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BlogElul Day 3: Prepare

Podcasts are a funny beast.

On the one hand, they appear to happen spontaneously – a bunch of friends have a neat topic idea, they grab a recording device, have an insightful conversation punctuated by witty banter, hit “save”, hit “post” and voila! Podcast achieved.

On the other hand, they clearly take up significant levels of time, energy, and even money to be done correctly.

So I thought it might be interesting to share the preparation we take here on Technically Religious to pull together an episode.

Lay the Foundation

  • Before you can even record episode 1, you need a place to host the podcast, equipment to record, software to record with, and more. When we first conceived of the idea of Technically Religious, we set up a few accounts:
  • web hosting through SiteGround
  • podcast hosting via PodBean
  • podcast recording via CAST
  • audio editing with Audacity
  • audio transcriptions using Temi
  • production planning with Trello
  • free images via Unsplash, Pexels, and/or Pixabay
  • realtime (or near-realtime communication with Slack
  • episode breakdowns via Google Docs

Everyone involved had to make sure they had decide recording equipment too. Some of us went off the deep end and went with the Yeti Snowball, and others showed some restraint and stuck with the headsets and mics they normally use for meetings and such.

Lights, Camera, Action!

With all of that in place, we were (and are) able to create each episode. The preparation looks something like this:

  • Roundtable discussions (usually via email or Slack) for topic ideas
  • Decide on which regular members will join in, solicit guests for the episode
  • Schedule the record for one of our standard slots (Sunday or Monday evening)
  • Set up a Google doc to jot down brainstorming ideas, etc.
  • 30 min before the record, everyone jumps on a call to review the brainstorming, nail down the specific talking points, and talk through the episode so that everyone has a sense of where the conversation is headed.
  • Record the episode
  • Download the audio tracks and edit
    • extract the “tag” line
    • Clean up the audio – fixing sound quality, removing pauses, mistakes, and irrelevant chatter,
    • add standard intro and outtro
    • add back the tag line at the end
    • save to MP3
  • Upload to Podbean and to the website as new posts
  • Upload to TEMI for transcription
    • clean up auto-transcription by adding speaker names, cleaning up “um” and “uh”, fixing mis-transcriptions
  • Add the transcripts to the Podbean and website posts
  • Add website posts for “Next Week”, “ICYMI”, “Catch Up”, etc.

And through it all, promote on social media.

If you’re read this far, and you are curious, it takes about 6-7 person-hours to produce a 30 minute, 3-voice episode. Since all of us have decades of IT experience, we were prepared for the level of work it was going to require.

But what none of us were prepared for was the level of interest, support, and – yes, I mean it – love that we get from the community.

Thank you!

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