The current season of the PolicyViz Podcast–the 7th!!–comes to a close next week with the 200th episode! I’ve been doing the podcast now for six years and I’ve spoken to countless practitioners, researchers, and experts in the fields of data visualization, open data, and presentation skills.
I don’t really know how to put seven seasons of a podcast into perspective. I started the show back in 2015 as a way to discuss issues in and around the field of communicating data. In the beginning, I closely tracked the traffic to the podcast hoping it would gain popularity, make it to the featured section of iTunes, and attract advertisers and sponsors. But after a while, I learned that fame and fortune were not going to come from a podcast about data visualization. Instead, I had to realize that it’s not the aggregate numbers of listeners that matter but whether listeners that do listen to the show find it valuable and whether I still enjoy doing it –both of which I think are still true.
I’ve also enjoyed getting to know so many different data visualization experts and practitioners. In many ways, the show follows my interests in data visualization and related fields. There have been short series on design, coding, research, and more recently, racial equity.
One of the big things I’ve learned over 200 episodes is that no one comes directly to data visualization. They come to the field through computer science, urban planning, astronomy, design, and many other fields. I think this helps the field be more diverse and continually evolve as different strategies and approaches get introduced to the field.
I’ve changed many things about the show over the years:
- My publishing pattern. I started out every week, but eventually switched to an every-other-week format.
- Recording platforms. I started with Skype, but the sound quality wasn’t always great. I now use the Zencastr service, which records locally on both computers, which helps generate better sound quality.
- Recording equipment. I’ve been using a Blue Yeti for a while, but I have just recently switched to the Audio-Technica ATR2100X microphone, which has much better quality.
- Support. I’ve had a sound editor for a few years now and have also added a transcription service (which helps with SEO and accessibility) and most recently a designer to help build out the webpage and promotional materials.
I frequently describe my podcast as “lazy man’s blogging.” It’s true that it’s easier to have a 30-minute conversation rather than spending hours writing and editing a blog post, creating the images, and curating the data. But the time spent finding someone to interview, scheduling the interview, and creating all of the promotional materials that go with each episode all takes time.
I hope you have found the PolicyViz Podcast interesting and valuable in your own work. The show will surely continue to evolve over time and I have several interviews already set up for the next season that starts in the fall. If you would like to get a sneak peek of those guests and have the opportunity to ask questions, please consider becoming a supporter of the show through Patreon.
The 200th episode that will publish next week wraps up this season of the podcast, so enjoy your summer and I’ll be back in the fall with a whole new slate of episodes.