Tools, Software & Equipment
If you are creating a podcast on your own and want to figure out what equipment you need to get started, you have come to the right place. Below you will find information on:
If you are looking to fund your podcast, some grants may cover the cost of podcasting equipment.
Before you publish your podcast, you need to consider where to host the mp3 files online. Think of the host as your archival platform, where files can be kept, prepared, organized, and then accessed by and distributed to the sites and platforms available to audiences. The following are some ideas for where you can host your podcast:
A streaming platform popular among musical artists, DJs, and podcasters. Users upload their sound files and submit their RSS feed to iTunes, Spotify, and other podcast publishing platforms for listeners to subscribe to and automatically access new episodes. Listeners can listen to podcast episodes directly through the podcaster’s SoundCloud page. The free upload limit is 3 hours of audio. Paid plans are also available. Sound files can be embedded in web pages so podcasting tools can be bypassed.
A well-reviewed hosting program specifically built for podcasts. It uploads your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and Amazon Alexa. Provides user-friendly listener and engagement statistics and reports. A limit of up to 2 hours per audio at 90 days of streaming. Paid options start around $14/month.
Users can record, upload, and edit sound files in this free app. Listeners can listen to podcasts made in Anchor through their preferred platform, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. There are no upload limits.
Used by many journalism outlets, Omny provides a platform for editing not just sound but also your feature image (even video). It boasts unlimited space for hosting and it is connected to major podcast directories for publishing. It is not free (pricing ranges and is dependent on customer needs) but its analytics are commendable.
Your Own Website
It is possible to host your podcast files on your own site and to manually link an RSS feed into the directories of your choice. But this is not a very popular option due to the fact that your own web hosting service may not have the capacity to host as many audio files. Hosting services will also provide you with analytics and some, as we detailed above, also provide an editing platform.
Directories will be familiar to those who listen to podcasts. They are where podcasts are streamed from their hosting sites and shared with and discovered by the public. It is advisable to get your podcast onto every one of these directories. Hosting platforms like some of the ones we included in the section above, automatically do this for you. Here are some popular directories where most people listen to podcasts:
iTunes (Apple Podcasts)
Apple Podcasts is the largest podcast directory. However, the app is not available on Android devices, so you may also want to publish your podcast through other directories to reach Android users. An Apple ID is required to submit your podcast to iTunes.
Spotify users can stream music, podcasts, and audiobooks. The platform inserts advertisements for users on the free tier. A $10/month subscription removes ad interruptions.
Stitcher is a directory for podcasts, news, and public radio. Like Spotify, the free version is supported by ads that could interrupt the listening experience.
Google has its own search engine for podcasts, serving as a directory. Listeners can subscribe and listen via their Google accounts.
You will need to edit your audio files with some kind of software. There are a number of free and paid versions, some of which come installed on some computer systems.
Audio mixing and editing software that is part of Adobe's Creative Suite. Free trial and subscription pricing.
Audacity is "free, open source, cross-platform audio software" that works on most operating systems.
Garage Band is a free audio editing software that comes installed on most iOS devices.
Audio software for "audio storytellers, home users & emerging podcasters." Multiple options for audio needs with a 30-day free trial.
An open source, fully encrypted, free videoconferencing service with no time limit, download, or registration requirement.
A free videoconferencing service. Registration required.
A videoconferencing software that is free to use on calls under 40 minutes. Registration required.
For "hi-fi podcasting" with both free (limited feature) and paid plans.
The Podcast Host has produced this guide for podcasters of all levels, from complete beginners to advanced users. The guide covers editing, software, and some strategies for the kind of podcast you are hoping to produce.
At the beginner level, there are only two pieces of equipment one needs to start a podcast: a microphone and a computer (your smartphone is a computer, too). However, there are some additional items you can use to help improve the quality of your podcast, and your equipment needs will vary based on the kind of podcast you want to produce. How many hosts will you have? Do you plan to interview guests? Do you need the ability to produce this podcast from multiple locations? Etc. Once you are able to answer these questions, you can figure out what mic setup and what kind of portability you need.
At a minimum, you will need a computer to record, edit, and store your audio files. You should be able to do this on whatever machine you currently have (unless you plan on a more robust production).
A good starter mic for a single host is a USB mic (like the ubiquitous Blue Yeti). If you have multiple hosts or guests, you may need an XLR mic. Some microphones come with a stand, but you may also want to invest in a boom arm, a desk stand, or a shock mount to better stabilize your mics. Pop filters or windscreens will also help filter out noise produced by speaking. If you need to do more portable podcasting (like field recording) you might invest in a mic like the Zoom or Tascam (a comparison video between two comparable mics is embedded on the right).
Podcast Insights has created a user-friendly guide to help determine what kinds of equipment you may need for the kind of podcast you want to produce and even has recommendations for budget-friendly equipment.
B&H Photo's "How to Start a Podcast" video (embedded on the right) provides an in-depth description of equipment needed for the type of podcast you want to produce.
Transom provides excellent guides for both equipment and editing software: