I have spoken to many podcasters, from those who use any microphone with very little, if any followers, to those that are truly experienced with a full studio and thousands of listeners for each episode. I didn't do this segment to make fun of those who don't have what it takes to really gain a followership. I created this to point out what many won't. Many won't tell you that your audio is awful, or that you should stop podcasting or don't bother even starting. I will, because it's the right thing to do.
As I have said a few times, just because you can buy a microphone doesn't mean you should use it. I want people who have something to say to podcast. I also want those who can deliver quality audio and character to talk to me for a hour each week. There are many, many awesome folks doing wonderful work behind the microphone and that is what makes the niche of podcasting awesome.
Enough of all of that. Let's get down to business and talk about what makes a good podcast.
I have been told of, and have heard from podcasters that use their webcam microphone to produce. They always apologize for the quality and I never accept it. If you can't get the fundamental equipment to crank out a decent episode then do yourself a favor and wait until you get one. No one forgets bad quality and to do it right off the bat is a terrible mistake. You can buy a great microphone from Amazon or your local music store for $100. It can be USB or XLR. To me that doesn't matter as long as you are capturing great quality.
If you are going the XLR way, then you should be prepared to get a mixing board with a digital interface (USB). You should buy monitoring headsets and ensure you have the proper setup. This all makes a huge difference in how you build your audience.
Personality and Ability
We aren't all Casey Kasem, and that's just fine. The faster we know we shouldn't podcast, the better. For some reason we have all been led to this belief that we all have to be on the microphone. Even when I produced B-Holes Like Us, I wasn't on the mic unless I had no choice. Instead I edited, ran sound, and did setup of the studio. You can support a podcast through sound setup, editing, research, transcripts, translations, and other things that each podcast needs. It's silly to think everyone needs to be on the mic. Support is a huge piece.
If you have a speech impediment or just don't have the voice for a show, perhaps you should consider not doing one. If you have been told that your accent is too think, perhaps you should stay off and focus on listening to others.
Podcasters should be engaging, and personable. The audience wants to tune in to hear a voice they enjoy (sorry Gilbert Gottfried). We can all probably think of an audio segment that we turned to each other and asked,"Why?". It was because it sounded awful. There is a lot of reasons TV holds auditions, and this is an area that encapsulates the majority of those.
The hayday of a few dudes coming together in the garage to get hammered while talking about what kind of tits they enjoy are coming to an end. Everyone is getting drunk, and everyone is talking about tits while doing so. Thanks Drunk Geek Podcast, or 3 Guys Talking About Chicks Podcast, or even the Drunken Garage Podcast. I don't know if any of those are real, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were.
You have to have something to talk about. I know it can be a challenge sometimes and you have a deadline to make, but please, just delay it. Some will tell you that if you aren't consistent that your audience will dwindle. I will tell you that if you are bad, your audience will dry up even quicker. Think about what you want to talk about, script it out, and maybe even do a dry run to limit the gaps in the content.
Hopefully, some of this makes you think about what you might want to put out there or what you already have. Below is the audio segment that I take 5 minutes to talk about this with. Enjoy, and subscribe on Soundcloud if you like what you hear.
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