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How to start a podcast like a cheap bastard, “Sponsored” by S3Stats

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From start to stats:

Sup, this is Michael Johnson, and I’m making a small how-to guide to start a podcast like a cheap bastard, this list is “sponsored” by S3Stats, who are willing to let a cheap bastard like me get a free copy of their amazing software if I publish this blog giving them a proper shout-out for letting broke folks like me, check out their 30 day free trial once you get everything set up.

Just FYI this is a guide because people have asked, this isn’t a TOP 10 BEST PODCAST WHATEVER, this is a comprehensive to-do list of the dos and don’t to starting your own podcast, if done correctly, I guarantee that you’ll be able to save 4,000% (monthly) over someone who’s clueless, which you aren’t, because you sir are a cheap bastard!

So let’s get this thing started!

1- Hardware

While this isn’t the “cheapest” equipment in the world, they’re 1000x better than using your phone to make some dogshit podcast that just craps itself into the void, but if that’s where you draw the line, I won’t stop you.

The following equipment is what we use at the studio, and I think it speaks for itself:

Mic:

Shure SM58

If you’re a musician or comic, you’re very familiar with this mic, very versatile, a true workhorse, it’s the industry standard for a reason. That being said, I haven’t paid $99 for any of the ones I have. Using ebay, or wherever you buy your used gear, I’ve paid usually about $30-40 each, usually through luck, and buying a lot of multiple mic lots.

Depending on how many you need, $30-99 each

Cables:

Cheap 10 Foot XLR 3 Pin Male / Female Microphone Cable

Cables are cables are cables, yea I know some asshats who swear that Monster cables are worth their weight in gold (~$79.00 per 20 foot) but I can guarantee you that this isn’t the case, it’s the little things that can add up when you’re first getting involved with a project.

Depending on how many you need, $8-10 each

Interface:

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Here’s where things can get a little spicy, I love Focusrite I use a 18i20 because I like the versatility of having the potential of running so many channels, incase you need to, but if you’re alone, or need 2 for a guest/co-host then the 2i2 is your best friend. Once again, you can find these used on ebay/where ever, for $50-60 if you’re lucky, but most of the time it’s going for around $100

Could find one for $50-160

Mic Boom:

Mic Arm Stand Microphone Suspension Boom

You can buy this stuff cheap on ebay or wherever

Depending on how many you need, $10-20 each

Mic Boom Holder:

Milk Crate

So you got the Mic Boom, can’t really attach them to the table, unless you wanna look like a nerd, so get a Milk crate, or some other sturdy box to clamp it onto

Depending on how many you need, Free-Money? I guess.

3 Pieces of wood

We use three pieces of wood to hold our boom mics up, no need to drill holes and stuff, 2 pieces of long flat wood for the top and bottom, and a 2×4 for support in the middle.

You could find this or go to Home depot. Free-Cheap

Pop Filter:

Shure A58WS-BLK Foam Windscreen

Now this is the pièce de résistance, the secret ingredient that makes this whole thing work. You can get up real close, and not worry about any pops

 Depending on how many you need, $6.00 each

Listening back:

AUSDOM Over-Ear Headphones

I own several of these little guys, I recommend them because they’re cheap so if they break who cares, right? I wouldn’t do sound editing in them, but they go over your ears (mostly), you’ll be able to hear everyone in the room (mostly), they work perfectly (mostly).

Depending on how many you need, $14.00 each

Audio splitting:

Behringer Microamp HA400

If you’re going to have other people on your podcast you’ll need a way to split the audio for each headphone, this isn’t the cheapest method, but the Behringer gives you the option of adjusting the volume for each person’s liking.

Could find one for $20-24

ONXE 3.5mm Headphone Splitter Cable

If you’re going to have other people on your podcast you’ll need a way to split the audio for each headphone, this is the cheapest method, but no one can control their volume, but fuck em, you’re saving money.

