"Would you believe..."

These words would be uttered numerous times by bumbling agent Maxwell Smart, as he and Agent 99 would go up against the agents of KAOS.

Debuting on September 18, 1965, the show ran for just under 5 years, and introduced us to gadgets like the "Cone of Silence" and the "Shoe Phone", as well as giving us the comedic laughs from Don Adams. It was the predecessor to movies like In Like Flint and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

Join TFG1Mike, Doug Abel, and guest host Nicole Hale as we discuss how we missed Get Smart!'s 50th Anniversary...Yes, folks, we "Missed it by...THAT much."

Direct download: TBMG_GetSmart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:51pm PDT
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46 years ago (Good lord, it's been 46 YEARS!?!) a show that starred a cowardly Great Dane and 4 kids from Crystal Cove who were sleuths traveling in the Mystery Machine debuted. 

It worked on the formula that, the very first time you saw someone onscreen in an episode that WASN'T part of the regular cast, THEY were the ones who committed a crime.

What show is this?

Scooby Doo and its various incarnations - Scooby Doo, Where Are You, 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated, and more.

We discuss the greats of this cartoon, and along the way, we also pick up on topics like why Scrappy Doo was annoying (Sorry Mike!).

 

Join Doug Abel and Mike Blanchard as we discuss a franchise 46 years old - Scooby Doo. 

Direct download: Scooby-Doo.mp3
Category:Cartoons -- posted at: 10:37pm PDT
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December 17, 1999 saw a film about a robot - or more specifically, an android, who wanted nothing more than to discover what humanity was all about.

Robin Williams, dressed up to be an NDR model of robot, plays Andrew Martin, a robot trying to discover what it takes to be a man. 

He is hated, he is belittled because he is different - but all he strives for is to figure out what becoming human is really all about. He discovers love, he helps humanity - and he gains what he truly deserved - to go from immortality to knowing the secret of life.

Join Doug Abel and Mike Blanchard as we discuss a film that, while criticized, will make you smile, cry and think about what it is that makes you who you are, with the movie based on an Isaac Asimov novella, Bicentennial Man.

Direct download: Bicentennial_Man.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 5:34pm PDT
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1985 shows us, once again, that it was perhaps the best year for movies. This time, we have Mikey, Mouth, Data, Brandt, Andy, Chunk, Troy, Stef, the Fratellis, Sloth, and of course, the key to it all - One-Eyed Willie.

Yes, folks, this week we talk about a movie directed by Richard Donner, the family adventure comedy, The Goonies.

This week, TFG1Mike backed out (apparently, he didn't like the Goonies! Make sure you give him a load of crap for that!) so in his place, we have the BeatlesDiva, Nicole Hale, returning to discuss this great film of the 80's.

 

Direct download: 150802-000.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 7:56pm PDT
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Today, we have a bonus treat for you!

She's had appearances on NBC's The Voice, Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, Happy Feet Two, Duckman and more, we bring to you EG Daily!

Doug and Mike were lucky enough to land this interview with her, and we get a chance to ask her about her career, her characters, and hear Buttercup make threats. 

Please join us as we offer up this bonus content interview in a first ever crossover interview between Talkin' Bout My Generation and The Geekcast Radio Network/ToonCast Beyond.

And if you're a fan of EG Daily as we are, you can visit her at her own website, EGDaily.com, where you can get appearance info, listen to her absolutely amazing vocal performances, and enjoy!

 

 

Direct download: EG_Daily_Interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

This is it, folks! It's finally come and gone - the biggest pop culture event of the year, San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

We got a glimpse at the new Superman Vs. Batman, Suicide Squad, the new Transformers game with Peter Cullen, Gregg Berger, Frank Welker, and more reprising their roles. We got to see the Winner Twins another year older. Mile High Comics came back this year, so the comics industry isn't dead.

And we got to meet some wonderful voice actors throughout the convention - Fred Tatasciore, EG Daily, Rob Paulsen, Gregg Berger - the list goes on. 

We got clips from some of the panels as well, so tune in this week, as we bring you Comic-Con 2015!

Direct download: Post_Comic-Con_2015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm PDT

It's that time of the year again, folks! Instead of covering retro films, TV shows, and video game pop culture, Talkin' Bout My Generation is going to be discussing current and upcoming pop culture!

We're discussing the event of the year, Comic-Con International, aka San Diego Comic-Con!

Mike and Doug will charge forward discussing topics like Marvel's no-show, voice actors, the Hunger Games hatred, and more!

So get ready for us to discuss it all!

