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#PPAMonth Podcast Roundtable #1

Podcast Roundtable
Time to go around the table with our favorite podcasters!

As part of Pokemon Podcast Appreciation Month, we sent out a roundtable survey to our as many Pokemon Podcasters in the community. We asked these amazing podcasters several different questions. Some of these questions include what makes a great episode, their thought process when picking music and their proudest moments.

We have received several different responses from different Pokemon podcasts. The idea with these Podcast Roundtable is feature different kinds of podcasts and how they respond to them. After all, a Pokemon Tabletop podcast will response differently to a questions compare to a Pokemon GO podcast.

Below are the podcasts that we will feature in today’s Podcast Roundtable.
Postcards from Pearl (Tabletop)
Pokemon Professor Network– Lured Up (Pokemon GO), Gotta Watch’em All (Anime), and Special Conditions (TCG)
After Darkrai (News)
Hyper Voice (Battle VGC)

Now that you know who we have at the table, lets go see how they reply to our questions!

1: What lets you know that you made a great podcast episode?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): If I’m thinking about how much of our laughter I’m going to have to trim after we record an episode, I know it’ll be a good one. That, along with the feeling of needing to “come down” after recording – the imagination gets flowing and it’s hard to slow the brain back down and go to bed that night. If we’re having a good time, I know our listeners are going to enjoy it.
Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): I find when an episode is successful (that it) takes you on a journey. When it has a clear introduction, plenty of information, and the close of the episode is natural and doesn’t come too abruptly.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): This has never happened before.
Hannah (After Darkrai): After laughing so hard my face hurts.
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): All that matters is that we had fun recording. Even if the content wasn’t necessarily great or the listeners don’t think that episode was necessarily great, if we enjoyed ourselves putting the show together it was worth it.

2: What kind of feeling do you wish your listeners would get from listening to your podcast?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): My main hope is that it brings our listeners joy. Running a one-on-one campaign is a labor of love, so getting to share that love with people invested in the story is a wonderful feeling. Sometimes things may get a little dark, but you’ve gotta have those struggles in order to truly appreciate the joyful moments.
Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): I want them to feel comfortable and relaxed as if we were all in the same room together. The entertainment and content flows naturally like a conversation, rather than a lecture.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): I like to laugh & run away from my problems thru comedy so if I can make someone laugh & mask their own pain then I’ve done a good job.
Hannah (After Darkrai): Laughing at our insane jokes, that are probably only funny to ourselves, and how many times Bret interrupts me.
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): The feelings of joy, passion, love, and fun. We are passionate about the game and love it so we hope our listeners genuinely enjoy the shows we put out and just have fun being a part of the community in any way they can.

3: What is your thought process when it comes to picking music for your podcast?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): Oh man, I probably think about it way too much. I consider the terrain, the tone of a scene, if there’s a genre we’re emulating/parodying… if there’s a battle I’m thinking about the scale and what factors are in play/what the big moments are/what types are fighting… There’s a lot. Sometimes I try to have recurring musical themes for certain characters/scenarios, and sometimes it’s as simple as “Sarah just made up a parody of this song on the spot, looks like I’m gonna grab a MIDI and chiptune it up.”
Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): It was important for us to find music that was licensed and that we could use without the concern of copyright or being claimed. All of our music is supplied by the label GameChops, which offers fully licensed music for use through Creative Commons.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): Show me your warrant.
Hannah (After Darkrai): Bret is in charge of the music.
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): Ours keeps constantly changing and most of the time it is just random. Sometimes the intro or outro music fits thematically with a topic, guest, or episode but otherwise it is selected randomly.

4: How do you handle the structure of your podcast? Why is it structured a certain way in segments?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): We try to stick to the format of an hour to an hour-and-a-half, with a break around the middle. Sometimes we go longer or shorter depending on what the story dictates, but we try to always keep things moving since we are targeted at a younger audience and want to keep the listener’s attention for a reasonable amount of time.
Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): I find structuring the show on paper in a somewhat rigid format helps maintain a consistent flow of the show, and ensures that we cover all of our important areas. We then take that rigid and structured format and work through it in a casual and loose manner.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): We’re very loose & I don’t care if we fall down a rabbit hole on random things. Our structure is very simple & most of the show is improvised so I have to be willing to let the train explode off the rails. It’s more fun that way anyhow.
Hannah (After Darkrai): Bret handles that and usually tries to give me a heads up of what we are doing, but I mostly just table flip it and say F it and go along with it. It is to keep us on track, but it never happens. Shouldn’t life really be that way, a fly by your pants situation? Living in the moment is what we do best!.
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): We always try to keep it chronological but it usually never stays that way. We keep our show very flexible and open-ended so it feels inviting to our guests and ourselves to talk about anything.

