By Ian MacNeill

This week’s guest post is part 2 of my interview with Lauren Miley and Tayler Shreve from the Crimeversation podcast. On Monday, Lauren and Tayler spoke about the origins of Crimeversation and about the guests and cases their episodes have explored so far.

A central part of the recent growth of podcasts has been advancements in how podcasts can be recorded, edited, and uploaded onto the Internet. Producing podcasts has become far easier in recent years, a process which used to require a sound-proof studio, expensive microphones, and a mixer for recording can now be done using apps like Anchor and a Bluetooth headset. Today’s post explores the process behind creating a podcast and what hosting a podcast can add to the PhD experience.

Can you explain the podcast process from start to finish?

Typically, we contact the person we hope to interview and map out what we hope to talk about. Our episodes are usually split into 2 parts. Once we’ve nailed down an expert, we start mapping out part 1 where we cover a case that relates to the expert we’ll be interviewing in part 2. We do a ton of investigation, validating every fact with at least two sources and making sure we cover the case in its entirety. Once this outline is completed and we know the flow/themes for the overall episode, we then move on to the outline for part 2 when we interview the expert. We always try to have outlines done a week before the expert comes in, this way they have time to go through the outline and let us know any suggestions they have. We record episodes part 1 and 2, which is followed by Lauren doing the editing. Once part 1 is completed we typically post it the same month it was recorded (depending on our posting schedule) and post part 2 the following week. We send the expert’s episode to them to listen to and approve before we post the episode.  So the typical process is: plan, outline, record, edit, post.

What kinds of technology and resources do you utilise when recording and editing your podcasts?

We record our episodes in Audacity, which is the software utilised in our college radio station (Bulls  Radio). Lauren edits the episodes in Adobe Audition and  we post the episodes on our hosting site, Liberation SyndicationWe then use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to advertise the episodes. We chose Liberation Syndication because our friends at the University of Cincinnati recommended it and the pricing options were approved by our department. We mostly had no training and really just learned as we went but Bulls Radio helped us learn how to record episodes using the switch board.

How long does it typically take from the point at which you’ve decide on a topic for a podcast to it being published online?

We outlined our recording and releasing schedule during the summer term, which was very helpful for the autumn term because we knew who we would be speaking to and when we would post episodes.  Over the summer, we recorded as many ‘part 1’ episodes as we could (these are the episodes when we discuss the cases that our experts will address in part 2) so that we would only have to record our interviews in the autumn. It takes roughly a couple weeks from recording the episodes to posting them online, this is based on the expert’s availability and schedule, but we try to give ourselves a couple of weeks between record and posting date.

Did you get any training or seek advice on how to talk using a microphone when the podcast was being recorded? 

We did not received any advice about how to use the microphone, again we have been learning as we go. Luckily, we listen to a TON of podcasts, so I think we just used everything we’ve learned from listening to so many episodes and shows. There have been a few issues at the radio station as it is a student run station and the equipment is quite old. There is an electric sound, something like a vibration sound, that is in the background of most of our episodes, which the radio station cannot figure out and Lauren has to edit out of all episodes. We are hoping to have an electrician come sort out the wires and electrical issues in efforts to fix the sound. The radio station has a constant, 24/7 streaming station that plays in the college gym and in one of our first recordings we accidentally turned off this stream … This was embarrassing but sort of a funny mishap! The next time we came into the station there was a note telling us to not press that button again!

What benefits do you see from podcasting in the context of your PhD journey? For other PhD students?

So far, the benefits that we have experienced are two-fold. First, we are able to completely immerse ourselves in the research of the professors that we are interviewing, so we’ve acquired a very thorough understanding of their research. We have also been able to network with professors and grad students outside of our department, including podcasters from the University of Cincinnati and Ian — who has asked us to be a part of this amazing blog!

Is there any particular advice you would offer fellow PhD students who are considering starting their own podcast?

Yes! Start by contacting your university and see what tools are available to you for free. We found out that we have a radio station at our university and all students and faculty can use it free of cost. Additionally, the editing software that we use, Adobe Audition, was available to students for free as well. Other than that, if the podcast is related to topics that your department is interested in, then I would suggest preparing a detailed proposal including how the podcast could benefit the department and submit it to the chair of the department, or a faculty member that you believe would be particularly supportive.

Thanks again to the fabulous ladies at Crimeversation for taking the time to answer our questions and hopefully their advice and technical tips will inspire some of you to go forth and podcast!

images: Flickr

Ian is one the Publicity Editors with Pubs and Pubs. He is currently in the final year of his PhD. You can find him on Twitter at: IanAlexanderMac