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Podcast Guest Audio Preparation Checklist

Preparing Your Recording Environment

First, you want to check with your host and confirm how you’ll be handling the interview: Skype? Google Hangouts? Something else?

Then, should you be recording your own audio in case something happens? If so, does the host use an online solution (like Zencastr) or a desktop solution (like Call Recorder for Skype or Audacity)?

Once you’ve confirmed these details and before your interview, you want to prepare your recording environment:

Your Computer

  • Before the interview, reboot your computer.
  • To save memory, shut down programs that automatically load at startup.
  • Minimize open programs and browser tabs to as few as necessary.
  • Connect to the Internet with an Ethernet cable (hardware) instead of over WiFi if possible. It’s faster, sounds better, and is safe from occasional WiFi dropouts. (To verify you are actually using the wire once you’re connected it, turn off your wireless connection just to make sure your connection still works.)

Your Audio

  • You want to make sure that your audio is clear, easy to hear, and easy to understand.
  • You must use earphones, earbuds, or headphones when you record. This prevents the sound from the host’s audio from bleeding into your mic, creating an annoying echo. (There’s no way around this, so don’t try and do an interview without headphones. You might not hear it, but it will ruin your recording.)

Skype

  • If you’re using Skype for the interview, turn off all notifications inside of Skype. (From Skype, select Preferences | Notifications | Overview and then turn all notifications OFF (uncheck them)).
  • Adjust the volume on your computer. (From Skype go into Preferences | Notifications | Audio/Video and then make sure that Automatically adjust microphone settings is checked).
  • Test your microphone. Your voice should be consistently registering in the upper third of the meter. If it doesn’t, you may need to play with the volume slider.
  • Test your microphone again. Are you using the right input device? Look in the program you’re recording to. Does Skype (or your recording tool) show you as using the correct microphone?

Your Environment

  • Close your door and tell anyone in the area not to disturb you because you are doing a recorded interview.
  • Turn off your cell phone. The signal can interfere with your recording and it would be terrible for your phone to ring during the interview.
  • Turn off or unplug any land line phones as well so they don’t ring during the interview.
  • Have any reference material that you might need such as notes, web pages, etc. readily available.
  • No shuffling papers, banging things, or typing during the interview. Even if you think you are being quiet, it can still be picked up and recorded.

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