Four years ago, I was an artist-in-residence in a small French city when a fellow resident who knew I had some prior experience in radio asked me to collaborate on creating a podcast out of her book Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. I’d never made a full podcast from scratch before, but we commandeered a tiny, closet-size space, hung flea market blankets over the walls to help baffle the sound, plugged in a few mics, and got to work. The podcast we created was my segue back into audio, after many years away, as I embarked on podcasting projects with KCRW’s Un-Fictional, Love + Radio, the Guardian, and eventually at Slate, where I now produce Slate’s Culture Gabfest and Decoder Ring.
My foray into podcasting demonstrates one of its best qualities—it’s remarkably accessible. You need good ideas, sure, but technically speaking, you don’t really need much to make podcasts that sound professional; we did it in a tiny French closet, after all. Still, the equipment you use will directly impact the sound, feel, and overall quality of your final product. If you’re looking to get into podcasting, this guide will help you pick the gear you’ll need: a microphone or two, a way to record that microphone’s audio, and a computer program to mix it into a podcast.