I just finished recording the 6th episode of Breaking Words. Breaking Words is a weekly podcast where I read my poetry and prose pieces, sometimes with a music background and sometimes without. This has been a fun experiment and for the foreseeable future, I plan to continue. For those of you that have listened, I hope you have enjoyed it. Here is the link to Breaking Words: breakingwords.libsyn.com

Unfortunately, I am not a professional at this. My hope is, that I get better with time. Podcasting has become huge over the last ten years and the really great thing I realized, is that anyone can do it. It takes a minimal amount of equipment and a short learning period to get the basics down. What I mean by “minimal equipment” is this: You need a computer with an internet connection, a pair of headphones and a microphone. That’s it! That’s all you need to start a podcast that can be heard the world over. Simple, isn’t it?

The first thing I did, was read a lot of information. I got a couple of books on podcasting, and I read a lot of online articles and watched a lot of You Tube videos. There’s tons of information about podcasting out there, and it’s all free. You will learn about the technical side like how to use a DAW or, Digital Audio Workstation. That’s a fancy name for a recording program. You’ll learn about the different podcast hosting platforms, which are websites that you upload your podcast to for distribution. You’ll learn about microphones for podcasting and about lots of other equipment you can use (but don’t really need) at least to get started. And again, anyone can do this!

One of the first questions I had was, what does it cost? Being newly retired, my income is somewhat limited. I’m not hurting for money but I can’t go out and drop hundreds on new equipment. So that’s an important consideration. Thankfully there is a lot of free stuff for you to take advantage of. Computers and microphones are usually not free of course, but you can certainly find used equipment for a good price. There are some recording programs that are free, like Audacity, which is what I use. It’s a free download and is a really good program. There are also free podcast hosting platforms to upload your podcasts to. Here is the link to the Audacity website.

Next, I needed to figure out what my podcast was going to be about. I had lots of ideas, but the bottom line is this: Your podcast needs to be about something you know well. If you’re going to gain an audience and keep them entertained, you need to talk about something you know and are well informed on. Otherwise listeners won’t stay. A podcast is for entertainment or for information. If you don’t have one of those aspects, you won’t have listeners. Now, as I said earlier, I’m not an expert at this. That only comes with time and practice. My podcast doesn’t have a lot of listeners yet, but it’s growing. Slowly. It can be frustrating at times to see that no one has downloaded an episode for a few days. But what I have learned is that I really enjoy doing this, so I’m going to keep doing it. I can’t expect to be the next world wide phenomena and don’t necessarily want to be. But with time and perseverance I hope to attract more listeners.

Sounds like fun, right? Well it is. One of the advantages in starting to podcast is being a good speaker. There’s nothing worse than listening to someone stumbling over their words, or mispronouncing them, or not being comfortable with speaking. But if you’re not a good speaker, don’t let that stop you. It’s a skill that can be learned! Just like getting comfortable with the equipment, you can learn to speak well too. And the advantage to learning to speak well for podcasting is that you don’t have an audience staring at you. You’re alone! And not only that, but you will learn how to edit your recorded program. You can take out most of the ums and ahs, and all the other filler words we use when we hesitate while speaking. You’re not doing anything live. Although some podcasters do live shows, that is a choice you can make.

So why not start a podcast? It’s a fun hobby that I have found I really enjoy. And it’s a new vehicle for getting my poetry out to people. As any of you who write poetry know, it’s not the most popular form of writing. So any way of getting more people interested is a good thing, right? Listening to podcasts has become very popular over the last few years. Mainly I think, because you can do it while you’re doing something else. People listen to podcasts while driving, or working out. They listen while they’re taking a walk. When you read, you have to invest the time to reading. That’s not always easy in today’s busy world. But if you can listen to a podcast while cooking or commuting or whatever, that’s a real advantage. So people are doing it. There are literally thousands of podcasts on any subject you can think of. Politics, religion, business, comedy, drama, poetry, and anything and everything. the list is endless. So why not start a podcast? That’s a good question.

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