How to produce professional-quality radio shows + podcasts: the ultimate guide - DJ TechTools (2022)

Committing to a radio show is an excellent way to keep your DJ muscles in shape. It provides you with a space to practice and stay in good form, and gives you a solid purpose to hunt and dig for music. There are many places to host shows, from well-established stations to simply making your own schedule and using a podcast-style model, similar to Josh Wink’s Profound Sounds, or Adam Beyer’s Drumcode Radio via, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or Mixcloud. A consistent opportunity to express yourself and build your sound is invaluable.

Regardless of where your show is broadcasted from, you should aim for the best quality possible. Today, we’re exploring a few tips to get yourself there. With an emphasis on pre-recording shows, but still useful for those brave live broadcasters, these tips will have you well on your way to sounding as professional as your favorite radio shows.

How to produce professional-quality radio shows + podcasts: the ultimate guide - DJ TechTools (1)

Setup and Recording

Initial setup

Use the engineering skills that you have refined setting up your DJ equipment! Start out by planning your best signal path and check for weaknesses in the chain (i.e. noisy cables). If your eventual recording destination is a computer, then a direct usb line from your mixer or controller is ideal. Other options are:

  • Master or record out to a USB soundcard.
  • Master or record out to an external recorder.
  • USB record out from an applicable mixer to the Pioneer REC app.

Recording the voiceover

If you’re planning to record your voiceover (V/O) ‘live’ at the same time as your mix, check through your equipment and software’s internal routing. You’ll want to make sure that your recording will pick up each element. Run a soundcheck and make sure you’re recording everything you do need, and nothing that you don’t. Avoid the classic goof:forgetting to select the correct audio source in your recording software so that you only pick up room noise. This just might turn your well-curated mixshow into an ASMR podcast, complete with rustling and heavy breathing.

All of the above applies to a live broadcast as well. Try to check and double-check everything before you go live, but if you do run into issues, think back to this article on troubleshooting.

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Where possible, it’s recommended to record your V/O separately. It helps to compartmentalise the process –which is particularly helpful for broadcast beginners. Plan your mix, get the levels and energy exactly where you want, then use a separate channel in a DAW to record the voiceover. This will give you a great deal of control over the final mix and allow you to use some extra processing if needed. This is also quite useful if you improvise your track selection, because when you go back and record the voice-over introduction, you can tease some of the forthcoming tracks.

Editing in post

When you get to the post-production stage (after all your audio is recorded), don’t beat yourself up about doing a little editing – it’s extremely common. Make sure there are no long silences at the beginning and end of the show. If you’re unhappy with a transition, it’s ok to cut out some particularly bad drifting. Use the same rigor that you would if you were making a mix for your favourite website, or as a demo for a party you really want to play at.

How to produce professional-quality radio shows + podcasts: the ultimate guide - DJ TechTools (2)

Voiceovers

It’s important to remember that you really don’t need a silky-smooth broadcast voice to be effective on the microphone. If you pay close attention to how you sound, you’ll be able to make the best of what you have.

Recording with your own voice

Not sure what your voice sounds like? It’s time to take a deep breath and do something most people cannot stand: recording yourself and listening back. As the cringe fades (because, let’s be honest: almost nobody likes the sound of their own voice), listen for what kind of voice you have. If you have access, use an audio spectral analyzer (like Spek, for example) to see what frequencies your voice occupies most.

Work on getting comfortable hearing your own voice, and try to be yourself as much as possible. Keep in mind that audiences can often pick up on affectations that don’t feel genuine.

Gain & EQ

Think about gain and EQ when you record your voice as well. If you have a quiet voice you’ll need some boosting, and vice versa if you’re coming in hot. Experiment with both. If you push gain too much, you’ll end up with a distorted signal, so it’s best to start at the source with the most confident, clear, vocal performance possible.

Using the microphone & diving in

With whatever microphone you’re using, put it in a stand and try to talk into it at a distance of about a stretched hand from pinky to thumb of room – between your mouth and the mic. A pop-shield is quite handy for voice recording. They are easy to buy; you can even make them from a coat hanger and a pair of tights. Make sure you turn your speakers down, or off, when you’re recording your voice – this allows you to avoid creating feedback or accidental echo effects.