5: What kind of style do you think your podcast has?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): I think we lean a lot into the style of the Pokemon anime with the humor and pacing. We keep it comedic with a lot of quick-moving improv, but also enjoy leaning into the strategy and mechanics of the classic Pokemon games when we get into battles.
Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): I want all of the shows on the network to have a personal and casual style. Blending a mix of information and entertainment is very important to us.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): Our style is definitely punk. We rebel in the face of providing a clean cut, nice & tidy show. I like the raw & real guerrilla nature of it. Mistakes & all. I also like to think were funnier than every other Pokemon show. A lot of shows have loads of personality but are mostly news & reactions. Our only mission is comedy.
Hannah (After Darkrai): Humor and severe sarcasm with a little bit of Pokemon knowledge.
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): Open-ended and informative.

6: Why do you choose to release your podcast on the day that it is released on?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): We like to release on Mondays so that we can help folks start their week with something fun and joyful!
Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): Maintaining a consistent schedule is very important for podcasts, especially when they only release once a week. We chose the day for each show based on the typical news cycle to try and to stay as close to each release as possible. We also want our content to be spread out over the week so we prevent stepping on each other’s toes.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): A million other podcasts come out all throughout the week & our target audience has plenty of content that drops on Monday. Tuesday is overall less crowded. We’re the leftover piece of pie. See you at midnight when you want another podcast to snack on.
Hannah (After Darkrai): That’s Bret’s department. I’m not even sure what day he releases them. (Bret’s note: I bet she doesn’t even listen to her own show! The traitorisms!)
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): We generally just get them out whenever we can. We do not have a set day each week. The competitive scene has tournaments which are usually held over weekends so we just try to recap what happened the past week or weekend.

7: What kind of image do you shoot for your podcast? Branding?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): We definitely are conscious about having a kid-friendly image on Quest Company Junior. We are part of the PodiconGO Network, a group of independent family-friendly podcasts. So I would say that our hope with branding is to hit the same demographic that the Pokemon Company is hitting, along with gaining an older audience who grew up with Pokemon and enjoy playing TTRPGs!
Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): We shoot for a two-fold approach. As for the network and operations, we want to be as professional as possible. Consistent marketing, branding, and voice. With each individual show, we hope to keep it much more personal by highlighting how the hosts interact with the franchise and games.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): Death metal baby. We’re the Pokemon counter culture to the counter culture. We’re the failed trainers bringing a Zubat to fight Red. Were the disenfranchised youth grown up. #TeamDarkness
Hannah (After Darkrai): Everyone is welcome would be our image. My Pokemon knowledge is not up to par of Bret’s or probably millions of people in the world, but we have a little bit of something for everyone humor, mental health awareness, loving animals, current events, etc.
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): We’re a welcoming, family-friendly show for anyone interested in competitive Pokemon.

8: What is your proudest moment of your podcast?

Postcards from PearlJonah (Postcards from Pearl): The easy answer there is when Pearl gets her first Gym Badge. Sarah worked hard in and out of character to really earn that win, and I did not pull any punches as the DM playing the Gym Leader (I actually made it harder than it was originally going to be).

But my secondary answer would be in Ep. 11 – Love Hurts. There is a moment with a wild Pokemon that was the first real example in the series of Pearl not getting what she wanted. It was tough in the moment, but actually led to fantastic character development and growth.

Lured UPKen (Pokemon Professor Network): Once Niantic recognized us as an important part of their creator mix, I was very proud for the format. In a market dominated by YouTubers, it was great to stand out as a Podcast.
After DarkrainBret (After Darkrai): We don’t do this for fame (or infamy) but getting shout outs on other shows is a thrill. Getting any sort of feedback from listeners no matter how we get it always feels pretty good. Being a part of the PokeCasters charity stream was super cool.
Hannah (After Darkrai): I don’t have a specific one because my memory sucks, but probably that I always remember to say hi to my Pokemom, Jessica (Bret’s mom). She’s an amazing woman and so hilarious that you can’t but help love her! She’s also the biggest fan so she always gets a shout out.
Hyper VoiceStephen (The Hyper Voice): Relaunching the show after a nearly two year hiatus.

Special thanks to Jonah, Ken, Bret & Hannah and Stephen from their respective podcasts for taking the time to answer these questions. We hope you love these podcasts! Make sure to give them all a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher! See you next time for your next roundtable!

Ongoing Conversation