This is really a question for my co-host, but I'll give it a shot. When selecting a co-host, the only real mistake you can make is choosing someone based on their voice (or your perception of their voice). Setting aside people’s varied perceptions of how a voice sounds, the fact is that voice is one of the least important things in podcasting. Much more important is the passion that they bring for the topic that you'll be talking about.
How Much Do They Care?
Now when I say passion I’m not necessarily talking about someone jumping up and down screaming (that’s for talk radio), but someone who cares deeply about whatever it is you’re planning on talking about. Burnout is real, and being able to keep the fires burning will not only help you keep your podcast going but also – your audience can tell. Nothing worse than someone who sounds like they are reading off a script that they clearly haven’t read before (this is a lie, lots of things are worse than this…talk-radio, for one) Give some thought to how both you and your co-host express that passion. To use a sports analogy, something all podcasters know all about, think of it like announcing baseball. In baseball (and most other sports) one person is a play-by-play announcer and the other one does color. So for your podcast you may have one of the people that gets the facts out and keeps the story moving along and then the co-host can be someone who does more storytelling, goes off on tangents, or just provides a more personal take on whatever is being discussed.
How Much Can They Commit?
Another thing to think of when selecting a co-host is logistics. When can that person do the podcast? Will they need to do pre-work, such as research? Do they have a set of skills that are complementary to your own? When I first started a big plus for my co-host was that he had audio recording experience, of course, that's not necessary with Podspot so you don’t have to worry about that one. Also do they, you know, have their own car?
Are You Sure You Need A Co-host?
This is also a terrible segue into talking about whether a co-host is needed at all. Some of my favorite podcasts just have just one person presenting/hosting but in order to mix it up, they will interview people or they will have segments of the actual event – especially important if your podcast is a little more news oriented or about real life events. Just be mindful of copyright infringement – but that’s a topic for a different article. Lastly, I would address whether it needs to be someone you know. In my case, because I’ve known my co-host for over 25 years we have to be very careful about not slipping into inside jokes, references, or assumptions about a listener’s tastes.
Do You Know Them Too Well?
This is pretty much what separates professional sounding podcasts sometimes from amateur ones. When you sound like you're talking to the other person in the room you are excluding the listener The listener will feel like they are being left out of the conversation, and maybe I’m making an assumption about tastes right now, but most people really don’t like that. So there's a lot of benefit to working with someone that you don't know as well or maybe you've just met but of course having chemistry with your co-host is a concern as well. Chemistry is vitally
important when there are multiple hosts so if you do decide to take the stranger route, try to have a couple of meet-ups (post vaccination!) before committing.
Do They Have Amazing Taste?
Those are my recommendations, for what they are worth…am I forgetting anything? Oh, yeah! Find someone who will laugh at your jokes, regardless of how objectively stupid they are.
Cliff Stevenson is the co-host of predatorminute & gonzominute and has recorded over 130 podcast episodes, although due to time travel limitations he was unable to record yet on Podspot. He is a member of the Movies by Minute podcasting community and has attended podcast conventions with that group. Also he just realised that all of this advice will also work for finding romantic partners, so that one is free, reader.