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How to produce professional-quality radio shows + podcasts: the ultimate guide - DJ TechTools (3)

Take a few deep breaths to relax, and sip some water before recording. Test some phrases and speak as clearly as possible. Smile while you talk, as this will instantly lift the clarity and confidence of your voice. Try not to have any gadgets running in the background like fans, and pay attention to the character of the room sound. If you hear an echo or reverberation in your headphones, you might want to move to a smaller space with more soft furnishings. Check your levels. If you’ve written down a script, put it somewhere you can see – but try to avoid holding onto paper, or you’ll pick up the rustle in the recording.

Planning your recordings

Check with your station programmer, but as a guide, the FCC stipulates that you must ID the station each hour. Whether or not you’re on FM radio, it’s good practice to, at the very least, record a voiceover intro for a 1 hour show. A handy schema to remember is:

ID StationID Show/DJBack AnnounceTake Care Of BusinessForward AnnounceID Station
Say the name of the stationSay your name, and/or the show nameTalk about the track you just playedRead any ads or info you must talk about.Talk about a track coming up, especially if it’s ‘featured’ or ‘exclusive’Say the name of the station.

Here’s an example:

Keep your V/O as concise as possible, and remember that it’s not important to link each sentence you say. For example, refrain from phrases like ‘Which brings me too…’ ‘And so…’. The listener doesn’t really mind if you ID a track and immediately pivot to talking about something else; broadcasters do it all the time.

Sound Design

A ‘Sting’ is a short and clear identifier you can use in your show to remind listeners who they are listening to, great examples of creatively dropping stings in on beat, and during build ups can be found on Radio 1’s Essential Mix. Often these stings are brief sound-FX with the show name, DJ name, and/or station announced.

An example would be:

SFXMale voiceFemale voiceChild VoiceHype Sports VoiceSFXFemale VoiceMale VoiceSFX
BlipsTHEMIXSHOWWITH DJ PUMPSSCRATCH SOUNDON 72.1TECH FMTAIL

And an audio example:

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Finding & creating sound effects

There are resources for sound effects online, such as Loopmasters, Splice, and Freesound.org. Alternatively, you can make the sounds yourself by chopping up random files in Audacity or using something like Ableton’s Operator synth.

For vocals, why not ask some friends to each say your full sting, and then chop it together later in a DAW? The point is often to have quite processed sounding vocals that add texture and punctuation to your show.

Many terrestrial radio stations have ‘audio-logos’ –which are ultra short musical phrases or pieces of sound design that can be used by brands and media platforms as signifiers that you are consuming their content. They are much like a TV station placing their visual logo in the corner of the screen. Consider making one of your own –a literal signature sound. Even if you don’t talk on your show, you could use it sparingly as an easter-egg for your audience, or a useful transition tool to get from one tempo to another.

Making the final touches

At this point, you’re almost there! Now it’s time to add some last touches and finesse to your show. Your experience in live party situations will help you at this point as well as all the time spent listening to your favourite radio shows and podcasts.

Mix-to-voiceover ratio

Make sure you’re paying attention to the overall mix. As a general rule, the music should be at 10% or less of the total volume of the voiceover when you’re speaking. You can play a little fast-and-loose with this ratio when you’re placing the stings and sound design. Dropping them into breakdowns and quieter breaks in the mix means you don’t need to pull the volume down as much.

Just like when you’re mixing records together, look out for clashing vocals –make sure you aren’t talking during a section where a track features vocals.

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Limiting and compression

Speak with the head engineer or whoever oversees the quality of the station’s broadcast about limiting and compression. You’ll want to know the dB at which your mix should peak, and if any limiting or compression is added to the overall station’s signal.

If the station broadcasts every show ‘as-is’, then you may want to add a little bit of a boost to your show. You can use your DAW’s mastering chain, Ozone, Landr or any other similar tool, making sure you still only peak at the station’s desired Db level. If you’re on a regular schedule, listen to the show before you and try not to follow with either a lot more, or a lot less, perceived loudness.

Streaming

If your station allows for streaming on-demand, make sure there’s a link to your shows on your own website and social media. Otherwise, be sure to build your own archive of shows using your host of choice. Remember that platforms like Soundcloud allow you to send an RSS feed to other aggregators (like Apple Podcasts), but do also present some challenges when it comes to playing others music. It’s a good idea to (gently and considerately) let artists know that you’ve included them in a mix, usually by tagging them in a social post. Tracklists are very important, and the more official the better – it can lead to artists actually getting paid royalties for their music.

