Daily Archives: March 18, 2017

How to Start a Podcast

Hey 3.5 readers.  Alas, my podcasting career was short lived, but I was so surprised that I was able to figure out how to get a podcast recorded and posted, that I’ll share the info with you:

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#1 – What Is Your Podcast About?

That’s really up to you, but I’ve listened to good podcasts and lousy ones.  The good ones have a theme, a point, a structure.  If it’s just you and your musings, make it clear that’s what the listener will get.  If it’s about your love of ancient paintings of toucan beaks, be clear about that too.

You may not have professional experience, but you’ve listened to enough radio to wing it.  My biggest pet peeve is podcasts where there are multiple hosts and they giggle and laugh and tell inside jokes and then someone says something like, “Should we tell the audience what that means?” and the response is “No, tee hee hee.  Well, sorry, but eff you dummies.  You came to entertain me, so either do it or shut off the recorder and have your own private conversation.  Don’t make your audience feel like an unwanted third wheel.

I keep wondering if I was too hard on myself.  My voice sucks, there’s no way around it.  I sort of hope that with more practice I could at least work on diction, pronunciation, pacing, timing, getting rid of stuttering, stammering, lost train of thought and so on.

So practice does make perfect but at the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself.  While the little errors should be removed from your book, I just don’t think it is possible for even the most professional talker to get through a broadcast without an “Uhh” or an “umm.”  It’s when they come every five seconds then it becomes a problem.

#2 – Get a Mic

I’m no expert here, but I know at least enough to tell you that the mic built into your laptop will not do.  You’ll need an actual mic to connect to your computer.  What’s the best one?  You’ll have to search around for that information.  Best for me was what I was able to afford and until you’re raking in the big bucks, you might want to stick with that too.  Don’t shell out your life savings on a fancy microphone, record one podcast, decide it sucks and you’re done.  That will just lead to embarrassment in a few decades when you tell your grandkids the story of that dusty old microphone in the corner with cobwebs all over it.

#3 – Train on the Software

I used Garageband for Mac, though I hear Audacity is preferred for PC.  My advice will be geared toward Garageband as I never used Audacity.

I am a complete novice, but here are some things I was able to pick up that got me from, “I could never do this” to “this is hypothetically possible.

  • “When I click record the recording picks up me hitting buttons on my computer and breathing.”

Yup.  You’re not an idiot.  That happens.  Just keep talking.  Record what you want to say.  Your recording will look like a big long running graph of your voice.  Find the parts where you hit buttons, breathed too hard, burped, farted or whatever.  I’m not sure what the marker that you move around the screen is called so I’ll just call it, “the marker.”  Put the marker between what you want to keep and what you want to delete.  Press Command + T at the same time and voila!  Snippy snippy!  Just like taking a pair of scissors to a piece of tape.  (That’s how people edited sound back in the day, millennials.)

  • “How do I string sounds together?”

You should have a cool intro, maybe some music, some kind of lead in, maybe a prerecorded interview or some soundbites you want to play.  You’ll have to study it more than I am able to explain here, but the short version is Garageband allows you to load up all your sounds, then drag and drop them next to where you want them to be in your recording.

  • “How do I fade out music?”

Yes, you’ll want awesome music but you don’t want it to end abruptly and then start speaking.  But you don’t want it blaring over your voice either.  You want it to build up and then start going down so the listener’s ears transition from the song to the words coming out of your cake hole.  I hate to be lazy, but I’m lazy.  I’ll confirm it is possible and it is just a matter of bringing up a line that goes over the voice of your music, plotting out points where you want the music to decline, then recording your voice and dragging underneath where the music fades out.

I don’t know how Howard Stern does it when he’s talking live.  I assume Fred has a fader button.

#4 – YouTube Videos

I literally obtained my limited podcasting knowledge by watching YouTube videos.  There’s a YouTube video about how to do almost anything.  I was utterly confounded by Garageband until I found a good video that told me how to use it.

#5 – How Do I Get My Fabulous Podcast Onto iTunes?

Ah, iTunes.  It’s the place to be for podcasts.  But you can’t just start there.  Steve Jobs didn’t get super rich by offering free hosting space, you know.

You need another site to host your podcast and generate an RSS feed for you.  You might be able to do it on your own website, but don’t look to me to tell you how, for my name is not Bookshelf Q. Einstein.

Soundcloud and Podbean will both allow you a small amount of free space where you can upload your podcast file.  However, if you decide that you’re going to be a regular podcaster, you’ll need to dole out some cash to get more hosting space.  Your choice of site.  I went with Soundcloud because it looks hipper to me.

There may be completely free sites but I’m not smart enough to know about them.

Once you’ve got a site to host your podcast, you can log on to iTunes podcast connect and link up your RSS feed.  iTunes will review your podcast and assuming they don’t have any problems with it, it will appear in iTunes podcasts once they approve it.  I don’t know how long it will take them to approve.  I don’t work for Apple, so stop bugging me, nerd.

#6 – Is There Anything I Should Be Worried About?

Lots, probably.  Just off the top of my head, don’t hijack copyrighted material.  You might like a popular song, but you can’t just lift it and make it your intro, for example.  Just as there are stock photo sites for blogs, there are stock sounds/songs sites for podcasts.  Also, you might think you’re a nobody and no one’s listening but even so, nobodies can be sued for slander and defamation, so mind your p’s and q’s, buster.

Conclusions

Done well, it can probably be a great marketing tool and if you get enough subscribers, you might be able to sell some advertising in order to fund your nerdy empire.  My fear is that it isn’t something you roll out of bed being able to do and even if you master the tech, you, sigh, still have to be someone that people want to listen to and provide a show that people will want to listen to.

Thus, for me, the fear is I don’t want to do it until I’m able to provide something that doesn’t make me sound like a dope.  I’ve listened to podcasts that sound like they came from people who half-assed it and I was left with the impression that they are dopes.  Remember, people are less likely to buy your book, read your blog, partake of your content if you come across as a dope, so if you’re going to do it, do it well.

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