How to record, and how to learn

The equipment you choose, and knowing how to use it, is so important. Ask for help, take a short or long course, or find advisors who get you.

There are plenty of online (and IRL) resources to help you out with this, like Transom, the Community Media Training Organisation, community radio stations, Women’s Audio Mission, Tuts+ and a galaxy beyond.

Google your question, and let the glorious internet deliver!

Check MOOCs like Coursera, CreativeLive or Lynda. Visit forums. Enrol in workshops at festivals (like Audiocraft!) and devour articles like Kaitlin Prest’s lessons in indie podcasting or Mashable’s beginner’s guide to creating a podcast. Listen to podcasts like Tape.

Consider, also, seeking a mentor. Mentorship and editorial support can be really important; think about who you can ask.

Tuning up: Using music in your podcast

Here, we’re talking primarily about using music in podcasts that aren’t simply about showcasing music – but that instead use small parts of songs as emotional cues or background.

  • Consider getting a licence. Individually licensing songs from artists can be (very) expensive. In Australia, the Australian Performing Right Association (APRA) offers an online mini­licence that is affordable for independents.

  • Go free. Check out online resources like the Free Music Archive and Freesound, which offer a wealth of Creative Commons­-licensed music.

  • Find royalty-free library music. Previously sold as CDs or LPs, library music can be used royalty­-free after initial purchase.

  • Collaborate directly with musicians. Approach them for permission to use their work, or even work with them to create something especially for you. For many musicians, this represents something new and interesting.

  • Do it yourself. There are countless free ways to make music, and you’ll have the benefit of perfecting your audio and mixing skills in the process.

  • Remixing. Brendan Baker from Love+Radio is perhaps the strongest proponent of remixing and layering existing music as radio scores.

Bec Fary and Jon Tjhia have adapted their 2016 guide to independent podcasting into a series of articles aimed at helping those starting out..

Got a burning question about audio storytelling you'd like answered? Let us know!