CAMP 2014: Learning the ins-and-outs of podcasting

Story by 2014 Fellow Elaine Rita Mendus

Radio journalism is an art, and there has never been an easier opportunity to get involved because of podcasting. At JAWS CAMP 2014, radio journalism and podcast experts Gina Delvac and Katie McMurran went over a variety of information, from finding equipment, recording, editing software suggestions, and even distribution methods.

The session began with discussion over recording equipment. Delvac and McMurran suggested using XLR microphones similar to those used in normal recording studios, as well as headphones.

While XLR microphones might be intimidating, the entry level microphones remained under $200 dollars – with pricier mics available in the $400 range. The use of an iPhone or iPod to pick up audio also can work, and might be a more viable option for people on a tight budget, according to Delvac, who has worked with APM’s Marketplace, and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles before transitioning to podcasting.

An emphasis was placed on headphones to listen to the recording as it is going on. While it seems odd at first, a good set of studio headphones is a better way to listen to what is being recorded. Microphones tend to pick up sounds that we might not pick up with our ears, and it is better to notice a strange humming during mic check than while trying to edit an hour of material.

While some podcasters do record in a closet, McMurran, an audio engineer and producer of “Normal” for the online magazine Trop, said this is not the norm. She suggested recording in rooms with good acoustics, and avoiding surfaces such as wood floors. One of the better places to record is the bedroom, thanks to the presence of blankets and heavy materials which will not allow sound to reverberate.

Free software like Audacity to the high-end Adobe both work and don’t need to be the most current versions. The audience was also given a number of podcast hosting options, including Stitcher, Podbean and iTunes.

“This is the internet, ladies, you can say whatever you want,” Delvac said, adding that podcasts should be under an hour.