What I’ve learned so far about starting a DIY podcast


Equipment for a DIY podcast recording studio: computer, big screen, microphone, clamps and cardigan

I’m starting a DIY podcast. There, I’ve said it again so it must be true. Right now I’m working through a few of the challenges of podcasting. (My future podcast is How To Be Old.) I am devouring podcasts about podcasts and blogs about podcasts. Here are 4 points I have learned so far.

1. Quality content is the biggest challenge for DIY podcasters.

Well, duh! Content matters most. Obviously I “know” this. But that doesn’t mean my unedited content is appealing. I’m crafting the content of my podcast episodes with curiosity (what is this new-to-me medium?) and dedication. So creating content is definitely one of the challenges of podcasting: great, learning new stuff in old age is cool.

2. Liberty with consistency. Podcasts have no rules. A podcast can have any topic, any style, any length, any frequency. But the topic should be clear and focused, and consistency is important.

Consistency! That’s why I plan to record a bunch of episodes before I launch. Partly so I can keep up the pace, partly so I can streamline and record and edit faster.

3. Keep the technology as simple as possible. Don’t go down that rabbit hole. You can always upgrade later when your podcast gets 100,000 subscribers 🙂

I have obeyed. I tried a few things and settled on this low-tech DIY podcast recording studio: it consists of a MacBook Pro, a large screen, a RODE NT USB microphone, 3 clamps and a cardigan. Some use a much simpler system — for example, an iPhone in a wardrobe. But mine is simple for me because:

  • I didn’t have to buy any new equipment or software
  • I’m used to ScreenFlow software, which is terrific for recording and editing
  • My office is a bit echoey and the cardigan helps.

I’ll start by hosting the podcast on this very website rather than going to a specialist podcast hosting company. With designer Daniel Shaw I’m testing various ways to launch a podcast from this site.

4. Don’t spend hours editing. Better to rehearse and re-record. This is good advice that I’ve already discovered from experience.

5. Start. Start your podcast now! I know, I know, I’m trying.

2 helpful resources for DIY podcasters

Newbie or guru, we can only overcome one challenge of podcasting at a time

I’m bumbling into this unfamiliar field of DIY podcasts. That’s fine. I won’t be an expert in five minutes, if ever. I wouldn’t dream of giving advice—I’m just documenting progress and reinforcing my own learning. What’s your experience, I wonder? Any tips for me, a newbie (future) podcaster?















15 thoughts on “What I’ve learned so far about starting a DIY podcast

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Thanks fog sharing the lessons you’ve learned.

  2. Exciting! Look forward to your first podcast.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It’s scary though.

  3. Gallivanta says:

    Go you! My friend, Rebecca Budd, started a podcast a few months ago. She does an amazing job and often includes her mother in the podcasts. The closest I have come to a podcast is my Youtube video prose and poetry readings. I would love to do more but even producing a two minute recording was very time consuming. I thought I would improve with each reading but I am not sure that I did. 😀

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I like your Ursula Bethell recordings. Very clear, giving her words their due. And I presume no copyright permissions were needed in this case. She was a splendid poet and her garden poems are timeless. As for podcasting you need a reason and a theme and strong motivation to even begin. I’m treating mine as a project, one season of 8 episodes. Which may be all there ever is. Otherwise it’s too overwhelming.

      1. Gallivanta says:

        8 seems like a good number and very do-able.

    2. Rachel McAlpine says:

      By the way, after following your links I have deleted them from your comment. I hope you understand: this is normal practice to counteract spam.

      1. Gallivanta says:

        No worries. I am always hesitant about sending links anyway.

  4. hilarymb says:

    Delighted to learn your thoughts here and will await your note to go live … good luck – and thank you – cheers Hilary

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you for your encouragement–much appreciated.

  5. colonialist says:

    Duh-h-h-h — wotsa podcast?

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Gosh. Um. There’s this thing called Google… Think of radio programmes on tap, on your phone. That’s a start 🙂

      1. colonialist says:

        A glimmer of light appears, but only a glimmer. I’m not good at driving a phone.

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        Sorry, you can also listen on a tablet or computer!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    So a video cast? Not just audio. Brave woman indeed.

%d bloggers like this: