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Record a Podcast

How to create a podcast

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio or digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.

Best practices for creating podcasts

  • Record more audio than you need. This will allow you to pick the best of the best
  • Leave yourself enough time to work through technical difficulties.
  • Always check audio levels and recording to assure they are working before you begin.
  • Always give credit where credit is due (provide correct attributions for music and sound effects).

What are the steps to creating a podcast?

1. Review your assignment.

How long is your podcast supposed to be? Typically a podcast isn't any longer than 60 minutes, but can be as short as 5-10. Make sure you are familiar with the guidelines of your particular assignment.

2. Brainstorm your topic.

  • What is the theme of your podcast?
  • What will the specific theme of the episode be?
  • What will the sub topics of the episode theme be?
  • Where will you get your content?

3. Brainstorm your audience.

  • Who is your audience?
  • What can I assume that they already know about the topic of my podcast?
  • How will you keep your audience engaged? What do they care about?

4. Create your script

  • How will you open?
  • If you are conducting an interview, what questions will you ask your subject?
  • How will you close?

5. Get your equipment

  • How will you record audio?
  • Good: Mobile phone or tablet
  • Better: Portable digital recorder
  • Best: USB microphone
  • The Media Studio in the Library has professional sound equipment in a Sound Booth that you can use as a U of G student, staff, or faculty. Book an appointment through the “Book an Appointment” link in the left hand column.

6. Record

  • Practice your script out loud before you record.
  • Record a 10 second silence buffer at the beginning of your recording to allow you to collect the noise profile and edit out background noise (such as a fan whirring, clock ticking, air conditioning, etc.) in the editing phase.
  • Try to stay on topic, but don’t be afraid to go off script to create engaging anecdotes. You can tighten everything up in the editing phase later.
  • If you make a mistake, pause, and say the sentence or phrase again. These mistakes can be fixed in the editing phase.
  • Don't be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you are interviewing someone for your podcast.

7. Conduct and record interviews, if applicable

  • Contact your interviewee well ahead of when you will need their audio, and be flexible about when to record.
  • Ask your interviewee for a short bio you can introduce them with before they begin speaking.
  • Test your recording equipment ahead of time. If you are meeting your interviewee at their place of work, you will need to use a portable recorder or your phone, if it has recording capabilities. Make sure you know how close you need to be and how to hold it before showing up to the interview.
  • Prepare a short list of leading questions. Avoid double-barrelled questions like “Why did you do that and how did you feel?” as you likely will not get an answer to both questions.
  • Think about what shape their interview will give your story, and what questions will create the shape that you want.
  • Don’t be afraid to improvise! Remember that it is a conversation, not an interrogation.
  • Offer to send them the finished podcast when you are done.

8. Gather audio

  • This might include music or sound effects.
  • Only use music legally as permitted by copyright and copyright exceptions i.e. Creative Commons, Public Domain or Royalty-Free.
  • Properly give credit to the creators in both your podcast and podcast description. Here is an example of how you could format this: Example: This podcast uses these sounds from [site name]:sound1 by user1; sound2, sound3 by user2.
  • Check out the resources linked at the bottom of this page for more help with this step.

9. Post-Production

  • We recommend using Audacity to edit your podcast, which is a free, open source downloadable software for Macs and PCs. Audacity can be used for both simple or complex podcasts.
  • If there are one to three tracks in your podcast, check out the Audacity guide that is linked in the resources section below. You will need to
  • Remove background noise.
  • Ensure vocal volumes are even.
  • Trim unwanted parts from segments.
  • Collage together segments, music and sound effects.
  • If you have four or more audio tracks (including interviews, narration, music, sound effects, etc.), the Audacity guide will help to get you started. In order to make your podcast sound professional, you will need to follow additional advanced Post-Production steps.
  • Advanced Post-Production Editing

  • Import ALL audio tracks that you will be using.
  • Organize the audio tracks and label them so you always know which ones you are working with.
  • Create a rough cut of your podcast by editing your clips for background noise, mistakes, and other. Some tools you may need are:
  • Split: divide track into clips that can then be manipulated independently
  • Selection tool: click and drag to select a range of audio; double-click to select a clip or entire track
  • Copy: copies the selection to the clipboard
  • Cut: cuts the selection and sends it to the clipboard
  • Paste: pastes whatever is on the clipboard to the selected location
  • Delete: deletes the selection
  • Silence: replaces the selection with silence
  • Fade in and Fade Out: use this tool to smooth out transitions between the different tracks.
  • Once you have finished your first edits, arrange your tracks in descending order on your audio editing software:

Audio editing playback screen

  • Choose a target playback level (i.e. volume) which can be checked using the playback meter. Aim for around -12 to start, and change if desired.
  • Adjust the volume of each clip by using Amplify or the Envelope Tool.
  • Use the Solo button to listen to each track individually for tonal problems. Use the following tools to fix problems that you encounter:
  • High-Pass Filter: to fix boomy/bassy tones or reduce wind noise.
  • Low-Pass Filter: to fix tinny or harsh, high pitched tones
  • Compression: use if certain words are overemphasized to create an inconsistent/ jumpy track (Be careful not to overdue this! Too much Compression can result in bad audio).
  • Listen back to the edits that you made for inconsistencies or oversights. Listen for anything:
  • Unnatural
  • Upcut, missing, or double breaths
  • Clipped words, such as missing s, f, h
  • Unwanted overlap in tracks
  • Make sure that the beginning and ends of each clip has fades.
  • Balance the levels of your track.
  • Mute all tracks except for the narration track (your top track). Listen through and make sure it is hitting the target playback level and sounds consistent. (See step 4.)
  • Fix any out-of-balance phrases using the Envelope Tool.
  • Unmute the next voice track down and listen to them together to make sure they sound consistent.
  • Fix any balance problems with Amplify or the Envelope Tool.
  • Repeat this step for each voice track until you are listening to the full mix of voices
  • Set the volume level for sound effects, ambience, and music tracks using Amplify or the Envelope Tool.
  • Make sure voices are easily heard.
  • Finally, listen to your finished podcast as a whole.

10. Export and publish

  • Export as an .mp3 file.
  • Upload to Soundcloud, iTunes or a platform of your choice. See our “Make your Digital Content Public” guide below for help in publishing your podcast.

Find podcasting resources

Resources for finding audio to use in your podcast

Link to Video: What are Creative Commons Licenses?Link to Guide: Find AudioLink to Guide: Find Audio, Images, and Video for Remixing

Resources to help with recording audio

Link to Guide: Record Audio with AudacityOnline Module: Audacity TutorialLink to Guide: Record Audio on your computer or phone

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.