A podcasting how-to guide for newbies?
January 8, 2006 10:42 PM   Subscribe

So, say you knew something about podcasting, what advice would you give someone who was about to start a cast of their own?

Since most "how to podcast" websites are either a.) really crappy or b.) trying to sell something or both, let's make it personal. If someone said "I want to start a podcast, guide me as if I know nothing." what would you say? (Other than "don't do it.") Consider this a request to create a very general how-to guide for someone who really wants to get all the technical stuff squared away so that they can get their good content out there.

Assume that your newbie was using OS X, planned to use WordPress to serve their content (though there's no undying allegiance to it, particularly) and had music to use that didn't have royalty/licensing issues involved. Also assume that your newbie would like to do interviews with people in other places and isn't sure of the best way to go about that.

Okay, I'm the newbie. Help, please!
posted by Dreama to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Sam Sugar (of sugarbank.com) did a series of blog entries a while ago called "Podcast like a Pro": #1, Microphones, #2, Mic Technique, #3, Recording Media, #4, Tracking, #5, Mixing, #6, Mastering.

Note that he works in the adult entertainment industry and his blog is more or less aimed at people who have an interest in or currently work in that area. But his blog itself doesn't have porn on it (though you might find some racy pics) and his podcasting guide is aimed at generic issues and isn't specific to porn.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:27 AM on January 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Hi There,
I can't really give you any technical info on podcasting. However, I can give you some presentation tips which will make you sound a whole lot better than the average joe podcaster.

Be sure to use a decent microphone, and wear headphones that can feed back your audio to you as you talk. (the macdevcentre article linked below recomends some cheap headphones which look handy).

have you mouth 1 fists distance away from the mic.

Be aware of not saying umm...errr.... arrr....
every-time I hear a podcaster go umm or err I want to jump down my broadband line and throttle them! This will make you sound a million times more professional.

Lastly, just like blogging, know when to be descriptive and when to be concise.

On the technical front I'd guess you could probably use audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net) to do you basic voice recording and sandwiching of any extra sound bits and pieces.

This engadget article looks to be a goody on technical bits and bobs

as does this on macdevcentre:

wordpress' site has some wp specific info here:

and more wp stuff here:

Good luck
posted by mule at 12:48 AM on January 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you really know nothing about podcasting and have no technical expertise, then you should go here:


That is a introduction to podcasting using only the online podcasting tools, since there is currently not a product out there that is easier to use.

Some people just want to podcast and not learn all of the intracacies of audio production.
posted by vannsant at 3:45 AM on January 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite podcasters, Dan Klass, co-wrote a book called "Podcast Solutions: A Complete Guide to Podcasting". Might be worth checking out.

And my podcast pet-peeve is podcasters podcasting about podcasts (yes, that sentence was ridiculous). I really don't want to listen to anyone whine about how many more listeners they want, or why I should vote for them on Podcast Alley. If you bring it, people will listen. I don't think it's wrong to mention, at the end with your contact info, "Don't forget to vote for (Podcast Name) at Podcast Alley!" but please leave it at that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:21 AM on January 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Do you really listen to that one hour podcast, with the host who is stumbling, and thinks he/she is really cool..and you're hanging out with them?


KISS - (Keep it Simple, S***head).

5-10 min. Be concise. Stay focused.
posted by filmgeek at 8:14 AM on January 9, 2006

As a listener, not a caster, I feel compelled to pop in that the #1 thing that will keep me from listening to a podcast isn't "um" or length, it's bad volume levels. If you can't be bothered to normalize it, I can't be bothered to listen. I've dropped stuff that I really liked in other ways just because this was so infuriating (and even painful, when low levels came back up after I'd adjusted the volume.)
posted by phearlez at 9:58 AM on January 9, 2006

As someone with a (competitive) public speaking background, I must agree with all the people who mention the ers and ums. These drive me crazy. Also, write what you are going to say and practice it. I don't care if you're only going to say three ten second bits, write them out and know them inside out. Feel them. Love them. record yourself and listen to it on a crappy little tape player. Believe in yourself. Practice some more. Brainstorm about why you want to share these particular pieces of music with complete strangers. What ties them together? Why should I care? How will you convince me to care if I don't? Write all of this out. Practice it on people you know. Practice it on people you accost in the grocery store. (Ok, leave strangers alone, but definitely get feedback.)

As far as interviewing people goes, practice lots of tongue twisters, for those moments when a guest will have you tongue tied. My favorite... "Unique New York, New York's unique, You know you need Unique New York." over and over and over. Fast. (Laugh when you say Newyique You Nork, because really, it is funny.)
posted by bilabial at 11:03 AM on January 9, 2006

Do it because you have something to say, not for any other reason.
posted by UncleHornHead at 2:17 PM on January 9, 2006

Well, I've checked all the links and with the exception of needing to pick up a new mic, which I shall do this week, it looks like I'm all set. And since I have a background in public speaking and even did a radio stint, I'm pretty aware of my ums and ers and know how to deal with them when I'm being formal in my speech as I would be in a cast. My content lends itself to scripting, in any case.

Thanks for your help, everyone. I'll be announcing the new cast on MeFi Projects when it's ready to go.
posted by Dreama at 3:53 PM on January 9, 2006

Does anyone have any insight into how best to get two or headset mic'd podcasters to be able to simultaneously record their parts onto an iBook using GarageBand? Assuming they were USB mics, does a standard usb hub between the multiple mics and the Mac suffice?
posted by Scram at 5:26 PM on January 9, 2006

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