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Monday, October 25, 2021

An insider’s take on podcast creation

As we witness the boom of audio, podcasting is one of the most powerful ways to connect to people, have more nuanced conversations and to be creatively bold.


September 23, 2021 5:24:13 pm
Mae Mariyam ThomasMae Mariyam Thomas, Presenter, Podcast Producer & Founder of Maed in India. (File)

Written by: Mae Mariyam Thomas, Presenter, Podcast Producer & Founder of Maed in India

Last year, Voxnest released a mid-year report called ‘The State of the Podcast Universe’. In that 24-page document, India cropped up in one statistic – it is the second fastest growing country for podcast listening. According to a report a couple of years ago by PriceWaterhouseCooper,  India is the third-largest podcast listening market after China and the US. It is very evident that India is ripe as an audio-consuming market. We are a nation that loves storytelling and that wants to be informed (surely you’ve heard of Whatsapp University). Our traditions are steeped in aural storytelling, even the Mahabharat was written down from Vyasa’s dictation (now that’s someone who could have had his own podcast). 

We are at the crest of a wave as the world goes online, where screen fatigue is becoming commonplace and people are finding ways to keep themselves entertained and engaged. The online on-demand audio medium is lighting the way for a far more immersive, personal and intimate experience. Podcasts can tell you how four drinking buddies saved Brazil, or explain what vertical farming is, or why actors never actually eat in movies, or the history of high heels (these are all real podcast episodes by the way!).

Behind all these podcasts are the creators, who seek out the stories, do the research, find the guests, interview people, record it, edit it, mix it and then put it out into the universe so you, my dear listener, can have something to listen to while you do your morning ablutions. 

As we witness the boom of audio, podcasting is one of the most powerful ways to connect to people, have more nuanced conversations and to be creatively bold. Which is where as a creator, if you’re able to tap into snazzy video-making techniques on TikTok or Reels without a Baahubali movie budget, what stops you from exploring the space of audio? Do you need the know-how? A sound studio? Audio equipment? Well, if you can take out your phone and record a voice note telling your friend about the worst date you had last night, you’ve made the first step. 

Despite the fact that the number of podcasts in the world are growing, there are also so many untold stories, and voices that haven’t been heard, especially in India. I could create a podcast about the history of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and that would be a brand new show no one has ever made before. All you need to make a podcast is an idea or a story and someone to help you understand how to make it.

This is where Sound Up plays an important role. This global initiative by Spotify focuses on underrepresented communities and in its recent launch in India, it is reaching out to women to help hone their skills and open the door to enter the local audio ecosystem. As someone who gets asked to help, mentor, or give advice to those looking to create a podcast, there are a few questions that come up very often – How do I start? Where do I start? Well, don’t wait, dive right in. Start recording, make your first pilot, play around with editing your show, and picking out your theme music, etc. Till you get your hands dirty and do it, you’ll never really know how. 

Creating podcasts has gotten easier. There are several tools you can use. For instance, Anchor, a Spotify-owned platform has now made it easy, and simplified the process of recording, editing and publishing your podcast. In 2020 alone, Anchor has been used to create more than 25,000 Indian podcasts!

Take a look below at the steps to create your own podcast right here, right now:

1. Go to Anchor.fm and create an account (or log in). If you are creating a new account, you will need to click on the confirmation link emailed to you. You could also do this by downloading the app.

2. Add the title and description. You will also need to select the language and category.

3. Upload your show artwork. Make sure it is a square and legible when reduced to a small size on a smartphone screen. Also, make sure that you have the appropriate rights to any images that you use.

4. Anchor allows you to add text on top of your image, and this can be done conveniently if you haven’t accessed another editing software to do so.

5. Once done, tap on Publish Now. You will now have to type your podcast name and describe what it’s about. Once all the details are filled, tap Publish my podcast.

6. You can then check the distribution status the next day. And, once your podcast is approved, it will take a few hours or a day to be visible on Spotify and elsewhere.

7. Now, whenever you upload a new episode on your hosting platform, it will automatically go live on Spotify in 10 minutes. 

So go, take that leap. Explore the audio medium, listen to lots of podcasts and I’ll be there waiting for your next episode.

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