Another common misconception is that podcasting is only for digital native with extensive technical knowledge. The reality is that you don’t need to be a computer nor audio engineering wizard to start a podcast. As mentioned in Part 1, basic equipment and user-friendly software are available, making podcasting accessible to beginners.
Understanding the four steps in the JM Podcasting Services System informs tech and software choices.
- Gather Audio
- Tidy Audio
The principles I start from are minimalist in nature. See the episode: The Power of Simplicity. Gathering audio requires some way to capture the sound. A mic of some description. The recording in the field episodes 1, 2 and 3 provide a deeper dive.
Let’s consider what we are trying to do.
We want to capture the voice of a speaker and not too much of the ambient sound, sometimes context matters but mostly we just want the voice. This means we need to focus on the voice of the individual speakers and capture just that. Now this is not always possible but it is a goal to aim for. To do this we need a mic with a narrow area of collection.
Once you have your equipment, the next step after recording your audio is to edit it into a podcast episode. Fortunately, there are several user-friendly software options available that simplify the recording process. With a USB mic you can directly into your Digital Audio Workstation and then edit. Audacity, for example, is a popular free audio editing software that provides a range of tools for recording and editing your podcast. It has a simple interface with apparently intuitive controls, making it accessible to beginners. It’s not a system I’ve ever been able to come to terms with and I find it ugly and not intuitive at all, for me. GarageBand in the Apple ecosystem is another free option and this one I can recommend. At the other end of the field are the Adobe options and any number of expensive, highly featured options. I would recommend against these, especially for the beginner, because like Audacity and Garageband they were designed with musicians in mind. This means there’s a huge amount of unrequired options for the spoken word specialist.
Between the extremes lies options like Hindenburg. This was designed purely for the spoken word. Yes, you can add musical tracks and so on but the focus is on the human voice. The subscription is AUD20 a month or AUD165 per annum for the latest iteration. If you can justify this it’s worth the cost.
If not, then the free options will teach you just as well, it might just take a little bit longer to grasp the essentials.
In addition to editing, publishing your podcast episodes may seem daunting at first. However, there are podcast hosting platforms like Libsyn, Blubrry and Podbean that simplify the publishing process. These platforms provide easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to upload and distribute your episodes to major podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and Google Podcasts. They take care of the technical aspects, such as generating an RSS feed and ensuring your episodes are available to listeners across different platforms.
Moreover, podcasting communities are a valuable resource for aspiring podcasters. I’ve never found an unhelpful podcaster. We are a collaborative lot and love to share the joy of the medium. Each podcaster has their own methods, tech and approach so you may have to poke around a little to find one who resonates. Once you do, they are a gold mine of useful info, as I hope this show is.
On reflection, podcasting does not require technical expertise nor extensive computer knowledge. With basic equipment, user-friendly software and the generosity of extant podcasters, anyone can learn the necessary skills to produce a high-quality podcast. Don’t let the fear of technology hold you back from starting your podcasting journey. Embrace the learning process, seek guidance when needed and remember that practice makes perfect. A little improvement in every episode creatures great audio in a fairly short time.