One of the things I’ve really become immersed in the past few years is the new “podcast” revolution that is slowly taking terrestrial radio to the path of obsolescence. I work a job that requires me to do constant repetitive tasks for close to ten hours a day, and that isn’t made any better with the sounds of hushed talking and rustling paper in the background. After getting tired of listening to music for a few months, I took the plunge with podcasts, and haven’t looked back. When I started this website, I toyed around with doing a podcast about British science fiction, and although I haven’t “pulled the trigger” quite yet, I have something planned.
Last year, I became an infrequent collaborator on one of my buddy’s podcasts, The *Nixed Report, and it blew me away how easy it was to create a decent podcast for basically nothing. One look around online overwhelms a person with tons of “tips articles” and recommendation lists that seem disingenuous. Sure, I could throw down hundreds of dollars all at once, but why? Could it be that this article is a referral link? Are you trying to prey on my ignorance? Stuff like this puts a prospective podcast hobbyist in a land of overpriced microphones and software designed for radio studios and music production. Making a podcast with these tools would work, but it would be like driving a Bugati Veyron to work.
I recently began a new podcast for another group of friends called Triangle Face Podcast, and right now I’m going to walk you through how to make a similar amateur podcast. This the real cheap way to do this, not a sales pitch like so many others!
Here’s the Software you will need:
- Audacity (Free!)
- The Levelator (Free!)
Here’s the hardware you will need:
- Some sort of computer, I use a crappy outdated laptop.
- Microphones, I bought three of these and a splitter, I bet cheaper mics would suffice, but these had a great Amazon rating.
And finally, These websites need your attention:
- WordPress.com – This is the free blog host I used to create the feed, and an instant website.
- Feedburner – Feedburner creates an RSS feed that you can upload to things like iTunes.
- Archive.org – this is where I actually host the audio data.
- Jamendo – An archive of royalty-free and public domain music for a theme song if you so desire.
I opted for this set-up because it’s FREE, One could simplify this guide considerably by signing up for something like Podbean or Libsyn, but I couldn’t justify the cost. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t going to be the next WTF with Marc Marron, so anything spent on hosting is money wasted. This way you can try to find an audience, and who knows, you can move your set-up to a better system if it takes off!
Step one – record your podcast with Audacity. This is usually the hardest part. For Triangle Face Podcast, we just yammer away for around an hour and post it as is, but others go for a “slicker” presentation and edit the audio drastically. I’d look at some Youtube tutorials for the basics, but Audacity is pretty deep if you want to utilize it more. If you know what your doing, (we don’t…LOL) you can make yourself talk like a robot in an opera house if you so desire. I spent some time messing with a podcast intro including audio snippets and a robot voice generator I found online. I fade this intro and an outro onto each episode and it basically sounds faux professional almost immediately.
Step Two – Export your audio to a .Wav format. then “balance the noise” with Levelator. We will do a lot of re-saving this file, so make sure you save your original file just in case something goes wrong! The reason we are saving a .Wav file and not an immediate MP3 is because Levelator only plays nice with uncompressed audio. what Levelator basically does, is it takes the audio and makes any peaks and valleys sound the same. That way places where you start yelling or talking quietly don’t sound bad or deafen your audience. This should create a file clone called “whateveryoucalledit.output” which is your new file to mess with.
Step Three – Take your output file and load that back into Audacity. Once you “Levelate” the sound, take this file and open it within a new instance of Audacity. From here, export this file as an MP3, you should notice your file size will drop considerably. ours go from 700 mb in .Wav format to something like 50 mb .Mp3s! be sure to fill out those meta tags!
Step Four – Upload this file to Archive.org. Be sure to fill out all of your meta tags once again and let it rip. Once you have your file in there go to the area that I have highlighted in red and click. This is the URL you will be using next.
Step Five – WordPress stuff. What you need to do is create a simple WordPress page, what I can recommend is laying the skeleton down, then making it look pretty later. Your main concern is tagging each episode with something like “podcast archive” that you can pull up later. I try to follow a simple format for each post utilizing a picture, a description, and a link. The link has the same text as my title, but you can’t see that from this image.
In order to get your link to work click the little icon that looks like a chain link on your WordPress text editor. Once you are able to past your URL, paste the link from your Archive.org page from Step Four, but remove the “s” from the “https://blah” THIS IS IMPORTANT, if you don’t remove this the feed WILL NOT work.
Step Six – Add to Feedburner. When you post your blog entry on WordPress, be sure to arrow down and take a look at your tags below the post. You should see the one we discussed earlier, I chose “podcast archive”:
Click on this and copy the URL. When you set up your feed on Feedburner, this will be the feed you are submitting. This way, each time you make a new post and label it “podcast archive” it gets added to the list. Feedburner is pretty straight forward, but make sure you fill everything out and add an appropriate picture. This way when you do the next step, it’ll look nice! Make sure to look at your feed by clicking this button to see if it’s “pulling” from your WordPress account:
Step Seven – Submit this feed to iTunes. We’re almost there! open iTunes on your computer and look for the “iTunes store”. Click on the “podcast” header at the top, and look for a section on the right labled “submit a podcast”.
By all means, iTunes is not the only service for Podcasts, but it is the most widely used. you can try to get these on other services like Soundcloud if you so like, but we ultimately went with iTunes. The submission to iTunes is a bit finicky, and you’ll know if something is wrong pretty fast. This is where I discovered the “https” thing and had to work-around that whole ordeal, thankfully if you follow my guide you won’t have to! It takes a few weeks for a podcast to get approved, but once it does it will be easily searchable on iTunes, and the iTunes website – thus making you look like somebody important!
If you have any questions, or even any suggestions to make this how-to better – feel feel to drop me a comment! I am by no means an authority on this topic, but figured out a way to make a podcast with my friends for nearly nothing! Ignore those guys trying to sell you the moon and follow my guide for the real deal.
You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually
something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me.
I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!