Direct download: Pre-Show20Comic-Con202015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:56pm PDT

     July 3, 1985 - This is the birth of what was perhaps one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time.

Today, on a special episode of Talkin' Bout My Generation, Doug and Mike get heavy. Wait, there's that word again! Something must be really wrong with gravity in the future!

We go from 1985, back in time to 1955, forward to this year, 2015, and then back to 1885 before returning to the present...?

Yes, folks, we discuss the movie series Back To The Future.

Also, folks - Mike is working towards a future of his own. As you may have heard recently, his mom passed away, and he is struggling to stay afloat. If you can donate anything to his Fundly account to help keep him from crashing down, please donate here:

Mike Blanchard's Fundly Account

Direct download: TBMG_BTTF_mixdown.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 2:59pm PDT

What could be the perfect movie for the summer? Well, in the 60's, bikini beach parties were all the rage, and Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello were the two characters that everyone was enamored with.

Well, this movie goes about 20 years into the future, where Frankie and Annette are married, and live in Ohio. On a trip out to Hawaii to get them out of their rut, they decide to stop in Los Angeles and see their daughter, played by Lori Loughlin, and all sorts of comedy and hijinks ensue. 

Join Doug Abel and Eva Standley as we discuss a retro throwback classic, 1987's Back To the Beach.

Direct download: Back_to_the_Beach.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 3:52pm PDT

30 years ago in July, a man-child, his bike, and a cross-country trip gave us laughs galore.

Pee Wee Herman, in his grey suit, red bow tie, and bicycle that he loved more than life itself, took us to the basement of the Alamo, gave us the Tequila dance, and introduced kids the world over to "I know you are but what am I?"

Join Doug Abel and Eva Standley as we discuss a family favorite (and Tim Burton's directorial feature film debut), with Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Direct download: 150615-000.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48pm PDT

In 1986, shortly after Stephen Spielberg's success of E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Disney released a film that was a surprise to a lot of people.

It featured a kid from 1978, who was flown on a spaceship at just under the speed of light. Returning back, he hadn't aged at all - but due to the flight being 8 light years away, he returned to the year 1986, virtually unchanged.

NASA finds out about him, starts doing experiments, and the ship contacts him telepathically before flying around the world to take David home home.

Join Eva and Doug as we talk about the 1986 Disney flick, Flight of the Navigator!

Direct download: Navigator.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:22am PDT

In 1984, a small Midwestern town named Bomont is invaded by Chicago teen Ren McCormack.

This may not sound like much; a mother and son, splitting off and leaving town on the heels of a nasty divorce, to live with family, right?

Well, it's much more than that. They come to a town where rock n' roll music is outlawed, as is dancing!

Yes, folks, we are talking about the movie that launched Kevin Bacon in to superstardom, we are referring to the film Footloose.

This week, Eva Standley has agreed to come back and host, as Mike took some time off - for those who don't know, Mike's mom was ill, and finally passed away a few weeks ago. He's currently looking for a place to stay, support of any kind, so if you think you want to help out, reach out to him over at Geekcast Radio (http://www.geekcastradio.com).

And of course, join us as we try to figure out where the hell all these kids learned to dance so well if dancing is illegal in town!!!

Direct download: Footloose.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:20pm PDT

ALF

In 1986, NBC introduced the world to Gordon Shumway, an Alien Life Form, aka ALF, who has a penchant for bad jokes, cats as cuisine, and hailed from a planet named Melmac.

The series was well received by the public, who loved this alien, the smartass comments he made, and his interactions with The Tanner family (no, not DJ, Uncle Jesse, etc, but Willie, Kate, Lynn and Brian). They loved the different views he had on Earth, and adjusting, although there were usually things that came back to haunt him - the giant cockroach, trying to make a cat casserole, and boulliabaiseball...ALF was loved by the public.

Join Doug Abel and Mike Blanchard as we wax poetic about the series ALF on this week's episode of Talkin' Bout My Generation!

 

Direct download: alf.jpg
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35pm PDT

A long time ago, in a galaxy not too far away...(or more specifically, May 25th, 1977, in a theatre near you)

The significance of the above date changed a generation of movie goers, marketing, and helped to define the term "blockbuster". People lined up for hours, literally around the block, to catch a glimpse of a science fiction movie based on mystic arts, an epic space battle, and special effects that pushed the envelope, putting a company at the top.

The movie?

Star Wars.

Yes, this epic film became one of the best known trilogies of all time, taking us from a small desert world to do battle with an oppressive Empire, journeyed to planets of ice, swamps, and clouds, and even to forested locations with primitive yet intelligent bears.

