Talknowledgy debuted as a radio show on CKDJ 107.9 in Ottawa in September of 2010. At that time, podcasting was still kind of a new concept to Ted Raymond, my co-host at the time, and I. It was a neat idea to us but we weren’t sure who would listen, how we would get people to listen, where we would post it, and how much time we could devote to that (as we were college students at the time in what is the busiest term of Algonquin College‘s Radio Broadcasting program). Along the way we learned a few things, and I hope this checklist below will give you a starting point if you’d like to create your own podcast someday.
Pick a topic: First things first, what is the topic of your podcast? Is this a topic you’re interested in? Is it a topic that is broad enough that you can find listeners? How will you prove to people you are an expert in this topic?
Find a co-host or co-hosts: You could do a solo show or podcast, but it’s certainly more lively with one or two other people. It also helps if you have others to fall back on in case one of you is unavailable to do one show.
Line up the equipment: Good quality microphones is very important. Great content can be utterly ruined by bad or inconsistent audio quality. Everyone should be using the same microphone, and it should be in a quiet room with a lack of echo. Phone quality is acceptable in small bursts but a co-host should not be permanently on the phone. It gets hard to listen to!
Editing: Having good editing equipment is even more important. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get! A copy of Adobe Audition is what you need! ProTools, Audacity, and other software will perform a similar function but in my opinion Audition is the easiest to use and does the job quite adequately – nearly every single Talknowledgy podcast was edited down through Audition! (One or two were edited using a radio news software called ‘Burli’ – not recommended for large-scale editing jobs and not cost efficient if all you need is the editing audio capability).
Length: Determining how long your podcast is important, especially if you want to syndicate this content by turning it into a radio show. If it’s purely for the internet, it can be as long as you want it to be and – in my opinion – it should be as long as it has to be. When Talknowledgy was on CKDJ, CKCU, and CFRA, the show was constrained by the ‘show clock’ – it had to be a certain length and couldn’t be longer or shorter. Now that it’s solely a podcast, we get to talk about every story we have lined up for the week! There are advantages to both models.
Schedule: When will your content go out? It can be easier or harder to get play throughs depending when it is released. We settled on Saturday morning because it was easiest from a recording standpoint and because we had a good number of clicks. By contrast, Friday night did not work for us at all. Your mileage may vary.
Get a podcast host, get a website: This will set you back a few bucks, but both are necessary. Find a podcast host that has a good billing structure based on your needs, looks presentable, gives you an RSS feed, makes it easy to embed audio, and helps spread the word about your podcast effectively. As for a website, WordPress is one avenue if your budget is tight or you aren’t all that web savvy!
Eventually you’ll want to look at things like budget, a content strategy to bring in more traffic to your website, a division of work among your partners, a promotion strategy, and many other things…but if you have the above figured out, you’re ready to start!
Good luck! Post a link to your podcast site in the comments – would love to check them out and chat with you about podcasting!
Catherine, Dave and I will be meeting to plan out the future of the show soon. We’d love to hear your feedback prior to that meeting! Some things to consider:
1) Do you find the “Trending Tweets” and “Viral Video of the week” useful?
2) Is 40 minutes too long?
3) Do you enjoy the 1-on-1 interviews?
4) How do you feel about the chiptunes in our most recent podcasts?
5) In terms of content covered, what are some topics you’d like more coverage on? What do you not want to hear about less frequently or not at all going forward?
Comments are always appreciated!