I have a holy quadrilogy, of influences. My style is openly, blatantly, based on Chris Stevens, Jack Killian, Valentine Dyall and Grant Mazzy. Stevens is the ex-con turned radio DJ in the glorious Northern Exposure. Killian is the ex-cop turned radio DJ in Midnight Caller. Dyall was the voice of Appointment with Fear, Radio 4’s chilling horror anthology. Mazzy is the over articulate, hyper aware DJ at the heart of Pontypool (That link is both great and incredibly spoiler-y. Please see the movie if you haven’t, it’s great), one of the greatest horror movies ever made.
There are episodes in my run at Pseudopod where I sound like bad copies of all of them. There are episodes where I sound like great copies too. But there are also episodes, and far more of them, where I sound like me. As time’s gone on my style has become mineinstead of a mosaic of other people’s.
You find that with everything in life, from how we cook to how we punch other people in the face. You learn from people who already know and that means you learn how to do it like them before you learn how to do it like you. You have to, it’s part of the process.
A really annoying part at times I’ll grant you.
So don’t sweat if, three years in, you sound like a bad copy of one of the podcasts you listen to. Odds are you are. But I promise you you’ll sound less like a bad copy than you did a month previously. We learn by imitating. Don’t be afraid to imitate. Because you’ll find your own style doing it.