Often people ask me about how to start a podcast. While my arrangement may not be the best out there, this will more than adequately get a person going.

The Computer

I use a Dell Alienware computer. Am I a gamer? No. Do I do a ton of video and audio work? Yes. Tons of data storage capability. Very fast. Very reliable. Love it.

The Connection

We use Verizon. As long as your data uploads/download speeds are greater than 5Mbps, you should be good to go. Run a test. This used to be a big deal and I either needed to be using a dedicated mobile device in my computer when I was remote or connected using an Ethernet cable. In today’s world, we’re pretty much past this and you should have no issues doing audio, particularly as streaming video is becoming more in demand.

The Microphone

For a very long time, I debated buying a mixer and using XLR microphones. Honestly, I never really found that need. So, my tried and true microphone for more than a decade has been a C03U Multi-Pattern USB Studio Condenser Microphone from Samson. It has a USB cable that plugs in directly to my laptop.

Microphone Add-ons

  • Pop-filter. Minimize annoying staccato sounds.
  • Spider Mount. Minimizes the microphone picking up vibrations (such as tapping on a keyboard or the desk).
  • Desk stand. So – here’s where some podcasting folks might debate with me. I am probably going to switch to a boom mic, but once you do, you’re pretty much committed to that location being your studio and you need to do things in the room to ensure sound is deadened (you don’t want to sound like you’re in a canyon). My desk stand has served me well over the years and allows me to be able to take the mic on the road. It also allows me to place it inside my handy “portable sound booth.”
  • Portable Sound Booth. This is simply a collapsible cloth box I bought from Target, lined with four sound tiles. I bought mine ages ago, but you can now buy six for just a few dollars! I can take this thing with me anywhere and do a great sounding podcast – of course, you do get far less ambient noise which might not be all that great when location sound is important.

Interview Recording

While I am sure everyone would love to hear me do a monologue for 20 minutes (highly unlikely), I created this show for discussions. And, in order to record discussions with the guest over the phone, I use a two-step process.

First, as I generally want to record someone over the phone or their computer input, the easiest way I have found is to voice-voice connect is through Skype. I splurged and bought a Skype phone number and unlimited data. So, people can call me or I can call them at the appointed time.

Second, in order to do the recording, I need a third party app. The program I use is called MP3 SkypeRecorder. I use the Pro version. It is versatile and will record at different bit rates, however, for all podcast recordings, the best rate to use is 44.1 kHz.

That said, while my voice is being recorded by MP3 SkypeRecorder, that is not the track I will use. I simultaneously record myself in stereo using Audacity.

Livestreaming / Remote
When I want to livestream on Facebook (or possibly YouTube), I use my iPhone 6S that has the TRRS input. I obviously have the Facebook app installed. I connect a Powerdewise Lavalier microphone. Simply “go live” and you’re good to go. If I have a guest, I use the Y-connector and another microphone for them.

If video livestreaming isn’t the goal and you’re merely capturing audio in person remotely for future use in a podcast, I use the included voice memo recorder software on the phone. It works like a champ. You can also add a third person to the conversation by getting another Y-Connector and a third lavalier mic. (See my livestream with Matt Hamel and Susan Vitale)

I also have a Zoom H2 recorder. While my model has been discontinued, Zoom offers some phenomenal products for remote recording. The benefit is that I can set up the recorder to record in MP3, connect my recorder directly to the computer, and directly import the audio file into Audacity. Be sure you have enabled Plug-In Power (having the device provide electricity to the microphone). Using a voice recorder is advantageous because transferring audio from the phone onto the computer for me usually involves sharing it to Google Drive and then downloading the file to the desktop, whereas using the H2 is just transferring from the SD card to the computer. The phone also records as an m4a file.

Editing software

I am super comfortable using the open-source program, Audacity. I have been using it for years, it keeps getting better, and it does everything I need.

Case in point: mixing my stereo recording and the recording from MP3 SkypeRecorder. I match up my track with MP3 Skype Recorder’s track. I then split MP3 Skype Recorder’s channels to mono and delete its recording of me.

Whether it’s stereo recording, converting to mono, trimming audio, working with multiple channels, changing the frequency, saving as a .wav or .mp3, being able to import .m4a – it just works. You can also generate silence, which comes in handy when your guest is slurping on drinks or making otherwise distracting noises, do general noise removal (buzzing/hissing), amplify, and set up your equalization for better “resonance.”

However, there does come a point where editing and processing can go from a necessary evil to downright anal retentive. Because time is valuable to me, once I am done with my basic editing, I turn it over to an automatic audio processor.

Audio Processing

For years, I used a great bit of open-source software called “Levelator”, which you can still download and use. It served me very, very well. However, I have since been turned on to the web service “Auphonic.” It is free for the first two hours of audio to process, but I go with their paid service now to get nine hours. Why go from free to a paid service? Simple – it sounds better. I think it does a much better job handling levels and creating the right resonance.

Site Hosting

JRHoeft.com is a WordPress website hosted on GoDaddy using an SSL certificate. Simply put, you can’t really own your own feed and syndicate your podcast without having a place to share it. You also can’t effectively promote your show and be discoverable on search engines without being able to add “show notes” on your website. Besides, having a website allows me to create this page for you and do things beyond just a podcast, such as post images, polls, video, etc.

Podcast Hosting

I resisted this for a long time and realized that the benefit of working with a dedicated media-content host makes a ton of sense and I use Blubrry.

With Blubrry, you have someone who understands podcasting with their accessible support team right in your corner. That handy player you see in all the episodes I have on my site is generated by Blubrry and their development team keeps it relevant and current.

You also get statistics that have been verified true by the IAB. That is an amazing development and, even though I don’t do ads right now on my show, I can certainly see the value of being able to say to a potential advertiser or guest that “XX” is how many times my show is downloaded.

Blubrry also makes it very easy to get my show listed on different networks. And, there are a lot of details I could go into regarding what types of capabilities exist to tailor your feed using Blubrry’s advanced settings in their WordPress Plug-in “PowerPress”, but it very much ensures your feed is squared-away prior to distribution.

Blubrry’s model is to charge based on data storage uploaded per month. This is not cumulative from previous months. Meaning, if I uploaded 10 MB this month and 15 MB next month, you’re only charged for 10 and 15, not 25 total. Each month they reset the counter.

In my view, Blubrry is just awesome and well worth the service…and you can try stats and hosting for free for a month by clicking the below banners:

I hope you found this information helpful and good luck with your podcasting! Let me know if you need any help at jrhoeft@jrhoeft.com