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Podcast production: More than meets the eye

When we listen to podcasts, we can take for granted the work that’s gone into producing the finished article we consume. It might come across as two people who casually picked up some microphones, clicked the record button and started chatting. Often, it’s the perceived informality of a podcast that attracts us. It feels like having a casual conversation with some friends. 

The reality is more complex. There is a lot more to producing a high quality, successful podcast.

For a start, a lot of planning goes into structuring a podcast. The content and format need to be defined. What structure will be followed? Will it have sequential segments? Will there be guests? Ultimately, the podcast’s structure will be vital to delivering the key intended messages and image. 

Podcasts could be based on the same topic but will be structured differently due to their objectives. Consider these two prominent podcasts on boxing: 5 Live Boxing with Steve Bunce, and Boxing Life Stories. Both are about the same topic. However, in the 5 Live podcasts, the subjects are all topical. It’s a show aimed at keeping the listener on top of recent events in boxing. Boxing Life Stories, on the other hand, is targeted more around delivering narrative pieces to inspire its listeners, allowing people who have been involved in boxing to discuss and reflect on their careers at length.

The right equipment is also a critical factor in ensuring the quality of a podcast. Budget plays a major role in the kind of equipment that can be used but, even with a restricted budget, there are options that can enhance the sound quality. The type of podcast being produced also plays a part in which equipment will be appropriate. For example, a solo podcast will require different equipment than a podcast with multiple hosts or guests. Other factors to consider include reducing the noise in your immediate vicinity, selecting the best recording software, the room acoustics and the headphones that are important to hear how your voice sounds while recording, as well as monitoring audio quality while editing.

A vital part of the production process is editing. Editing can be the difference between a podcast with some good features that is too long and bloated and a polished, sharp and highly entertaining podcast that keeps the listener engaged. Editing is crucial to ensure your podcast flows smoothly and has a high quality final product. The editing process can also help to ensure that the podcast’s tone and style remain consistent.

Producing a podcast is far more than what the listener or viewer sees in the final product. There is an art, strategy and graft that goes behind it that takes a considerable amount of work and planning. A well produced podcast stands head and shoulders above others and is far more popular with listeners. 

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