Podcasting on the Road

Podcasting on the Road

My makeshift podcasting studio in Mexico

My makeshift podcasting studio in Mexico

I’ve learned a lot since I launched my podcast, Nomadtopia Radio, in September 2014, and I thought I would share some of my lessons learned for those who might also be interested in podcasting while traveling. (Ian Robinson and I also talked about this when I interviewed him for the podcast.)

I think having a podcast as a nomad is more challenging than it is when you’re not moving around, but some of the things I’ve discovered that help everything go smoothly would be useful at home, too.

Schedule as many interviews/recording sessions as you can when you have a quiet place to record and stable Internet

Since I started the podcast, there have been a few times when I haven’t been able to record, either because I was staying in a place with less-than-ideal conditions or because I was traveling too much or just wanted to take some time off. Having interviews in the queue made it a lot less stressful, allowing me to relax because I knew I had enough material to tide me over for a while.

Create the most studio-like environment you can given your surroundings

When you’re moving around a lot, your “studio” will be constantly changing, so it’s helpful to know some simple things you can do to make things sound as good as you can:

  • To avoid echo, cover hard surfaces with curtains, pillows, bedding, rugs, or clothes
  • Notice if there are particular days or times of day that are noisier where you are, and avoid recording at those times if possible
  • Get a decent microphone (I use this one). I started out simply using the headset that came with my smartphone, but a proper microphone is an inexpensive upgrade that makes a difference in sound quality (especially useful when there are so many other factors you can’t control).

Have backup ways to get online when you have interviews scheduled

If the power goes out or the Internet goes down, you’ll have to reschedule (and risk throwing off your podcasting schedule, as well as creating hassles for your guest) unless you have another way to connect and complete the interview. (Of course, if you’re working while traveling, you should always have backup Internet options, even if you don’t have a podcast!) I make sure to have sufficient data available on my local SIM card so I can get online that way if necessary, then connect my computer to my phone’s hotspot. I’ve found that a one-hour audio-only Skype interview uses about 25 MB of data.

Get help

My VA, my husband, and I have created a detailed yet simple workflow to get interviews scheduled and recorded, edit and compile the necessary materials, and publish a new episode each week. I was nervous about the commitment of having to get the show out week after week, but knowing exactly what steps need to be taken to make it happen, and who’s responsible for what, makes it much easier to keep everything on track.

 

Do you have a podcast? What has worked well for you? If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, what questions do you have?

 

P.S. I’ve gotten some questions about the tech set-up I use (beyond the microphone I mentioned above). I have recorded almost all of my interviews via Skype using the Ecamm Call Recorder (for Mac only; many PC users use Pamela for recording). I did one of my early interviews in person and found that I didn’t have a good set-up to get great audio quality that way, so I haven’t done any more in-person interviews, though I’d like to. I use Audacity and Levelator (both free!) to edit, and occasionally record extra snippets via GarageBand.

 

2017-05-05T18:20:25+00:00 January 20, 2015|Inside Nomadtopia, Nomad Life, Technology, Work & Business|13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Chris Jankulovski January 22, 2015 at 3:06 am - Reply

    Just when I thought podcasting is hard your are doing it on the road.

    Thank for the tips Amy and I would like to know the audio editing software you use and how much time it would take for me to learn the editing basics?

    • Amy Scott January 22, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Hey Chris! A podcast is quite a bit of work but definitely doable.

      I’m using Audacity (free for Mac and PC) for the audio editing. I’m definitely not a pro on the editing by any means, and the program can do a lot more than I know how to take advantage of, but it’s really straightforward to do the basics like combine tracks, delete sections, and add the intro/outro, which is pretty much all I do.

      Of course you can also outsource the editing if you don’t want to do/learn it yourself! My husband (at http://www.cloudva.net) does basic podcast editing and there are lots of other people out there who do even more elaborate production.

      In case you or anyone else is curious, I use Ecamm Call Recorder to record my interviews via Skype. When I was on a PC, I used Evaer to do the same. Both programs cost about $30 each and are really simple to use.

      Good luck!

  2. Chris Jankulovski January 23, 2015 at 2:24 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing great info Amy!Looking forward to more podcast episodes from you.

  3. Ryan Biddulph February 28, 2015 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    Excellent advice because being on the other end of interviews I have to agree, 100%, with your take here 😉

    I did a neat Hangout last week on Google with Ande Lyons. Over 400 Youtube views in a day, all that jazz. The deal was, we went in and out on video and usually she has crystal clear video for both parties. She rolled with it. Sometimes you need to roll with it, because here in the wilderness of Bali part of the genuine nature of my location, and my lifestyle, is that we’re off the grid…..meaning, sometimes for the internet too 😉

    Keep on inspiring Amy!

    Ryan

    • Amy Scott February 28, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Yes, so true, Ryan! Especially in Bali. In fact, Bali + Google Hangouts sounds like a recipe for disaster based on my experience with each individually, so I’m glad it went as well as it did. 🙂

  4. Valen-Travelscamming March 5, 2015 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Wow! You have been quite inventive with your setup. It’s great to see people that don’t give up but are creative with what they have. Inspirational and good tips!!

    • Amy Scott March 10, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      Yep, it’s all about being creative with what you have!

  5. Susan March 11, 2015 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Thanks for the advice, Amy. I have a podcast and will be travelling more later this year, so I will take some of your suggestions into account. I am also trying to schedule a lot of interview before we leave, so I can have them all ready to go during the months we are gone. Bulk-recording, just like you said!
    Happy travels,
    Susan

    • Amy Scott March 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Susan. Yes, bulk recording makes everything much less stressful! Good luck and happy trails. 🙂

  6. Eva April 10, 2015 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I’ve had this idea of starting a podcast but didn’t go through with it so far. My main excuse was that I travel – so that’s of the list of excuses no 🙂 Thanks for the tipps

    • Amy Scott April 12, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome! Yes, no excuses now. 🙂

  7. Kylie Bevan July 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy, thank you! Not planning to start a podcast, just enjoying listening to them – especially yours. However do want to buy a mic for preparing videos. Haven’t been able to discover if it is possible to use a usb mic such as the one you use, with laptop speakers ie no earplugs / headset …. looks like you are using earplugs in your photo. Your advice very much appreciated.

    • Amy Scott July 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Hey Kylie, great question! In my experience, headphones are always a good idea to avoid any feedback or echo that could come through your laptop speakers and back into your microphone. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, though; I just use the headset that came with my smartphone!

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