Since it wasn’t clear whether or not Library Bytegeist would continue after the end of Molly’s fellowship at METRO, the entire process of creating the podcast was as DIY and iterative as possible.
Here are the basics:
- 2 Blue Yeti USB microphones
- 2 sets of over-ear headphones (like these industry standards)
- Reaper open source software (you can also use a recorder, like a little Zoom H1, or even your phone, using something like the StoryCorps app)
- Our AMAZING new 5 x 7 foot VocalBooth
We went with Reaper because it is really inexpensive for non-profits (only $60 for a license), but it has much more sophisticated functionality than free software like Audacity. Reaper is a great open source alternative to Pro Tools, and there are excellent community-created tutorials.
Transcribe helps you create transcriptions quickly by hand like Molly does, or using decent an automated speech-to-text tool. Transcriptions are time-consuming but essential for accessibility, discoverability, and editing!
Distribution / hosting
It is important to consider how you will collect data about how people download and listen to your podcast. By creating a Podtrac account from the beginning, you can add a string to the link where you post your podcast and get numbers about how many people download it on which platforms. Getting detailed metrics on how people listen to podcasts has been historically difficult because it’s impossible to know whether people listen to the track after they download it, and for how long, but Apple just made an important announcement that it will give podcast creators access to more detailed analytics. So things are changing!
Education / Resources
Luckily audio / radio production is a really welcoming field, so the radio greats have been sharing their secrets for years! There are also super helpful networks of independent audio producers, many of whom are happy to share their experiences and help audio newbies out. Here are some resources Molly found helpful in the production of Library Bytegeist:
Online resources: websites / networks / festivals
- Out on the Wire: Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio by Jessica Abel
- Radio Diaries DIY Handbook by Joe Richman, illustrated by Isaac Kestenbaum (available for free as an online handbook)
- Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production by Jonathan Kern
Classes (in the NYC area and beyond)
Be prepared to learn as you go along! We have experimented with length, style, and sound design. Molly has made every mistake in the books: recording distorted tracks, losing files, editing every speaker on a single track, not using compression … but it’s okay! The most important thing is the content. Everything else is just gravy. Also maybe don’t make the name of your podcast a double pun that is difficult to spell …