Podcasting 101: What You Need to Buy for Your Podcast

Woman MoneyThis is your reality check that tells you that making a podcast will probably have you spending a few dollars. For a cheapskate like me, the thought of spending money is a nightmare. However, there are some essential items needed for recording that don't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Microphone

For first-timers, I recommend getting a headset. You know, the ones you wear while playing World of Warcraft. First of all, they're the cheaper option. But more importantly, if you have a tendency to move around a bit by gesticulating or leaning back to get comfortable, a headset is a good choice because it moves with you. What does it matter how fancy your microphone is if you're moving too much for it to pick up any sound? My starter headset was from the Logitech brand, similar to this $25 stereo headset with microphone here on Amazon.

If you can sit still, I use the Blue Yeti microphone nowadays. It’s a little pricey at $125 on Amazon, but that’s what Christmas and birthday presents are for!

Recording Software

Oh, this one is easy! If you have a Mac, you already have Garageband. If you’re a PC user, download Audacity. Because Audacity is free! Free! My favorite word apart from “coffee” and “titmouse.” I’ve been using Audacity since the very beginning. Not always well, but it’s been a very reliable program that gets the job done. Even professional podcasters like the Sword and Laser kids and business person Lewis Howes use it. That being said, if you have the funds, donate a few bucks the creators' way. They made free software for you. Be nice.

A Rug

Yep. I said a rug. Or carpet. You're most likely going to record in your home because it's free. A rug or other cushioning home decor will make sure no other sound hits your mic. Honestly, the best option would be putting that egg carton padding on your walls, but you've probably got a lot of print art from Etsy up there. So, get yourself a nice rug and maybe a curtain or two from Target or Amazon. I’m not even going to put up a link.

Or cover the floor with blankets—it’s your home-slash-recording studio, you can do what you want! (P.S. If you mainly do Skype recordings, you can just record from the comfort of your bedroom. Plus, you can wear your jammies. Because why wear real pants when there’s an opportunity for jammies?)

Hosting

This is where most of your dollars are going to come into play because podcasting is a commitment. Here’s the thing: Your podcast has to have a website to submit it to iTunes.

You may want to consider either SoundCloud or Libsyn account that will publish your podcast to iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast apps. Plans with Libsyn start for as low as $5/month. And last time I checked, I believe that SoundCloud allows up to three hours of audio for free with the unpaid account. If you’re hosting a weekly or bi-weekly podcast, that may be a good place to start. However, I just heard a rumor today that SoundCloud may be abandoning its podcast hosting. Information is a fickle thing.

Now, you’re probably wondering if you should get a more “official” website. Something through Squarespace, Dreamhost, Weebly, Wix, etc.? Hold on, Padawan! Let’s focus on the basics first.

We’ll talk about show notes and social media next time. It may include website talk, maybe not. Who knows? I’m wild and spontaneous like that. (No, I’m not, that’s a lie. I like plans.)

KC Ryan is currently a Level 5 student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.