Pieces Of A Podcast Falling Into Place

Intro:

The “Oh Fudge” podcast is quickly becoming a reality. The never-ending task of researching topics like first amendment rights, FCC authority, and definitions of dirty words are being completed one-by-one and inching the pre-production process closer and closer to production.

In addition to those pre-production tasks, some production is also taking place. For example, the intro, segment breaks, and outro have all been recorded and edited.

Scripts are beginning to be developed and interviews are getting scheduled.

Research:

A big part of research is finding out what the community thinks about a subject. For example, if you want to know what everyone’s favorite dirty word is, the best way is to ask.

Surveymonkey.com is a free service that allows people to create surveys. The best part about the service is that you can review basic statistics about the data. If you want more in depth information, you can pay for a premium membership. The premium membership also provides more features for when you design your survey – things like comment boxes instead of single-lined text boxes for answers, or smart features that make the survey react like an algorithm.

Once a survey is created, Surveymonkey.com gives you the ability to share it with people via email and social media for free. If you want, you can also pay for 100 random people to take the survey.

Sending the survey out via social media can turn into a bunch of great results. You also are sending the survey out to friends, so when you are looking for people to interview for the podcast, you can ask if they want to remain anonymous or if they want to be contacted for the show.

While surveys are a great way to get community input, there is also a bunch of information available on the internet.

Webster.com offers definitions of words and Thesaurus.com offers synonyms and alternative terms. Both sites come in rather handy when doing a podcast on the seven dirty words. These dirty words, while they may be vulgar and gross to some, are in fact actual words that appear in the dictionary. Webster.com has a way to listen to the pronunciation, along with looking at the words used in various sentences. Is this basic? Maybe. But being able to define a word appropriately for the audience is important because you cannot assume, they know what you are talking about. Editors will constantly tell reporters to lead the readers, like cattle, to the trough to eat.

Tech:

Researching various concepts and legal material helps provide fodder for the podcast, but unless you have equipment to be able to record the show, nobody is going to hear what you have to say.

Comedian Sanjay Manaktala created a video and article about the benefits of the Zoom H4N back in 2019. Zoom, which became very popular during the COVID-19 outbreak when the company’s video conferencing feature became the norm for business meetings, has been around for several years. Some of Zoom’s main products include audio recorders like the H4N.

The H4N is a bulky audio recorder that saves the recordings to an SD card. The device has two microphones on the top as well as two XLR connections on the bottom, an external mic jack on the back, and a headphone/input jack on the side. The recorder can be placed on top of a DSLR camera and used as a shotgun microphone, it can be carried around in the field, and it can be used as an audio interface that plugs into a computer and transfers audio from the recorder into a program like Adobe Audition.

Manaktala said the H4N is one of the best 4 track audio recorders on the market but also one of the ugliest and most confusing, non-stylish digital recording products out there.

What he also said is that many people starting a podcast will overthink the technology and overpay for microphones and mixers. The affordable solution, he said, is to purchase an H4N recorder, which sells on the market for approximately $200-$250.

“It’s like a mini recording studio,” he said. “You’ll get 90 percent of studio-quality sound for $200 as opposed to $20,000 and nobody on YouTube or iTunes would really know the difference.”

Manaktala provides tips in the article for using the Zoom H4N to record podcasts. The fist setup is to just use the device on a tripod. Then, place the tripod on the corner of a table while you and the person you want to interview are sitting on opposite sides of the corner. Finally, speak into the microphones.

Another way to use the H4N for podcast interviews is to plug two XLR microphones into the base, place each microphone on a stand, and hit record.

The H4N is a rather complicated device and the manual is very thick. In fact, Manaktala suggests spending time with the manual to understand as many of the features as possible.

The device is rated so high by several tech bloggers, that it should be all a person needs to record a podcast if they are starting up. Manaktala said if you get more than 10,000 likes or people listening, then you should invest in better tech, but until then, it will get the job done.

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References:

Manaktala, S. (2019) Podcast Mastery Guide with Zoom H4N (Since Manual Sucks). Retrieved October 24, 2020, from https://www.sanjaycomedy.com/how-to-use-zoom-h4n-podcast/

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