SXSWi: Five Tips to Make Your Lame Podcast Listenable

Five Tips to Make Your Lame Podcast Listenable
Steve Mack, Principal, LUX Media
Jose Castillo, thinkjose

Mack: book out on streaming media, book out on webcasting, been doing this for a long time. most podcasts are lame, but they don’t have to be

Castillo: owned commercial recording studio, been in the audio business. Into the social “stuff” and new media.

5 tips + 1 bonus tip on how not to suck

Tip 1: Know your audience
Home Brewing Podcast – targeted at home brewers.

Make sure you spend time on the tools for how listeners can interact with you – comments, wikis, e-mail, Twitter
Example: Ze Frank puts user-submitted video into his posts, encourages interaction

Let people leave voice messages and include them, then those people tell all their friends, it spreads.

Tip 2: good equipment is cool
$99 – no reason why you can’t produce broadcast quality audio. Dynamic mics and condenser mics. Condenser has bigger capsule, used in professional radio shows.

You can destroy dynamic mic and it won’t stop working, but when it is loud, you can push it into your face to only get you. You have to have dynamic mic for loud spaces – less sensitive to handling noise and you have to be close.

Condenser mic pics up everything in the room but has to be on spring-loaded holder. Picks up every single thing in the room.

Showing different audio qualities from different mics, very helpful to hear the differences. Showing plug in mic for iPods or M-Audio devices. Ok quality from these.

Interviewing someone? Show them how to hold it or better yet, use a lavalier mic.

The Shure SM7 is the broadcast standard microphone – Broadcast Supply sells them for $400

buy a good mic pre (pre-amplify)
- Built in soundcards will give you noise, they are not built for recording
- if you do the amplification inside the laptop you will lose quality
- a mic pre fits in your laptop bag, costs you $100.
- FocusRite for more money is even higher quality
- some mixers have pre’s built in

firewire and USB rock
- if you buy a microphone with USB it sends the bits directly into a microphone
- for more than one mic it becomes a problem without a mixing desk

3. stop the pop

- get a popper stopper (foam that goes over the mic)
- mic coming from above rather than below gives less popTip 3: be prepared
- panty house and a coat hanger makes a fine pop stopper

- some of you will need a script
- you don’t have to be an expert but it helps
- practice practice practice
- do your homework
- don’t be Chris Farley: ask leading questions, don’t not ask questions
- ask the question then get out of the way and shut up. Lob up a softball and let them hit it out of the park
- passion is key

4. um, like…edit
- be kind to your guests, make them seem like geniuses
- edit for flow
- tell the story (beginning, middle, end)
- lean & mean
- always leave them wanting more

Tip 5: do like the pros do
- the casting in podcasting has been around for 100 years
- theme songs rock (start and end)
- don’t steal music
- podsafe music
- go to MySpace and find a band, I will announce it on my podcast
- intro/outro – who you are, tell them what it is about, may be the first time they have heard it
- pre-announce, “coming up…” but then start where you are and get to that
- wrap it up – thank them for coming, announce next week,
- compression (audio)
- Mack doesn’t like the Levelator

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arvind s. grover

I am a progressive educator, a podcaster (EdTechTalk.com/21cl), a blogger, and dean of faculty of JK-11 school (building a high school) in New York City.