Podcasting explores the mind in a way that radio does not. It embodies the art of oral storytelling in a performative, creative and enticing way. 

As portable devices ever increasingly become an extension of our limbs, people are watching less TV, going to the cinemas less often but are still after a series they can get into and talk about with friends. The art of podcasting was arguably hurtled into the mainstream with the launch of Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig, an investigative journalist. Techsperts have found out that “more people have downloaded Serial than have watched Girls, Mad Men or Louie”.

black hand micPodcasting is personal, engaging and challenging | CMTO


Podcasts are great because they cover such a huge range of topics, voices, countries and moods. Not to mention the romanticism of listening to a voice and imagining the face that goes along with it. Although it’s still considered a niche form of entertainment, possessing the concepts and skills to put a podcast together will put you in a much better position as a radio presenter. Podcasts give audiences the freedom to listen on the go – whilst commuting using their handheld devices and headphones, on their computer or even in their car. They are also free to listen whenever they want since podcasts are readily available to listen back to at any point in time. 

I want to make a podcast. What do I do now?

1. Come up with a concept: Songexploder, WTF and Beautiful/Anonymous are all examples of podcasts with interesting and simple concepts. Think of your immediate surroundings, where you live, who you interact with. What makes you special? What are people really interested in when you talk to them in conversation? You might be really interested in goldfish breeding or have a knack for talking to strangers. Either way you should have a solid concept and stick with it – you don’t want to bore or annoy people. 

2. Get the gear: You don’t need to spend heaps of money to make great sounding podcasts. You do however need to own a few basic items to begin recording audio. We wrote an article about what every audio content creator should own. Same goes for the software you use to record and edit

3. Find your sound: Every podcast has a sound or mood which makes it unique. Improv4Humans is a comedy podcast that is addictive because of the sniggering guests in the background, whereas the beauty of Beautiful/Anonymous is in the sound of the phone calls the host receives from anonymous people. Often there is lag, talking over one another which is a very poignant element of the series. Find your sound and stick with it. Record yourself in different rooms of your house to see where sounds the best. You want as little reverb as possible unless of course you’re using it as an effect.

4. Get comfortable speaking: You might think that ad-libbing your entire podcast is the way to go. Don’t be afraid to script the introduction and goodbye to your podcast. You shouldn’t script the whole thing though. Make dot points on a piece of paper with the topics you’ll cover and have fun. As long as you get through your dot points you can be as creative as you want. Improving your improv takes practice! 

5. Wrap your head around audio editing: Recording the material for your podcast is only one half of the project. We put together a list of programs you can use on your computer or smartphone.

6. Find a home for your recordings. Where are you going to host it? Variety of websites availbale like libsyn, simplecast or you can host it yourself on your own website

7. Listen to other podcasts! Here are some great ones to get you started: 

Serial is the one that arguably brought podcasts into the mainstream. Don’t think, just do it. 
Radiolab
 is a home for a whole bunch of different podcasts. 
Awesome Etiquette dissects etiquette in the 21st century. 
This American Life is host to a great deal of interesting podcasts about a whole range of topics. 
99% Invisible thinks about the stuff we don’t think about. 
Da Friendlyjordies podcast is three Sydney based funny dudes talking about funny things.
Sleek Geeks Remember Dr Karl? He’s even podcasting!

Resources

Read this article on the future of podcasting.
Find out how important audio is in the future of media.
Get inspired with BBC Podcasts.

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