This week, this episode is being released on May 4th, as part of Star Wars celebrations nationwide ("May the Fourth Be With You!"), and is part of our 100th episode celebration as well! Join Doug Abel, Mike Blanchard, and Todd Randolph as we discuss one of the greatest sicence fiction franchises of all time, Lucasfilm's Star Wars trilogy.

Direct download: Star_Wars.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 9:52pm PDT

In 2003, a Marvel movie was made that would make Ben Affleck rumors fly that he would "never" don a comic book outfit again (Joke's on you, Bats!).

Yes, we're referring to the poorly written, poorly cut Marvel's Daredevil movie, starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clark Duncan, and Colin Farrell.

We discuss the movie, and then SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! delve into the new Netflix original series, Daredevil, with Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Vincent D'onofrio, and The Mighty Ducks' Fulton Reed!!!

Come join Mike Blanchard and myself as we let the Devil out - The Man Without Fear, the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, Daredevil!

Direct download: Daredevil.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 10:29pm PDT

Intro Podcast Topics

Outline

Recording Basics Equipment

Microphones

Speakers/Headphones

Optionals

Intro

So you want to podcast. Good! It's a great hobby to start out with, and it's possible to monetize it into something bigger through advertising and sponsors. Maybe you've listened to Kevin Smith and his Smodcast network, or you've tuned in to Chris Hardwick and his Nerdist podcasts, and you've thought, "I can do that!"

Yes, you can! Anyone can do a podcast. Anyone any age, race, creed, religion, etc. can do it. But, you didn't know how to podcast. So what do you do?

Well, it's not just something you can jump into without a little preparation and work. Think of podcasting as running a business - in a business, you need to have a business plan or model to set out on. You need to know what you have to offer. What is going to attract people to come to your business? What do you need to start out? Is this something you're doing short-term to fill a need, or is it something you want to do long-term?

Podcasting has these very same questions to ask (and we'll cover them in further detail): - What are you going to cover on your podcasts? - How are you planning to let people know about your podcast? - What hardware/software do you need to record a podcast?

With all of this in mind, let's jump in to talking about podcasting and where to start.

Podcast topics

Before we go into how to create a podcast, let’s give a little bit of history behind podcasting.

What is podcasting?

This is a big question. If you’ve picked up a book on podcasting or gone to a website with an interest in getting into podcasting, you probably know what a podcast is. But how many people do you know that are aware of what a podcast is? 



I do my own podcast on a weekly basis, and I’m always on the lookout for new listeners. But what I’m finding is that I have to educate people as to what I do, and why I do it. So what do I tell them? How do I describe to them what it is, so they’ll try it and keep coming back, or better, tell their friends?

Think of a podcast as something of a radio show, but more. It’s a show that is recorded so that people can download it and listen to it at their leisure. Most are talk shows, although they can be audiobooks or audio plays in the vein of the Bickersons, The Shadow, Little Orphan Annie, and other classic radio shows.

Or, they may have music that’s played throughout, such as a show about indie music or local bands. It can even be a video show that’s recorded and edited together, since many personal media players, smartphones, and tablets can now play video. You don’t even need to stop at being recorded. With services such as Ustream, you can broadcast your own show, with just audio, or include video, live, for the world to hear.

However, since a podcast can be downloaded on the internet, it’s not just something that can only be picked up locally. Podcasts can be local, and cover events in your hometown, but they have the ability to be picked up and listened to not just in your hometown, your county, but nationwide or even globally!

What do I need to get started?

First and foremost, let's talk about how much you want to invest in podcasting, and I’m not just talking about money. This is a hobby that can get started on something as small as the cost of a basic computer, and some free software to record and edit on said computer. We'll cover that when we get to the hardware and software, but it's important to know what sort of podcasting you're going to do beforehand to help you fit into your budget.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the topic of my podcast? 
  • Am I going to do this podcast solo, or with someone else?
  • Is this podcast going to be a "studio" podcast, or is it going to be an "environmental" podcast?
  • Is my podcast going to have a set run of episodes, or is it going to be an ongoing podcast that could run indefinitely?
  • How long should each episode run?
  • Am I going to have guests on this podcast, and if so, will they be call-in guests, or will they be in-studio guests?

Let's tackle question #1, "What is the topic of my podcast?"

Ask yourself what you'll talk about on your podcast. Are you going to discuss a favorite television show, movie, sports team, etc? Are you going to have a travel podcast, where you go around to various locations and talk about hidden gems and details of those locations? What is your niche?



