Intro to Podcasting, Part 2: How to Create Your Own Podcast

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{Header image by NY Photographic and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.}

Note (as of July 2011): this article (all three parts) will be published in the August 2011 issue of KC Stage Magazine.

In part 1 of this series, we got a basic introduction to podcasting.

How to create your own podcast

To create your own audio podcast, all you need is an idea, a computer (with the ability to record sound, or access to a recording booth), and a basic knowledge of how to operate computer programs. If you’re serious about wanting to create your own podcast, I recommend looking at Podcasting for Dummies. Even though it’s a little dated now (it came out in 2008, so I’d recommend getting it through the library instead of buying it), it still has a good overall how-to and even goes into things as marketing and business tips.

The main tip is the same as creating a blog: make sure your topic is broad enough (yet narrow enough) to sustain itself for multiple episodes. A podcast on theatre overall may be too broad to be able to have an ongoing podcast that is a theme; but a podcast on the works of Neil Simon may be too narrow to go beyond a few episodes. Having an idea as to what each episode will cover is also recommended. Some podcasters go into the recording with only a basic idea and improv the entire podcast; others go in with full script (even with sound effects and music as well as other people) that has been rehearsed beforehand.

The first piece of equipment you need (or at least need access to) is recording equipment. My podcast, thanks to KC Stage‘s partnership with KKFI to record the Week on Stage for them, is able to be recorded at their studios with awesome microphones. However, all you really need is a regular microphone that plugs into your computer (and the Reduced Shakespeare Company – at least when it started – just uses their iPod to record their podcast).

Image courtesy SourceForge.net

If your podcast is short and you can do it in one take, all you may need to do is export the sound file out as an MP3 and upload it. But, if it’s over 10 minutes or you make flubs (or if you have sound effects and/or music involved), you’ll need to edit the sound file. If you have a Mac, you already have a decent sound editing program installed in GarageBand. If you have a PC, however, the basic sound recorder program that’s on there is very basic. However, Audacity is an open source program (meaning it’s free) that is a good basic sound editing system, and is available across multiple platforms. Podcasting for Dummies has a good tutorial on both of these programs, as well as offering some other alternatives if you want to get into more advanced editing options.

Once exported, you need to put it up for people to access it. Both Podbean and Podcast.com offer hosting programs that also offer easy tools to link to iTunes and RSS feeds for your listeners.

Then, of course, you need to get the word out. Many podcasts offer a blog connected to it, providing show notes that gives you an idea of what you’ll be listening to it. Marketing a podcast is like marketing anything else, with the added notes that you definitely need a strong Web 2.0 presence if you want to get listeners.

Be sure to read Part 3, “Podcast Recommendations”.