Advice on Starting a Podcast


Ethan Schmidt, Radio Program Manager

With the rise of the Anchor podcasting platform, the means to produce and distribute a podcast is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone. Just like YouTube acts as an easy-to-use platform to upload videos, Anchor allows for any user to record an audio file and upload it as a podcast with minimal effort. Because of the platform’s accessibility, internet users are now uploading and listening to podcasts more frequently than ever before. Since the production of a quality podcast only requires a minimal budget, the prospect of the new platform would seem intriguing to college students looking to share their thoughts and ideas on the Web.

For the past 7 months, I have been sharing my thoughts and ideas in this manner by recording a podcast called Tea Time with the Big Dogs with a close friend from Saint Louis, Missouri. Here are some tips that I’ve learned while running the show:

Care about your topic. Talk about topics that you are passionate about. People listen to those who speak passionately. As long as you are invested in your topic, people will listen to you speak. The moment you lose that interest in your topic, the listeners lose interest in you.

Care about your topic. It’s that important.

Just say it! Here’s the wonderful thing about podcasts: They aren’t live. You have the luxury to edit anything you say after you’re done recording. So, if you have any thoughts swimming around in your head, share them all with the microphone!  If you don’t like some thought or idea after listening over them again, you can always edit them out. It’s better to have more to work with when editing.

Don’t be alone. Unless you’re Howard Stern or some big celebrity who can carry a whole show by themselves, you need to have at least one friend on the podcast. People love to hear friends connect over a single topic. When friends bond over a common topic, listeners think, “Hey, there’s multiple people here that are passionate about one topic! That topic must be interesting!”

Care about your topic. In case you forgot.

Early on, keep it cheap. When starting a podcast, your main concern should be to develop a strong focus for your show, not to have the highest sound quality. That being said, use any cheap microphone you can find when making your first few episodes, even if it’s only the dinky one that Apple crammed into your wired EarPods. If your topics and ideas are interesting, people will still love to listen to you. The logic behind this is to make sure that you have a podcast that you’ll want to continue doing after you’ve dropped your hard-earned cash on a shiny new microphone. Once you know that you have a cool podcast going, then you should invest in a higher-grade microphone.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. More than likely, you aren’t making a profit or a living off of this. Since the stakes are so small then, there’s no risk in experimenting. Once you get into the groove of your new show, try some new things! You may discover something that’ll add more life to your show.