This morning I recorded my first podcast with fellow MCDM student Dan Kirk (hopefully I can finish editing it tonight and post it tomorrow morning/afternoon). My first impression of creating a podcast was it was torturous. As some who has listened to as much radio as I have and understands what makes a broadcast listenable, it was difficult to replicate it in my closet.
There’s something that happens when you press record. For me, no matter how many times I’ve rehearsed my talking points and how comfortable I feel talking with a guest off air, my mind automatically blanks. As I am editing my podcast, I can hear how uncomfortable I am. I speak faster than I normally do and the nervous laughter followed by a second of dead air demonstrate this. I wanted my podcast to sound as organic and natural as possible so Dan and I did nothing to prepare except create a playlist. This brings me to the first lesson I have learned about podcasting: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation. This podcast lacked a clear focus. From now on, each podcast will have a clearly stated focus (some ideas I’m thinking about are “worst song lyrics,” “Most overrated band/artist,” and “best soundtrack”). Ideally, I should have rehearsed a few talking points with Dan as opppose to asking him his first impression of a song he was listening to for the first time.
The microphone I bought was cheap- it produced a gritty sounding podcast that is tantamount to a radio station that can’t be tuned in completely. This problem needs to be addressed immediately. Poor quality podcasts are not going to tolerated by my potential listening audience and listeners will simply unsubscribe rather than being subjected to a poor quality recording. As I write this, an hour after I finished my recording, I have learned my second lesson of broadcasting: SOUND QUALITY REALLY DOES MATTER. Tomorrow I will research cheap, simply ways to sound proof my closet recording studio which should also help minimize background noise.
Another lesson learned was distance matters. Prior to recording, we conducted an audio test to make sure the sound quality was acceptable, but during the show it was difficult to be aware of my microphone distance and have a conversation. I could have done a better job maintaining a consistent distance from the microphone ensures the recording volume will be consistent throughout. I am strongly considering investing in a headset to solve this problem.
I am going to end this first reflection with an appropriate quote by the host and producer of the radio show This American Life, Ira Glass: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not [good]. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.”
As much as I want to scrap this entire project and do something that is less challenging, I genuinely want to get better at broadcasting. I don’t have years to become a professional like Ira Glass, but I promise my listeners this: I won’t give up and I will have one “good” podcast by December.