As you can probably tell by the coverage over the last few days, Tucson Comic Con happened this past weekend. At this convention Logan & I did our first Podcast Panel. The panelists from left to right are: Zack from Culture Popped Podcast, Micah from The Paper Robots Podcast, Myself, & Logan from The Paper Robots Podcast.
We initially had planned on this panel being nothing more than a discussion of what a podcast is, why we do it, the statistics behind podcast growth and where we see it going. However, after about 10 minutes of background, Logan (who was moderating) decided to go to the crowd for questions. We had a few very active audience members who asked great questions. I will go ahead and share that information with you now. I do want to note that these are all opinion based answers and are not absolutes.
What's a Good Starting Setup?
There are lots of different setups you can start with, and it's hard to summarize into a single starting set up. First, I will say: you can use your iPhone or iPad to podcast. Just use the voice memos app and record. If you want slightly better sound, here's what I would recommend for a single person format:
- Neewer NW-700 ($23)
- USB Audio Adapter ($6)
- Studio Boom Arm ($14)
- Headphones (use whatever headphones you have laying around)
You could have more than one person talking into this microphone, but you will lose some audio fidelity as each person will need to be further away from the microphone, allowing more ambient noise to be picked up. For software, you can use Audacity, a free music recording/editing software. It will not provide the most powerful production options, but it will be a good starting point.
Do You Set a Recording Schedule
For a single person podcast, like mine, it is very easy to schedule a podcast, which is what I do. I know that each week, I have videos to produce, articles to write, and a podcast to record, so I set aside a few hours each week to research and prepare the episode. Then I make sure that on Tuesday (a day before release) that I have about an hour to record the episode. I take another hour or two editing & doing post work on the episode, and finally about 30 minutes to an hour writing the supplemental article/show notes, and scheduling the release in Libsyn.
For a multi-person podcast, setting a weekly schedule for recording & editing gets a lot more difficult. Logan & Micah can attest to this. The way to compensate for the difficulty of scheduling multiple people is to create a back log of episodes. Prior to launching your podcast, record a few extra episodes so you have an episode ready if you have a week where not everyone can record. Or if you have an easy week where everyone can record multiple times, do that, create a back log and store those episodes. The key here is to not miss an episode. Once you miss a single episode, it gets a lot easier to justify skipping future episodes. Don't give yourself an excuse to give up.
How Do You Stick Out Among the Noise?
The first thing that is necessary as a podcaster is to develop and understand your voice. When there are 100 people talking about the same thing, you need to let your listener know who you are as a person and why they should care what you have to say. This is very difficult to do. The way that I did this was by recording a LOT before releasing anything. You shouldn't be afraid to talk into a microphone and record, listen back to it, and critique yourself. Ask yourself, "Do I want to listen to this?", "Is this interesting?" "Would I tell my friends to listen to this?". This technique will not only get you comfortable on microphone, but it can also help find your voice.
Backing up a bit, when you want to talk about something that has been discussed 100 times, you need to come up with a unique take on the topic. Rather than talking about how Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie, maybe try something along the lines of "Parallels between Star Wars and the Ballets of Stravinsky", or something like that. Mix your knowledge, and bring your own personality and views to the podcast.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing is having your own voice and to not just repeat what everyone else says. However, don't let this discourage you from getting started, it is sometimes cool to hear a podcast from the beginning and witness them grow as an artist as they become more comfortable and confident on the microphone.
I hope the answers to these questions help you get your podcast started. Thanks to Logan for moderating the panel, and the other awesome panelists, Zack & Micah. Also thanks to the Audience who asked such AMAZING questions, and finally thanks to Tucson Comic Con for Having us. Hope to see y'all next year.