Today I'm going to talk about how to get started podcasting. Keep in mind this is a beginners level guide to podcasting. We're going to cover three main topics:

  1. Creation with your social engineering skills.
  2. Production with Ecamm and Audacity.
  3. Distribution with Anchor.fm.

Creation

This topic isn't touched on as much when it comes to other tutorials but I'm going to talk briefly about creating your podcast. No I don't mean the recording or file hosting. I mean bringing together the people you need and setting yourself up for success.

I have wanted to start a podcast for the last several years with my brothers talking about tech and science we haven't been able to pull it off until I did these specific things:

First we set more realistic goals for the podcast. I decided let's keep our conversations short and infrequent at only 30 minutes twice a month. Instead of trying to release a podcast every week, have high profile guests, and conquer the world we decide to set a schedule so easy that we'd feel lame if we weren't able to deliver.

Secondly I piggy backed the podcast on something we were already doing and enjoyed which was getting together and talking. I told my brothers we can use this podcast as an excuse to get together and talk consistently. Try and attach the behavior you want to a behavior people are already doing and things become easier.

The last thing that helped us finally kick off this podcast was responsibility. I told my brothers I will handle the production and distribution and that all they had to do was call in with Skype twice a month for 30 minutes or so. By one of us taking responsibility it made the roles very clear and allowed us to finally get the ball rolling.

Now that you know how to handle the hard parts the rest is easy. All you have left to do is produce and distribute your podcast.

Production

Recording

I use Ecamm's Call Recorder for Skype it does cost but it is dead simple to use and is worth the $40.

There are other more advanced options that will yield better audio quality but for the sake of actually shipping something I went with the lowest friction option and the Ecamm recorder is just that.

Conversion

The Ecamm software produces a .mov video file by default which you'll want to use Quicktime to convert into a .m4a audio file. Just open the .mov in Quicktime and select File > Export As > Audio Only...

Editing

Now you can load your .m4a into Audacity which is a free audio editing software.

Feel free to explore all the audio editing effects or layer in a cool intro tune, but I do recommend that everyone use a couple specific effect to make the quality of their podcast better.

  1. Effects > Normalize
  • This will normalize everyones voices to a more even level so no one is to loud or to quite.
  1. Effects > Truncate Silence
  • This takes out dead space in your podcast and makes the conversation feel more on point. I like to reduce every 2 seconds of silence down to 1 effectively halving the original amount of silence. Leaving a little makes it still feel organic.
  • Encourage speakers to take advantage of this editing fact in future recordings and instruct them to take longer pauses to construct their next sentence effectively. Their speaking will sound better and the silence during the waiting period will be cut out anyway.

Exporting

You'll need the LAME MP3 Encoder to export you edited audio file to it's final version. After you install LAME Audacity is smart enough to find it on it's own so just go to Audacity and select File > Export > Export as MP3.

Distribution

Distributing a podcast can be extremely difficult and time consuming. To do it manually you need to set up an pay for a server, setup an RSS feed, and manually enter your podcast credentials individually on every platform you want it to show up on.

I strongly recommend using Anchor.fm which will allow you to effortlessly distribute your podcast. Just type in a title and drag the audio file you want to distribute onto the page and Anchor will take care of distributing your podcast across all the major platforms.

I know you are a developer and you want to make your own custom site and special distribution tools but believe me you're going to have enough on your plate just trying to record and produce your podcast on a consistent bases and do you really need another personal project on your plate? Just swallow your pride and use Anchor.fm the folks there have already figured everything out for you and you can still use their audio embed to add the podcast to your personal site later.

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