How to start a podcast

Starting your own podcast can be quite a daunting process when you look into it. You have to consider, hardware, software, microphones, and have an understanding of XML files or a place worthwhile hosting your podcast. It can be hard to know where to start with this project. Let’s break it down a little to help you get started.

microphone-podcast

What hardware and software do I need to record my podcast?

First things first, before you get into anything else, you want to be able to have the right tools to be able to record your podcast. The absolute basic essentials you will require are as follows.

Computer or laptop

If you’re interested in recording a podcast series, it’s likely you’ll already have a computer or laptop. This will be the hub of all your podcast recording and management.

Digital audio workstation application

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a program in which you can record and manipulate audio. Most modern computers have some basic DAWs pre-installed, but for the purpose of a podcast, here are some DAW’s that I would recommend:

Audacity

(Free)
Audacity is a powerful DAW that is free to download. It is a neat little package of all the bare-bones essential tools you could need to record your audio with. Great for beginners to familiarise themselves with exactly how DAWs typically operate.

GarageBand

(Free or £3.99 as of the time of this blog post’s publication)
GarageBand is a step up from Audacity’s capabilities. While Audacity offers as many features, the management of your project’s tracks is much more intuitive and there is less chance of making a mistake. This program is Mac-exclusive and most modern Macs have it pre-installed.

Adobe Audition

(Subscription required)
Popular among professionals who work in radio, Adobe Audition is the industry standard for spoken word recording and editing. With a high monthly subscription price, only consider this software if you are intending to take your podcast as a serious commitment.

If you are accustom to the interface of other Adobe applications then Audition will be a good place to start. However, if you’re new to the world of recording audio then I’d recommend becoming familiar with either Audacity or GarageBand first.

External microphones

External microphones are essential if you are looking for your podcast to have a professional quality. These portable condenser mics can simply plug into your computer via USB and allow you to get recording your audio into your DAW almost instantly.

Here are my recommendations for affordable professional external condenser microphones:
Tonor condenser microphone
Snowball iCE
Yeti

Now that I have all my equipment, how do I actually record my podcast?

If I spent most of this blog post detailing the intricate steps on how to create and edit an interview for a podcast we’d be here for a while, so I’m going to point you in the direction of some creative resources to help you get started with your podcast.

Below is a step by step process on how to record a podcast using Garageband. Although this example strictly uses Garageband, most DAWs have a very similar interface and tool names, so this tutorial should still be applicable.

After you have recorded, edited, and rendered your audio track you’re going to have to add the correct meta-data or ID3 tags to the file.

You should now have a podcast track that is ready for upload.

Okay, so I’ve recorded my podcast, now where do I upload my podcast on the internet so everyone can hear it?

Once you have created a podcast, hosting it online in the correct place is the next stage.

Most podcasts you’ll find through iTunes are actually hosted on a web domain that belongs to the person that made it. iTunes will read the ‘rss.xml’ file that is associated with the podcast and pull the audio file from the host for listening.

Hosting your podcast on your own domain and creating a ‘rss.xml’ is a good option if your podcast has potential to become an established series with a large audience. If you are looking to get your podcasts online and don’t have your own hosting space, then SoundCloud is a great option for spoken interviews. If your podcast contains any copyrighted music tracks then SoundCloud will remove your upload, so make sure if you’re choosing this option that your audio file doesn’t contain any copyrighted material.

For all those reading this blog post from the with the University that are looking to start a podcast, the digital communications team supports the use of SoundCloud.

Further reading from Lifehacker’s ‘How to Start Your Own Podcast’ article.

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