30 eps of Very Expensive Maps later, I’ve learned:
- It’s almost free. Your phone has a great mic, and if you have an Apple laptop, your computer has a great mic. You can record with free teleconf services like Jitsi/Google Meet/Zoom. The only real cost is time spent editing waveforms in (free) Audacity, though services like reduct.video, Descript and Audiate let you edit-by-transcript. You don’t even need to buy distribution, Spotify for Podcasters offers free hosting and an RSS feed so you can add your show to other services.
- I record with Cleanfeed because it’s dead-simple, spits out WAVs without hassle and requires nothing from guests except click link > allow mic access. Worth the $34/month. I’ve also used Ennuicastr, which is cheaper but has a hideous UI. If I need to call someone on their actual phone number I use Google Voice/WhatsApp and record with Audio Hijack (there’s free ways to pipe audio around but AH is real easy to use.)
- Podcasting is the only creative medium where the viewer’s attention is capped at 30%. It’s talk radio: a diversion from commutes, chores, early childcare and other “I need to get something done but I’m kinda bored while doing it” activities. Some even use podcasts as a soporific. Nobody listens closely. This is freeing because you don’t need to edit closely either; I cut false starts, excessive umms and pre-roll chatter but I always welcome a long, digressive ramble. When a guest says something interesting it’s up to the user to rewind.
- Take notes during the convo. I don’t have a producer so I can lose a guest’s thread while muting/unmuting myself, digging around in my email for something, futzing with levels etc. Afterwards I immediately type up the notes, preserving what I found immediately interesting so I don’t have to hunt for interesting chunks while listening to the raw audio.
- Record a short intro: pleasant beeps and boops, your name, podcast name, guest name, why you’re talking to them. I skipped this for too long.
- Pile on the links in your show notes, even if nobody uses them it’s a great way to keep track of what you thought was cool months back.