Start Podcasting, Today

My first podcast was called “The Daily Scrum” and was focused on agile methodologies for non-developers. It was a lot of work getting schedules to line up, preparing the script, recording, editing and producing each episode.

But it was a lot of fun.

I missed it.

I knew I would have some time on my hands in the early part of this year, so I thought I'd use that time to get my creative juices going. Lots of reading about the state of journalism, the struggles of writing and how big media is changing. I then started building some ideas in the back of my head about how I could get involved.

I have this site where I do a bit of writing, but I wanted to do more. So back in March, I made some sort of declaration that I was going to get back into podcasting.

Last week was my first re-introduction. I felt energized, empowered. It was therapeutic, in a sense, much like running.

Here are a few new things I learned and a few beliefs that were reinforced.

 

What's new

Sheesh, what happened to GarageBand? I know it's not the most advanced software for cleaning up and editing audio recordings, but it sure was simple to use. I read that most of the podcasting options were stripped out of the latest version (10.x.x) but I guess it didn't hit home until I actually had to use it. Yuck.

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I used the older version of GarageBand during previous podcasting efforts. The output always bothered me, but I couldn't justify shelling out a few hundred dollars for irregular sessions. That was dumb. I should have.

After last week's episode, I looked into updating my process of recording, cleaning, editing and producing podcasts. Here's what I came up with:

  • Record: I switch between Ecamm's Call Recorder for Skype and Rogue Amoeba's Piezo. I like them both and I can probably condense the two by using Piezo for all recordings. I just don't have the confidence in it yet for recording/splitting a Skype call. But that's because I haven't tried it yet.
  • Clean: Once the session has been recorded, I set up a folder structure (I have everything on iCloud) on the Mac and import the source file into Adobe Audition. Honestly, I should use Audition for more – it looks really powerful – but it also looks really complex. I just haven't had time to run through it's features.
  • Edit: I then take that file and import it into Rouge Amoeba's Fission to do the editing. Fission has a super simple interface and does 99% of editing tasks I need to do. In addition, it handles podcasting notes (important) and images (important). The ratio of editing to podcasting time was about 3:1. That hasn't changed for me. (Important to keep in mind when recording/listening to podcasts!)
  • Produce: This used to be the tricky part. XML files, hosting, timing, etc. Just a lot of effort. Worth it, but just a lot of effort. I've since moved from Wordpress to Squarespace as my CMS and while I miss some of the control from self-hosting a Wordpress site, I'm easily swayed by the ease of use in Squarespace. I set up a podcast page and off I went. (Honestly, it's just a front-end wrapper around the same stuff I used to do with XML files but for some reason, it's a lot more satisfying.)

That's really it. Outside of getting used to editing your own voice for an hour or so, it's a fairly simple process.

 

Why podcast

For me, it's all about owning my voice and engaging with others. Since it's my job to learn how these things work in a business environment, it helps to try it out on my own and learn a few things.

Here are three things that have been reinforced following my reintroduction into podcasting:

  • Intimacy: This has been my number one reason for listening and creating podcasts – a one-on-one connection with listeners/podcasters. This intimate approach also allows for terrific sponsorship opportunities.  
  • Sponsors: Yeah, advertising has been given a bad name, simply because the majority of advertising is awful – from TV to radio to banner ads. The bad ones simply use the opportunity to get in front of an audience that likely has no interest in engaging with the ads. However, given the right amount of creativity and applying the correct technology across specific platforms can result in a pleasurable experience. I'm more than critical when it comes to blanket advertising that doesn't respect its base and more often than not, I roll my eyes at most calls to action. I've purchased more products/services than I care to admit simply by hearing the spot in a podcast. Signing up sponsors is hard, but can help offset some of the costs of podcasting. If done right, it can help engage your audience even further. 
  • Community: Building and interacting with a community is a lot of fun. People are joining your community (mostly) because they are interested in you. That's a big responsibility but also one that can enrich and extend your voice. 

 

A few favorites

While we're here, a few podcasts I listen to regularly:

  • Welcome to Macintosh (link): A tiny show about a big fruit company.
  • Reply All (link): A show about the internet, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. From Gimlet.
  • StartUp Podcast (link): The business origin story you never get to hear. 
  • DNAinfo Upper West Side (link): Podcast by DNAinfo Upper West Side.
  • The Talk Show With John Gruber (link): The director’s commentary track for Daring Fireball.
  • The Growth Show (link): The Growth Show is a business podcast for leaders consumed with driving growth — growing a company, growing a movement, growing an idea, growing a team.
  • a16z (link): Podcast by a16z.