How I Create My Podcast

No episode of the FreshPod today as I was traveling over the weekend. Instead, here’s a geeky look at how I create the FreshPod for those of you interested in podcasting. More humor coming tomorrow…

1. The Recording

I conduct most of my interviews during the week when my Mac is at home and I’m on the clock at work. I can’t do them at my desk, so I usually do them over the phone in my car on my lunch break.

I use the Recorder App on my iPhone. It’s not a free solution, but it does what I need at a relatively inexpensive price. The app is 99 cents to download, and it works by becoming a middle man between me and my interview subject.

When I use the app to call the subject, it first establishes a connection with its own servers and then calls out to the subject. I pay $12.99 for 8 hours of recorded talk time, which comes out to 2.7 cents a minute. (a 37-minute podcast costs me $1.)

The App keeps track of my minutes, downloads my recordings immediately after I hang up, has WiFi sync so I can grab the recording from a computer, and allows me to purchase additional minutes right from the App. Here’s a video if you’d like to see it in action.

All in all the toughest part of the recording process is scheduling the interview. Once the calendars align, the interview is a breeze and definitely my favorite part of the process. I might spend 30 minutes doing research and another hour making the phone call.

2. The Editing

Once I’ve downloaded the recording from the app, the first thing I do is fix the levels. I use Levelator because smart people told me I should, and so far so good.

I have Levelator on my MacBook, and I simply drag and drop the .aiff file onto the Levelator interface and it fixes the level issues in the recording and spits out a corrected file back into the same directory.

I then take the level-adjusted interview file and drag and drop it into GarageBand. I use 3 different tracks for most of my FreshPod episodes. Track 1 has my intro music and the bumpers I use before and after interviews. Track 2 is where I record my spoken intros and outros. Track 3 is the interview.

(To record the intros and outros I use a Blue Snowball mic with a pop screen. I highly recommend these, and Amazon usually has the best deals on these $100 mics.  In fact, the white version is currently $66 at Amazon right now.) (affiliate link)

I use the same bumpers and intro music for each episode, so there’s no time involved there. It typically takes me 15 minutes to record the spoken intro and outro segments. I usually don’t edit those at all, so long as I didn’t make a major goof during recording.

The bulk of the editing comes with the interview, and that can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. I rarely edit out an entire question and answer, but here are the things I do cut out while editing:

  • pauses that are too long
  • pointless “ummmm”s, of which there are MANY
  • moments where the guest and I talk over each other because of the cellphone delay
  • rare occasions when i go off the record to give the guest info/instructions

The end goal of the editing process is to make the interview much easier to listen to without compromising the spirit of the conversation. From start to finish the editing process usually takes about 2 to 2.5 hours, and in the end I’m usually excited to share the finished product with you guys.

3. The Publishing

Once I’ve uploaded the mp3 to my server I use the Blubrry Powerpress Plugin on my WordPress Blog to share my podcast.

I’ll be honest, setting up the plugin wasn’t the most intuitive thing I’ve ever done, but now that I’ve worked out the kinks things are working smoothly. There’s plenty of documentation online to help you get the feed listed on iTunes and take care of all those other details, so I won’t get into that.

Now that the plugin is set up correctly on my blog, posting the podcast takes about 20 minutes, and most of that is writing up the post. At some point I’ll also create an image of my guest for the FreshPod Index, but that only takes another 15 minutes or so.

4. Boom

So there it is. Each podcast takes a little over an hour to schedule and record, a couple hours to edit, and a half hour to post as a new blog post. All in all about 4-5 hours each. Is it worth it? For me it is…so far. Check back with me in a couple months and we’ll see how things are going.

If you’re thinking about starting your own podcast, go for it. The only way you’re going to figure out how to do it is to do it. The only way to become a better interviewer and improviser is to get your reps in.

If you have any other questions regarding the Freshpod or how I make my podcast, ask away in the comments. I’m not very good with all the technical stuff, but I would love to fabricate an answer for you if I don’t know what you’re talking about. And if you have any suggestions for the podcast, I’d love to hear those too.

Thanks again for listening to the Freshpod and sharing the links on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. It makes all the work that goes into it completely worth it.