Podcast Nuts and Bolts

Here are some additional instructions around some of the hot-to for the podcasts.

Equipment and Software


The Music and Media Library has a number of microphones available for checkout, including Snowball and Snowflake microphones. They aren’t on that list, but I believe they also have a box full of older iPod Nanos with microphone attachments that should work pretty well for recording voice too.

I have two Yeti usb microphones that I can loan out as well.


Audacity is a good, free, open-source audio editor (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). There is a very good tutorial wiki for Audacity online — this basic page on mixing voice narration with music probably covers 90% of what you’ll need to do for your podcast. It’s not terribly difficult, but there is a learning curve to it and you should definitely make an extra copy of your raw audio files before you start mixing and editing them.

Expect for it to take longer than you think it should to do the sound editing and build time for mixing into your plans. There are some students in the class who have a fair amount of experience working with Audacity — make friends with them and ask them for help (make sure to give thanks for their help in your episode credits!).

Exporting as an MP3: Note that probably the most complicated part of using Audacity will be configuring the MP3 encoder. Because of copyright laws, Audacity does not come with a native MP3 encoder so you can’t export as MP3 straight out of the box. You’ll need to download and configure an extra plugin to do so.

Student Digital Life also has lots of resources that should be of use to you with this project. If you want to use more advanced software, the Media Lab has the full Adobe Creative Suite, including Adobe Audition, available and student assistants who can help you in using it. The Tech Lab is also a great space for you to go to get ideas about how to approach these projects.


You should plan to meet with me, ideally a couple of weeks before your episode is due, so that you can fill me in on your plans, we can brainstorm ideas, and you can ask me any questions that have come up. Try to come into the meeting with a paragraph of text outlining what you hope to achieve — think of it as an articulation of your hypothesis.

You are the producers of the episode, which means you’ve got ownership of it and make the decisions about how to get your episode together. I’m the executive producer, which means it’s my role to help you to achieve the goals you set for your episode while also ensuring that you meet the expectations for the series as a whole. These meetings should be collaborative negotiations.


You are allowed to bring in friends or other people from outside the class to take part in your podcast. You can also ask fellow classmates to appear in your episode, either to be interviewed or to serve as vocal talent — please be as generous as you can be with each other about agreeing to help out. If you do ask classmates to appear in your episode, please be respectful of their time and energy, and also make certain to thank them in the credits.

Depending on what new media publication you are looking into, you might also contact the author(s) or creator(s) and ask to do an interview, either in text through email or over Skype of Google Hangout or whatever. Ask in advance if you can record the interview, if possible, and let them know that you’d like to include them in the podcast episode.

If you ask someone from outside the class to appear in your episode, you should get them to fill out a media release form. Note that the form asks whether  the person wants to be identified by a pseudonym, first name, or full name — make sure that they let you know and then use whichever method they choose to identify them during the episode credits section at the end of your podcast.


You are encouraged to mix music and sound effects or ambient sounds into your episode, as is appropriate and useful. If you do use music or songs, please find licensed or public domain music:

  • MusOpen is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on increasing access to music by creating free resources and educational materials. They provide public domain recordings of music, mostly focused on classical music.
  • The Free Music Archive provides music licensed for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era. They have a wide range of genres represented.


Episode Structure

You are responsible for creating the audio for your episode, which includes an introduction that provides a title for your individual episode and the names of the two producers; the primary content of the episode itself, which should be about ten minutes in length; and a closing credit section for your individual episode in which you thank your Line Producer, provide references for works that you quote in the episode, and any other thanks that are applicable.

Turning it in

Once your episode is complete, send me a single MP3 with your episode content. You can upload it to the podcast group conversation in the backchannel or upload the file to Google Drive and share it with me (please do not email the file — that sometimes gets caught in the spam filters). Make sure to read the podcast assignment page carefully, noting the list at the end of everything you need to turn in along with the MP3.

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