Keep listening

Check your show before you send it off, and then again when it airs. Consider what is sounding great and where improvements could be made. Stay as consistent as you can, but be open to adjustments when you receive feedback from peers and friends. You really never know who is listening, and it may surprise you to know you have more regular listeners than you think.

It’s true that there are a lot of DJs with radio shows and podcasts at the moment. Many of your favourite DJs use these formats, which is precisely why it’s important to produce the highest-quality work possible. As always, you don’t necessarily need fancy gear to deliver something impressive, just some planning, effort and experience. Spend time on areas that you think need improvement. Keep listening back to what you’ve done and be proud of the effort you’ve made and the quality you’ve achieved.

Happy creating, and don’t touch that dial!

Read Next: Recording DJ Mixes – how to do it right and why it matters

FAQs

How do I create a podcast for free? ›

How to Start a Podcast for Free (No New Equipment)
  1. Find your niche.
  2. Plan your content.
  3. Name your free podcast.
  4. Create a content calendar.
  5. Choose a podcast hosting provider.
  6. Record your first episode.
  7. Publish and submit your episodes to directories.
  8. Promote your show.
27 Oct 2022

How much money can you make from a podcast? ›

“Typically, a podcaster with around 10,000 downloads per episode can expect to earn somewhere between $500 to $900. Very successful podcasts can earn much more, reaching up to $30 million in annual income.”

Do podcasts make money? ›

Sponsorships are the most common way podcasters make money. This is when the podcast promotes the sponsor during the show. You probably hear your favorite shows plug their advertisers a few times in every episode. How much you earn from a sponsor depends on the number of downloads your episodes earn.

What software do I need to start a podcast? ›

11 best podcast recording software
  1. Restream. With our most recent updates, Restream has become a full-fledged audio recording software. ...
  2. Adobe Audition. ...
  3. GarageBand. ...
  4. Logic Pro. ...
  5. Auphonic. ...
  6. Audacity. ...
  7. QuickTime. ...
  8. Hindenburg Journalist.
5 Apr 2022

How much money do you need to start a podcast? ›

How much money do I need to start a podcast? You can start a podcast for zero dollars using free software or equipment that you already own, such as a phone or computer. You can also create all of your podcast's graphic elements, such as your cover art, at no cost.

What are the four qualities of good radio producer? ›

What skills are useful for radio producers? Excellent written, communication, organisational and time management skills are essential. You'll need to ensure the show runs on time, has enough content and work with various staff.

What are the major 3 ingredients of radio Programme? ›

The only difference is that while a stage play has actors, stage, sets, curtains, properties movement and live action, a radio play has only 3 components. They are the human voice, music and sound effects.

How do you make a successful radio show? ›

Present Great Radio
  1. Know Your Listener. Understand everything about your audience; why they listen to you, when they listen, what they listen on. ...
  2. Make Your Listener Care. ...
  3. Talk to ONE Person. ...
  4. Be in Charge. ...
  5. Learn The Rules, Then Break Them! ...
  6. Make The Mic Your Mate. ...
  7. Be Yourself.
7 Jun 2022

What is the best app to make a podcast on? ›

That's why in this guide, we'll cover what you need to know to find the best online podcast maker app in 2022.
...
Now that you know what to look for in a podcast maker, let's cover a few of our favorites podcast maker apps on the market today.
  1. Riverside.fm. ...
  2. Podbean. ...
  3. Audacity. ...
  4. Anchor. ...
  5. Spreaker Studio. ...
  6. GarageBand.
28 Aug 2022

What makes a podcast successful? ›

As with many other creative pursuits, consistency is the key to good podcasting! To build success, stay as consistent as possible with your podcasting style and schedule. Consistency means that you stay on topic and on brand, helping listeners know what to expect from new podcast episodes.

How do you start a podcast with no experience? ›

20 step guide for starting a podcast with no existing audience
  1. Pick an idea (ideation)
  2. Create a listener persona (marketing)
  3. Pick an angle for your show (ideation)
  4. Define your brand idea (marketing)
  5. Choose your recording gear.
  6. Draft or script coherent c.a. 5 episodes.
  7. Record your episodes and cut your material.

How many followers do you need to make money on a podcast? ›

You usually need a larger audience of at least 5K or 10K listeners per month to work with them. One of the largest ad networks is Midroll, another popular network is Authentic, and many of the podcast hosting companies have their own networks as well.

