As certified podcast geeks, we can sometimes get caught up using jargon you may not be familiar with.
Below you'll find detailed explanations of terms we use about podcasting and how Podcraft helps you create podcasts.
Getting your message to listeners across starts with the way you record your voice and other sounds. Podcraft Capture kits contain everything you need to record great raw audio, including microphone(s), headphone(s), pop filter(s), cables, mic arm(s), interface for connecting the mic(s) to your computer, plus treatment to make your small-to-medium room less ringy so it's easier to understand your message.
Taking raw audio and transforming it into professional, finished podcasts takes sound tuning and shaping, level adjustments, removing noises if necessary, story editing, adding in music, and arranging the parts to create a compelling episode that keeps listeners engaged until the end.
Accumulating all the knowledge and skills to be a podcaster can be overwhelming. Podcraft Train content collects everything you need to know to get started, get better, and become an expert. Watch anytime, on-demand.
This cable connects from a microphone into the audio interface box. It has two different ends with two different types of mating plugs. The end with with three pins (male) goes into a mic input on your audio interface. The other end, with three holes (female) goes into the microphone. Drape and loop the mic cable over and around your mic arm or stand loosely, so that as you move it around, you have enough slack to accommodate adjustments. Be careful not to pinch the cable in the joints of the arm or stand
This box has all the inputs and outputs for the microphone(s) and headphone(s), and connects to your computer using USB. The interface takes the electrical signal from the microphone(s) and transforms it into digital signal that your computer can record.
This cable, which comes in the box with your audio interface, connects it to your computer. It has two ends: plug the more-square end into the back of the interface, and the rectangular end into an available USB connector on your computer. If your computer has the smaller USB-C connectors, use a USB-A to USB-C adapter to make the connection.
These speakers with a headband enable you to monitor your voice and microphone technique while recording. It's best to listen at a loud enough level so you can hear whether your mic is picking your voice up well. If you don't sound good in your headphones, try getting closer to the mic. Be sure to keep it off-center from the middle of your mouth!
This acoustical material reduces high-frequency sound reflections in your room. Any time you make a sound in a room, in addition to the direct sound (your voice into the microphone), there is also the sound of your voice bouncing off the walls, ceiling, floor, and other surfaces like furniture or computer monitors nearby. These reflected sounds arrive at the microphone slightly later than the direct sound and make your voice less clear to listen to. By adding room treatment, we can reduce the effects of these unwanted reflections. Other soft materials can also help with room treatment, such as carpets, curtains, blankets, and soft furniture.
This handheld device helps you record raw audio when using a computer isn't suitable. For example, you might go on-site to do an interview, or you might want to capture sounds to create the environment of the topic you're discussing. Portable recorders generally have built-in microphones that are suitable for environmental sounds, but not for speech. If you're recording speech, you can plug in your microphones using microphone cables, to create a portable recording setup.
This is a program or app on your computer that does the storing of the recorded sound. Different brands and models don't have different sounds, and since you're not likely doing your own production, Podcraft recommends keeping it simple with Audacity, which is freely available for Mac and Windows, or GarageBand, which is included on Apple Mac computers.
Remote Guest Software
Remote Guest SoftwareThis is a program or app that lets you talk to people who aren't in the room with you for recording and conversation. Podcraft recommends Zoom software for remote calls. Be sure to go to Preferences > Recording and check both Record a separate audio file for each participant who speaks, and Optimize for 3rd party video editor for the best results.
This is the tiny software programs that let your computer work with other peripheral devices such as printers, or in this case, audio interfaces. In most cases, when using a Mac, you won't need to install any drivers, but with Windows computers, you'll need to be sure to install any drivers that come with your audio interface, especially if it's a Triplecast setup. You'll only need to do this the first time.
What's the show about? What is it? Who is it for? How often does it come out? How long is it? These are some of the questions you should think about in putting together your show concept.
Podcraft strongly recommends thinking in segments as you put together your show. Just like a TV or radio show, it's important to give listeners time to process what they just heard. We suggest keeping segments no longer than 12 minutes before taking a break, going to commercial, or changing topics.
This is a quick introduction to the topic of your episode before the opening music or sound effects. These are usually really short, and help listeners get a quick understanding of the topic or guest.
