At the turn of the 20th century, radio was very popular. Long, medium, and short wave bands brought news, music, and drama to countless American homes. With the television debut, the dwindling listener count seemed to suggest that the video had in fact killed the radio star. But radio refuses to die, and now technology has ushered in a new savior for radio stars with the growing popularity of podcasts.
One of the coolest aspects of podcasts is that anyone can host them. This is radio wave democracy. For those interested in joining the podcast movement, here are the steps needed to launch your first podcast.
Choose a niche
Initially, you must first decide on the theme or focus of your podcast. Many are categorical and cast a wide net by focusing solely on genres, such as health, comedy, music, news or politics, such as NPR’s Science Fridays which cover both practical and unconventional science topics. Others can be more specific in focus, such as Mugglecast, which covers all things Harry Potter. Consider how specific you want your podcast to be and base your decision on your passions and interests.
If you love mystery novels but are a huge fan of author John Sandford, then the Sandford’s Prey-only PreyPodcast will probably appeal to you more than a podcast covering the entire mystery novel genre. And if it’s more interesting to you, it will be more interesting to listeners.
Collect Essential Equipment
Most of the equipment needed can be purchased for a reasonable price, but a microphone is one piece of equipment you shouldn’t skimp on because the difference between a high-end and low-end mic is audible and quickly noted by the listener. You can choose between a USB or analog (XLR) microphone; although USB microphones are plug-and-play, and convert analog sound to digital automatically, the audio quality is usually slightly lower than that of analog microphones.
However, if it’s more cost-effective, you can opt for a USB microphone and then buy a pop filter to produce a clearer sound and prevent the loud sound from deafening your audience. The third option, is to use a gaming headset. Despite their high price, they are USB capable and produce decent audio. Your choice will depend on what you value more and what other equipment you use.
A computer with recording, editing, and uploading capabilities is required to host the podcast, so any Windows or Mac computer will work. Any Windows or Mac computer should work fine for recording, editing, and uploading your podcast. However, make sure that whatever technology you use has the necessary ports. You’ll need USB ports for the microphone and the attachments or other hardware you choose. In some cases, audio editing sense doesn’t require a lot of power, the right smartphone can serve as your computer for podcasting.
A serious smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 plus with the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system and Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor will be able to handle podcast software easily and quickly, plus the S8 has a battery life of up to 31.6 hours in use so when properly charged, it won’t die on you in the middle of a transmission. Smartphones also require extensive sync methods and quad band frequencies, such as the S8, in order to carry and transmit signals consistently.
Audio Editing Software:
To actually record and edit, a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is required. As with most tech gear, there are a variety of options and licenses for use that range from the affordable to the downright outrageous. Since the best price isn’t a price at all, many open source programs like it Recklessness it’s free and is your best bet when you’re first starting out and not sure how to use the technology.
If working from a smartphone, you can use the app to manage recording and editing. Something like iRig is easy to use and allows you to not only cut, edit and modify your footage, but also to optimize its quality.
With all of these components installed comes the easy part. Go ahead and record your podcast, edit as needed, and prepare for the next step.
Create & Publish RSS Feeds
You need an RSS feed. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a special format used to create an information “feed”. RSS is based on application XML, so it ends up looking like a jumbled mess of HTML, but the end result is a plain feed offering bullet points of content, without frills or ads, delivered to web users. Users can then pick up and order the feed they want. There are three general versions of RSS but the default is RSS 2.0.
Now You can build your own RSS through creating complex HTML and tags, or you can do what most startup podcasters do — create a homepage and add a link to the publishing system to it. Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, and Movable Type all include RSS auto-generation. You just need to add a link to your page.
Launch Your Podcast
Once you’ve set up your feed and recorded your episodes, you’re now ready to publish your podcast. Start by submitting your show to the most visited apps and podcast directories you can find. Don’t sweat the smaller, obscure directories the first time you go; You can add a few to your list as you go along. That a major player in podcasting including: Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict, and PlayerFM.
iTunes, however, is one of the largest and nearly half of the other apps listed use the iTunes API to pull content, so make that your first stop.
From this point on, you will begin to define who you are target audience based on where they get access to your podcast. You can choose to host guests at your event, host live calls, and even generate marketing and publicity aspects of the event. The opportunities are endless.
With all the hard work of deciding on your content, acquiring your equipment, navigating RSS feeds, and getting your first podcast out onto the open airwaves, you can then focus on the most important aspect of a podcast: your passion for the content.