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How I make... Podcast Pontifications

· By · 6.8 minutes to read

People often ask me why it takes me 3.5 hours to produce an episode that lasts for less than 10 minutes. Then they ask me why I do it four times a week and have done so for almost 350 episodes. I shall explain, but let me cover the gear first:

Sound Conditioning: I have seven (7) Audimute fabric acoustic panels mounted on my office/studio/spare bedroom walls. Each is 2’x4’ (61cm by 122 cm for literally everyone else in the world other than Americans), with six on the walls adjacent to my microphone and one on the wall on the far side of the room. Behind me are two isolé® Sound Barrier Sheets blocking the sliding closet doors and effectively eliminating any reflection re-entering my microphone. Yes, that’s a lot. But, with the possible exception of the grey sheets blocking the closet, it looks beautiful in there and very much not like a studio.

Microphone: Shure SM7B mounted on a VIVO swingarm-mount. I use the optional “football” foam windscreen that comes with the mic instead of the thinner standard screen. But it means I don’t have to use a pop filter. That, and I’m good at controlling my plosives.

Audio Interface: Zoom H6, which is underpowered for a gain-hungry mic like the SM7B. While I can boost the gain, running the H6 at 95% gain exposes the relatively noisy electronics inside. So I use a Fethead in-line mic preamp, which is built with wizardry to increase the gain and, weirdly, lowers the noise floor. See “wizardry”. (Nota bene: I have an EVO 8 on order from Audient. Not just because of the name. But OK, mostly because of the name. I won’t need the Fethead with this interface, and the H6 will be pressed into service as a field recorder. If I can ever go out and record in the field again.)

Computer: Mac Mini, which is my dedicated studio computer. Small, noise-free, reliable, and rather affordable, I think.

DAW: Hindenburg Journalist Pro, using Izotope RX-7 Elements, Nectar 3, and Vocal Rider by Waves Audio. Always. Every time.

Camera: No, Podcast Pontifications is not a video podcast. But yes, there is a video version. All recorded on a Logitech C920. Oh, and a cheap-ish ring light to improve my lighting. Remember when I said it’s not a video podcast? Yeah, it’s not. It’ll make more sense in a moment.

Media Hosting Company: Captivate.fm, of which I sit on the Advisory Board. (Disclosure - so does Podnews’s Editor).

Website: PodcastPontifications.com is managed via and hosted by Webfow, a very cool no-code site builder and hosting platform that I’m growing quite fond of, even though I’m no designer.

Other Software: Sharethrough’s Headliner Analyzer, Unsplash, Preview, Descript, Google Docs, Canva, Webcam Settings, Substack, Medium, Buffer, Kid3, and either Wirecast (or Quicktime as a backup).

All right, I think I’ve thoroughly exhausted the list of “things”. Let’s get into why this takes me 21x the length of my episodes to make one, shall we?

Pre-production: This is worthy of a bulleted list, methinks.

Production

Post-Production

The Writing

Because my episodes are only loosely scripted, I often find myself feeling out the topic as I record my thoughts aloud. To me, that’s part of the charm of the audio. I’d even call it “authentic” if I didn’t despise the term.

However, what makes for a compelling listen does not necessarily make for a compelling read, and a surprisingly large percentage of my audience prefers to read my words. That’s fine with me. To facilitate that, take the ~1,500-word transcript and re-write it. Yes. All of it. Oh, I might save a sentence here or there, and I do preserve the overall flow of the content as it will be presented in audio. But I re-write everything, which allows me to engage the editorial parts of my brain to clean up after the live performer. Sometimes I expand on elements only mentioned briefly in audio. Usually, I cut a lot of the repeats and reinforcement that works well in audio but reads quite repeatedly in the text.

When I’m happy with the final text of the article, I create a condensed version used as the episode details. You likely refer to this as “show notes”, another term that I loathe.

It’s now somewhere around 9:00a. 2.5 hours have passed since I sat down at the studio computer.

Publishing & Distribution

I send Allie, my production assistant, the raw video, the wide image, the raw image, and the Google Doc that now contains all the text necessary for publishing the video. No, this isn’t a video podcast. But she’ll post the video to LinkedIn, my company’s Facebook page, and to YouTube. She trims the video and inserts the transitions, much as I did for the audio. This takes her about a half-hour.

Meanwhile, I use the text to finalize the .mp3 file’s ID3 tags (yes, I still use them), schedule the article for publishing on my website, post the audio file on Captivate, schedule the newsletter to publish on Substack, and schedule the social shares via Buffer.

Once I’m satisfied that the text and the audio are correctly scheduled for today’s episode, I syndicate yesterday’s episode to Medium.

It’s now 9:30. The episode goes live at 10. Time for more yerba mate and to start my day.

The end.

Evo started podcasting on October 14, 2004. He is the co-author of Podcasting for Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies. Today, he launches podcasts for professional service providers and businesses who want to make shows that lead to measurable business results.

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