January 31, 2019

"How to Record a Simple Co-Hosted Podcast Today" — Part 2: Creating Co-Host Dynamic

We recently got a request on Slack via Jeremy L. asking how we record MAEKAN It Up now that Charis is in London. Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you achieve a respectable standard of audio. Naturally, you can always go higher-end with better mics and more equipment but that sort of defeats the purpose of testing and simply “doing.”

The co-host dynamic is most critical here, more so than the audio quality itself, since the relatively low prices of simple equipment has made the hardware tools more accessible. The following is the process we’ve adopted.

Here’s part two of our guide (part one can be seen here) on how to create an engaging dynamic with your co-host.

But Before You Start, What’s the Podcast’s Foundation?
Having a certain expectation week-in, week-out is really helpful in developing a flow and rhythm. There are numerous types of podcast formats including:

  1. Discussion between co-hosts on a topic/theme
  2. Discussion of news
  3. Interviews with guests
  4. Fictional stories
  5. Whatever your mind can think of

Over time the initial format of the show will matter less. It’s the feedback and insight gained from each published episode that makes an impact. For example, perhaps the original format winds up being too long and challenging, making weekly recordings difficult. Or perhaps you notice that the style you want to achieve can’t be done without more resources.

MAEKAN It Up focuses on the discussion of news from the past week in hopes of creating context and relevance around the subject. Our other audio stories don’t necessarily prescribe to this guideline and follow many different formats around interviews and original music.

Another point worth noting is that, like any new thing you put out, the most exciting and challenging time is the start-up phase. It’s exciting because you have carte blanche to figure out what makes the most sense with the limited amount of listeners. Once popularity and brand recognition set in, it’s often much more difficult to change course.

The Considerations Around Establishing a Good Co-Hosting Dynamic

  1. Hold yourselves to a regular schedule. Speaking together frequently is the thing that helps the most.
  2. Prep your part of the conversation with written notes in advance so that when the other person is speaking you’re not focused on what you’re going to say, but you’re genuinely listening and responding. (We use a Dropbox Paper template that we fill out every week.)
  3. Do not allow use of mobile devices or the computer beyond what’s necessary for podcasting purposes. Turn off notifications while recording.
  4. Be honest and shoot straight with your thoughts and opinions, especially when you disagree.
  5. Especially in the beginning stages, record more rather than not enough, it’s always easier to edit.
  6. Interrupt naturally, like regular conversations. As per Part 1, you can easily stagger answers since they’re on different tracks to create a more seamless listening experience.
  7. But also take your time to think. Let your co-host know you’re thinking and then speak with intention. (You can always edit out silences later.)

Our Favorite Tip
When engaging in conversation, one of the best ways to get more insight and context is to ask the simple question, “can you give me an example?” This immediately does two things:

  1. Allows for more color to the statement
  2. Grounds the statement in something real

Speaker 1: A good co-hosted podcast comes down to the dynamic of the hosts.
Speaker 2: Can you give me an example of some tips on how to improve that?

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