Friday, January 16, 2009

Interview: Australia's Adele discusses her podcasting experience

An intuitive sense of audience, a sharp wit, tremendous timing, determination to capitalize, and vision of craft - Adele of Australia has all these, and more.

In just over 15 months, Adele has made her mark in the podcasting and blogging world. She co-hosts the hit geeky-girl podcast Three Chicks and a Mic (, as well as the Fringe Dwellers Podcast ( about the FOX TV series Fringe. She is the creator and host of The Sarah Dessen Diarist (, a podcast/blog about the best-selling young adult author. She also has a literary blog, Persnickety Snark (

Adele and I will be teaming up on a few things that we will remain silent about for now. In the meantime, what follows here is her very first media interview about her experiences and vision within the podcasting world.

DAVID WU: Adele, what drew you into podcasting in the first place?

ADELE: Buying an iPod. Sounds lame but before August 2007 I had a very rudimentary knowledge of iTunes and didn't even know what a podcast was.

I am a huge television and movie fan so I started seeking out info on them, came across podcasts and started checking them out. My first was Starkville's House of El (a Smallville-based podcast) that has amazing production values and entertaining hosts. I became friends with some of the people on their forum boards and got invited to guest host on someone else's podcast because they thought some international flavor with a bent sense of humor would benefit their podcast. I loved it.

Soon after, I started Three Chicks and a Mic (3CM) with two other girls. Soon after that I was guesting on lots of other podcasts. Then Fringe started getting buzz and Jen and I teamed up.

I love the buzz of recording and the feedback. I hate the sound of my laugh and complain way too much about editing but the truth is I love it.

DAVID: When did 3CM start?

ADELE: Around August last year I read a book called Twilight. The dialogue was corny as all heck, but the story was very involving and I became a tad obsessive. I recommended it to my friend, Jen from Philadelphia, and she read it and got obsessed. I was in one of the SHoE chat rooms when Jen, Crystal and I started talking about Twilight and decided we would start a podcast. Within a hour, we had a podcasting account, a blogsite and an email address.

We loved having an avenue to talk about geeky things. Many podcasts are hosted by geeky guys and we wanted to put out own spin on it. We talk about whatever we want, post irregularly but weirdly, the listener base is the most enthusiastic of all my podcasts.

DAVID: How long did it take to set up?

ADELE: I think the first episode was up within two weeks. Both of the other hosts are American which makes it difficult with the time zones so we have to record on weekends.

DAVID: That makes sense. How long do you see 3CM lasting? Any long-term goals?

ADELE: 3CM is a podcast that is always in flux. It's released infrequently with different combinations of the three chicks and/or our mates. I see my involvement ongoing. It's the podcast where I get to be myself the most - a little sarcastic, a little cynical and I call a spade a spade. It's the runt of my podcast children, I might kick it around a bit but I love it anyway. (I don't actually kick animals or podcasts - no hate mail please!)

DAVID: Regarding the Fringe Dwellers Podcast (FDP), I remember, you started this podcast long before the pilot even aired. What was it that drew you into the series in the first place, and what compelled you to follow through with a podcast?

ADELE: Jen and I were recording Greek Speak (a now defunct podcast regarding the ABC Family show) and heard about Fringe. He asked if I would want to do it with him as we had got chemistry. I said, Josh Jackson's on it? Sure!

No, I am a long time JJ Abrams fan. I still love Felicity with a fiery passion; I watch my series DVD set all the time. I trust in JJ implicitly in the material he chooses, and the premise of the show really intrigued me. Jen and I recorded in June (I think) an intro to Fringe Dwellers about what we had heard and what we wanted to achieve with the podcast. We got heaps of downloads straight away so we knew that the show would definitely have an audience and we might have a listenership of our own.

My faith was paid off in the pilot and every episode since then. I have championed the show and feel that my loyalty is really seeing results.

DAVID: What was the most profound moment of the FDP so far - would you say, the Chance Kelly (who plays Agent Loeb) interview?

ADELE: I probably wouldn't call it profound but it has definitely been the high point along with the Round Table podcast. We were both so excited to have an interview, but understandably I was a little disappointed as I couldn't be involved in it. The Round Table was fantastic, talking to people doing the same thing as me, and comparing our theories and opinions was so much fun. I hope the listeners enjoyed it as much as I did.

DAVID: Besides that interview, what do you think are the FDP's biggest accomplishments?

ADELE: I would say that I am a pretty collaborative person and our podcast has been able to involve other people besides Jen and myself. Whether partnering up with you to have the Fringemunks tracks as our spoiler divide music, listening to John Ellsworth's voicemails, or having John Bailey's superb intro - we have a little FD family.

Fringe fans are a motley crew. They are incredibly intelligent, observant and generous. I feel confident that the fan base of Fringe will grow and perhaps Fringe Dwellers might gain a few listeners who like some laughs, some discussion and an Aussie co-host.