How long should podcasts be? ›

The length of your podcast also depends on your subject, industry or genre. It could be that around 15-20 minutes perfect for your listeners. But maybe your specific audience wants more in-depth, exploratory information; in which case, 45-90 minutes would provide more value.

Can you make a living off a podcast? ›

So is it even possible for new podcasts to make money? The answer is yes. By setting up a few automated revenue streams, new podcasters can accrue passive income that grows alongside their audience, giving them time back to focus on podcasting.

Do podcasts pay guests? ›

Last week, Bloomberg reported that some podcast guests are paying up to $50,000 to appear on some popular shows. It's a form of pay-to-play advertising that is technically legal.

How much do successful podcasters make? ›

For example, if someone is using affiliate sales, advertising, sponsorships, and paid subscriptions, they're likely to earn much more than someone who's only relying on one stream. In this case, we'd say that a podcaster can possibly earn somewhere around $300- $5 000 per episode with 10 000 downloads.

How many downloads does it take to monetize a podcast? ›

4. How many downloads do I need to start monetizing my podcast? There's no hard rule here. Generally gathering 400-500 downloads per episode is a great time to starting monetizing a podcast but this is a guideline.

What are 7 qualities of a great podcast? ›

10 Characteristics of a Great Podcast Host
  • Engage Your Audience in Conversation. ...
  • Know Your Subject Matter. ...
  • Avoid Information Overload. ...
  • Understand Your Audience. ...
  • Seek Out The Best Guests. ...
  • Prepare For Every Interview. ...
  • Set Your Guests At Ease. ...
  • Encourage Respectful Debates.

What skills do you need to be a podcast producer? ›

Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a podcast producer requires excellent communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively on creative content, and strong attention to detail. Employers may ask for a portfolio or reel of samples with descriptions of your specific involvement in each production.

What is the best structure for a podcast? ›

There are three basic podcast segments every episode should have, no matter what. An intro, the main content, and an outro. You could also include special segments, like rapid fire questions, or fun games that you play with your guests from time to time!

Do I need a website to start a podcast? ›

Remember, as you start your new podcast, it's critical to have a website. A website will help you get new listeners, promote your site effectively, and act as a central hub for everything related to your podcast. To start building your podcast website, look into WordPress hosting from HostGator today.

What are the 5 steps to start a podcast? ›

Five step podcasting plan:
  1. Structure your show.
  2. Frame your episodes with an intro and outro.
  3. Decide on including an interview.
  4. Practice hosting skills.
  5. Upload your podcast to the internet.
30 May 2019

How long does it take to produce a podcast? ›

As a general rule, after personally overseeing the production of over 50 podcasts, I'd say a good average edit time for a 30-40 minute podcast is about 4-5 hours. That's a number that surprises most people so it's a good idea to practice before you get started so you know how much time it's going to take you.

Is it free to launch a podcast? ›

You can start a podcast for free. But if you want to spend some money, then invest your money on a good microphone. Because when it comes to podcasts, it's all about audio. So, don't compromise with the audio quality of your podcast.

What are the 4 important elements needed to make a radio play? ›

Elements of radio drama

role: characters in the play. time: when the action takes place. place: where the action takes place. action: what happens in the drama.

What makes a great radio producer? ›

NEVER Be Boring

The best radio presenters can make even the most boring topics interesting through just their enthusiasm and ability to offer a new perspective. Wear your passions on your sleeve and have fun with what you're doing and your audience should have fun too.

What makes a good radio production? ›

Focus on quality. Quality sound, quality content, quality DJs, and quality branding (e.g. the content on your station profile page) are what make up a quality station. It doesn't take a lot to get an internet radio station up and running.

How should a script for radio be written? ›

Make It Sound Conversational

Ensure your grammar is concise and succinct, as it will allow you to improvise and expand on what you have written. Write the way you speak. A well-written script, read word by word, should be invisible to the listener. Your script has to sound natural and relaxed.

How do you write a radio script example? ›

Talk Radio Script Template:
  1. Story 1: [Title of your story] (Duration)
  2. Introduction: [Summary of Story/Anecdote that captures attention of your listeners]
  3. Background: [Tell the bulk of the Story/Anecdote, including any background info]
  4. Conclusion: [End the Story/Anecdote distinctly and memorably]
28 Sept 2018

What are the two types of radio format? ›

Over time, FM radio came to dominate music programming, while AM radio switched to news and talk formats.

