Some insights into the podcast production process include getting the equipment ready, formulating the ideas and finding the niche, and making the interview structure and scripting. Complete details are presented below.
GET EQUIPMENT READY TO MAKE THE PODCAST
- As long as the tools are available, a podcast can be completed. There are many ways to make podcasts without using expensive microphones and recorders; with only two tools available (i.e., a smartphone and a computer), a podcast can be made. If the podcasters are professional, what they need are microphones (decide whether a USB or analog microphone is needed), audio interface if analog microphones are used to record directly to computers, a computer, and a sound editing software.
- Mixing is the editing process and arranging of audio clips in a way that sounds natural; the tools can be sound-editing software, like Audacity, which can be downloaded online free of charge.
- The basic tools include phones with the recording device, users can record high-quality sounds that work just fine for the podcast.
- A computer that has sound editing can edit the sound to be clear and natural.
- Pop filters to make clearer audio sound are optional but fairly cheap and can keep the podcasters from making offensive or uncomfortable sounds (e.g., lips smacking, swallowing, loud breaths) on the recording.
GET THE IDEAS TOGETHER AND FIND THE NICHE
- It's good to take some time to brainstorm and try to come up with ideas that might work before starting a podcast program. Better ideas are formed by thinking through the structure of the podcast.
- Structure includes things like interview format vs information talks vs call-in, one host narration, clips of interviews from others, etc.
- Narrow the topic and find a niche because there are tons of podcasts out there; alternatively, turning an old idea into something with a new twist can be successful. In the podcast world, it might be true that everything has been done before, but not in the way that any individual podcaster would do it; as long as it is interesting, the podcast would have the listeners.
- Decide how long the podcast would be, which depends on content and the audience. Some podcasters like to survey their audience to gather data and then adjust accordingly if the audience wants shorter or longer podcasts.
- Find the niche and target market. Find the question for "who are the listeners of the podcasts" then find the reason why they need to listen to the podcast.
MAKE INTERVIEW STRUCTURE AND SCRIPTING
- After developing the ideas of what the podcast will be about, the next step is to think about the structure. Thinking is done before scheduling interviews or scripting the pieces because these elements depend on the idea that has been chosen and makes the most of the time.
- Podcasters do the research ahead of time and understand why they will interview a specific person. They also usually prepare questions to ask with a list of open-ended questions. This list will help to start a podcast off and clarify the terms of the interview.
- Some podcasts are scripted which means that the podcasters plan the order of everything beforehand. A fully-scripted podcast can have just bullet points, not every word has to be planned because the nature of podcasting is a conversation (not a sermon).
- However, scripting can also be an in-depth essay that is written word-for-word to become the podcast episode, but that's for highly produced, heavily edited shows.
VOICING AND PRODUCTION OF THE PODCAST
- After scripting, pre-interviews and/or scheduling is completed, the host or podcaster records the production.
- Podcasters can use browser-based recording tools that can get better audio such as ZenCaster or Zoom that theoretically avoids VOIP lags (Skype has been known to have lag).
- The production is then mixed. It's better not to leave audio mixing until the last minute because it's time-consuming. Give sufficient time to mix the audio before the deadline to submit the podcast.
ROLES OF PODCAST PRODUCERS/PRODUCTION SERVICES
- (1) Create Podcast Vision: The producer needs to maintain the creative vision of the podcast and help to map the story flow and what needs to be done to tell that story. They need to identify what things need to come into the overall podcast plan and where they need to go through execution.
- (2) Coordinate Podcast Interviews: Coordinating the interviews for podcast guests is more complex than making phone calls and sending emails. The producer needs to ensure the overall vision of the podcast, prepare the interview elements and identify each person's role, how they fit the podcast, and develop the interview questions.
- (3) Podcast Editing & Post-Production: After the interviews are done, the podcast needs to be edited to be ready for the world to hear it. This is done by editing, mastering, and mixing recorded content into cohesive episodes with narration, news clips, and music transitions that help to tell the story.
- (4) Manage the Podcast: Another role is managing the podcast which is an ongoing process involving adjusting the overall process, finding new personnel to carry out the elements needed for the podcast, and making suggestions for the program to be successful.