A Day in the Life of a Podcast

A Day in the Life of a Podcast

A question we get asked a lot is, “How long does it take to make a podcast?” This is very much a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string question, but using an episode of LT&I’s in-house podcast, You Got This!, we’ve tried to break down the timelines.

You can click here to hear the final cut of the episode. It runs 37 minutes in length.

Pre-Recording Setup (approx. 30 minutes):

  • Book guests, which usually requires some flexibility and rescheduling.
  • Set up the recording space, both digital (we use Zencastr) and physical (lock the cats out of your office, etc).
  • Confirm mic and headphones are working. Yes, you should do this every single time you record. Ask us how we know.

Recording (approx. 90 minutes):

  • Record the interview, which usually takes about one hour.
  • Record the introductory essay, which usually takes about thirty minutes to nail down (it was a little longer this week because Brenna had to re-do it in a quieter location).

Production (approx. 90 minutes):

  • This will vary widely depending on what you are trying to accomplish. For You Got This!, we use a very light editorial hand — we trim out excessively long pauses or a lot of ums and ahs, but we want people to sound like themselves, also.
  • As an established podcast, You Got This! already has music and other production elements in place. For your first few episodes, building these components parts will take additional time.
  • Interviews and essay-style podcasts will require less production time, while documentary-style podcasts will require substantially more (most documentary podcasts are not made and released on a week-to-week schedule).

Transcription (approx. 60 minutes, + processing time):

  • At You Got This!, we firmly believe that podcasts made to disseminate scholarly communication or support community must be day-one accessible, and as such we encourage you to build a transcription plan into your podcast. You’ll learn about lots of options in this course.
  • We prefer to create our transcripts ourselves, using the automatic transcription function that comes with Zencastr Pro. Some weeks, when Brenna gets really in over her head — like this one — we send You Got This! episodes to Rev for automatic transcription, because the quality of grammar is better and requires less editing. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to process, so plan ahead whichever option you choose. Using a gig-labour-driven tool like Rev is not an ethically neutral choice, and we work to minimize our reliance on this service, even the automated option.
  • Editing the automated transcript usually takes about 1-2 hours of focused time, depending on the episode length. This week it took an hour.

Posting (approx. 30 minutes)

  • These tasks are small: assemble show notes, choose a featured image, upload the audio file and fill in the metadata.
  • We try to do this in advance so the post is scheduled and we can come back and make adjustments as needed.

So for this 37 minute episode, it takes about 3.5 hours of labour. Hopefully, this gives you a sense of how to plan for your own podcast schedule.