Engadget is a popular tech blog. They cover new gadgets, new electronics, things that focus on the tech world. They may cover the latest TV and tech specs, or the newest smartphone, but they don’t cover television shows. They may talk about the latest tech in movie theaters, such as digital projection, or newest sound systems. But do they cover the movies themselves? No, they leave that to other blogs. It’s just too much for them to cover. People refer to a blog site like that because they’re giving reviews, or they’re talking about the latest and greatest, or they’re considered “expert” in their field, or niche market.

That’s what you, the podcaster, want to do. You want to fill a niche. And the easiest way to do that is to start out talking about something that you’re interested in. If that means doing a show, “Fun With Flags”, then do that. But talk about it with interest and passion.

The best thing I can recommend is, “Talk about something you’re interested in.” Try and keep it specific. If you’re not going to talk about something you’re passionate about, drawing in other people to listen to you is going to be next to impossible.



Think about it - if you listen to a sportscaster who’s barely paying attention to the game, are you going to be paying attention? Or are you going to listen to the sportscaster who’s shouting out the bobbled line drive and the runner who’s stealing third base? It’s the passion that’s being invoked that holds your interest. If you can’t do that, who’s going to want to listen to what you have to say?

Question #2 - “Am I going to do this podcast solo, or with another host?”

Solo podcasting -

Stand-up comics, narrators, and radio DJs make a living with building off of what they can talk about, so it is possible for you to carry on a podcast with just your own voice. It depends on your topic and your own personality, how much work you want to put into doing it yourself, and what format your podcast will take. We’ll get into layouts in a little bit, but keep in mind that you’re relying on yourself and what work you put into it.

Co-host/group -

Not everyone is dynamic enough to go solo. Sometimes, it’s best to have a co-host so that you can bounce things off of when you start talking. Again, you still need to put in work to talk about your particular topic, but sometimes you can get talking and build upon it.

A word of caution, however: sometimes, you and your co-hosts can get off on a tangent, and walk away from your intended topic. Now, it’s not always a problem, as sometimes it can spark a new podcast episode on a later date, but remember that you want to try to keep it on track, or think about changing that particular episode to focus on the topic you went off-track about.

If you plan to have guests or guest hosts, think about how you’re going to record them and include them.

Question #3 - “Is this podcast going to be a ‘studio’ podcast, or is it going to be an ‘environmental’ podcast?”

What’s the difference? Well, let’s take a look.

Studio podcasts - It’s done with the equivalent of being indoors, blocking out other sounds such as outdoor noises - chirping birds, barking dogs, vehicle noises, etc. This is similar to what a radio DJ does - they talk in a studio about their various topics and may take incoming calls, play music, or even have interviews, whether they’re call-in or in-studio guests.

Environmental podcasts - While not my personal cup of tea, there are times when you may want to get out and podcast somewhere. Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman run a podcast called “Hollywood Babble-On”, where they go and do a “live” recording of their podcast at various locations, usually at a venue such as a comedy club or bar, but there are other types of environmental podcasts.

Maybe you want to do a walking tour of an area for people to listen to. For example: you take a tour of Alcatraz and talk about the history and your own point of view for the prison. You want to capture the sounds of the foghorns, the sounds of the water as you take the boat out, maybe even the noise of the birds residing on the island.

Or, maybe you’re at a historic event - a speech that a presidential hopeful is giving, or maybe even something as simple as a wedding. Break out the mic and recording equipment, and pick it up; it may be something fantastic for years to come!

Question #4 - Is my podcast going to have a set run of episodes, or is it going to be an ongoing podcast that could run indefinitely?

This is where you need to sit back and think: how long do you want your podcast to run?

A set run gives you the ability to plot ahead and say, “I am only going to run this for 50 episodes, and I’m done, move on to the next project.” You know what you want to cover, you lay out what direction it’s going to take, and you can plan for it.

Let’s look at some examples of set podcasts:

Audiobooks - People listen to audiobooks all the time on their commute, so why not do it as a podcast? Write your own book (there are a lot of legal potholes of doing someone else’s work, to be sure, but if you know someone who has written a book, you might be willing to go that route) and put up a chapter or two at a time, acting out the scenes, maybe even putting sound effects in! It's really up to you.

Let’s look at an example:

Night Vale - Commonplace Books has a twice-monthly podcast called Night Vale, in which they cover “unexplained” events, in a story format. With doing this, they can run a storyline for a set amount of time, end it, and pick up in another serial later on.

