Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to Produce Your Own Podcast

"The percentage of Americans who have ever watched or listened to a podcast is 45%, up from 43% one year ago. This equates to approximately 70 million Americans." - The Current State of Podcasting 2010, Edison Research

I'm often asked how I produce the Big Vision Podcast, so I thought I'd share my process here in case any of you are aspiring podcasters. If you're just starting out, know that there are many ways to record, edit and distribute your show.  Below is a description of how I do it with my Mac.

For interviews outside of the Bay Area, I use ecamm call recorder for Skype, and a Logitech USB headset. (If you have a PC, you could try Pamela for Skype). Overall, the recording sounds best if the call is Skype to Skype, but it's usually OK if I call the interviewee's land line too. What does not sound good is if person is on their cell phone. I try to avoid that scenario as much as possible.

For in-person interviews, I use the hub's Marantz PMD660 Digital Recorder (he's an on location sound engineer), and a microphone like the Electro-Voice 635A. (If you go this route, you'll need a cable to connect the microphone and recorder, plus headphones to plug into the recorder).

I realize that the Marantz is beyond most people's budgets.  I've never used it, but I know people who like like the Zoom H4n, and the Zoom H2, which are still pricey, but more affordable than the Marantz.

I edit the Big Vision Podcast on GarageBand, which came with my MacBook. If you have a PC, you could try editing with Audacity (it's free). Sometimes I record my intros and outros with the Marantz, and sometimes I use a Snowflake USB microphone to record straight into Garageband.

When I'm done, I export the show into iTunes where I convert the file into an MP3.  Then, I upload the MP3 to my hosting service, Libsyn.  Libsyn makes it easy for you to format your show for iTunes' specifications, and they provide some basic statistics (e.g. number of downloads). They also provide code for an audio player (like the one below) that you can embed onto your blog, or website so that people can listen to your show online (if they don't want to subscribe via iTunes, or download it to their mp3 player).

I don't have one, but Libsyn can also help you make your podcast into an iPhone, or Android app.

If you want to learn more about podcasting, check out the imake Libsyn blog.  They have some good posts with tips and tutorials.  I also appreciate the discussion and sharing of resources on the Yahoo! Podcasters group.  Finally, see if there is a PodCamp happening near you.

Feel free to ask me any questions about podcasting, or share your best practices and resources in the comments.  I'd especially love to connect with more women podcasters (:

Image of Marantz taken from D and M Professional.  Image of Snowflake Mike taken from Blue Microphones.

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  1. Thank you SO much. You have no idea how timely this is. I literally just told my husband (as in like 15 minutes ago) that I had an idea for a podcast and would like to learn how to put one together. And the fact that I have a Mac, as well, has just made it even easier. :) Thanks!

  2. Hi lovely!!! I use a Zoom H2, and even though it is more than $100 it's really worth the investment. I've been using it pretty consistently for over 2 years now and *knock on wood* it's going on strong!

    Whenever I record my intro or have to do a non live recording I as well use the H2 because I find that using Garageband to do a straight recording is too memory intensive for my almost 5 year old Macbook and there is too much fan noise! I use the internal mic of the H2 and it sounds very well.

    I am searching for another digital recorder, ready to invest a teeny bit more. Portable, and easy to use are high on the list as I recently bought my own wireless microphone to record my classes so I dont' have the darn recorded attached to me while I teach yoga ;) The H2 in comparison to others is really really light.

    Also, thanks for mentioning to encode into MP3, tons of folks forget that step and end up loosing so much reach! Great job!

  3. Sara Rae ~ You're very welcome. Good luck with your show!

    Elsie ~ Another Zoom lover! I definitely need to try it. I love the Marantz, but it's quite big. I'd love to use something more portable.


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