Podcast Review #5 - RAW Talk

RAWtalk is the podcast/YouTube show from Jared Polin, a.k.a Fro Knows Photo. Although primarily a photography video show for YouTube the team at Fro Knows Photo (FKP) publish the audio track as an iTunes podcast too.

Jared first came to fame as the arch-nemsis of that other "bastion" of internet photography, Ken Rockwell, particularly in the RAW vs JPG debate. In fact, I distinctly remember the first time I stumbled across him on the internet with his 10-part, 95 minute long debate/tirade arguing the merits of shooting in RAW vs JPG... and then moved on.

It was at least a couple of years later before I found him again, this time on iTunes looking for a new podcast. Back then the production values weren't brilliant and I wasn't particularly hooked. I drifted away again - still subscribed, but rarely listening.

I don't remember when I started listening again but this time I found it much more interesting and engaging. Jared's co-hosts were excellent foils to his style and kept some of his louder eccentricities in check (he does like to sing and does go off on the occasional tangent/rant!) and the whole show just sounded much better & much more professional. I've since listened to it regularly now for at least six months! 

I think the best analogy for Jared's style & how the show is delivered is by comparing him perhaps to Howard Stern, or for UK readers think maybe Chris Moyles. Jared is by far the dominant personality but plays off his co-hosts in their roundup of the week's news, opinion (LOTS of opinion!) & interviews. The current co-hosts, Stephen Eckert & Todd Wolfe, have given the show some much needed balance and keep some of the more extremes of Jared's personality in check. The whole ensemble is loud, a bit brash and very much a love-it-or-hate-it experience! That said, the presentaton belies the quality of the content & discussions, both of which are generally very sound and cover more than just "pure" photography topics. Of particular interest for me personally is the idea around the photography business, growing & developing your style & "brand" and how to leverage technology/social media. One thing Jared says frequently is that quality content is the key - which is something I've always believed in and tried to do too, not least in producing the site, my reviews & my own photography. It's good advice.

As I've mentioned in other podcasts I rarely have the time to sit down and watch photography videos and this is especially true in the case of RAWTalk with its running time of 90 minutes on average. Still, Jared is savvy enough to give the same content across multiple channels including the iTunes audio version - definitely a smart move in my opinion - and generally speaking nothing is lost in the audio format.

For me, RAWTalk is something of a guilty pleasure. I like it that the guys don't take photography too seriously and it's not too straight-laced but still has genuinely good content & advice. While I'm not expecting everyone who tries it out on my review to like it, I think the quality of what the show produces means it's worth trying at least once or twice. 

Just maybe turn your volume down a notch or two before pressing play.

Pros

  • Good content & extremely high production values
  • Talks about more topics than photography but still keeps it relevant & engaging
  • Lots of interaction & engagement with his audience, albeit in an "offline" fashion

Cons

  • Presentation style will definitely be a turn-off for many. Loud, opinionated, sometimes even comes over as aggressive.
  • Takes time & patience to truly get the most out of the show, lots of in-jokes and references to past episodes.
  • NSFW language & humour might offend some