I have been lucky to form relationships with Wayne from Wayne's Take on Fringe, Dennis from and yourself. That's all because of podcasting - I say this podcast biz is a big win-win!

DAVID: Podcasts are a relatively new medium and phenomenon. How do you see this medium evolving in the future?

ADELE: I try not to think about it too much! Seriously, I am still trying to improve my editing and presenting. I think podcasts will eventually be recognized to a greater degree. Most people I speak to here in Australia don't even know what they are.

I told my mom about what I was doing, explaining it as an online radio show. She pointed at her sound system and asked, "What's the frequency?" So I think a greater awareness of podcasting is inevitable. I think there is a place for audio and video podcasts but I see the latter going somewhere that I can't imagine in terms of creativity.

DAVID: Do you plan on integrating podcasts into your teaching career?

ADELE: Yes, especially into my teaching of English. Using technology to improve my student's literacy, IT skills, speaking and listening skills. The possibilities for podcasting and blogging as an application for learning is limitless.

DAVID: Really - so your students can take your lessons home with them, and this can increase their flexibility and tap into their potential. That's brilliant!

ADELE: Why thank you! In terms of the TV industry I think they will continue to realize the importance of fan labor and hopefully become more supportive of it. Some show and networks really support the endeavors of their fans to spread the word of their shows. Some don't. I think I would like networks and show creators to further capitalize on viewer's curiosity in this field.

DAVID: What's the story behind The Sarah Dessen Diarist?

ADELE: I was incredibly lucky as I joined Twitter as myself and as the Sarah Dessen Diarist. I asked to follow her Twitter. Within two days of blogging, my responses to the first two chapters of Lock and Key, she had mentioned me as a Twitter status and a day after that wrote about me on her blog complete with a link. Needless to say I got lots of hits!

The blog is me reading a chapter of one of her books and discussing it and how it reminds me of things in my own life. I started the blog immediately as I recognised that there really wasn't anything out there like this (unless it was Twilight or Harry Potter based). I read my responses, talk about the latest news on the author or something on her blog as well as what I am geeking out about at the moment. Doing it solo is a little confronting at times.

I get great emails, mainly from teen readers. Downloads range from 350 - 1100 downloads per episode which is fantastic. The best thing has been corresponding with Sarah a little, getting to interview her and the day that a package arrived from the USA filled with signed SD novels.

I know that she listens to the podcast while she does her errands. She has gone above and beyond in supporting me and I can't say how exciting that is. It's something I want to share with my students so I working on something new at the moment that we can do together.

DAVID: How is the buzz for Along for the Ride (Dessen's forthcoming ninth novel) so far?

ADELE: Amazing. I get the majority of hits on my blog due to my posting about it. The story sounds intriguing, it will undoubtedly be a great read and I am just plain excited.

DAVID: Are you going to buy it at midnight when it is released in your country?

ADELE: Well I have done that before - I am a little book mad! The SDD started as an attempt to break up my crack-like addiction to the screen and contribute something with regards to literature. I am crossing my fingers that Penguin will send me an ARC (advanced readers copy) but we'll see.

DAVID: What's your favorite book by Sarah Dessen, and why?

ADELE: Just Listen. The protagonist and her sisters are not people I can relate to. The story isn't something that has necessarily impacted my life but teen bullying is universal and there was a time where I felt terrible alone and isolated like Annabel. But i like that Sarah shows that friendship can come in the most unlikely of places as well as showing the healing nature of music (in this case very left of center music). I have to admit to crushing on Owen a little too, one of the main characters.

I love that she is so open with her readers, she blogs regularly and has done for years. She is involved with online communities like readergirlz and is establishing her own online community with her publishers at the moment for the release of Along for the Ride later this year. She responds to emails, geeks out over Friday Night Lights and loves Ben Lee's music - what isn't there to love?

DAVID: Seems like she loves the contact with her readers, and enjoys the community.

ADELE: Yeah, she's an inspiration in that regard. I love responding to email and chatting with listeners. Of course the big hope is to eventually get published myself and meet her.

DAVID: That's a noble goal. Have you started?

ADELE: Nope. Establishing this new project is a little time consuming. I will though. I am closer than I have ever been.

Feel free to edit out what isn't necessary. It's pretty long.

DAVID: It's like a Sarah Dessen novel!

ADELE: See, once I start my book, I won't stop.


themightymango said...

Hi David!

You should've told me you were on blogger earlier...Now I have all this catching up to do! Anyway, glad there is a place for me to view your progress on your musical journey :).


David Wu said...

Thanks so much for always supporting me, Tina! Just a reminder, this blog is still just one component of my overall website, - so *that* URL would be a great one to bookmark too.