How to bake a podcast

There’s no one right way to do a podcast. And all of us who are doing it, are no doubt changing and adjusting things as we go along. Preparing a podcast is as complex and yet simple as your grandma recipe for ummm.. baked Alaska. Why anyone would BAKE alaska, I have no idea, but baking a podcast can produce delicious results, and it’s VEGAN.

Therefore, by popular demand, especially from certain residents in France, I present my very own family secret (me being a family of one)


Ingredients –

  • Computer with audio-in jack.
  • PC microphone, whatever you can afford and maybe looks nice on your desk.(mine cost 8 euros)
  • OR – you can splurge on a professional mic and a mixer, if you like that sort of thing, and connect that to your audio-in. I will do it someday… when I have a real salary. Or celery, YUM.
  • (note: if you’re me and your soundcard is defective, you can record audio using your portable mp3 player, either an IPOD (for those with the cash) or IRIVER, which I swear by. Mine cost 120 USdollars when I was in the USA in January (256MB IFP-790). IT’s perfect, and the new one’s are even more perfecter. (note-firmware upgrades are available)
  • Audio recording software: Audacity is freeware and good enough. Mac’s come with Garageland, which reminds me of Garage-sales. I swear by Adobe Audition (expensive if you don’t know the right people), I love its endless list of options memory sucking habit. Some like Soundforge, which sounds medieval.
  • Your voice, or if you’ve lost yours, a program on your computer that generates a voice. Or a robot… hire a robot.
  • A pinch of soundeffects.
  • A tablespoon of MP3s
  • Hopefully an original concept, but then again, that’s not required.

Directions –

Step 1 – I first decide what audio, besides my voice, I’m going to use in the show. I import the audio, which is usually in mp3 format, into a new Audition file. These usually include music mp3’s and other audio clips I want to use.

Step 2 – I then lay it out.. side by side… til it stretches about 18 minutes long. I also import my previously made intro and slap it in the beginning of the track.

Step 2.5 – Usually by this time, I’ve jotted some notes; chicken scratch that I won’t even look at once I start talking. But hey, some might actually need a guide.

Step 3 – I then adjust the volume, also called “envelope” in most audio programs. I usually reduce the background music volume to about 6 percent of its original, occasionally letting it play at full volume if I want to just hear music. I also take the time to fade in and out at the beginning and end of songs.

Step 4 – Now comes the vital part. My lil ol voice. Normal humans with normal computers could just play the layed out tracks and record a new track at the same time. But both me and the computer are defective, so I stick in headphones and record my voice audio (in sync hopefully)on my IRIVER mp3 player.

Still with me? Wake up!

Step 5 – Now say goodbye to your social life, cause after making your voice tracks, you’ll be editing for hours and hours. Cutting useless bits, especially if you’re trying to keep it under 20 minutes. I tend to add voice effects here and there… sometimes.

Step 6 – Save this big-ass audio file in its entirety. If your computer is old, it will moan in pain at this point. (mine does)

Step 7 – Find the “Export Audio” option and export it as an mp3. I strongly recommend 64kbps at 24,000 or 20,050 mhz. You’re not producing a CD, I hope, so 128 is overkill and too dam big a file for downloading. Anything above 80kbps better be excerpts from the London philharmonic or something.

STEP 8 – ID3Tags, the little info that comes with your mp3 file: title, aritist, date, whatever. I use my musicmatch jukebox which has an option to edit the track tag. I figure whatever mp3 software you use should have it too, or else stop using that crap program. Then go an upload it to your server, which hopefully has plenty of bandwith for when you get all famous and mentioned on the daily source code or the sloeriesource! I use liberated syndication and they rock the house for 5 USclams per month. (donations in the tip jar appreciated to help fund all this!)

Optional STEP 8.5 – In your post where you include the link to the mp3, make sure to add the following bit of code within the link tag rel=”enclosure”. (within the brackets <>) Thats so it appears as an enclosure and all of us RSS users and more easily grab your podcast. Also from here you can make an OPML or an HTML file with shownotes. But thats up to you. I like when people say the length, quality, and file size too. Cause if its too big, my laptop will throw up.

OK friends… long list and very nerdy. But podcasting is taking the world by storm, and I guess as a podcaster, this is my contribution to all of you out there. Maybe I suck at explaining and you should head over to Anyway- Go forth, be fruitful, and multiply. Tell ’em bicyclemark sent you!

Today’s Sounds: Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (thanks Chris Missick!)