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Doing a Podcast

paulspitzpaulspitz Cincinnati, OH ✭✭

I've been listening to some podcasts lately - Lawyerist, of course, as well as a Michigan Wolverines podcast (Go Blue!!) - and was thinking of doing one myself, related to my subject area of startup businesses. I've noticed that a number of readers here do podcasts, so any advice and recommendations people can make are very much welcome. I'm interested in equipment, easy recording/editing software, tips for lining up guests, measuring response, etc.

BTW, I use a MacBook Air, if that's relevant to hardware/software recommendations. Thanks in advance!


  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    Here's what we used before LTN hooked us up with their pro gear.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    For lining up guests and managing the workflow in general, I use Trello. I think Legal Talk Network, which uses Basecamp 2, is probably even a little jealous.

    Here are the workflow stages (lists in Trello) that I use:

    1. Potential Guests. My list of people I would like to have on the show.
    2. Invitation Sent.
    3. Interview Scheduled.
    4. Interview Recorded.
    5. Ready for Paul (All Segments Recorded). Paul edits every episode. When Aaron and I have recorded the intro and sponsor segments, I move the card to this list and Zapier automatically generates an email to Paul and the LTN team with a link to the card so Paul knows to edit it and LTN is on notice that it's going to be ready on time.
    6. Ready for LTN (Show Details Complete & Master Attached). Unfortunately this isn't automated. I make sure the show details are complete on the card, and update LTN's Basecamp project for the show. I also send the master to Rev.com for transcription. LTN pastes the embed code into a comment on the card.
    7. Ready for Lisa (Transcript & Embed Code Attached). Zapier automatically copies the card to our Editorial Workflow board so Lisa knows to assemble the post. All the pieces are helpfully included on the card, so it's mostly copying and pasting.

    Trello has its flaws, but for something like this it's a near-perfect tool.

  • paulspitzpaulspitz Cincinnati, OH ✭✭
    edited March 23

    Thanks - that's all very helpful! Do you find that you are doing most of your interviews by phone or Skype, even if the people are local?

    Also, what are your thoughts about using GarageBand, which is already on my MacBook and has a podcast module?

    Post edited by paulspitz on
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    I don't interview many locals, but I've only had someone come to my office once. Otherwise I use Skype on my end, and prefer a landline on their end unless they have a good mic and a strong internet connection.

    GarageBand may be fine. I've never tried it. I don't think it will record both ends of a Skype conversation, though.

  • chadmurraychadmurray Decatur, IL

    Read this: https://sixcolors.com/post/2016/11/a-podcast-studio-for-under-100/

    Then read these posts: https://sixcolors.com/topic/podcasting/

    I personally have the Audio Technica ATR-2100 and use it for video work sometimes. It is miles ahead of the Blue Snowball at a better or similar price point.

  • Been thinking of doing this myself. I had a podcast briefly back in 2005-6. It was a little ahead of the curve I think so I dropped it. But podcasting seems to be coming into fashion finally so considering picking it up again. To your questions:

    1) Get a decent USB mic to start. Only costs $100 or so and it makes a big different over using your iphone headphones or something like that. You can add processing, etc later if it takes off.

    2) Garage band will work for editing but you will likely still want Skype for the calls.

    3) Insist that your guests use Skype rather than calling in on a phone line. Phone interviews sound like crap on a podcast.

    4) I would start by listening to all of these: http://5by5.tv/podcastmethod

    5) And to make your life easier consider using this product for hosting and analytics: https://fireside.fm/

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    @mckinneylaw said:
    3) Insist that your guests use Skype rather than calling in on a phone line. Phone interviews sound like crap on a podcast.

    If your guest has a good USB mic and a strong internet connection, I agree. Especially if they will also invest in Pamela or Call Recorder so you can get their audio from their end of the call. If not, Skype isn't a great choice and you should prefer a land line. The quality won't be awesome, but you won't suffer the dropouts and echoes you will get when using Skype with a built-in mic and a weak internet connection.

