For Headliner Highlight 13, we hear from Scott Gurian of Far From Home.
Tell us about your podcast…
My name is Scott Gurian and I host and produce a podcast called Far From Home. I describe it as a show about my unexpected adventures and chance encounters with interesting people around the world. It’s a narrative, first person, documentary style show, drawing upon my years working in public radio, and I’ve just recently finished my first season where I documented an 11,000 mile road trip I took all the way from the U.K. to Mongolia in a little tiny car with my brother and some friends, raising money for charity.
Why did you start podcasting?
I’ve been podcasting now for just about three years. I’m actually started my podcast just specifically to document this trip, though I plan to continue the podcast the into a second season which I’m working on now, which will be not a serialized podcast going forward but more individual episodes.
I’m telling stories from my travels around the world and on the upcoming season, I’ve got stories from everywhere from Tuva in southern Russia, where I took Tuvan throat singing lessons to Chernobyl, which is the strangest, eeriest, place I’ve ever been to Japan, to Peru, to Mexico, and Spain, basically all over the world.
What do you do to share & promote your episodes?
Usually, every time I release new episode, I post it all over social media, both on my own Facebook account and my podcast’s Facebook page, as well as over a dozen other Facebook groups, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn.
What has been most effective? Least effective?
I found that, actually ironically, my Instagram posts seem to get the most traction whenever I post something there, but I never seem to have much luck with Twitter for whatever reason.
Maybe I don’t have as many followers or just people don’t seem as engaged on Twitter, at least my followers don’t seem to be.
Why do you make Headliners?
I make Headliners, not of all my episodes, but with some of them because I’ve noticed that videos seem to get more attention than anything else I’ve posted on social media. So that won’t always necessarily be an audiogram. Sometimes I’ll just post short video clips I’ve taken in my travels that are from you know, a specific episode I produced but when that’s not possible, I’ll make a short Headliner Audiogram and people usually seem to like it and comment on it quite a lot.
Current podcasting setup?
In terms of tools I use in order to produce my podcast, my normal recording kit when I’m here stateside or, you know, in more kind of first world countries or safer places where I can bring all my gear, I’ve got a Marantz PMD 661 digital flash recorder, a Rode NTG 2 shotgun mic.
On my road trip to Mongolia, I couldn’t bring all my fancy gear because I was going through a lot of authoritarian countries, driving through places like Iran, Turkmenistan, where I couldn’t risk being flagged as a journalist and also, through all the border crossings, we had border guards searching through our luggage, I didn’t want to bring anything too conspicuous, so in that case I just brought a couple of little handheld Tascam DR-40 recorders with built-in microphones. And some times, I just recorded on my iPhone when I had to be more discreet.
I edit my podcast in Hindenburg Journalist Pro, which is a really great program from Denmark. It’s a small company, it’s actually designed specifically for radio and podcast producers and it’s great because it’s a small company, if I ever have any technical problems I just email them and and they’ll get right back to me, once they even issued a patch to the software based on a glitch that I found.
I use either my desktop computer or my laptop, which is a Panasonic Toughbook for all of my travels. It has a spill-proof keyboard, it could be dropped from a few feet on concrete and it’s very sturdy. I actually have an old Toughbook CF-53 model that I’ve been meaning to upgrade to something a little bit more current and lightweight.
What is something you think is overrated or underrated in podcasting?
I think what’s underrated is field audio. So many podcasts out there are just people, basically two guys, chatting in an echoey room about whatever. Even travel podcasts that I’ve listened to, the vast majority that I’ve heard are people, even if they’re in some country, Bangkok or wherever, they’re sitting in their hotel room at the end of the day basically talking about what they did that day. But I think the power of good audio is that it transports you places, so I don’t wanna hear just people talking about a place, I wanna actually hear the sounds of that place, the street sounds, the people’s accents, all of that kind of stuff. So I would really love to hear more audio recorded out in the field because it really makes things come alive.
If someone was to only listen to one episode of yours, which one would you send?
It’s hard to choose but I would probably say episode 11 which is called, “Just Plain Weird.” That was my episode from Turkmenistan, which was just the oddest place I’ve ever been. We constantly felt like we were being watched, and it was just a very strange, authoritarian country.