Stop listening, start recording: How to make the next big-hit podcast


  • TECH
  • Sunday, 05 May 2019

Podcasting is all about niches. With a bit of effort, you can find an unoccupied niche for your podcast. — dpa

A smartphone, a microphone and the right niche is basically all that's needed to make your own podcast. The hard part is making it good.

True crime, comedy shows and pet talk: There's a podcast series for pretty much everyone. But if you haven't found your dream podcast yet, then perhaps you need to make it. The good news first: they're not hard to create.

Most podcasts can be found on iTunes, says podcast aficionado Luca Caracciolo, editor-in-chief of the digital magazine t3n. Apple has been hosting the podcast forum for more than a decade now, but there are countless other places to find them like Spotify, Amazon's Audible, SoundCloud and even YouTube.

The harder part is making a good podcast. "A podcast needs a clear concept that is comprehensible to the user," says Christian Bollert, managing director of podcast blog Detektor.fm.

For one thing, it should have a fixed publication schedule – once a week or once a month is ideal – and a fixed duration per episode. Solid presenters and a clear topic are also essential.

Podcasting is all about niches, Bollert says. The more general the topic, the harder it is to promote the podcast. With a bit of luck you can find an unoccupied niche for your podcast.

The market offers a lot of variety. "In the US, fictional series podcasts are already in great demand," Bollert says, while Caracciolo predicts a big future for specialised podcasts, for example on science and technology. Journalistic podcasts are also in vogue.

But first of all, you need to get the sound right. Fortunately, a recording studio isn't necessary. "Especially with pure conversation formats, a small, furnished room can be enough – ideally with carpet to prevent reverberation," says podcast expert Elias Emken.

In principle, all you need to record a podcast is a smartphone and a microphone. A cheap USB mic can be bought for around US$50 (RM207), a higher quality model for about double that.

To edit the recording, free programs such as Reaper and Audacity are generally enough. Apple users can use the GarageBand program that comes with Macs and iPhones to record and edit their podcast.

"There are also combinations of recording device and software especially for podcasters," Emken says. They cost around US$200 (RM828).

The hosting of the podcast is also important, i.e. the server on which the podcast is located. Probably the largest and best-known service host is Podigee. The costs there vary according to the amount of data uploaded. The situation is similar with competitors such as Libsyn or PodBean.

There are also free options such as SoundCloud which doesn't charge any money up to a certain upload limit. It's also possible to host podcasts on pages built using the free blog software Wordpress by using a special plug-in.

The hosting provider generates a so-called RSS feed for the podcast. Once you have that it's relatively straightforward to set up your podcast on iTunes and elsewhere. Alternatively, you can upload it to YouTube. – dpa
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