How to be a podcastermain
Our diarist Anthea Kreston is back – and with a new string to her bow:
It’s been a busy couple of weeks – my last concert with the Artemis Quartet in Paris was also the first day that I began my new work on podcasting. It’s a lot of fun to do – learning new equipment, researching for interviews, editing and designing the flow of a program. Here I will give a “how to” list of starting your own podcast – from the simplest way to more high-end. And also I will include a list of some of my favorite classical music podcasts to listen to. Enjoy!
This can be, like anything I suppose, a never-ending quest for the next best piece of hardware, the fanciest doo-dad or accoutrement. At one point I was so tangled in my own cords while walking around interviewing people that I ordered a fishing vest and cargo pants online so I could have enough pockets for all my various tidbits. I looked pretty professional, I bet.
You have to decide what kind of podcast you want to do. Face-to-face interviews? Inside or outside? Remote interviews? No interviews – just you?
Here is a list of hardware and software – you can do a podcast for free on your phone and GarageBand or Audacity. Or you can get a professional set-up for around €750. Or you can start small and add as you go.
Level 1 – your phone with internal mic
Level 2 – your phone with an external microphone plugged into the bottom (I use a Shure MV88 digital stereo mic – it’s about the size of an apricot and plugs into the bottom of my iPhone, using phantom power from the phone – no batteries, €144). A phone can be nice because you also have the option of a Vlog – Video Blog.
Level 3 – Zoom recorder – I have the H4n Pro (€195). This handy little recorder is amazing – two attached mics can be used at either 90 degrees or 120 degrees, and by putting a fuzzy windscreen on it, you can record outside
Level 4 – audio interface – this is something that attached to your computer to create professional-level audio – it is small enough that you can bring it with you, but it is the foundation of a good home-studio. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (€122) which can be used for a single mic or double.
Levels 1-2 – See above
Level 3: professional shotgun mic – I use a Rode NTG-4 directional mic (€229). This is a professional-quality mic which is also very versatile. It can be plugged into your Scarlett/computer for your solo voice (or get a second for studio interviews), and also on-location – plug it into one of the 2 inputs on the Zoom H4N Pro for interviews anywhere you want (put a fuzzy windscreen on if you are outside). You zoom can record 4 channels at once – when outside, you can have the Rode for your subject, a clip-on mic for yourself (plugged into the second input) and use the internal Zoom mics set at 120 degrees to catch birds, traffic, audience “peas and carrots”…..at home, get a mic stand (clip or portable for on-location interviews, €10-20), and a pop-filter (removes the hard “s” and “t” sounds (€15)
A pair of clip-on lapel mics. I use Comica CVM V020 XLR Omni-directional (€80 for a pair). They also come with adorable little windscreens (think Tribbles from Star Trek) so you can use them outside. If you have 2 people you are interviewing, you can have each wear one (plugged into the Zoom) and you can use the internal Zoom microphones set at 90 degrees for yourself.
Get yourself a nice pair of headphones. You need these for the Scarlett, for on-location recording, and maybe editing (lots of options – between €75-130).
Of course you can always add on – I have rechargeable batteries, external power supply for the Zoom, high-quality cables, extra SD cards…..
Level 1: GarageBand or Audacity – these are both free – I use a combination of both for different reasons. You can also upgrade to fancier systems.
Planning and implementing:
The most important thing is to start organized, and remain organized. Folders on your computer with detailed sub-folders – for audio files, writing your material, outlining your programs, planning the interviews, having a library of bios and pertinent historical information.
I use Scrivener for planning (€20). It is a program designed for authors to be able to organize materials, make outlines, and it is totally amazing. I have an entire section on how each of my pieces of equipment works, with their attached instruction manual. I wouldn’t be able to make a podcast without this.
I also do a lot of recording via Skype (free). It’s super convenient, and by recording also with my Zoom (Skype also can record internally – I do both), you can get a super sound.
Have fun, experiment, get used to how terrible your voice sounds! There are a lot of YouTube things for equipment, organizing your podcast, editing. Resonate Recordings has a nice series. There are endless things I could write here, but this should get you started. Feel free to ask questions – I would be happy to help!
Some of my favorite Classical Podcasts:
Sticky Notes, Joshua Weilerstein
Skip the Repeat, Kai Talim
BBC Music Matters, Tom Service
And – if you want to check out what I have been doing for the last 2 weeks look online for the Pierre Boulezsaal, under Quartet Week. Here is the link https://boulezsaal.de/quartet-
Have a great week!