Podcasts

So you want to make a podcast…

Podcasts are the new trend, listening to people telling funny stories in your ears while you’re on the way to school, catching up with celebrity gossip at the push of a play button or learning a language in four minutes. Podcasts have all sorts of purposes, and really, you can make a podcast about anything!

It might seem like quite a challenge to make a podcast but don’t worry, you don’t need to head down to your nearest recording studio, and you certainly don’t need a fancy microphone. All you’ll need is something to record on (a phone works fine), a computer/laptop, a great idea, and the motivation to be the next podcasting genius.

What’s your idea?

Step one is the most obvious, what are you going to make a podcast about? Are you going to be making one yourself, are you going to have a guest come along, will there be multiple presenters?

Start thinking about what topics you could talk about for a certain length of time and come up with your idea. It’s also important to think about the direction your podcast is going, will there be one episode or is it a series? It may be harder to fill one podcast with ALL the information on your topic, so why not think about making it over a few episodes. If you want to make just one episode, that’s okay! Think about your topic and create some bullet points on what you will need to talk about.

If you have a topic you want to talk about, start to get inspiration from others. Have a look on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and see if there’s something similar to what you’re making. It’s great to be inspired by others’ work and you also see what would make your podcast unique.

Inspiration

To get some inspiration why not think about the following questions:

  • What are you good at?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What hobbies do you have?
  • What do you like talking about?
  • What do you watch/read/listen to when you have the time?

Get recording!

You have your idea, you have your guests, your topic, now it’s time to get recording. You may have mental images of celebrities sitting in recording booths or using wired microphones, but you don’t need any of that!

To start with, find yourself a good place to record. Somewhere private you won’t be interrupted or disturbed is ideal and find somewhere quiet, a bigger room is better to avoid echo but go with what you can! If you have too much background noise or there’s lots going on it will ruin your recording, so get yourself in a quiet space and get your recording equipment set up.

It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to trip on your words or mess up a few lines, remember to start your sentence or section again so you can edit it really simply afterwards, no one will even know!

Recording

The equipment you have will depend on what’s available to you, but a phone is more than enough. You can download an app called Voicerecorder which makes it simple to record and export audio, or just use your voice notes app on whichever type of phone you’re using.

  • Place your phone close to who you are recording
  • If there are multiple people, place it in the middle of all voices, if it’s just you, place the receiver close to yourself so you can be heard loud and clear
  • It’s important to keep your phone in the same place, you want a stable recording to try and create something which doesn’t jump around too much, so use a stand, or make your own stand to balance your phone and make sure to keep it still
  • Then… hit record

Now what?

Now you have a recording, maybe there are a few mistakes, maybe it’s too long and needs cutting down, maybe you’re a one-take wonder and there’s no editing needed at all, amazing!

When you have your podcast in a place you can edit, chop, change, add sounds and more! What you do from here is really up to you. To start with, play around with the “Scissors” tool, this lets you chop your audio and slice out the bits you don’t want, if you made some mistakes just cut around them! If you want to add fun sound effects you can also do that, add a new track to your project and just import the file and pop it wherever you want it.

Once you’ve created your masterpiece, you have a podcast! Export your project to an audio file, and there you have it. Email it to friends, put it online, submit it to the Shine Media Awards and take on the world!

Editing

If you need to do some editing you’ll need a computer and some headphones (or speakers). If you have access to an Apple desktop or laptop, Garageband is a fantastic free programme you can edit audio in. Audacity is another option you can download for free on most computers or laptops.

You’ll need to:

  • Get your audio file into an audio format (mp3, mp4, wav, or others) from your phone
  • Open up Garageband / Audacity and select an audio track
  • Import your audio file
  • Voila!

Download Audacity

Special thanks to Luke Chapman from Young Writers for preparing this guide.

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