Sometimes you find yourself discovering new things and opportunities without even realizing it. This happened to me as I started college, when I found myself discovering a new resurfacing trend―podcasts. From humor to education, I enjoyed this new form of audio entertainment, especially since I wasn’t berated with ridiculous ads every five minutes. With various formats, themes, and people to choose from, I felt like a kid in a candy store, only the store was Spotify and the candy was the hundreds upon hundreds of podcasts for my listening pleasure.
It wasn’t until this Fall semester that I realized I could make my own. As an Honors student, I am expected to create a project for a disciplinary course of my choosing. I chose Digital Media Production (AKA Banner News), and started browsing the course competencies for ideas. When my eyes caught the words “podcast” I immediately knew that was what I was going to do. Now, you can’t just start a podcast willy-nilly. You need to figure out what you’re doing, how, and then make sure you’re getting out there; so I had to take it one step at a time.
Step 1: Topic, Format, Name.
Of course, I first had to figure out what my podcast was going to be. I decided that due to my involvement and interest in Boone DMACC’s Social Justice Club, I would do a podcast discussing social issues and controversial topics. While it would’ve been nice to bring in guests, I knew that without notoriety and with time limitations, the format would just be a solo podcast.
Once I decided my subject and format, I had to choose a name. I wrote down everything I could think of, including the dumb ideas. I then crossed out what was a definite no, and then researched and crossed out names that were taken or too similar to other podcasts. After a Google search of “obscure words no one really knows about” and a couple of hit and miss ideas, DescryPodcast was born.
Step 2: Equipment
For a podcast, there are three big things to think about when it comes to equipment: microphone, software, and distributor. Lucky for me, I had a classmate and her friend who do a podcast, and they gave me their old mics free of charge. After that was settled, I found Anchor, a podcast host and distributor that would send my podcast to other platforms. I just needed to find software for editing, but used a free and simple audio editor called SoundTrap, which does the trick.
Step 3: Literally do the podcast
Recording a podcast is not as easy as just speaking into the microphone. You need to make sure that your voice is clear, you’re understandable, that certain consonants (like P and B) aren’t sticking out in the audio, amongst much, much more. It’s a slow process of editing, cutting parts out, rerecording segments, and just overall quality of the sound. Trying to find a quiet space to record was hard, and even harder was finding that quiet space with the time I could spare after all of my other college coursework. But once I got to it, despite the challenges, it felt great to finally upload the episode, and get it out there.
Step 4: Getting listeners
The big thing I learned from other podcasts is that consistency is key. Listeners tend keep up with constant content that has an upload schedule. The same goes with advertising on social media, where I didn’t really get many views since I wasn’t posting regularly on social media or the podcast.. While I’m uploading episodes one after another to reach my project deadline, I’ve realized that I need to create a schedule if I want to keep both the podcast and myself on track, all while hopefully attracting new listeners. It’s also good to not automatically expect listeners―this is one of those things that takes time, and if you’re not an internet / social media personality or some other well known person, it’ll take quite a bit longer.
Even though I have very few listeners as of now, I am still proud to go through this process as I journeyed out of my comfort zone. Podcasting is a fun way to get out there, and as long as you got a device and a decent mic, ANYONE can make a podcast. Whether for fun or for a purpose, podcasting is a great way to put yourself out there.
If anyone’s interest in discussing social justice and topics that can hold political or controversial elements, you can find my podcast DescryPodcast on Spotify and a few other podcast platforms. If you just want to ask or talk about podcasting, feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.