Intro and Outro Music (or Bumper)
Music that's played at the beginning and end of the show. You might have a voiceover artist or announcer speak over your music to introduce the show and read the credits, or you can do it yourself. Or your music might stand on its own before the show starts. It's up to you.
These are parts of the show where the host speaks alone. It's common with single-host shows to open with a monologue introducing the topic(s) for the episode, news, or introduce the guest(s).
Signature Question, Lightning Round, Rapid Fire
It's great to have a "hook" or special part of your show that signals a particular point in the show. It's common for many shows to finish their interviews with a signature question, which is the last thing the host asks their guest(s) and signals to the audience that they've reached the end. Another possibility is a Lightning Round or Rapid Fire questions, which could fast-paced, closed-ended question(s) at the beginning of an interview to quickly introduce a guest or topic and help get everyone loose and warmed up!
Ads read by the host or other talent that are built into the episode. These ads play every time the episode is played, no matter who, when, or where.
Dynamically Inserted Advertising
Ads that are added into the playback of the episode by a third-part advertising company. These ads can be targeted to listeners based on their location or other factors.
This is a term for ads that appear at the beginning of the show. They can be truly at the beginning, before anything else, or they can be after the intro music more commonly.
A term for ads that appear mid-show. These often are inserted between segments or topics.
A term for advertisments that appear after the show.
This is a term for music that helps tie together the end of one segment into the beginning of the next.
This is music that plays at a low level while someone is speaking, to set a tone or mood.
This term refers to any non-music sound that's added to the show to emphasize, set a mood or tone, or illustrate a point. It can include sound effects, expansion of a concept, adding effects to the voices, and more.
This term refers to the method of interacting with a microphone. Some basic mic techniques include manipulating the distance from the mount the microphone, and modifying vocal tone.
This term refers to putting together all the pieces of an episode, from music to segments, to inserting ads.
This term refers to any changes to the raw audio content, like removing a question or segment, deleting breath or cough noises, or even rearranging the order of content.
This term refers to any changes to the raw audio character, like adjusting the tone, refining the difference between quiet and loud sounds, reducing any room tone, and more.
This term refers to adjusting the levels of the different sound sources including different voices and music, to produce a pleasing mix.
This term refers to the final adjustments to the episode to make it easy to listen to and the right level of loudness for industry standards.
When you post your new episode to your podcast hosting company, you can make set up links to syndicators, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, and more. These syndication links only need to be set up once, and each time you add new episodes, they'll automatically appear in each additional place.
A word-for-word written copy of your show. Transcripts are great for blogging, search-engine optimization (SEO), and creating show notes.
A written summary of your show that gets packages with the audio file. It's like the liner notes on a record, or the jacket on a book.
A web page dedicated to each podcast episode. It might contain links or content for further reading, transcript, and other rich media.
The best, most impactful things that happened in your episode. These are ideal for social media posts.
One instance of your show. Podcasts are episodic media, meaning that a show is made up of all of its episodes.
Some podcasts use seasons to focus on a particular topic or area of discussion for a limited number of episodes. Each season can have a different approach, topic, area, host, or more. Or you might use seasons to give yourself a break every few months.
If you use seasons in your podcast, it's great to publish a trailer mini-episode before your season's first episode comes out to get listeners excited and re-engaged with your show, and share with others.
These speakers connect to the internet, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomePod. While listening to podcasts on smart speakers is relatively new, it's important to know that listening on a speaker requires even better audio clarity than listening on headphones because of the sound of the room they are in. Smart speakers are used more commonly for short-length shows.
Listening to podcasts in cars has become a highly popular media-consumption behavior, eclipsing satellite radio in the US! Listening in the car requires audio clarity because listeners need to content with road noise, and are dividing their attention between driving and listening.
It's speculative but likely that audio will become searchable just like text, thanks to advances in technology. A new field that follows from this likelihood is audio SEO – that is, optimizing audio content for searchability. Podcraft recommends topical segments for most podcasts as this new area unfolds.
The ability for listeners to switch from their mobile device such as a smartphone, to another devices such as a computer or smart speaker, and pick up where they left off on the other device.
Podcasting borrows heavily from the field of broadcast journalism, which is storytelling via video or audio, such as television and radio. Some of the best podcasters come from broadcast journalism so they are great to study as you develop your own voice.
