Producer Tips on How to Start a Podcast

Posted on April 10, 2011

ITVS’ Steve Goldbloom shares his notes from a podcasting workshop held on Sunday at the National Conference for Media Reform in Boston.


After listening to passionate seminars on the future of Public Media, net-neutrality, and the new rules of journalism — it was nice to finally get a chance to play in the sandbox. That is NCRM’s Media and Technology Sandbox, which have been running at various times throughout the three-day conference. Sunday’s workshop offered a crash course on assembling a podcast and was led by Free Press’ Stevie Converse, co-host of the weekly podcast Media Minutes.

We spent the hour and a half session learning basic audio editing on free software and discussing best distribution practices. The sandbox was filled with everyone from local radio producers up for a change to CEO’s like NFCB’s Maxie Jackson — who want to experience new platforms, first hand. The podcasting business continues to grow, proving to be an inexpensive alternative to traditional media with an enormous potential for reach. Sites like, which produce The Moth series, have stepped in to host the user-generated content and make it easy for podcasters to upload their work. 

(Learn more about PRX from an interview BTB conducted on Friday with Founder & CEO Jake Shapiro).

I know most independent producers familiar with ITVS already have storytelling down to an art. So, here is a roundup of my notes from the sandbox that may serve as a helpful grocery list for getting your podcast off the ground. 

Computer • 200 GB hard drive • 4 GB memory • 2.3 GHz Software • Mac – Garage Band, Logic • PC – Audacity 

Narration • direct to computer • from tape/digital recorder 

Sound Clips
Interviews • Skype • phone • live 

Internet Sources • CSPAN for Congressional clips (hearings, press conferences, etc) • YOUTUBE or Vimeo 

Sound • Ambient: capture live • Sounds/Effects: available on Garage Band

Setup audio file folder 
1. import file to sound editor 2. find clip you want and copy it to separate track 3. clean up clip in track 4. sound correct/normalize 5. bounce 6. create audio file 

Create Podcast 
1. new project 2. import all files (intro, narration, sound clips, outro) 3. set them up 4. sound check 5. bounce 6. save file as MP3 

• export to iTunes • control/click on selection • click on ifno • fill out & click okay • control/click on selection • click on Conver ID3 tage 

Distribution 1. personal website or blog 2. iTunes 3. 4. 5. 6. Once you’ve uploaded your podcast, use social media to spread the word. Push on Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. Use every relevant occasion to reference your piece. Find others who are writing/speaking about the same issues and connect with them, comment on their piece, and provide them with links to your work. 

The National Conference for Media Reform was presented by Free Press and ran in Boston from April 8-10. Longer reports — including an update on the fight to save Public Media and an IndiesLab review on the future of online video — are forthcoming.


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