Can I create my own radio show? ›

Running your own radio show gives you the freedom to create and broadcast whatever you want, but without a structure in place it can come across as incoherent and inconsistent. Instead, plan out your content to create engaging shows that keep listeners coming back for more.

What qualifications do I need to be a radio presenter? ›

There are no prerequisites for becoming a radio host. You can study anything and still end up in radio, but it helps to specialize. When applying for a presenter job, courses in acting or voice acting, speaking, or personality development will look great on your CV.

Do Radio DJS make good money? ›

How much does a Radio DJ make in California? The average Radio DJ salary in California is $45,096 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $37,162 and $55,061.

How much does it cost to have a radio show? ›

The cost of launching a radio station largely depends on the type of radio station. The largest startup expenses come from engineering fees (which can range from $500 to $3,000 to get on air), studio equipment (which can range from $5,000 to more than $100,000), and transmitting equipment.

What is the difference between a podcast and a radio show? ›

Podcasts are pre-recorded

Internet radio stations, and internet radio broadcasting, air live on a specific day and time, while podcasts are pre-recorded. This allows for podcasts to be edited, while the content on internet radio shows is raw and live as it happens.

How much does it cost to put out a podcast? ›

How expensive is it to start a podcast? The good news is it's not expensive to get a basic podcast off the ground: if you already own a computer, you should be able to get started for under $200. You don't need much of an equipment set-up for a simple monologue-type podcast.

How much do radio podcasters make? ›

As of Nov 2, 2022, the average annual pay for a Podcast Host in the United States is $72,835 a year.

Do radio shows make money? ›

The listening audience, similar to a TV audience and social media users, are the product being sold to advertisers. This is how radio stations make money; through advertising. Extra income also comes from sponsored content and events (however, this is also a form of a advertising) as well as charging callers.

How long should a radio show be? ›

Your overall show length should be within 30 seconds of the total time indicated. For example, for a 2-hour show, your 4 segments played back-to-back should take up 116 minutes, give or take 30 seconds. In general, if you can't achieve the desired length, it's better to run short than long.

How much does a 30 second commercial cost on radio? ›

Making a radio ad is fairly simple and can be done quite quickly and typically costs between $300 and $1,000. There are a few options when creating a radio ad, you can have the radio station create the ad, pay a professional production company to create the ad, create the ad yourself, or hire a freelancer.

What are the 3 types of podcasts? ›

Nonfiction narrative story-telling. Fictional story-telling. Hybrid.

Which is better radio or podcast? ›

Radio content also tends to focus more on trending topics and newsworthy events than on evergreen themes. A podcast is a prerecorded show that listeners stream at their convenience or download to listen to later. Podcast hosts choose a topic to focus on, record the audio, then edit before publishing.

Which is more popular radio or podcast? ›

Popularity among listeners

Besides, podcasts are tied to specific, usually younger listeners, who consume and trust unconventional media more than the traditional one. So, as of today, radio has more power over the larger public than podcasts.

How long does it take for a podcast to make money? ›

Your podcast can make money between six to 12 months with the right strategy. Yes! But while businesses have only just added podcasting to their marketing channels, you're going to organize some targeted marketing to shorten the time to monetizing your podcast.

Is podcast a good business? ›

Podcasts are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to market yourself and offer to an audience that is exactly who you are looking for. Podcasts are also a great way to connect with potential customers who are interested in what you have to say. You can become an expert and celebrity in your field.

How much should I charge to edit a podcast? ›

Expect to pay between $30 and $50 per hour of audio. Top Sellers: These are the most experienced podcast editors on a given platform. They have a track-record of satisfied clients, so be prepared to spend a bit more. Prices generally fall between $50 and $200 per hour of audio.

Are podcast producers in demand? ›

By focusing on a podcasting career, and making it a specialist capability, there will be more demand for your skills as more and more companies start seeing the value of podcasting. There is already tremendous demand for podcasting skills because the skillset is so varied.

How much do podcast producers get paid? ›

As of Nov 5, 2022, the average hourly pay for a Podcast Producer in the United States is $25.33 an hour.

Who makes the most money on podcast? ›

Andrew Schulz and Akaash Singh are among the highest-paid podcasters in 2022 and the hosts of Flagrant 2, a Patreon-specific podcast that makes its content available to the three tiers of accessible content for its subscribers.

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