How to make a Podcast

A basic guide to creating your very own podcast.

Do you listen to podcasts? Do you enjoy the discussion and debates of your favorite topics? Have you ever wanted to start a podcast of your own? This has become abundantly popular in recent years. Technology has made it so anyone with the drive to create can do just that. Those who have popular podcasts, often use it as a platform to discuss and debate topics important to them or even just a basis to interview. Popular podcast themes are: Movies, music, art, food, comedy, political, etc. The sky really is the limit with this type of medium. Here is my personal guide on how to start a podcast. 

Three men sitting around a table, all with microphones and laptops, smiling and discussing their topics in a live podcast.
Live recording of the TrainerRoad podcast

The Idea

What inspires your discussion? 

First is the idea. You need to find inspiration on a topic that you personally will enjoy. You never want to do something just because you think it will have mass appeal. If your heart isn’t in it, people won’t listen or care. With that being said, coming up with an entirely original topic is not essential, but you should try to reorganize the format of the podcast discussions. Nobody likes a copycat. There are hundreds of podcasts all talking about the same thing. The ones who structure the discussion are going to stand out the most. Try your best to organize your ideas into sections. Something like: Introduction, first topic, discussion, debate, conclusion. Get as creative as you want. It is also best to prepare your material so you remember important discussion points, don’t ramble on, and just downright know what you’re talking about. There is nothing more unprofessional than not doing your research. You also want to be a reliable source of information. This, of course, entirely depends on the basis of conversation. Your podcast could be entirely opinion based. So you don’t want to go spouting off your opinion as fact. Although, your research of the topics should inform your opinion. Giving the listener something to take away from the experience should be a top priority. 

An XLR cable wrapped up with the "female" and "male" ends of the chord in focus.
XLR Cable

The Recording Process

Low Budget ways to achieve good quality

Recording the podcast is the next task. If you want to be taken seriously, you will need to produce good audio quality. Now, there are a couple of different ways you can go about this. Depending on your financial situation, you can go down the cheap road or the professional road. Both roads require some form of recording software. I recommend GarageBand for both. Once you have GarageBand set up on your laptop, you will need a way to properly record your voice. Once recorded you can upload those tracks to GarageBand and do your editing there. Cutting, aligning, splicing, etc. But if you don’t want to spend money on microphones, what can you use? I suggest using the voice memo recording app on your cell phones. Phones these days are so advanced that the audio quality on these memos is remarkably good for what they are. Find a room in your house that has the most furniture (preferably cloth material) to avoid unwanted echoes, and run some tests. Prop your phone up on a table or something elevated and find a distance where your voice is clear but not overloading the mic. If you have a guest on, sit on either side of the phone, equal distance away so that the can replicate the quality of two microphones. You could also use two different phones to record two different voices. However, if you do this you may run into a difference in audio quality. Then there is also the matter of editing the two different tracks together in real time. Either way will work well enough for a good quality podcast. For both styles of production, editing is crucial. It is up to you how much or how little you choose to do. What I suggest is at least EQ’ing, compressing, and adding reverb to the vocal tracks. Because this is a podcast, you can do very minimal work in each area. The tracks won’t need too much attention. The goal is to achieve a clear and warm vocal tone.

If you really want to take this podcast seriously, there is the professional road. The gear you will need would be: microphones, pop filters, mic stands, XLR Cables, headphones, and an interface to connect your mics to your computer or laptop. Starting out I think it is best not to spend all your money on the most expensive gear possible. The brands and styles I am recommending are all equipment that I personally own and use frequently. The microphone i suggest is the Shure SM57 Cardioid. This is a dynamic microphone that can record anything from acoustic guitars, snare drums, and vocals. I’ve used this mic to record vocal demos and the quality is downright great. This can handle all the podcast discussion in the world. It is also only $99 dollars. You can find cheaper mic stands and pop filters on any music retail website. They can range anywhere from $8 to $40. The interface I recommend is the Roland Octa-Capture. This is a relatively and portable interface that is filled with great features. There are eight inputs. All eight double as XLR and quarter inch inputs. The console comes with a free download of a driver. This driver pulls of a digital mixing board so that you may control the features of the Octa-Capture digitally. My personal favorite feature is the “auto-sens”. This automatically sets the levels of your microphone. This leads to a quicker set-up and more accurate levels. The Octa-Capture would be $519, but it is well worth the money. With this gear I would also recommend a separate, “dry”, space away from outside noise or distractions.

A white screen with the names and logos of the podcast sites Blubrry, Podiant, Spreaker, Buzzsprout, Soundcloud, Libsyn, castos, PodBean, and Simplecast
List of Podcast services

Posting your content

The best sites to post your podcasts

Once your podcast is completed, the next step is uploading it online. Streaming platforms have made it very easy for the average person to upload consistent streams of podcasts. There are a number of different ways you could go about this. You can add all your content to one platform, or you can add it a various amount of platforms. Some reliable services I would recommend would be: 

  • Podbean
  • Spotify
  • Soundcloud
  • YouTube

All of these services are easily accessible and perfect for sharing to your social media sites. Now that you know how, get out there and create some content!

Stefan Triveri

Stefan Triveri is a musician and artist from Wheeling, WV.
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