Audio interviews are one of my favorite types of media projects to create and share, and offer us as followers of Jesus a powerful medium for sharing our witness and the witness of others to the reality of God and the saving love of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Why Audio Interviews?
Why should you consider recording audio interviews about your faith and God? Here are eight good reasons!
- Faster and Easier: Compared to other media projects like edited videos, audio interviews can be MUCH faster and simpler to record, edit, and share. We are all busy people, and it’s easy to be intimidated by the time requirements of any multi-step project. Audio interviews can offer a faster workflow which can make them less intimidating to start and more realistic to complete amidst an already full personal calendar.
- Less Intimidating: There are many barriers and challenges to sharing our faith with others, and many of these involve fear. Generally it’s more intimidating for someone to put a video camera (even a smartphone) “in your face” and record you speaking, than to put an AUDIO RECORDING DEVICE down on a table or on the couch as you sit with someone and are interviewed about your life. This fact can help interviewees feel less intimidated, safer, and more relaxed to “tell their story” and share openly, without fear.
- Ease of Access: Smartphones and Internet connectivity have made our access to web-based media much easier and more ubiquitous. Audio files are smaller than video files because they include less data. With a “podcatching app” (see below) it’s possible to directly download audio interviews / files from different “podcast channels,” and also receive / download future episodes which the author publishes. Or, a simple hyperlink to an audio interview file can be shared via email, a text message, or other digital communication medium.
- No Time Limits: “Traditional broadcast media” like radio and television have sharp limits to how long a segment or program can be. Often we hear a broadcaster say the following to an interviewee, “We just have a few minutes left, so can you please tell me…” You never have to say this in an audio interview unless you want to. Your audio interview can be over 3 hours long (as some faith story interviews the author has conducted have been) or very short. The length is up to you, and it is not CONSTRAINED by the medium. This is wonderful.
- TL:DR: The acronym “TL;DR” stands for “Too Long, Didn’t Read.” Reading and writing remain very important in our culture, but we live in an “attention economy.” People increasingly enjoy consuming media content as videos and audio recordings. Audio books and podcasts offer powerful options for people who are not able or choose not to read something, but are able / choose to listen to it.
- Time and Place Shift: Podcasts offer audience members the opportunity to listen (or “consume”) your audio content during the times and in the places of their choosing. In the car on a work commute, on a walk in the neighborhood, or anytime it’s possible to listen to audio on headphones, it’s possible to listen to a podcast. Since podcasts are not “live” people are liberated in powerful ways from the limitations and requirements imposed by a “synchronous” media format like live radio or television. The portability and (comparatively) smaller file sizes of audio podcasts also mean people can listen when Internet connectivity is NOT available, and can readily continue a longer podcast, picking up right where they left off. This makes audio podcasts an “anytime” media format. (That term is synonymous with but easier to understand than “asynchronous.” Any time, any where: Listen to an audio podcast!
- Depth of Storytelling: Again compared to the constraints of live radio programs or even many kinds of “more traditional” broadcast video formats, audio podcasting offers more possibilities. This can enable longer episodes or a series of episodes, permitting a series of shows that can offer much greater depth in storytelling.
- Fun: Audio podcasting is fun! Since it’s easier in many ways than different forms of video production, as well as easier to share and access, creators can make audio podcasts faster and with less post-production requirements. This can help make audio podcasting more fun and spontaneous, which benefits both creators and members of a podcast audience!
Audio Interview Examples
As with other types of multimedia, one of the best ways to understand the comparative benefits as well as drawbacks of audio interviews is to listen (or “consume”) some examples. There are many ways to categorize audio interviews, but one of the most basic relates to the amount of editing or “post-production” work a particular audio interview has before publishing and sharing.
Here is a “no-edit” audio interview example, which includes stories about faith and Christian beliefs.
Oren Lee Peters (at the time of this recording in April 2011) was an almost-90 year old member of our church, our Friday Morning Men’s Group, and a US Army Veteran. I recorded a four hour interview with Oren Lee about his life and shared it in two different segments: Part 1 (3 hours, 16 minutes) and Part 2 (43 minutes). 
Those interviews with Oren Lee were published online to a web host (which the author pays a monthly hosting fee to maintain) as compressed, MP3 audio files. The audio interviews were recorded using a portable digital audio recorder, and compressed “as is” without additional editing using free “Audacity” software. Free “Podcast Generator” software was used to publish the files online. To further amplify this special audio interview as well as insure it’s continued availability online (even if the monthly hosting fee is discontinued or the web hosting server goes offline for some reason) the interviewer also posted it to YouTube as a single, four hour and 1 minute recording.
Here is a “lightly edited” audio interview example.
- TL;DR. (2023). In Wikipedia. en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=TL;DR&oldid=1159302530 ↵
- Goldhaber, M. H. (1997). The attention economy and the net. First Monday. firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/download/519/440 ↵
- Fryer, W. (n.d.). Oren Lee Peters—Stories of My Life (1 of 2) « testimonies and tales. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from faithstories.speedofcreativity.org/?name=2011-09-15_orrinleepeters13apr2011part1.mp3 ↵
- Fryer, W. (n.d.). Oren Lee Peters—Stories of My Life (2 of 2) « testimonies and tales. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from faithstories.speedofcreativity.org/?name=2011-09-15_orrinleepeters13apr2011part2.mp3 ↵
- Podcast Generator: Open Source Podcast Publishing Software. (n.d.). Podcast Generator. Retrieved July 10, 2023, from podcastgenerator.net ↵
- Wesley Fryer (Director). (2020, December 23). Interview with Oren Lee Peters of Edmond, Oklahoma (April 2011). www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Lo9e9s0gAk ↵