(By Robin Kinnie) Podcasting has become the great equalizer. Anyone with an RSS feed can share their thoughts, views, and opinions on everything under the sun. I love checking out fresh, new podcasts produced by everyday people. Another aspect of the podcasting industry is how accessible it is for newbies to join. Yes, you can record at a professional studio like Motor City Woman and many others nationwide. Or, you can join the thousands of podcasters who have built their own studios. Your favorite podcast just may be recorded in a closet!
The most important aspect of building out your own studio is the space itself. You want to select a space that is quiet and insulated. Don’t worry if you can’t find an appropriate space. You can use common household items such as rugs, mats and towels to absorb noise. Last resort, you can record the audio and then, use noise reduction tools to reduce background noise (but, more about that later).
After you have the best space you can find, the next step is to look for a microphone. Although, some people may look first at “Instagram-worthy” mics for those cute behind-the-scenes pictures, this is an area that you certainly don’t want to overlook. I’ve recommended a variety of microphones for clients who are building out their own studio. However, you want to pick the best one in your price range. There are tons of articles that cover microphones so I’m not going to cover that in this article.
I’ve seen some microphones attached to headphones which make it very convenient. However, I’ve also seen people use earbuds during recording, especially if most of their guests are remote. Microphones are important since you are recording at home/office and outside noise can be distracting.
Now that you can hear and speak, the next step is deciding how the podcast will be put together. You have numerous options from this point. You can use an all-in-one digital audio workstation such as the Garage Band or Audacity, or go the route of an audio interface and mixer. The options continue with tools such as the Rode Rodecaster Pro, which brings all of these elements together in one handy piece of equipment.
The next step after you’ve recorded your top-rated podcast (speak it into existence!), is editing. I’ve seen some do-it-yourselfers edit their own podcast, or this is an element that can be outsourced. If you want to edit the podcast yourself, you can refer back to software such as Audacity or try professional-grade Adobe Audition. Editing can improve the quality of the audio file, add in fun sound effects, or provide music for transitions of segments.
It’s not as difficult as you may think. Here is a snapshot of gear/software needed to get started:
• Laptop/Desktop Computer
• Audio Editing Software
The final steps include creating a RSS feed through your podcast host and submitting the podcast to directories. Again, there are more options than I will list in this article. An RSS feed is created through a variety of sources, such as Podbean or SoundCloud, among others. Most podcast hosts provide a one-click solution to get your podcast on major directories such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. In addition to those, I always suggest to my clients to have their own media player. This media player can be embedded on a website just in case someone doesn’t know that you have a podcast!
Knowing what gear to buy should not be an excuse to delay the launch of your podcast. The most important element is the unique content that will be produced. And, although sound does play a factor for your listening audience, I am sure people will tune in for great content even if it sounds a little scratchy.
One of my favorite quotes from Professional Tennis Champion Arthur Ashe sums it up perfectly, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
*Note: This article is simply a guide; not an endorsement of any specific brand of equipment.
Robin Kinnie is an experienced podcast producer, entrepreneur, and #womanowned advocate. Driven by community, she takes pride in creating access to underrepresented groups within the podcast industry. As the President of Motor City Woman and Audio Engineers of Detroit, her goal is to amplify the voices of women. Robin also serves as the head of Soundgirls.org, Detroit Chapter. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @RobinKinnie.