MF 268 : Scheduling interviews and best practices for editing your podcast
Updated: Jun 24
On this episode, we take a look at scheduling guests and best practices for editing your podcast. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Shout out to two new authors!
Before we get started, I want to give a shout out and congrats to two new authors:
Both of these talented people wrote and published their first books within less than a year and what a great way to end 2019 and the decade. Congrats!
Part 1: Tools for scheduling guests
If you’re launching an interview or conversation-based podcast, a big part of your job will be managing schedules – yours and that of your guests.
When I launched Moving Forward as an interview podcast, I started out scheduling interviews informally. I emailed or DM’d people I wanted on the show and simply did a back and forth to hammer out a time. As the show grew, I found email to be unwieldy so I tried a number of tools including Google Calendar and Doodle.
However, as I got more and more interviews and interview requests from prospective guests or their PR reps, I quickly discovered that I needed something a little more systematic.
I happened upon Acuity and that is what I used throughout the later seasons of Moving Forward all the way up to the last interviews in 2018.
Acuity is an online scheduler which had both a free and premium version at time. [NOTE: since then, it has been acquired by Squarespace and only has a premium option]. There are a lot of bells and whistles but I’ll share some of the highlights that were huge for an interview podcast:
Online calendar with the ability to schedule standardized weekly times or to create individual time slots.
Autoresponder emails to your guests to confirm the interview date and time, including attachments to put the appointment on their calendar. You can also customize the autoresponder with important information you want to include about your podcast.
Time zone adjustment feature: I set my calendar to EST and by checking off a box, it automatically adjusted for the end-user. As Moving Forward grew, I had guests from all over the country and different parts of the world. Having the calendar auto-adjust to the user’s time zone was a big time and headache saver.
There are lots of online schedulers out there so I encourage you to do some research and find one that's a good fit with your show.
Part 2: Best practices for editing your podcast
Let’s dive into editing your podcast. There are lots of tools and platforms out there including GarageBand, and Audacity, which I’ve talked about before and Adobe, a subscription-based platform with lots of features.
For Moving Forward, I did all of my editing on GarageBand, a free audio suite that comes preinstalled on all Apple devices.
Editing basics and best practices
As I talked about a few weeks ago, I didn’t use Skype’s native recording feature for most of Moving Forward since it didn’t come out until last year. Instead, I used a plugin called Ecamm, which has a one-time license fee.
Ecamm came with a suite of programs including one called “Split sides of conversation,” which you can probably find online.
I wore headphones during interviews and Ecamm would create a .Mov file that saved to my desktop. I would use “Split sides” to create two files, representing both sides of the conversation. The headphones helped preserve both sides without any bleed from the other person. From there, I would convert both tracks to MP3 (using another piece of software that came with also came with Ecamm) and plop both tracks into a new GarageBand project.
Cut and tie the ribbon
Think of the sound project or files as one long ribbon. As you review it, you can trim portions and cut out snippets that contain interruptions or sound artifacts. Imagine taking a pair of scissors and cutting portions of the ribbon, moving them and tying them up. Just be careful to keep the tracks aligned. If you cut out a snippet from one side, make sure you keep the other track aligned if you move the other side around. In other words, the time frame of both tracts should always sync up.
Cut and tie the ribbons and maintain track consistency.
If you trim out a segment without moving it to close any gaps leave the other track as is.
If you cut and move one tract to close a gap, you should do the same with the other to maintain conversation continuity.
If you record through Skype’s native recording feature, as far as I know, you can’t separate conversation tracts (I tried). So, if you go with Skype’s native recorder, just be mindful of sound artifacts during recording and if the interruption is severe, simply stop the interview, politely ask the guest to repeat the last segment (best practice: you can repeat the last question to set them up for another take which you can splice later).
Zoom also has an excellent native recording feature that will allow you to save video or audio files. Note: as of 2022, all Zoom calls on its free version are limited to 40 minutes, including one-on-one conversations.
Avoid the rabbit hole of editing
One thing about editing. It’s not a hard skill to pick up. It simply takes practice so I recommend you try it out on some test recordings. However, it is a rabbit hole. It’s easy to fall into the trap of overediting your conversations to perfection. Don’t do this. You do not want to spend hours editing a 20-minute conversation. In the beginning, you’ll be hyper-aware of mistakes and sound artifacts but try not to let that derail you. Trust in the value of the content; not the perfection or imperfection of the delivery. Instead, focus on getting better with each episode.
As for solo podcasts, I highly encourage you not to overedit. For this year’s season, I do almost no editing. You will often hear me correcting myself mid-sentence or the occasional “um” or “ah.” Since I don’t have time this year for editing, I just let it go and trust in the content I’m sharing and work on improving for the next episode.
Time is your biggest and most precious resource. Let that guide you in the decisions you make with respect to editing and post-production. Often, you’ll find an unedited conversation, warts and all, will resonate more with listeners.
Start mapping out your podcast, look at your calendar. If you plan on doing an interview podcast, plan out episodes and arcs and start scheduling guests. You may want to sign up for Acuity or look at a scheduler that works for you.
Part 3: What I’m reading
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (****): a beautifully written story about a girl who runs away an abusive home situation along with her black housekeeper and caretaker. They happen to come across a group of African-American women who are beekeepers in a small South Carolina town. The story unfolds as we experience their relationships and life stories.
Anchor is 100% free podcast hosting
If you don't want to mess with storage math, Anchor provides free podcast hosting plus an excellent suite of editing tools to spruce up your show.
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