Have you heard or watched some of the great GonnaGeek podcasts and thought, “I can do that!” Or maybe you are really passionate about a subject and want to share your expertise with the world? Perhaps you just want to find like-minded people to share your interests. Whatever your reason this is an exciting time to start a podcast and I can’t tell you how many people have asked me for details on how to start a podcast since I started producing podcasts myself. I am always available to chat about podcasting. It’s my hobby. I’m a serious podcasting hobbyist. I even listen to podcasts about podcasting and often talk tips of the trade with other podcasters both on GonnaGeek and outside of the network. I participate in online groups about podcasting and keep track of relevant podcasting news. So while I might not know everything there is to know about podcasting I do know a few things about how to get started as a hobby podcaster.
Anyone can do a podcast. I know paraplegics that podcast. I know 7 year old children that podcast. I know 80 year olds that podcast. You do NOT have to be a Rocket Scientist to know how to podcast. However, podcasts – even in there simplest form – have a lot of moving parts. Subject matter, format, frequency, scheduling, presenters or hosts, media hosting, podcast art, web hosting, interviews, ID3 tags, royalty free music, URLs, RSS, recording, editing, posting, preparation, and more. All of these need to be considered and most likely used. But none of those topics are tough by itself and if you have questions about any of them please ask myself or Stephen and we’ll be glad to point you in the right direction. There’s no one right answer for everyone. But given your goals and how you want to proceed we can more likely than not set you off in a direction that is the most effective and efficient.
So what if you want to try podcasting before you put a lot of effort and perhaps even money into it? I would highly recommend guesting on a podcast or being interviewed. That is actually how I did it. Chuck, Audra and Sean of Galactic Watercooler were very kind to allow me to guest on my first podcast in December 2011. I sincerely appreciate them for presenting me with that opportunity. I learned tips and techniques from that one podcast that I still use today.
Most people aren’t lucky enough to be co-located with their podcasting community these days which is why communication applications like Skype, Google Hangouts On Air and Blab have all become popular with podcasters. Not only can you communicate digitally with your cohosts real-time, but you can record and stream to the internet your live podcast session with tremendous ease.
Most people can Skype, Hangout or Blab through their smartphones these days nearly anywhere. But if you want to get the most out of your experience and open your opportunities up to higher audio quality podcasts, there are a couple of relatively inexpensive USB microphones that I would highly recommend investing in. They are dynamic microphones and not condenser microphones which means the background and room noise will be mostly mitigated and you don’t have to lock yourself in a soundproof wardrobe to get great sound. The two recommendations I have are dual USB and XLR which means if you do continue on to full-on podcasting that the microphones will grow with your podcasting setup. And these microphones have been demonstrated to hold their own with microphones that cost in the $300-$500 range. Finally, these microphones are some of the most inexpensive microphones available for the capability. They are a definite bargain for what you get.
The first recommended microphone is the Audio Technica ATR-2100 Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone. As I write this article it is retailing on Amazon for $58 but I have seen it on sale for as little as $35-$40. It’s silver and has a round microphone cage or screen that you talk into. The package comes with a little microphone stand and clip with both a 6 foot USB and XLR cord. This is an amazing deal at the price and a steal when it is on sale. I cannot recommend this microphone enough to anyone who is beginning in podcasting. You will get close to studio quality sound from it and not have to do a thing except for plugging it into whatever tech you are currently using with the USB capability. Fellow GonnaGeek podcasters Haley, Jay, Eric, Jonathan, and Stephen own and regularly use this microphone.
The second recommend microphone is the Audio Technica AT2005 Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone. It is largely the same microphone with the same quality sound. The cage might have a better internal foam based pop filter, it is black, it comes with a neat carry case, and the on-off switch is flat to the microphone body. Otherwise it’s the same. The AT2005 is my favorite microphone because I like the look better and the functionality and versatility is a wonder to me. If I had known about the AT2005 in December 2011 I would have bought one immediately. This microphone is diligently packed away in my podcasting mobile or go-bag and I love every time I use it. As with the ATR2100, the AT2005 is owned and used by several GonnaGeek podcasters including Shannon, Lauren, Stephen, Chris, Neil, and frequent GonnaGeek guest host Ferris. The AT2005 is selling for $79 on Amazon as I write this article but it is often on sale for the $45-$50 price range as well.
If you want to try podcasting, guest hosting, being interviewed or just leaving a better quality voicemail for podcasts these two microphones will give you the experience you need to determine if you want to go further. Do you need either of these two microphones? No. Of course not. But if you want to get the best podcasting beginners experience one of these microphones will get you going in a great direction.
As always, if you have any questions please give me a shout-out!