Ever wondered what’s involved when being a guest on a podcast? Below are a few key points that I tend to mention to each guest. I thought I’d consolidate them here for quick reference…

The podcast is not live!

I do a lot of editing afterwards, and it’s easy to chop bits out whilst editing. If you need to pause and think about how you’re going to answer a question - that’s fine - I chop that pause out. If you need to stop and Google something because you can’t remember the name - that’s fine too, I chop that out. If you need to cough, sneeze, have a drink, or go to the loo - that’s also fine. Also, if you say something that you then want to rephrase, or say more clearly - just say so, pause, and try again. I can cut out the first attempt.

The finished podcast will always be much more seamless than during recording. Knowing this up-front, should hopefully make it a much more relaxing and less stressful experience.

How do we record?

I use a platform called Zencastr for recording the audio. Zencastr is just a webapp, and there’s nothing to install. It has video too so that we can see each other, but only the audio will be recorded. Zencastr automatically records high-quality wav files locally for each person, and uploads it in the background. I can then download those wav files later for editing. I get a wav file per person, so I can edit each person’s audio as a separate audio channel - which makes a huge difference to my ability to edit. It might be worth joining the Zencastr link beforehand to ensure that your system passes all its health-checks.

What planning is involved before hand?

I normally create a shared Google Doc and share with the guest(s). This is basically a brain-dump, where both myself and guest(s) can dump ideas into it. This’ll form a rough structure to the show. But given the shows are very conversational, we don’t need to stick with that structure, and we can go off-piste. The doc is just a rough guide.

Do I need a super-duper microphone?

A microphone that isn’t your built-in laptop microphone is definitely preferred. This doesn’t have to be a super-duper few-hundred-pound microphone though! If you have a headset with a directional mic - that’ll be much better than a built-in laptop mic. Or even those Apple earbuds with built-in mic are surprisingly good quality.

Also aim to limit background noise. I can cut this out when myself or another guest is talking - but I can’t cut out noises in the background when you’re talking (as it’ll be part of the same wav recording). Perhaps do a few test recordings beforehand using a tool like Audacity and listen back through headphones. Also listen out for echo from your voice bouncing off the walls.

When it comes down to it - if you’re concerned about your audio quality - just ask me, and we can discuss different ideas together beforehand to get the most of of your setup. And we can also do a test recording beforehand if you’re still unsure.

Anything else I need to know?

  • Please try to use headphones or earphones instead of a speaker - this limits your microphone also picking up your speakers.
  • I normally do “dev-tips” at the end - where both myself and the guest does a dev-tip. This is completely optional - but if you’re happy doing one, then time to get your thinking cap on! :) Basically, a short tip - anything you like - doesn’t just have to be dev-related - for example, I’ve done productivity tips on past shows.
  • Have fun!