Podcast 101: A Beginner's Guide To Get You Started

Are you already podcast fan? Are you intrigued by being offered the opportunity to have your voice heard? You've somehow stumbled upon the right place as I'm going to give you a simplified breakdown of what you'll need to get a head start in podcasting. If you're unfamiliar with who I am... I actually have a couple of podcasts that have been extremely successful including... The Grindhouse Radio and Within Brim's Skin. I’d be honored if you'd check them out and share any feedback, thoughts, ideas or even just show some love to us! You can listen directly on my site as linked above, or tune in via iHeartRadio, iTunes, Spotify and wherever quality podcasts are heard. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming!

In today’s day and age, content is available pretty much everywhere you look. Creators or creative people in general have a plethora of different methods they can use to put information out into the ether and podcasting has become one of the fastest growing trends. Especially during the recent COVID-19 lock downs and quarantines – people from all over the world have been finding their way to the wonderful world of podcast in order to not only have their voice heard or kill boredom; but to incorporate some sense of normalcy. Audio is cleverly being utilized by small and large businesses, celebrities and even traditional radio in terms of adding more content to social media, websites, blogs and simply connecting with their audiences on a more personal level.

Essentially, podcasting isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Many people have certainly thought about starting your own shows, matter of fact – that is probably why you’re here! That being said, I’ve put together some basic information that will answer some important questions for anyone curious about getting started in this medium.

Why should I start a Podcast?

Starting a podcast comes down to each individual’s specific needs. It offers a unique platform to put your message out into the world. Perhaps you’re an entertainer and want to talk about the industry as a whole, or a fan who wants to rattle on about the newest Marvel movie… podcasting gives the user an opportunity to create an experience that you can adapt to your specific needs. Some business owners use the audio clips to show why they may be experts in their specific field, while some may utilize it as a way to build more clout within an industry. Most though… do it to have fun.

Biggest Fears about starting a Podcast.

Listen, I get it… SO many people have a fear of getting in front of a microphone for any specific amount of time – even if they are alone. It IS truly awkward if you’ve never done it before; but I’m going to teach you a valuable lesson here… microphones don’t bite! Crazy, am I right? Well it’s the truth – and honestly, anxieties aside… it isn’t as scary as you think. Most people catch on rather quickly and even if they sound shaky at first, practice makes a huge difference. There are other reasons that hold people back from getting started including the popular excuses including; but not limited to:

  • “I need everything to be PERFECT!”

Brim's Response: No... it doesn't! Just take the first step and it'll become perfect over time.

  • “I’m waiting for the right time to get started.”

Brim's Response: There is NEVER a PERFECT time for anything! Stop procrastinating!

  • “Eww… my voice sounds strange.”

Brim's Response: Everyone is their own worst critic... I'm sure you sound great!

  • “I am NOT a tech person – How am I supposed to pull off recording, uploading and whatever else comes with the process?”

Brim's Response: Tricky; but today's technology - a lot is plug and play making it accessible.

  • “Who wants to hear me talk for any length of time?”

Brim's Response: Trust me... more than you know.

  • “I don’t have the money to put something like this together.”

Brim's Response: Great news! You don't need to invest a red cent if you don't want to!

  • “Public speaking is NOT in my repertoire.”

Brim's Response: Perfect... you're not in public.

This list goes on and on – I’ve heard it all before and the ONLY excuse that should keep you from starting this type of a project; or anything else for that matter – is that you have no interest. But you obviously do… so let’s move on shall we?

What do I need to get Started?

Honestly, all you need to get started is a computer with a microphone, or nothing more than a smartphone. There are apps that you can easily use in order to record your show.

Free Apps to look into that are highly suggested by my partners in The Grindhouse Radio while doing Podcast 101 lectures include Blubrry, Audacity, Anchor and Garage Band (Garage Band is MAC Only)

There are Paid Options as well including Adobe Audition (PC/MAC). Adobe Audition comes out to roughly $25 monthly and obviously has a learning curve. At GHR, we use Ableton which is a $450 one-time fee and allows the program to be used on a couple of different devices. Ableton also requires some skill to learn; however you can find tutorials online that can walk you through that process.

Now, of course the quality of your podcast will come down to the quality of equipment that you use; however you need to start somewhere! Don’t be ashamed to get started with bare minimum and upgrade over time. Think about it… wouldn’t it be smarter to give it a whirl for a couple of weeks before spending a small fortune on professional equipment? Put your big toe in the water first and see where it goes!

Buying a Microphone & Headphones.

As mentioned earlier… this is a BASIC plan of how to get started podcasting. Now, that being said – your overall audio quality begins and ends with the proper microphone.

My USB microphone of choice is the YETI Pro by Blue which runs around $250. You can also grab the Yeticaster which is a full streaming setup that you can plug and play directly into your desktop or laptop and will run you about $199.99. The quality of audio is fantastic and it is my backup microphone for when I am NOT in my studio. Drawback with Yeti mics are that you can only use ONE on a device – so if you are planning on doing a two or more person show at the same location… it won’t work.

Another decent USB microphone is the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB – this is an affordable option for those on a budget as they run about $80.

Now, The Grindhouse Radio and I are endorsed by Beyerdynamic – their microphones are superior to those mentioned above. You get quality sound for a fraction of the cost in comparison to the other top-of-the-line microphones on the market. We religiously use Beyerdynamic (M 88 TG)