Serials. These are basically like the old-time radio plays - think of the Bickersons, The Shadow, X Minus One, even The Lone Ranger and Little Orphan Annie. You might run something like that for a short series, then stop and switch to a different story. If you plan on doing a radio play over several episodes, go for the "cliffhanger" plot at some points of the entire short serial - will the damsel in distress who is tied to the train tracks get run over by the train? Will the hero swoop in to save her? Will a big fat crow land on the switch to divert the train at the last minute, without intervention by the hero? Add drama!

Now, if you plan on doing something that can run (theoretically) indefinitely, think of what you’ll do to keep it going. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest a movie or television series as your main focus; with a singular movie, there’s only so much you can talk about. As for a television series, they have a tendency to get cancelled when you least expect it, leaving you without a topic in future episodes.

That said, there have been several podcasts that have held the fascination of people long after the series is over with. Harry Potter has a huge following, even though the movies and the book series are over with. People still talk about it, theorizing their own topics, writing fan fiction, creating fan art - there’s even the rides and Wizarding Worlds at the various Universal Studios locations in California and Florida, and people still continue to talk (and therefore, podcast) about it, even though it’s been wrapped up. Can you talk about it indefinitely? Possibly. But it depends on how much work you put into it. If you think you can keep it up, go for it - but if you’re unsure at all, think about changing your format a bit.

Question #5 - How long should each episode run?

This is a big one. Think about when most people are listening to a podcast - they’re most likely listening to it on a commute, be it on the subway, in a car to and from work. Keeping it short, so it fits into that timeframe, might be ideal for you. It gets people to listen on a short block, so they can start it and have it finish around the time they get to or from work. The average commute for workers in the United States is approximately 25 minutes, so you may want to shoot for 30 minutes at a time for your podcast to fill that void.

Or not!

What? Why wouldn’t you want to keep your podcast short and sweet?

Simple. Podcasts are meant to be downloaded and listened to at the listener’s convenience. It’s a recording, not live radio (although, with the ease of streaming, live is becoming more and more of an option - but we’ll delve into that later). Listeners can pause, fast forward, and rewind through your podcast. They can break it up however they like, so if they want to listen to half on their morning drive and half on their evening commute home, they can do so with ease.

And think of this: Radio morning shows are not limited to 25 minute commute times. They generally run for 3-4 hours at a stretch, well before the commute starts and ends. People are constantly tuning in and out of that broadcast but they may have listeners who tune in on a daily basis to hear what’s happening that day.

That said, 2 hour blocks of podcasting may not be ideal for you to run unless you have something that’s really interesting - and let me tell you, listening to someone talk about a topic that they find interesting for 2 hours is not always the awe-inspiring thing that you may think it is.

When I do my own podcast, Talkin’ Bout My Generation!, I keep each episode to about an hour long. Sure, some episodes run an hour and ten minutes, some have run longer. But I try to keep it around an hour for each episode because that way people aren’t completely swamped.

Question 6: Am I going to have guests on this podcast, and if so, will they be call-in guests, or will they be in-studio guests?

Call-in and in-studio guests each have their own advantages and disadvantages. 



Call-in guests:

Call in guests are going to be limited to whatever audio quality their equipment has. If all they have is a microphone built into their laptop, that’s the best capture of sound you’re going to have. If they’re calling in to a telephone number for a recording, you’re most likely going to be limited to the telephone quality and equipment that records their conversation.

That said, I myself use Skype for my co-host to call in and chat with. Yes, I am limited to the audio quality of her microphone and the limitations of the broadband connection, but, surprisingly, it’s quite a bit better than most telephone calls.

This is the easiest way for us to get together to do the podcasts as we are literally on two different coasts - I live in San Diego, CA, and she lives in Connecticut. For the two of us to get together in-studio is simply not possible unless one of us visits the other.to visit. But it does give you advantages - you can have guests in other states, or even other countries, linking in to your podcast to record!

One thing to note, as this is something that I’ve come across while doing my podcast with my co-hosts - they're not in the same time zone as me. Coordinating podcast recordings have to happen either early in the morning for me, or late at night for her due to the 3 hour time difference. If you have a guest that’s in Los Angeles and you’re in New York (or vice versa), remember that time difference when you're planning out what time you’re going to do the recording so they’re not expecting you 3 hours earlier or later.

In-Studio guests:

With an in-studio guest, the audio quality is easier to control. You can put a mic in front of them and expect it to be better because you can monitor the sound levels. Also, you can feed off of visual cues from each other, build on each other, with in-studio guests.



That said, studio guests can be harder to work with on setup. If you are sharing the same mic with your guest, you may be bouncing back and forth between the mic to get a quality sound level. If you have a second microphone for them, you’re upping the cost - you’ll need a second set of equipment for them to speak into, and possibly headphones to hear themselves when they’re talking into the mic (more on this later, when we discuss hardware).

