Starting a podcast from scratch

In the News Young Professionals

For the last five weeks Noah Manderfeld, Reece Van Haaften, and Matt Infield—the ‘sports guys’ at WSAW-TV have collaborated to do a weekly podcast.

There is a lot of freedom with podcasts. They’re basically like an audio blog, right? But if you work in TV, the path to starting a podcast may seem a little foreign.

Manderfeld said he had been doing podcasts before coming to WSAW and when the topic came up during the hiring process he knew it was something he wanted to continue.

“We first had to find a host. Through previous experience, I had always used Anchor as my host. It’s free, it will connect you to different platforms, and best of all it had no audio limit. The majority of other sites have a free option, but they limit the amount of audio posted. However, when it came to a more professional podcast with an actual budget, there were far more upsides with a paid option,” Noah said.

After chats with the news director on content and workflow, the idea was given the green light.

“Podbean is the one we settled with, which is a $9 investment per month. It provides more detailed statistics, allows for easier customization, and adds unlimited audio on top of that. If you end up selling advertising, upgrade to the $30 plan,” he said.

He said it’s a good idea to sign up weeks before your first official episode so you can create a trailer.

“This is because when Podbean or any other hosting site distributes your podcast to Apple, Spotify, and Google for approval, many require a piece of audio before they give the thumbs up. However, you would like to have your podcast on those sites by the time the first “real” episode goes up. This approval can take up to a week, so give it ample time to approve before going full steam with production by making a simple, short intro to your podcast.”

So in the days of social distancing what does production of a podcast look like?

“Currently, we record using Zoom. With the pandemic, it makes things much easier. When it comes to our own audio, I honestly plug in my typical XLR stick microphone into my camera and record. It’s the easiest, most accessible form of audio at home for many of us in this profession. As long as you are in a room that doesn’t echo or have a strong room tone (like a fridge or furnace), the audio will turn out just fine,” he said.

“When it comes to editing, I like to download the Zoom with separate audio tracks. It’s a simple setting in Zoom that goes a long way. You can modify specific audio tracks to balance audio and fix potential disruptions, should they happen. I try to line up my external audio with the Zoom audio by matching the wavelengths on the timeline. This is typically done in our video editing software, Edius, because it allows for easy, layered audio editing. I have used Audacity (a free audio editing software) plenty of times and have never been able to efficiently edit with it. As long as the final product is in an MP3 format, most hosting platforms will not have an issue with it. Find some licensed music that fits the theme of the podcast and weave it into your podcast.”

Noah said if you’re just starting it’s a good idea to listen to other podcasts for format ideas.

Heather Poltrock
WSAW-TV, Wausau