#Podcasting is as cheap as ever
In the last year, I’ve slowed down on podcasting, but I still like the medium a great deal. I still pay attention to the trends of how it’s done, and read a lot about process. It’s a fun hobby to follow, because there’s actually not much to it.
Wait, there are setup costs? Couldn’t you just slap an iPhone on a coffee table, pull up the voice recorder app, and start talking? In theory, yes, but here was my first gross underestimation: Live audio is a technical, cumbersome, and unforgiving medium. If you want a half-decent audio experience for your listeners (and trust me, even your besties have many, many high-quality options), you need to mitigate background noise, sirens, dogs, clinking jewelry, and AC vents—which is hard without some investment in specialized audio equipment. I settled for the middle of the road technology, and it still set me back more than I was expecting.
While this isn’t quite as crazy as what Dan Benjamin suggests in The Podcast Method, Hy’s setup is pretty expensive. And to someone who’s just looking to start, this can be intimidating advice.
I wrote a post a few years back called “How to publish a podcast on the cheap in 4 steps with lots of compromises”, and most of that advice still works today. I’m not against people spending money on this if they’re enjoying that fetish process, but it absolutely isn’t required. The only pay wall to podcasting is the one you build yourself.
Hy also talks about post-production and editing, and how much of a time suck it can be. In this regard, Hy is completely correct: it can take so much longer to post-produce audio than you think.
Jocelyn K Glei talks about this on a recent episode of Hurry Slowly. She unpacks her shows’ planning process and gives an accurate description of a common podcasting conundrum: how much time do I actually want to spend making this perfect?
It’s a question everyone should ask. I, for one, very much fall on one extreme side: I don’t post produce at all, and I often use inexpensive recording equipment. I want to spend 99% of the time recording the show, and 1% uploading it.
The only thing I’m kinda fetishistic about is writing show notes, but even I purposefully ignore them sometimes.
Again, if you like post production audio work, awesome. Podcasting can a bottomless well of work. Depending on who you know, it may even be lucrative. But just like how you don’t need anything other than your phones’ mic to record, you don’t need to edit, and you don’t need to pay a hosting site, and you don’t need to sell ads. If any of this is stopping you from making a podcast, quit worrying about it. Just start.