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Audio Production: Podcasting

Tips, tools, and inspiration to start recording podcasts or music.

Planning your Podcast

In this stage, ask yourself:

What do I want my podcast to convey?

The first important step to starting your own podcast is to come up with an idea or theme.

Podcast Title Theme
Homelessness in the USA The theme of this podcast centers on the problems related to homelessness and the people who offer services to homeless populations around the United States.
Diet Science The theme of this podcast is to explore the scientific basis for different popular diets and weight loss plans.
Law & Disorder: Medical Malpractice      The theme of this podcast is the discussion of medical malpractice case law.

Next, ask yourself:

What is the content of my podcast? Who is my audience?

Two important things to consider when creating a podcast are the content and the intended audience. Taking these aspects of your production into account in the planning phase of your project will result in a final product which conveys your most important points and connects with your audience.

Content - What tools are you planning on using to convey information in your podcast? Consider whether any of the following will be included: 

  • Factual information
  • Interviews
  • Discussion group
  • Others?

Audience - Who is your target audience for your podcast? Consider the following audience characteristics.

  • Demographics
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Others?

Creating An Outline

Why take the time to create an outline?

  • It will allow you to create a structure that emphasizes the most important points of your audio production.
  • There will be a better flow from one element into the next.
  • It will save you time during the editing process if you have followed through with a pre-set plan.

A common way to approach an audio production is to create an outline which uses time marks. Your time marks can be used as a flexible outline to follow during recording.

Example:

Topic Time Mark Notes
Introduction 1:00 Welcome to today's episode.
Guests 2:30 Joining us today are...

Technology for Podcasting

In this stage, ask yourself: 

Where can I find technology and resources to create my podcast?

If you are interested in experimenting with microphones, and other audio equipment you can check these items out at Lied Library.

You can also use the Audio Recording Room on the first floor of Lied Library to record your podcast. You can find information on the equipment available, making a reservation, and booking a consultation to get help on the University Libraries' Multimedia webpage.

You can also follow along with the Audio Recording Room guide below for tips on recording in the Audio Recording Room.

Recording & Editing

General Tips for Recording

  1. Make sure you are in a quiet room free of background noise.
  2. Test your equipment.
  3. Find the right distance and volume to speak into the microphone by making a test recording of each participant.

General Tips for Editing

  1. Cut out any unnecessary material. (eg. long moments of silence, coughs, sneezes, etc.)
  2. Know the functions of the tools provided by your DAW. (eg. Audacity)
  3. You can achieve a cleaner sound by using certain audio effects such as Equalizers and Noise Gates.
  4. Do not overdo it. With all the tools and effects provided by modern software, it is easy to apply too much editing. You don't want to make your recording sound robotic.

Scripting a Podcast

There are two ways that you may want to approach scripting for a podcast.

  • You could write out and rehearse a script for a podcast. This would work very well for something like an audio play or a poetry recording. The advantage to this style is that it can fit perfectly into a pre-determined time slot and there will be no sudden surprises. But it can also end up sounding unnatural or robotic.

OR

  • You could have a few bullet points that remind you of important topics. This would work for something like an interview or a book discussion. Advantages include the more conversational and impromptu style which many listeners enjoy. But conversations like these can get off topic easily and may need a lot of editing before they are ready to be heard publicly.

It would also be possible to combine these styles. For example, the introduction could be completely scripted, as well as having interview questions prepared and shared with participants prior to recording. Then during the recording, participants would have a little room to discuss and react to each other's comments.

There is no right or wrong way to create a script. Your topic, intended audience, and your creativity will guide you in what is best for your audio production.

The following links provide more tips on scripting.

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