Answered By: Julia Gunst
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2021     Views: 60

How do I plan for a podcast?


There are three stages to consider when creating your podcast. 

Pre-production

This stage involves preparing and planning for everything you'll need before you start recording:

  1. Content: Take some time about what kind of content you want in your podcast and how you wish to present it. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

    • What is the length of your podcast and how many topics will you talk about? A shorter length will be easier to achieve.
    • How many hosts and interviewees will you have? Make sure you have enough space, time and equipment for all speakers.
    • Who is your audience? Keep in mind the level of jargon and technical terminology you are using if your podcast is for the general public.
    • Do you need any field recordings or live recordings? Consider any additional sounds you’ll need. For example, street noise.
    • Will it be scripted? If you are going for an informal discussion or roundtable format, a list of topics or questions may be all you need. Here is an example of a script for radio from NPR.
    • ​How many episodes do you plan to produce? Create a realistic goal.
       
  2. Technology Becoming familiar and comfortable with technology will be key to your success. Take out the equipment in advance to become familiar.

  3. Research: Getting ahead on your research is important to ask the most informed questions possible.

    • Background research and literature reviews.
    • Music, archival or secondary audio sources. Use this guide to find resources.
    • ​Research permissions to use secondary audio sources. Give credit when necessary.
    • Create an outline for your project based on your research.

Production

Here are a few tips to help the production stage, or recording, run smoothly:

  • Have your scripts or outlines ready, as well as water. 
  • Test levels and microphone placement before you record. The meter should hover at around -12 to -6 decibels on your recorder or device when you speak normally.
  • Use headphones to monitor what you are recording while you test out the sound. Wear them while recording to catch anything that might be picked up during your recording - i.e. perhaps you start to hear a vacuum cleaner down the hall.
  • Check battery life and SD card space if applicable.
  • Record in WAV file format, 44.1 kHz and 24 bit (16 bit if you want smaller files). 
  • Double check that you are actually recording before you start speaking! The time should be ticking upwards. 
  • Write down notes during production about what went well, what moments should be included in the edit, and any points that came up during an interview that require further research.
  • Avoid ums, ahs and likes when you are speaking as much as possible.
  • Rephrase questions or restart answers if you need to.

Post-Production  

During this stage, you'll pull together everything you've recorded into a final audio file. Visit this guide to Post-Production for a detailed outline of the process. 

In general, when it comes to audio post-production, you may have these steps to complete:

  • Cleaning up of noises, coughs, or unwanted dialog. 
  • Removing hums or background noise.
  • Adding music or other secondary sources.
  • Mixing your tracks. This process includes making sure the volume levels for all tracks are even and your exported track has an appropriate volume. 
  • Exporting your final mix as an mp3 file with the highest quality possible. An mp3 file takes up less space and is more easily shared.
 

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