How I started a podcast under $20

Richard interviewing his dog for The DOcast
Richard and his minimal podcasting gear

I’m a big believer of the power of podcast, it’s selective learning. Why let others dictate the information you hear on the radio when you can control the exact content you want to listen to or educate yourself on a topic of your interest. I normally listen to podcasts while others listen to the radio — driving, cleaning the house, or anytime that I’m working with my hands. I think podcasts are going to be big in the upcoming years — iTunes recently surpassed 1 billion podcast subscriptions. Being that I’ve always wanted to do a podcast (and while I’m on this journey of starting up a business) I figured why not just do it. Here’s how I did it.

How I started a podcast

I simply grabbed the resources that I had (an iPhone with the earbuds that came with it) and hit record with the build-in voice memo app. I talked to Gaye Sandoz about getting into the food industry and I knew that I would figure out a way to make a podcast later. That’s really it.

Before the interview
I do my homework. Mostly, I’ve already read any books of that person I’m about to interview, trying to learn as much as I can to really understand him/her and to have a meaningful conversation. I also have a mini-script that I keep in Evernote and make sure I can pull it up on my phone or iPad:

  • Things to ask (like special giveaways, questions I might have, etc.)
  • Things to bring (a checklist like: recording devices, camera, gifts, notepad, most-importantly: Turn your device on airplane mode)
  • Intro (who I am and what I’m doing)
  • Sponsors/promotions
  • Guest intro
  • Guest questions (best to go off-script)
  • Ending questions (respect their time)
  • Outro

After the interview
I drop my audios into Adobe Audition (Garageband or Audacity will work fine), delete the small-talk in the beginning and end of the conversation or if we get interrupted, add my audio intro and that’s it. If there’s something I want to add at the beginning, I will. Then I make a bullet list of all the topics (with time-codes), links and quotes from the interview for a birds-eye view of the conversation. I constantly use my own podcast as a source of information.

Some people remove all the uhhs, hmms, stutters, awkward pauses and bad questions from their podcast — I don’t. By doing so, it forces me to be a better host and speaker if I take the time to do it right the first time. You also don’t spend the countless hours editing all that stuff from the audio which saves a ton of time and makes the podcast authentic.

I encourage you to listen to the first 3 episodes of my podcast to see what I’m talking about. I think I’m horrible but I also think that I get better with every interview I make.

How to start your own podcast

If you want to start a podcast, the easiest way to do so is to listen to other podcasts that inspire you. Ask you friends which podcasts they listen to, head over to iTunes to see what other people are doing. When you find a style you like, copy it — it’s an easy way to get started.

Once you develop a platform, you can take it and customize it the way you want it and how you like it. This is your show, you can do whatever it is you want to do. You could make the intro different every time, play you own music, throw in your kid talking — whatever. No producers or directors telling you how to act, you own it and you can do whatever you want. Be creative.

With that, I would like to share a few podcast I like: (iTunes links):

Minimal Podcast Gear

Links mentioned:

 

Style of the podcast

The DOcastMost podcast can be defined into three styles: talk-show, interview-based, or direct to audience. The style that I’ve really enjoyed and I found to be the most interesting, is it the interview-style.

I have a running list in Evernote and when I come across someone interesting or has inspired me in any way, I added them to the list. I then start to hack their email (article coming soon) or cold/call people on the list until I get a response. A very short and simple message about the podcast, people I’ve interviewed, why I think they would be great for the show, and one question at the end — “What do you think?”

Method of recording

Minimal Podcasting GearI really enjoy sitting down, face-to-face, and talking to someone for about an hour in their domain: office, walking, bar, restaurant, home couch, or coffee shop — In which, I don’t recommend. You want to try and have minimal background noise. I little isn’t too bad, it adds a little character to the podcast, but you don’t want to make it distracting. I found this method of recording to be the very best for me.

And when you’re sitting down with someone, with a discrete microphone, at their own domain; you can really get to know that person and you can have real, meaningful, casual conversation.

Face-to-face interviews are always the best. Once, I actually went as far as flying to Boulder, CO. for the day just to interview Justin Gold (podcast link), and flying back home to NOLA, then driving to Baton Rouge, getting in at 4am. But, that interview was important to me and Justin has been a great mentor for me in the last few months as we grow our food company.

However, you can’t always be in-person, and I use a call recorder via Skype and the Audio-Technica Mic.

How to gain credibility

If you’re like me, one who doesn’t have much credibility, it’s easier to get people who are local being that you share something in common. Try to reach out the local all-stars in your area or your hometown to start building a base and credibility. Once you grow credibility, it’s easier to get mutual friends from that person.

What’s the business plan?

For my podcast, my plan is simple. Have meaningful conversation with people who inspire me while learning how they got to that point. Boom. But, if I can give a self-plug or promote something I believe in to help pay for the show, I’m all for it.

Other Resources

One more tip

I wish I would’ve learned this at the beginning, and it’s to not take it so seriously — have fun, enjoy your time, you’re in control of this thing. If you really f*ck up, go back and delete it.

Be sure to stick around, we have some amazing guest coming on the podcast, like Patrick Fellows, Rachel Cruise, Dennis Lannotti, and hopefully one day — Tim Ferriss (click here to help me get him on). Be sure to check out my podcast, The DOcast, on iTunes, YouTube, or Stitcher Radio to get notified when these interviews are out.

If you’ve created your own podcast, I would love to hear it, to be on it, or be a part of it in any way. Let me know in the comments. Cheers!

4 thoughts on “How I started a podcast under $20”

  1. Thanks so much for this post. I jumped out of my chair when I got an email from you about this post as I have been looking for information of what equipment I need to start a podcast. I am definitely starting one and it would be an honor to have you on it.

    J-C

      1. HI Richard, I am terribly sorry that I didn’t respond to this. I am only seeing your comment now and I am back on this page to carefully go through exactly what I need to do to launch a Podcast. I have no equipment expect a PC(Not Mac), an iPhone and an iPad. I was thinking of using the GarageBand app to do my recordings.. what do you think?

        I wanted to ask you what you used your earbuds for when you interviewed Gaye Sandoz. I mean I honestly didn’t have a problem with the audio at all although one can clearly hear some of the background noise.

        So I am yet to do my first interview, In fact it might be this coming week but the date is not confirmed yet. I have a long list of people I would like to interview and you’re right on top of it. I literally would like to find out how I publish on iTunes once I have the recording done on an iPad perhaps. I am about to watch that Pat Flynn video you recommended and hopefully I will get some answers there. You could check out my first post about my first guest here on the Blog I started http://tothosewhostarted.tumblr.com/

        Please let me know what you think sir. I look forward to hearing from you again. I don’t know if I told you but I truly love your Blog.

        1. I think garageband on the iPad would work great. Use the iPad for you and the iPhone (on airplane mode) for your guest. I did use earbuds on my first interview, however I also did it during lunch at a restaurant — not the quietest setting either. So if you’re use just the earbuds it may be best to do it in a quiet setting. For editing the process might work best like this: Recording on iPad/iPhone > Editing on iPad > Publishing on PC.

          I love your audacity and passion JC, I’ll be more than happy to help you any way I can, send me an email on the contact page about the podcast, I’m looking forward to it.

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