I have been a fan of podcasts since I heard my first podcast in 2004. This was prior to iTunes adding podcast support and unlimited data plans, and finding and subscribing to podcasts was a much more cumbersome process. You had to download a podcatcher app, find the RSS feed for a podcast, add the RSS feed to the podcatcher, then add the downloaded files to your music application or MP3 player. Back in those days, podcasting was more of a niche/geek medium.
What attracted me to podcasts was the sheer variety of podcasts, and how virtually anyone with a microphone could podcast. They provided an amazing variety of content compared to the stale world of local radio.
In the subsequent decade, podcasting has become much more mainstream, with many of the top podcasts lists comprised of recordings of professional radio broadcasts. Yet it remains a medium with a low barrier to entry, allowing anyone with an idea to create a podcast and be listed in the same venue as popular podcasts like This American Life.
But my love of audio broadcasting goes back further than 2004. I grew up on a farm in southwestern Minnesota. When we had a television, we only got three television stations, two of which were CBS. When the president or Billy Graham were speaking, they were the only thing on. When I was in second grade, our television broke, and my parents didn’t replace it.
This meant that my entertainment medium was radio. I spent many nights when I was supposed to be sleeping listing to my radio, navigating around the AM band. In the midwest where everything is flat, during certain times of the year, you can pick up AM radio stations from across the country. I heard many broadcasts of CBS Radio Mystery Theater (which is pretty scary if you listen when the lights are turned off during a thunder storm), I heard weird late night call-in talk shows from Denver and WLS in Chicago. When my friends were watching He Man and the Masters of the Universe, i was listening to Paul Harvey The Rest of the Story.
I had dreams of working in radio when I grew up, and I studied radio broadcasting in college. When I found out more about the reality of how modern radio industry works, reality took over, and my career took me into sales and then software consulting.
Fast forward to 2015, some friends asked me how to start a podcast. While I theoretically knew that podcasts were audio or video filed distributed via RSS feeds, I didn’t know the specific steps to take a recorded file to a feed that could be downloaded in one of the common podcast apps. And I also found most of the guides out there explaining how to podcast to be incomplete or overly technical.
So I decided to learn how podcasts work by creating one myself.
In this series of posts, I will detail my podcast journey, including how I podcast, equipment you need (and don’t need), podcast production tips, getting listed on leading podcast applications and directories, and how to avoid mistakes that I have made.