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Digital Media Lab

Podcasting

Using the space at the Digital Media Lab, it's possible to record high-quality, professional audio for classwork or even publication!

However, you might be asking yourself - how do I actually make a podcast? What do I need to plan ahead? What software do I use? How do I publish and share my podcast? We're here to help!

The following pages will offer a step-by-step guide to take your idea from concept to publication.

So, to start off with, we really have to establish what we mean by making a podcast or podcasting.

In short, a podcast is a digital audio file that can be downloaded via the internet. Pretty simple!

Because the method of podcast release is via the Internet, podcasts don't have to adhere to any FCC guidelines like it would for a traditional radio broadcast. However, copyright still applies to podcasting!

If you want music or sound effects for your podcast, they should be royalty free. Check the Audio Resources tab for links that you will be able to use without risk of infringing copyright laws.

Check out this guide for more information on what is considered "fair use" under copyright law.

When thinking about creating a podcast, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What format do you want for the podcast? Do you want the podcast do be segmented/have a formal structure or be more improvisational?
  • Do you need any additional equipment for the podcast? Many people like to film podcasts, but that will require additional setup and equipment in the Digital Media Lab.
  • How long do you want your podcast to be? There are no set minimums or limits with regards to podcast length - but keep in mind, the longer the podcast, the more likely someone may be of turning it off.
  • What software are you comfortable using? The Digital Media Lab has open-source and subscription-based software which you can use to record and edit your audio. If you have little to no experience editing audio, you may feel more comfortable using GarageBand as opposed to Adobe Audition. However, the paid software may have features that the free software may not.
  • Do you want to have guests on your podcast? Right now, the Digital Media Lab has one recording booth with two microphones. If you want to have more guests on your podcast, you will need to reach out further ahead of time so a suitable space can be found for your project.

Once you have determined what you want your podcast to be like, schedule an appointment and the staff of the Digital Media Lab will prepare the space before you arrive.

Instructions

1) Turn on the lights:  There is a light above the computer which has two brightness settings. There is also ventilation that can be turned on with the remote. If you're going to be in the booth for longer than 30 minutes, we recommend turning on the fan.

2) Log on to the computer: Log on to the computer using your MU pawprint and password.

3) Adjust the sound board: The sound board has an on-switch located in the back to the right.  The settings have been set to our specifications which you may adjust according to your needs.  If you need assistance, please ask an available staff member.  We ask that you return the settings to their original positions.

Please note: When recording, make sure that the microphone is set to “USB Audio CODEC” and not the built-in option.  Please note that the “USB Audio CODEC” will only appear once the soundboard is turned on. If you begin recording before setting the microphone to the "USB Audio CODEC", the recording software will use the built-in mic in the computer (with a far worse audio quality).

4) Choose audio recording software: There are three software programs that can be used to record audio in the recording booth: Adobe Audition, GarageBand, and Audacity.

  • Audacity and GarageBand are free-to-use programs, while Adobe Audition requires a monthly or yearly payment to use. If you are new to podcast recording/production, you may be more comfortable with Audacity or Garageband.
  • For a guide in using GarageBand, click here.
  • For a guide in using Audacity, click here.
  • For a guide in using Adobe Audition, click here.

5) Record your audio: Once the previous steps are set and you've ensured that the settings in your audio recording software are correct, you can begin recording! Remember to speak directly into the microphone, and generally keep your audio levels between -12 and -6 dB. Any less and it will be too quiet; any louder and the sound will "clip" and audio quality will be lost.

6) Export your audio: After recording your audio and making any necessary edits, it's time to export your finalized podcast! In general, it is safe to export your audio as an MP3 if audio quality isn't important. If audio quality is important (or if you think it might be later), export as a WAV file. Remember: you can always compress a WAV file to an MP3; you can't do the other way around.

Above is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to publish your podcast using Libsyn, a podcast hosting platform.

However, keep three main things in mind if you proceed.

  1. Publishing a podcast can cost money.
    • If you host it on your own website, you may have to code the .xml file needed to make an RSS feed yourself. Also, if anyone streams/downloads your podcast, that will cost you money in the form of used bandwidth.
    • Using a hosting platform makes more practical and monetary sense; however, podcast hosting services can come with a monthly or yearly cost.
      • There are several popular free options, such as SoundCloud, Podcasts.com, or PodBean. However, the free options for these platforms usually restrict how many hours of audio you can upload every month.
      • Libsyn is a popular paid alternative. It is the example used by the podcaster in the video above.
  2. Establish a sense of (publishing) routine. Building an audience is difficult, and an erratic publication schedule makes that even harder. If you want to develop a weekly podcast, make sure to upload it at the same time(s) every week. This helps the audience learn when to look for your podcast.
  3. Don't be afraid to experiment! Don't think of anything in this guide as a universal/mandatory rule that you must abide by. The podcasting industry is relatively new compared to legacy media like television and radio; the "rules" on how things are supposed to be done change all the time. Study the content creators that you personally enjoy, and model your early work after them. Once you get a handle as to how to make a podcast, then focus on finding your creative voice and let it shine through your work!

During the production of a podcast, you may decide that you want to add a few audio effects or sound files to make it sound a little more interesting. Below are a few useful links.

  • BBC Sound Effects: This page has over 16,000 recordings that stretch through the BBC's 90 years of broadcasting. While the BBC still retains the copyright for these files, anyone can use them for personal, educational or research purposes for free. You'd have to request the license for commercial use.
  • Royalty Free Sounds: This website has Creative Commons and Public Domain music and sound effects that you can use. You may have to provide attribution to the artist behind the sound files, depending on the file.
  • Where to find archival audio: This training page from NPR lists a wide variety of archival audio, from TV News to Sports clips and old radio shows.
  • Freesound: This database has tens of thousands of sounds uploaded by users, all Creative Commons licensed. You can use any of them for free.
  • Youtube Audio Library: This site offers both free sound effects and free music, cleared by Youtube.
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Creator

Created by Trevor Hook

Web Support Graduate Library Assistant

March 2019