How to Set Up Your Own Podcast

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How to Set Up Your Own Podcast

At the turn of the 20th century, radio was all the rage. Long, medium and shortwave bands carried news, music and plays into countless American homes. With the debut of television, the dwindling number of listeners seemed to suggest that video had, in fact, killed the radio star. But radio refused to die, and now technology has ushered in a new savior of the radio star with the increasing popularity of podcasts.

One of the coolest aspects of podcasts is that anyone can host one. It’s democracy of the radio waves. For those interested in joining the podcast movement, here are the steps necessary for launching your first podcast.

Choose a Niche

Initially, you must first decide on the theme or focus of your podcasts. Many are categorical and cast a wide net by focusing just on a genre, like health, comedy, music, news or politics, like NPR’s Science Fridays which discusses practical and unconventional science topics. Others can be more specific in focus, such as the Mugglecast, which discusses all things Harry Potter. Consider how specific you want your podcast to be and base your decision on your interests and passions.

If you like mystery novels but are a particularly hardcore fan of author John Sandford, then a PreyPodcast dealing solely with Sandford’s Prey novels would be more interesting to you than just a podcast dealing with the whole genre of mystery novels. And if it is more interesting to you, it will be more interesting to listeners.

Gather Essential Equipment

Microphone(s): 

Much of the equipment required can been purchased at reasonable prices, but the microphone is one piece of equipment for which you should not skimp as the difference between a high grade and low grade mic is audible and quickly noted by listeners. You can choose between a USB or analog (XLR) microphone; though USB mics are plug-and-play, and convert analog sound into digital automatically, the audio quality is usually a little lower than an analog mic.

If more cost effective, though, you can opt for a USB mic then purchase pop filters to produce a clearer sound and prevent loud noises from deafening your audience. A third option, is to use a gaming headset. Though they can be expensive, they are USB capable and produce decent audio. Your choice will depend on what you value more and what other equipment you are working with.

A Computer: 

A computer with recording, editing and uploading capabilities is necessary in hosting a podcast, so any Windows or Mac computer would work. Any Windows computer or Mac should work fine to record, edit and upload your podcast. Be sure, though, that whatever tech you use has the necessary ports. You’ll need USB ports for the microphones and any other appendages or hardware that you select. In some cases, sense audio editing does not require a lot of power, the right smartphone can serve as your computer for podcasting.

serious smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S8 plus with an Android 7.0 Nougat operating system and Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor would be able to handle the podcast software easily and fast, plus the S8 has a battery life up to 31.6 hours in use so when properly charged, it will not die on you in the middle of a transmission. The smartphone would also need extensive sync methods and quad band frequency, the like S8, in order to consistently carry and send the signal.

Audio Editing Software: 

In order to actually record and edit, a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is required. Like most tech equipment, a variety of options exist and the licenses for use range from affordable to downright outrageous. Since the best price is no price at all, many open source programs like Audacity are free and are your best bet when first starting out and uncertain of how to use this tech.

If working from a smartphone, you can use an app to manage your recording and editing. Something like iRig is simple to use and allows you to not only cut, edit and modify your recordings but to optimize the quality as well.

With all of these components in place, now comes the easy part. Go ahead and record your podcast, edit as needed and prepare for the next steps.

Create & Publish an RSS Feed

You need an RSS feed. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a special format used to create a “feed” of information. RSS is based on XML application, so it ends up looking like a jumbled HTML mess, but the end result is that a plain feed that offers the bullet points of the content, no frills or advertising, is sent out to web users. Users can then snatch and order the feeds they want. There are three common versions of RSS but the standard is RSS 2.0.

Now you can build your own RSS through the creation of complex HTML and tags, or you can do what most beginning podcasters do — create a homepage and add a link to a publishing system to it. Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal and Movable Type all include automatic generation of RSS. You just need to add the link to on your page.

Launch Your Podcast

When you’ve readied your feed and recorded your episode, you are now ready to publish your podcast. Begin by submitting your show to the most frequently visited app and podcast directories you can find. Don’t sweat the smaller, more obscure directories on your first go; you can add a few to your list as you proceed. The major players in podcasting include: Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict and PlayerFM.

iTunes, though, is one of the largest and nearly half of the other apps listed use iTunes’s API to pull content from, so make that your first stop.

From this point, you will begin to determine who your target audience is based on where they gain access to your podcast. You may choose to host guests on your shows, hold live call-ins, even generate marketing and publicity aspects to the show. The opportunities are limitless.

With all the hard work of deciding on your content, acquiring your equipment, navigating the RSS feed and publishing your first podcast to the open air waves accomplished, you can then focus on the most important aspect of a podcast: your interest in the content.

Editorial Team
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