Behind the Scenes of the Podcast

Behind the Scenes of the Podcast

Producing a podcast involves many different tools, technologies and skills. This article will provide some insight into how we've assembled these to produce the Daily Reflection Podcast

There are several categories of tasks that are required to produce and publish a podcast. These include:

  • Episode Topic Curation / Creation - this is quite simple with our podcast as it's got a baked-in topic with the Daily Reflection
  • Guest Booking and Scheduling - This includes the process of getting guests, booking them for a recording session, etc.
  • Episode Recording - the process of recording the actual interviews for an episode.
  • Audio Processing - the process of editing the audio from the interviews to clean up and cut out any unusable portions.
  • Publication / Syndication - this involves putting the produced podcast episode in a place where it can be consumed by listeners.

Services

Every podcast must leverage technology services. The table below details the services to which we subscribe.

Service Vendor Description Monthly Cost
 Audio Hosting Buzzsprout  Buzzsprout hosts the mp3 audio files and the accompanying web site at https://www.dailyreflectionpodcast.com   $20.00
 Blog Hosting  DigitalOcean I use the Ghost Content Management System hosted on a DigitalOcean Droplet   $10.00
 Form Hosting  JotForm  Application form for guests and contacts on the blog site.  Free up to 1000, $14.99 after
Worfklow Automation Zapier Zapier automates publication of episodes to various social channels such as Facebook, Instragram and Twitter. It is also used to forward guest applications to a Google Spreadsheet. See below for workflow for more details. $19.99
Calendaring and Scheduling Calendly Calendly provides a scheduling capability by offering our hosts the ability to extend available dates and times. As guests select these slots, those are no longer available for selection by subsequent guests. This greatly simplifies the back and forth that typically goes along with scheduling. $12.00

Workflow

The process of producing the episodes involves many steps. Everything begins with guest booking and we've had some iterations as the podcast grows.

Step 1. Guest Application

Guests that wish to appear on the podcast are asked to complete this form.

Once a guest complete this form, a row is added to a Google Spreadsheet. A producer reviews each application and guests that are approved, will be scheduled using Calendly.

Step 2. Guest Scheduling

Once guests are approved, an email is sent to the guest and they're asked to select a date/time in a calendar of available dates and times. Calendly makes this possible by tapping into a shared Google Calendar. As guests schedule recording times, those times are removed from the list of available slots.

Step 3. Recording

Once the guest is scheduled, it's time to record the episode. To record, we use an online recording tool called Zencastr. Zencastr enables us to send a unique URL to guests. They log into the system and are prompted for permission to record their microphone. Zencastr records their audio and stores it locally on their computer while the interview takes place. Once the interview is complete, their audio is uploaded to a central server and our audio producer downloads each guest track invidivually.

Step 4. Audio Editing and Episode Production

The audio tracks from the guests and the hosts are downloaded from Zencastr. Once the individual tracks are downloaded, an audio engineer pulls them into an audio editing tool called Audacity. Audacity is a free, and open-source tool that enables the engineer to edit each track individually, removing gaps, pauses, clutter words and background noise.

Step 5. Publication and Syndication

Once the episode is fully produced, it's ready to be published. We use Buzzsprout as our podcast hosting service. Buzzsprout provides hosting for the mp3 files and a web interface where people can access the episodes using a web browser.

You can see these episodes hosted here: https://www.dailyreflectionpodcast.com

Another great service provide by Buzzsprout is syndication of the episodes - this means making them available to the various podcast networks including:

After the episode is published on Buzzsprout, the podcast networks receive the update and make it available on their podcast applications. We publish each episode on the night before the day of the daily reflection.

What's next?

As you can see we leverage a lot of technology and services to make this podcast possible. As we continue to grow in listenership and in the number of episodes, we'll be looking to streamline the guest and production processes.

We have created a paypal account that will enable our listeners to provide donations. Your donations will be used to defray the costs associated with production of the podcast. Thank you.