Mark Frary: Podcasting DIY
23 Oct 2017

In the autumn 2017 issue of the Index on Censorship magazine, Mark Frary gives his tips on starting your own podcast.

“You start with the story and the passion to tell the story. Get to know your audience and understand what they want to hear,” said author of book on pocasting Davy Sims when discussing the first step to creating a podcast. You will quickly settle on the format that works best for you and your listeners.

“Interviews are powerful and the simple one-on-one interview show like Marc Maron’s WTF is a key podcast form,” said The Guardian’s Jason Phipps. “If your subject is by default more communal, the round table discussion makes more sense.  Saying that, the powerful thing about podcasting, and its advantage over radio, is its capacity to innovate different forms.”

But what about the equipment?

“If you are starting with no experience or knowledge, start cheap and learn. Invest later,” said Sims. For many people this means using the voice recording app on their laptop or smartphone.

If you get bitten by the podcasting bug, you will want a proper digital recorder, such as the Tascam DR-100MKII or the Edirol Roland R-05HR, a good microphone, a Shure SM58 or Rode Podcaster, and headphones.

Editing what you have recorded is an essential skill to learn. Audacity is a free audio editor with a great community of users willing to help newbies, while Apple users have GarageBand. Adobe Audition is for those who want to take podcasting to a more professional level.

“Aim for a consistent time and probably think in 20 minute segments. Listeners can put down an episode when the dog is walked or the bus has stopped and pick up again next time,” advises Sims. “Once a week is good. Perhaps have an occasional update between episodes if there is something worth saying.”

Once you have your beautifully recorded and edited podcast, it needs to be hosted somewhere and there are a number of platforms, including Blubrry, Libsyn, Podbean and Soundcloud. If your podcast is popular you will want to host it on one of these rather than your own site; they also offer detailed listener statistics which could help you get sponsorship. Note that access to Soundcloud is restricted in China.

Then, once it’s out, reach as many people as possible by registering it in directories such as Apple Podcasts, using your own social media, message boards and mailing lists, and developing alliances with other relevant podcasts.

Mark Frary is a regular contributor to The Times and Sunday Times. His latest book on cryptology, Codes, is due out later this year

Free to air

Through a range of in-depth reporting, interviews and illustrations, the autumn 2017 issue of Index on Censorship magazine explores how radio has been reborn and is innovating ways to deliver news in war zones, developing countries and online

With: Ismail Einashe, Peter Bazalgette, Wana Udobang

Front cover for Autumn 2017 Index on Censorship magazine


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