How to Create Interview Podcasts on the Cheap

Here is a step-by-step guide on how I create a interview podcast. It’s inexpensive and very mobile. Just about anywhere you can have a conversation with someone you can record what you talk about and share the results with others. To learn more about Podcasting in general please see my article Podcasting Tutorial and Intro. Click more for the rest of the tutorial.

First you need a bit of cheap gear.

A) A computer w/internet access – Drop by your local computer technology center, library, or a friends to use their computer.

B) Olympus DS-2 – A wonderful voice recorder with a stereo microphone, a microphone input, earbud headphones, a external speaker, USB, and software that creates uncompressed versions of your recordings!

C) Cheap External Mic – (Optional) The Labtec AM-222 is a good handheld mono microphone with a 1/8_ high impedance jack. Works great with the Olympus DS-2 and isolates a persons voice well.

D) Weblog – Lots of varieties help you podcast. I like the Open Source php/MySQL based Word Press. See this article about how to Podcast with Word Press 1.5. It should work out of the box.

You can learn more about this stuff here. The Olympus DS-2 is only $120, lots of Weblogs that can podcast are free, and you can access a computer for free at a library or community center.

Podcast Interviews Step by Step

1) Find a Story – everyone has one, find one that interest you

2) Write Some Questions – There is bound to be something you and others want to know about the person you’re interviewing.

3) Practice Asking Questions – Ask a friend some of the questions you wrote. It’s good to get comfortable with your questions before start recording audio. Get feedback from your friend on how you did. Research the subjects areas you want to discuss.

4) Get an Interview

  1. Schedule – Email or call the person you’d like to interview. Ask them very nicely. Tell them you’re an amateur and will not profit from this. Most people love to talk about themselves.
  2. Spontaneous – You can also just walk up to people in public places and ask them questions. This takes humility and kindness too. It’s intimidating for some to be interviewed on the spot. Smile. I’ve heard wearing a funny hat helps. 😀

5) Prepare – Now that you have an interview scheduled make sure you have everything you need. Batteries? Check! Voice Recorder? Check! Ear buds? Check! Questions? Check! Are you relaxed? Just take lots of deep breaths. Do you know how to pronounce interviewee’s name?

6) Interview – Meet the person your interviewing. Find a quite place to talk. Relax and think about having a conversation with an old friend. If your using a external microphone plug it into the voice recorder. Point the microphone at the person your interview. Don’t hold the microphone too close to their mouth. Remember to point the microphone at yourself when you ask a question.

  1. As soon as you start recording don’t say anything for about three seconds.
  2. Introduce yourself. Say your websites name too.
  3. Introduce your guest. Say their name and a bit about them
  4. Ask your questions
  5. LISTEN, try not to talk too much or over your guest
  6. Say goodbye to the people listening, say your name, say your websites name
  7. Say nothing for about three seconds. Hit stop.

7) Thank the person you interviewed – Tell them your weblog URL. Be sure to write down their URL and the CORRECT spelling of their name. You might want a bio from them too.

8) Copy audio from Voice Recorder – The Olympus DS-2 connects to a computer via USB. It will mount on your desktop just like a hard drive. The DS-2 comes with software that will make downloading the audio off of the device easier AND it will convert the audio to a lossless audio file type AIFF (Mac) or WAV (PC). This will make it MUCH easier to convert your audio into a MP3 that everyone can play.

9) Tweak Audio (Optional) – I like to raise and or lower the gain on the audio so it sounds good on lots of speakers. Plus sometimes I put a fade in at the beginning and a fade out at the end of the audio. Here are some articles on how-to use a great free piece of Open Source audio software called Audacity.

10) Convert your interview into a MP3 – The majority of software and devices out there right now can play MP3 encoded audio. There are lots of other audio file types that sound better and are Open Source but right now we have a majority standard so if you want the most people to have the ability to listen to your audio use MP3. I suggest that you convert your audio to a mono file that’s encoded at 64kbps and 16 bit.

11) Upload MP3 to web – I use a ftp client to get the MP3s on my webserver. Some weblog software will allow you to upload files via a web browser. Be sure to remember where the files is uploaded too. You’ll need to know the full URL that you MP3 resides at. (ex. http://www.yourwebserver.com/your_podcast.mp3)

12) Blog about Audio – The best podcasters are good bloggers. You need to write about the person you interviewed, what you asking them, and what you talked about. Link directly to the MP3 you made in your weblog post. Including the size of the MP3 in Mega Bytes and how long it is in minutes and seconds is a good idea.

13) Podcast your MP3 – RSS 2.0 is the key to Podcasting. The rest of this how-to is nothing new really, but once you ENCLOSE your MP3 in a RSS file people can automate the download of the audio you made. My Podcasting Into and Tutorial can give you all the details of how this works. For now if you are using the weblog software the MP3 you linked to should automatically be in your RSS feed.

14) Tell people about Your Podcast – Email or call the person you interviewed and tell them where they can find the MP3 you made. Many times your guests can be your best word of mouth advertising. List your site and podcast URL on Podcast directories like the one at Podcast.net.

15) Start OVER – The more you create podcasts the easier it gets. At first this looks likes a lot of steps. But as you do it you’ll see they all sort of run together and this process becomes quite natural.

If you have any questions about Podcasting or get stuck with any of these steps please contact me and search Google with the keywords Podcast and How-To. Please leave any creative criticism you might have in the comments.

One thought on “How to Create Interview Podcasts on the Cheap”

  1. Thank you so much for that very informative guide. You make it sound so easy and I want to run right out and get an Olympus DS-2! This is so amazing!

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