    I've gotten similarly good results from an iPhone with EarPods as while a landline. I have had variable results from Android phones with their earbud equivalents.

  • edited March 27

    Do what you can to avoid landline and bad audio generally. Buds with Skype on laptop is fine for the most part. I usually just turn off a podcast if I hear landline. It's too painful to endure. Legal podcasts have been pretty bad offenders in the past but are getting better.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    If you think we've got good production value, you should know that the majority of our interviews are conducted over a land line.

  • Well I don't know how you do it b/c I've heard so many terrible phone interviews on podcasts. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.

  • paulspitzpaulspitz Cincinnati, OH ✭✭

    I don't know what effect recording brings into it, but I've found that in general, sound quality is in inverse proportion to the number of cellphones involved in a call. One cellphone, and sound quality is mediocre, at best. Two cellphones, and you might as well be trying to call Matt Damon on Mars.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    I just use Skype on my end to dial their phone, and Call Recorder to get both sides of the interview. I also spend a little time with each person to make sure they're in a quiet room without major echoes, listen for clothing scraping against the mic/receiver, etc. A little work goes a long way.

    Also, I think many casual podcasters just hit record and then post the raw recording. Which is taking authenticity a bit too far, in my book. Our raw audio goes to our editor, who cleans up the track, cuts out the awkward pauses and annoying ums and ahs, and adjusts the track. I assume he has some secret tweaks he uses to make callers sound better.

    There are also websites out there that let you have your guests record themselves using their webcam, then you can download the recording. I think it's a great idea, but I haven't gotten around to trying it, yet. Also, webcams aren't any better than land lines, and frequently they are worse.

  • chadmurraychadmurray Decatur, IL

    Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure I was going to do the Lawyerist podcast, I'd just drop the 60 bucks or so for an ATR2100. Not sounding like a bologna sandwich on a fairly well-known law podcast seems worth the trifling amount of cash.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    @chadmurray said:
    Not sounding like a bologna sandwich on a fairly well-known law podcast seems worth the trifling amount of cash.

    Obviously all of our podcast guests are well prepared to converse eloquently on their chosen subject and they all take my audio tips seriously before we record. But I've heard other podcasters express amazement that so few of their guests take the time to make sure they will sound good when they are going to be immortalized in that medium.

    Then again, there are millionaire consultants who film themselves talking about business or social media or whatever while they chew their lunch into their iPhone ear buds.

  • chadmurraychadmurray Decatur, IL

    Oh I know. People go on TWiT with white Apple earbuds. Podcasts and podcast guests are weird, but I've gotten to the point where I'll turn off anything with potato quality audio.

  • smarterdigitalsmarterdigital Philadelphia, PA

    Here are some links on starting a podcast, with various equipment recommendations:


    People haven't really mentioned digital recorders, but they provide a bump up in quality from recording directly to your PC. Additionally, most of them allow you to separate streams of audio, which essentially means that you can edit your voice, as well as your guest's voice, separately.

  • Related question for @samglover :

    If you are considering a podcast beyond one solely for marketing use on a lawyer website, how many downloads a week/month/episode does one need to achieve before considering it sufficiently viable/popular to start looking for sponsors? I would hope that CPM for podcasts aimed at professionals would be better than radio or podcasts of just general application but don't have any idea really. Frankly, I don't even know if ad buyers look at podcasts by way of CPM at all but I assume that they do.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    I think most beginning podcasters are actually promoting affiliate relationships (with Audible, for example), not actual sponsorships. So when someone uses their custom URL to start an Audible subscription, they get a small commission. You can set up an account at Amazon, CJ.com, or ShareASale.com (among others) any time if you want to try that.

    If you want to sell sponsorships directly to advertisers, you have some legwork to do. I think it probably becomes worth doing around 1,000 downloads per episode, but I'm just guessing.

    As for how to price, I think you just have to see what works. And starting with an affiliate product will help you guess things like conversion rates so you can work backwards. Podcast advertising is still pretty new and everyone is basically still just trying to figure out what works best.

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