on its podcast platform alongside four other new titles in March.

Story ideas begin at the FOX news desk or with Larson himself, who writes the podcast shorts and compiles audio clips to help tell each story. Timing affects every decision, not only to make the most engaging and informative use of the allotted daily minute, but also because the clips have to be exactly 60 seconds in length for radio. If a story calls for audio support, Larson gauges precisely how much is necessary and writes his script around it.

“Some stories that are more complicated take significantly longer because some of the tech subjects can be difficult to explain in just a few seconds,” says Larson. “How do you explain net neutrality in seven seconds? Because that’s all the time you’re gonna get in a 60-second feature to do it.”

Jason Bonewald, director of podcast development, news operations and political programming, and his team aim to keep production values high.
Jason Bonewald, director of podcast development, news operations and political programming, and his team aim to keep production values high.

The production process is lightning-fast as well, which Larson attributes to the “muscle memory” of researching a topic, then writing, rewriting, submitting and finally producing the podcast segment. Typically, it’s all done within an hour. Larson records at home using a Shure SM7B microphone and a Comrex Access remote-broadcast IP codec, employing an XLR splitter that sends the audio to both the Comrex and through a Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB-C interface into Adobe Audition.

Once Larson is done with the audio, he uploads the WAV files for Jason Bonewald, director of podcast development, news operations and political programming. Bonewald and his post-production team add compression and other subtle audio sweeteners if needed and review for editorial content.

“We’ll add a little bit of compression [and] tweak some if there’s any audio hiccups, if there’s anything we heard coming over his mic,” says Bonewald. “It’s mostly polishing on the final product on our end, and then just reviewing the read and doing some final checks on audio and editorial to make sure nothing that changed from when we handed the original product in to when we get the finished product back. There’s rarely any need for final polishes, but we review every single one of them anyway.”

Producing the ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ Podcast

Keeping production values high is a priority with FOX News Podcasts, he adds. “There’s no closer medium that you could get than the podcast industry, because you’re literally in someone’s ear,” says Bonewald. “We try to give our audience what we’re used to hearing in the old-fashioned radio experience. We’re trying to give them the best quality audio that we can.”

Fox on Tech Podcast • https://bit.ly/3o5c0ko

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