Could find one for $6-8

Computer:

Raspberry Pi 4 4gb

This little guy can handle a lot, there were issues recording with the last generation, I heard some odd ticks, but the current Pi4 is a beast especially with 4gb of ram, all you need to do is learn linux, which sounds more daunting than it actually is. You’ll also need a cheap mouse, keyboard, and screen, but other then that, you’re solid dog!

I’ll probably be getting a how to make a little PodPi tutorial here pretty soon, where I run through the do’s and don’ts of starting a podcast on a pi , stay tuned to learn how!

Could find one for $55 + ~$20 for power, display and memory stick

Used laptop ebay

If you aren’t into setting everything up, or looking for a slightly cheaper alternative, finding a working laptop for under $100.00 is doable on ebay, but I wouldn’t rely on it, the pi I still feel is a banger alternative.

Could find one for $20-120.00

DAW:

Reaper

Reaper is relatively cheap, and like the scarlet above, is a workhorse, will handle most things you throw at it, along with a large user base, you’ll easily find answer to most questions you have. They also have a pretty long, if not indefinite, free trial period.

Price: Free-60

2- Uploading

So you’ve get your setup all set up, and now you want to upload it to itunes or any/all of the many platforms. This for whatever reason gave me the biggest headache, but We’ll get through this together, I promise.

Hosting:

So there is an unbelievably cheap way of creating and uploading your podcast’s RSS Feed onto the internet so every podcast platform from itunes to zcast (rip) can find your podcast, but first I’ll tell you how I do it.

Cheap website hosting platform, godaddy, hostgator, whatever Price: Around $100 Annually

There are cheaper methods then hosting your podcast on a website, but this gives you the most control. 

RSS Feed

This is usually what slips up a lot of new creators, there are a bunch of different ways to create a functioning RSS feed, but the method I use and tell newbies alike to use, is creating a wordpress theme on your website and downloading and using the wordpress plugin “PowerPress Podcasting plugin by Blubrry” through just a few simple to follow steps you can have your RSS feed rollin in no time, and something special about the plugin, it also allows you to create multiple different feeds, I’ll talk more about this later.

Uploading your files

You don’t want to upload all your files onto your website, that’d eat up so much bandwidth and storage space, which would cost an ungodly amount of money, so let me tell you a little trick that all the real cheap bastards use to get their stuff out there, a little thing called AWS, S3

Hosting through AWS’s (Amazon Web Services) S3 (Simple Storage Service)

So this is the thing that’ll keep this whole thing cheap, unlike other hosting services, you don’t have to pay upfront, are you going to use 250mb this month or 1.5gb? Who could know, and if you go over they’ll tell you, but through AWS you pay as much as you use, and the pricing is outrageous, seriously, no fo realz seriously.  

“For the First 50 TB / Month $0.023 per GB”

No that isn’t a joke, so comparatively libsyn, easily the most popular podcast hosting site, for 400mb/month it’ll set you back $40.00, that’s  4,400% more expensive! 

Statistics

Stats are super important, how are you going to know how well you’re doing? Is anyone downloading your podcast? Statistics could be the most important thing in this entire thing, and if you listened well, you’d have uploaded your podcast to AWS, and created a bucket for your podcast, and with this information you can visit the people at:

S3Stats

“S3STAT is a service that takes the detailed server access logs provided by Amazon’s CloudFront and Simple Storage Service (S3), and translates them into human readable statistics, reports and graphs.”

This service is amazing and if you’re a cheap bastard like ya boy, then you can beg by creating a blog saying how great these guys are and they might give you a special license that proves how savvy you are!

Thanks again to S3Stats, check out a free 30 day trial at https://www.s3stat.com/Setup/RegisterAlt.aspx

Did you enjoy my guide? Would you like to know how to get an RSS feed online for free without having to host your own website?

I actually teach a class on everything you just read along with:

  • Mixing and Mastering
  • Perfect mic placement
  • Eliminating Echos (on the cheap)
  • How to get ID3s on your podcast
  • Setting up your linux machine in no time
  • How to get your website SSL Certified for free!

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