One of the most exciting parts of working as an incubator for podcasts is watching a person’s face as they realize they can really do it: they can make a podcast. So, here’s a little introduction to what you need to make a podcast and where you can get the resources you need to get started.
The first thing you need is an idea. You’ve already got one, actually. You know that thing you felt really pumped about the last time you were talking about it with a friend? That thing that made you feel a surge of energy, like if only the world could hear the conversation you just had, maybe it would be a better place? That’s your idea. That’s the thing the world needs to hear, and that’s the thing you are passionate enough about to research and interview and have engaging conversations about. That’s the thing you’re willing to put a few hours of recording and editing work into to share it with people who would find it exciting to listen to.
Next up, you need something to record your voice. A phone with a voice memo app works, but maybe at one point you’ll want to upgrade. A solid first-and-forever field recorder is the Zoom H2n. It costs a little over $200 CAD as of the writing of this article, but it’s an investment that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. The sound quality is amazing. It’s visually clear when it is and isn’t recording. And unlike with a phone, you can monitor the audio live with your headphones. Makes a world of difference for filtering out strange background noises like fluorescent bulbs and fans. Best of all, it can connect directly to your computer to be used as a USB mic. These are all features you might not think about when getting started, but rest assured that regardless of what field recorder you choose to get for yourself, these are the features you should be looking for.
Finally, you need some audio editing software. The Audition program is an industry standard. The latest version is pretty expensive, but with some clever google searching you should be able to find a legal copy of Audition 3.0 right from the Adobe site. It’s offered free because of a “technical glitch in the activation server for creative suite 2”. If that sounds weird to you, then Audacity is a fine alternative. Audacity works on all computers, is easy to use, and is quite a powerful digital audio workstation. Reaper is another wonderful free alternative. It has a steep learning curve, but is feature-rich and preferred by many audio techs for its customizability and versatility.
Editing is remarkably easy after you’ve done it once. Getting started, you would do well to take twenty minutes of your day to watch a video tutorial on editing audio in the program of your choice. After that, challenge yourself! Mix your voice with some background music. Make a complete mock podcast with an intro song, background music, your voice, and an outro. You can do it! And if this sounds like a daunting task, worry not! Peterborough Independent Podcasters regularly runs workshops in audio editing to help you get your feet wet, and members can even get one-on-one mentoring from our mentors. If you’d like to learn more about getting started with your podcast, get in touch with us at [email protected], or check out our website at ptbopodcasters.ca. We’ve got some workshops and drop-ins coming up, so check it out!