Podcasting lesson #1: It’s a lot more time consuming than I thought

PODCASTING LESSONS. My goal, from the beginning, has been to produce a high quality podcast with a narrator (me) and recorded stories. The stories are mainly based on interviews but can also consist of my own thoughts on a specific topic – a little bit like a column in magazine, or a personal blog post, but in a pre-recorded sound format.

A kind of traditional public radio show, in short, similar to the ones that you may hear on national public radio here in Sweden (minus the personal thoughts, perhaps). It’s a kind of show where attention is paid to sound and storytelling.

I thought all this would be simple for me. I spent years at Swedish national radio as a reporter and producer. But making this happen, so far in three episodes, has been so much more time consuming than I had anticipated. Why? Here are the main reasons:

ONE: Swedish radio has its own editing software. I have had to adapt to new software. I chose Protools in the end because my music store recommends it. I worked with Protools many years ago. Back then I found it difficult and time consuming in many ways for my purposes. And I still find it difficult and time consuming, I must conclude. It may be that I need to get to know more of its functions. I am a Protools beginner, still. Nevertheless I do believe it may not be the best option for a podcaster with storytelling ambitions. I’m not sure, I am willing to change my mind. But there are so many instances where I need to click 3 or 4 times in Protools where only one click was necessary in my old program, which I spent years with. Learning new software takes time!

TWO: Recording good stuff (I will tell you more about recording later) is not a problem. It’s the rest that takes time: Listening through your recorded material, making choices, building a story, editing it, checking facts afterwards. And letting people I’ve interviewed listen to their stories before I put anything on the internet. A lot of my stories are and will be deeply personal for the people I have interviewed. And as a journalist I am very thorough. I want people to read and listen to my texts or stories before publishing so that unnecessary mistakes on my part are avoided. And, from a more crass point of view, I want people to be happy with what they say on my podcast so that they’ll hopefully help me share my episodes. All this takes a lot of time!

THREE: I don’t have helpers anymore. When I was a reporter and recorded and edited stories for weekly in-depth shows on national Swedish radio, there was always a producer involved. And other reporters. And a sound technician. And a show host. I don’t have any of that anymore. It’s just me and I have be all those things myself. I couldn’t possibly afford to hire a sound engineer (although my good friend Michael, who’s a sound engineer, has generously helped me from time to time, for free).

FOUR: I can’t use music as I like either. So far in my podcast I have used music improvised by my husband and our neighbor on our living room floor. My husband plays the guitar and our neighbor plays base. Nice sounds, by the way! For a while there I was going to use a German band’s music for free, after discussions with them, but decided not to. More on that topic later.

Cover photo with me and a microphone: Elisabeth Ubbe.

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