Podcasting borrows effective techniques from public speaking with approaches for varying pitch, speed, volume, and emphasis. However, it's important to note that while public speaking usually focuses on interaction with a group of people, these techniques require adaption to create the one-on-one intimacy of great podcasts.
Field Reporting, Electronic News Gathering (ENG)
Speaking from a location other than a studio. This includes, but is not limited to reporting on the scene of an event, interviewing a subject, and more.
Carefully constructing wording to not just describe but evoke feeling through prose.
This term refers to uploading your finished podcast episode to your podcasting hosting company.
The image listeners see for your podcast while playing it or searching for it in a variety of applications. Apple Podcasts requires between a 1500x1500 and 3000x3000 pixel square image.
The art of transforming raw audio into a compelling story. Where the raw audio might be many hours long, story curation locates the best pieces and assembles them into a great half hour.
Breath and Mouth Noises
When humans speak, we breathe, and this makes noise. We also make noises with our mouths when lips touch each other or teeth. Some podcasters prefer to remove breath and noises partially or completely. This is a stylistic decision that each podcaster should make for their self. Additional techniques can be employed to train podcasters to reduce these sounds themselves.
Useless words and phrases inserted into speech that can be distracting such as "you know", "like", beginning sentences with "so", or ending them with, "right?" Crutch words can undermine a speaker's credibility. It's best to remove these as the speaker, but audio editors can remove them as well.:
This term refers to the damaging effect some speakers apply to ends of sentences and phrases, which creates a creaky, rattling sound. Vocal fry can damage the vocal chords and should never be used by anyone, ever. It cannot be repaired in postproduction.
This term refers to the effect some speakers apply to ends of sentences and phrases, which produces an upwardly rising pitch, simulating the sound of a question being asked…? Uptalk can significantly undermine the credibility of the speaker and cannot be repaired in postproduction.
Voiceover / Announcing
These terms generally refer to a professional voice artist performing intro and outro, commercial, or other readings for use in your show to add a credible, professional sound. Voice artists should be thought of as actors, who can perform your text in a wide range of approaches to create exactly the sound your show needs.
Preproduction: all the things that happen before recording your raw audio. This can include show concept, format, structure, your show's title, branding, number of hosts and/or guests, your sound concept, your music, and things like topid or guest research before each show. Preproduction takes between five and 25% of the total time of finishing an episode.
Postproduction: all the things that happen after recording your raw audio. This can include assembling and arranging your story, tuning and shaping the sounds of voices and removing unwanted noises like breaths or mouth clicks, it includes mixing the levels so it's easy to listen to, and managing dynamics so the loud parts don't blow listeners away and so they won't miss the quietest parts, adding in music and sound design, writing show notes and blog posts, and creating pull quotes for social media. Postproduction takes between 50 and 90% of the total time of finishing an episode.
Podcast Host / Hosting Service
Where your podcast audio files get stored online so they can be syndicated to the outlets we all know, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Radio Public, Overcast, and others. Your podcast host can supply lots of services including metrics, but the most important thing a podcast hosting services does is providing your show's RSS feed, which the unique line of code that enables your show to syndicate to all those endpoints (Apple, Spotify, etc.) B, which is the person whose voice is the main one on your show!
Podcast Host, Show Host:
This is the person who acts as the host, on your show. Don't confuse this with a podcast hosting company, which houses the show's audio files; this is the person—maybe you—who is the main voice on your show!
Local vs. Remote
local means in the same room as the host (person); remote means they are somewhere else. For example, if you, your cohost, and a guest are all in the same room, you are all local. In another example, if your co-host is in a different building or room, they are remote.
this is the piece of gear that takes the sound of your voice in the air and transforms it into electrical signal for recording.
Mic Arm, Boom Arm, Mic Stand, Boom Stand
Mic arms are flexible devices that help you move your microphone into close proximity to your mouth. They connect to a desk or table. If you don't have a suitable table or desk, or prefer not to connect a mic arm to your table or desk, you'll need a mic stand, which has a floor-standing base.
This foam or mesh piece helps reduce "plosive" sounds when speaking letters like P or B. If you place you hand in front of the center of your mouth and say "pop" out loud, you'll feel a blast of air. Pop filters help reduce this effect, especially when combined with positioning your mic at the corner of your mouth, instead of the center.
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If there are any other terms you've heard us, or the podcasting community use, and would like us to help you out, just ask.