There are many creative ventures in life that feel just out of reach, either because they are too expensive or take too much time. While creating a podcast certainly isn't free, it isn't totally out of reach. In fact, a single-person podcast requires just five items.
There are many reasons to create a podcast. Perhaps you want to create an air check in order to get a job with a radio station. Maybe you have some great political insights that will fix our nation. Or you just want to rant about this week's movie trailers. Whatever your theme, you can start a podcast without buying expensive gear.
It should be noted that podcasts do require a small monthly fee, and you may have to spend money to get started. Here are the five most important tools every podcaster needs to get their voice online.
1. Reliable Computer
It should come as no surprise, but the most important device you need for an internet-based talk show is a working internet-enabled computer. In fact, you don't need to have a huge hard drive or brand-new sound card. You only need enough storage space for the podcast you are currently producing, since you can store the file online after it's been uploaded. Usually, the only problem that arises from your computer is a lack of RAM to support the process of recording. As of 2013, just under 75 percent of U.S. households had an internet-enabled computer, so it's likely that you've already got the first piece of equipment in front of you.
2. Recording & Production Software
You need some kind of recording software that's compatible with your computer. This is even better if the software includes some kind of production or editing suite. There are free recording platforms available, but the quality is usually fairly low. One of my favorite platforms for recording, editing and producing audio files is Adobe Audition, since it offers simple recording tools and several built-in effects. However, there are several options for both PC and Mac, so the sky's the limit for your podcast.
3. USB Microphone
Many laptops and webcams come with built-in microphones, but if you want great audio quality, you'll need a USB microphone. There are several options available, so you should make your decision based on your budget, the computer microphone's sound quality and its included accessories. One of the most important accessories is a desk stand. While you're clicking through news stories or thumbing through scripts, you don't want to have to hold a microphone. This also gives you a professional feel, since all radio stations use microphone stands for their DJs.
4. Hosting Service
If you want to get your podcast on a major distribution service, like iTunes, you'll need a reputable hosting service. There are many platforms available for uploading your podcast, but most of them come with a steep monthly fee. A reasonable hosting service that works with iTunes is PodBean. For $96 per year, you can enjoy unlimited audio storage space, so your podcasts will be available for listeners for as long as you have a subscription. There are free services available, but they limit your storage space, and you may only be able to keep one podcast live at a time.
5. Relevant Content
Once you have all the equipment and tools, you should figure out what you want your podcast to cover. There are a few things to consider while looking for a theme. First, what is already available? You don't want to create a podcast that will get lost in the crowd, so make a list of your favorite topics and see what else is available. Next, can you discuss this subject regularly? If you want to build a fan base, an important starting step is to make sure that your audience can count on your podcast going live on specific dates. Finally, should you produce segment images? Imaging is highly produced sound segments that play before a section. They act as good ways to tell the audience that you are moving on, and if you make a mistake, they make it easy to add cuts and retakes. However, they take much more time to produce, and all that extra work causes some people to feel locked into these segments.
Now that you have everything you need, you can start your podcast. In time, you may decide that you want to add guests or friends to the product, but you'll have to look into more gear. With these five things, you're ready to create a podcast.