How to Start Your Own Podcast: Advice from NYU Students
By Schania Anderson
Programming Coordinator at VH1
These days, podcasts have transformed from a niche platform to a mainstream industry. They offer a world of information for people of all interests and have become a source of learning and entertainment. And as more audiences flock to the medium, podcasting has become one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide.
Episode 36 of the Coffee Break w/ NYWICI podcast was recorded live at a New York University panel event in the Fall of 2019, where moderator Julie Hochheiser Illkovich talked with six podcast hosts: Kelly Drake (Theatre-in-the-Sound), Charitssa Stone (Color Me Nerd), Guru Ramanathan and Michael Oluokun (The Passion Project), and Jordan Marley Powell and Anuka Sethi (WOC Makin’ It Big). These NYU students explained how they got their start in podcasting and shared advice for those interested in starting their own. Missed the discussion? Here are some key takeaways.
Find Your Niche
There are already over 500 million podcasts in existence, so it’s important to find factors that make yours unique. What topic can you talk about endlessly? What’s the target audience for that subject?
For example, Charitssa Stone, Host of Color Me Nerd, wanted to “put a spotlight on things that aren’t normally talked about in gaming culture.” After attending a video game expo that typically has a low attendance from women of color, she realized that this was an issue that she was passionate about and could speak to. So, she started Color Me Nerd, a podcast about the intersection between people of color and nerd culture.
Similarly, Jordan Marley Powell and Anuka Sethi’s podcast, WOC: Makin’ It Big, was inspired after a discussion about the small number of playwrights who are women of color. The pair initially feared that the subject might be too limiting, but they eventually found plenty of related topics they could discuss. Now their podcast is focused on attending NYU, being in theater and documenting their journey as women of color.
Utilize Your Resources
One of the biggest fears about starting a podcast is not having the proper equipment. However, there are ways to make a podcast without having to purchase expensive software. For The Passion Project, Guru Ramanathan and Michael Oluokun simply use an iPhone to record and a computer to edit. They also enlist the help of friends who have experience in podcasting, engineering and music to help with any technical questions.
And Kelly Drake noted that there are resources for beginners that can enhance the quality of a podcast. She records her podcast, Theatre-in-the-Sound, at the NYU college radio station. “If you’re a student, look to your college station—and if you’re not in college, look to your local public radio station,” she suggests.
Find the Balance
Despite being busy college students, all six podcast hosts acknowledge that having a podcast is still achievable. The actual recording process takes the least amount of time, they say. Planning tends to be the most time-consuming part, as they have to book guests, draft questions and prepare research. That’s why it’s important to create a schedule and routine, the students agree. And make sure you draft an outline before going to record so you can stick to the desired length and format.
Just Do It
No matter the topics or the guests, the most important part of starting a podcast is to just have fun with it! Always allow your passion to shine through. The world of podcasting can be challenging at times—but the panelists all agree that it’s worth it.
Thanks to the panel participants for sharing their advice! Catch the entire discussion on our podcast, Coffee Break w/ NYWICI.