However, as mentioned before, the sound quality is better, you don’t have to worry about a delay with them hearing your voice over Skype - it’s smoother. And, your guest is there with you. So don’t just toss out this opportunity because it might be costly or it might require you to have to share the microphone.

Why are we asking these questions?

Simple. Doing a podcast involves investment. It involves time to record and edit, it involves work to put it together, and it involves financial output. To make it good, it requires the effort. And, if you want it to be good, you need to be aware of what it takes to put it together.

So, let’s start with some basics, things you should put together before you even start recording a podcast.

Outline

Here's some things that should be in your podcast, no matter what you topics you cover:

Intro

Body

Outro

In addition, you may want to include the following:

Ads/stingers

Songs/Music

Background music

 

Intro -

Ok, this may sound corny, but an intro should be just like how you introduce yourself to someone for the first time. Make a good first impression. Tell people your name. Get yourself out there. If you’re shy and quiet, nobody’s going to listen to you. Make yourself likable in that first few minutes so that people want to keep listening and hear what else you have to say. 



So what should you say in the intro?

You want to introduce everyone to your podcast, and welcome them. You want to make sure you introduce yourself; if you have any co-hosts, introduce them as well. You may also want to give a quick explanation of what to expect from every show, since people may be jumping in for the first time on episode 23 instead of episode 1.

I also recommend that you tell your listeners what you'll be talking about for that episode before diving in to the full body of the podcast. There are a couple of reasons why I suggest this (but you may decide to leave it off): People who are listening to your podcast may be downloading multiple episodes. Maybe they’ve listened to some of your episodes already, and didn’t want that particular episode; they can skip past to the next episode.

It serves a purpose to draw in your listener. If they know what you’re talking about with that short introduction, they’ll keep listening.

Intros can be pre-recorded with lead-in music, and will lure your audience in more than just throwing the listeners straight into the podcast itself.

Body -

The body if the podcast will be what you're talking about. I can't stress this enough - you should have notes for what you're going to talk about. Sure, you can free form your podcast, and you may end up going off topic, but if you're going to cover a specific topic, you want to have notes to refer to. The big name podcasters do this; I've seen several live episodes of Rob Paulsen's Talkin' Toons and Kevin Smith doing his podcasts, and they come out with notes. Plan out a direction you're going to take. This will help to keep you on track and hopefully prevent you from any tangents you may stray off on (or, if you do, you know where you want to end up by referring back to your notes).

Outro -

Here, you want to thank your listeners. Let them know where they can get in contact with you and leave feedback, whether it be an email address, Facebook page, Twitter account, forum, or other form of social media. Maybe let them know what might be in store for next week with a teaser. If you have a guest co-host from another podcast, let them plug their show; this is a great way to get cross-promotion!

So now that we’ve gone over the parts of the outline, let’s put together some examples ow how we might utilize the For example, let’s say you start talking about movies. What are you going to cover with those movies? Should you talk about the cast of the movies? Are you going to talk about the plot of the movie? Are you going to cover behind the scenes and trivia information about the movie? Or if you’re talking about sports, or music, or another interest - what are your topics going to cover?

Lay it out with an outline.

To use my example of movies, here’s a sample outline:

Intro - It should be a standard, "give the listeners a who’s who", a quick blurb of what to expect for new listeners, etc. This is really a scripted thing - you can change from it, but I would recommend only changing from the standard to indicate a guest host, the topic that you’re covering this week, etc. Think of it like this: you’re welcoming guests into your home and you want them to feel welcome. You want them to stay and to return again to keep listening, or be a good friend of yours by listening continuously.

Background/History -

Give a short synopsis of what people should expect from this episode. Since we’re talking about a movie in this example, maybe give an indication of what year the movie came out, who produced it (Disney, Warner Bros., Universal Studios, etc), director/writer, if it’s part of a trilogy or not...Keep this short and sweet, to the point, as you’re going to flesh it out in the next sections.

Cast -

Talk about the cast. Talk about why you like them, who they are. Maybe give why you hate a particular actor in a particular role, or how that actor surprised you.

Plot - Give a what happened in the movie. Maybe break down sections of the movie into scenes that you liked and didn’t like. Don’t reiterate the entire movie, but maybe give a short synopsis of what happens in the film. Caution: If this is a newly released movie in theaters, you may want to warn people of spoilers! 

I made that mistake with my Star Trek episode, where we talked a lot about the movie Star Trek Into Darkness, which had just released, and I brought down the Wrath of Listeners instead of the Wrath of Khan.

