How we do our Home Work

Aaron Mahnke and I have produced nearly 30 episodes of the Home Work podcast for the 70 Decibels network.  It’s fun and a labor of love. Several listeners have asked about production, planning and so on.

I’ve decided to describe our routine, hardware, software and workflow in detail. We don’t use a lot of pricey equipment. Our Macs were clearly the biggest expense, followed by mics and headphones. Also, the software we use is either free or inexpensive. There are more professional setups for sure, but this works for us.

Here’s how two people with no audio engineering training produce a popular podcast. No snickering, please.

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The Golden Headphone Awards

The great Myke Hurley, who runs the 70 Decibels Podcast Network, recently invited me and the other 70DB [1. That’s what the cool kids call it. Or at least that’s what Hackett told me.] hosts to participate in the network’s first awards episode, the Golden Headphone Awards. It was a lot of fun, despite my having received a posthumous award [2. I’m still alive.]. Check it out and congratulations to Myke on amassing a fine stable of shows.

Incidentally, the new Bro Show logo is gorgeous. Hire Aaron.

Name your podcast episodes carefully

I listen to many podcasts, which means I’m often behind on several. Identifying the episodes I haven’t heard is easy when they’ve been named properly. Otherwise, I’m left to guess. Here’s what I mean.

Below is a screenshot of The Adam Carolla Show[1. I hate to pick on Adam, as I love his show.] as it appears in iTunes on the Mac. Each episode’s title is front-loaded with the show’s name, which is so long that it obscures the guest’s name. When I’m 3-4 episodes behind, I can’t tell which I haven’t heard.

It’s even worse on the iPod, where horizontal screen real estate is at a premium:

Ged recently noticed this on the Sci-Fi Cast‘s listing, and changed all of the titles to accommodate the UI restrictions of iTunes on both the Mac and iOS. Now it looks like this on the Mac

and like this on the iPod.

It’s still not perfect, but better than it used to be. We could further shorten “Episode” to “Ep” and gain a few more characters for the title. Speaking of which, get the title down to one or two words if you can.

Keep this in mind when naming your podcast episodes. Not only does it improve searching for your fans, it allows newcomers to get an idea of what you’re about with a glance.