Trivia/Behind the Scenes - Put in trivia info that you know about the movie. Why was the director using a lot of red imagery? Was there something hidden that they wanted to put out? Maybe there was a goof that you can’t help but point out because it was so obvious. Maybe it was a goof that made you laugh, along with everyone else.

Outro - Close out the show. Thank your listeners for listening, tell them where they can leave feedback, and maybe give them an idea of what to expect for the next episode.

This layout can be changed to whatever format you’re talking about; it's a starting point. However, it gives you an idea of where you want to go, and it will help to cut down on the "yeahs" and "uh-huhs" because you know what you want to say.

See how this can apply? You’re getting ideas down to list out what you want to talk about, and it makes it easier when you start reviewing to focus on key items that you want to cover for each podcast episode. And, don’t feel like this is something that only you are doing - newscasters do this on a daily basis for their television and radio shows, radio DJs follow a format for what songs they’re going to play and when; even big name podcasters like Rob Paulsen from Talkin’ Toons or Kevin Smith from his Smodcast networks have outlines for when they do their shows. It’s so that if they start talking on a broad topic and get off on a tangent, they can bring it back to where they were going with it.

Recording Basics

So now we know what we want to talk about, we know how we’re going to talk about it. We know how long each episode will be, we know our audience.

Are we ready to podcast now that we have materials?

Not yet.

"But...I wanna record!"

Ok, but you want something that sounds professional, right? One of the fastest things that turns listeners off is how a podcast sounds. People get distracted by hearing things like loud motorcycles starting up, the baby crying, or your cell phone going off. Remember, they're listening to you, not your environment. If it's a distraction to them, it should be a distraction to you.

So, let's talk some audio basics:

Find a quiet place/quiet time to do your recording.

What does this mean? Simple. Find somewhere in your house, apartment, etc. that doesn’t have a bunch of echoing, dogs barking, or upstairs neighbors that are holding this week’s Irish Dance classes directly above your head.

Some people think that a closet, a bathroom, or other small area will help cut down on the echoing and prevent the sound from bouncing around. Sure; it certainly can, if you have something to help deaden the sound. Blankets, cloth on the walls, etc. can certainly help cut down on the echo. But do you need to focus on a small area? Depends on your equipment, and what sort of quality you want for your recording.

Environmental noise is definitely a problem you need to think about. Stuff you wouldn’t normally think about getting picked up can show up in your recording. A creaky chair, a fan blowing air towards your microphone, even the hum of an air conditioner kicking on and going off can add unwanted noise to your recording.

I have experienced most of these problems myself, and have learned some things that I will cover, software-wise, that will help filter them out in the tools. However, the best practice is to eliminate them from the start because it means less editing for you to do later on. Less editing means more time recording and planning other things, always a good thing.

The best test for this? Do a sample recording and listen to it. Read some lines of Shakespeare into the microphone, or do the Orson Welles commercial for Mrs. Buckley’s peas. Read anything for 20 seconds or so, moving around in your chair, moving your microphone, etc. When you’re done, go back and listen to your recording. This will tell you what gets picked up, and give you ideas of things you shouldn’t be doing while recording, such as typing on the keyboard, or thumping things down on the desk where your mic is located, or playing with the microphone cable - all of that can be translated back into the microphone.

Turn off your cell phone.

In our constantly connected world of technology, we have our electronic leashes, aka cell phones. My recommendation is to turn the cell phones off. If it rings and the phone is not on silent, you now have that noise being picked up on the microphone. If you get a text, that text alert can be picked up.

And putting the phone on vibrate can be nearly as bad as well - if the phone is on the desk and a call comes in, that vibration can be picked up on the mic stand and translated right into your microphone, showing up in your recording. There are some fixes that you can do that will cut back on vibration noises getting picked up; we’ll cover those more in-depth when we get into equipment. However, it’s still better to practice good microphone technique so the editing is less.

Also, if you have cheaper, low quality cables that you’re working with, you may experience what I call “bleed-through.” This happens when an improperly shielded cable starts picking up radio frequencies and leaking through to your microphone. It’s happened to me in the past that I’ll hear a buzz through a headset, or through a set of speakers, caused by a cell phone ringing or a text message coming through on my phone. While most good quality equipment will be shielded, it’s better to not have the phone on or anywhere near that it could be picked up.

Monitor yourself, if at all possible.

Mixing boards and most good recording programs offer the option to monitor your microphone. What is monitoring? It’s hearing yourself, hearing what you sound like through the microphone. While you may not think this is something you need to do, it’s actually incredibly important. If you’re not talking directly into the microphone, you’ll notice it when you’re hearing it. Try talking into your microphone, then turn your head 90 degrees and talk. You’ll hear what is called off-axis recording.

Picture a line going straight from your mouth to the head of the microphone - if you talk at an angle from where the microphone is pointed, you’re not going to be heard as clearly as talking directly into the microphone.

I know this seems opposite of what I was just mentioning in trying to cut back on background noise, but if you’re not talking on-axis, you’ll hear it in your recording. This is why monitoring is so important. And this rolls right into the next thing to mention:

Use a pair of headphones when recording.

I know I’m probably jumping ahead in talking about equipment that is needed for recording, and I’m sure some of you are already reading this and saying, “Ok, perfect! I need headphones!” Don’t sweat it - I’ll have some lists of equipment you’ll need, and extras that you may want to purchase later if you decide to get more serious, since some of this can get expensive very quickly. Headphones are a must, however, when recording a podcast, and here’s why:

There are several reasons to use headphones. First and foremost, it helps eliminate feedback. For those who don’t know what feedback is, it’s that horrible screech that you hear when sound being fed through the speakers is picked up in your microphone. If you’ve got headphones on that aren’t leaking the sound out to the microphone, you have virtually eliminated the possibility of feedback.

The next reason is that if you are using Voice over IP software to do a recording (i.e. Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.), generally there is a slight delay between you and the person on the other end of the line. This can be half a second or so, but if your guest/co-host isn’t wearing headphones, it can be picked up by their mic and echoed right back into the speakers, showing up in your recording. It’s really annoying and difficult to edit out, so best solution? Wear headphones to eliminate the echo.

Lastly, wearing headphones can help eliminate external noises, so you hear what’s coming through the microphone, and not noises that are too far away for the microphone to pick up. Perhaps you’re having a windstorm outside that’s blowing, or rain, and you’re not sure if it’s going to come through on your recording. Put on the headphones, turn on your mic, and see if you can hear it with the headphones on. If you can’t, odds are good that the microphone isn’t picking it up.

"Now can we record?"

Well...What are you going to record on? And how do you plan to get that onto the Internet for the world to hear?

This brings us to our next subject:

Equipment

Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to record and share a podcast:

  • Computer
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • Software to record the podcast with
  • Internet connection

Believe it or not, that’s all you need.

"Wait!", you say. "You just told me I needed headphones to record, and now you're saying I can use speakers? And why do I need software to record? And an internet connection?"

These items are the bare minimum to record. You need some way to capture your voice; you've got that with most laptops, tablets, even smartphones, as they have built-in microphones to capture what you're saying. They also have speakers to play back what you said (how else are you going to know if the sound quality was good?) The software is needed to capture what you're saying for later playback and editing. And the internet connection? That's needed to share your podcast to the world.

Will the above equipment allow you to have a top-notch podcast? Probably not. But can you record a decent podcast? Possibly. Here are some options that you can use for better quality:

  • USB Microphone
  • XLR Microphone
  • Mixing board
  • Headphones (more of a necessity than a suggestion)
  • Shockmount
  • Microphone stand
  • Pop filter

Let's start with the way sound comes in:  

Microphones

I cannot stress this enough - DO NOT USE A BUILT-IN MICROPHONE! They’re cheap, they pick up everything, and rarely do they pick up your voice with any decent quality. You'll sound far away, or like you're in a tunnel. Try and avoid using the built-in microphones and go with an external microphone.

There are several options to going external:

- The cheap add-on mic that runs $10 at the local electronics store.

- A USB microphone that connects directly to the USB port, and picks up your voice.

- An XLR microphone that, depending on what you’re using, can be upwards of several thousand dollars.

Within microphones, there are several things to consider, when trying to capture your voice - the two big ones being cost, and quality. Now, there are two basic types of microphones that you can use - a dynamic, or a condenser mic.

Dynamic microphones work kind of like a loudspeaker in reverse - they have a diaphragm that’s attached to really finely wound wire, and vibrate to send electrical impulses through a magnetic field, which then can get passed back to speakers to generate your voice.

Dynamic microphones are easy to make, which brings their costs down, but because of how they function (they have to move the mass of a coil of wires through a magnetic field), they’re generally not that responsive to sound and don’t have as good a quality as a condenser microphone.

With a condenser microphone, however, they have a diaphragm that is plated on one side and vibrates, similar to the dynamic microphone. The diaphragm displaces air, which pushes on a capacitor and vibrates to change an electrical charge proportionately.

The diaphragm in a condenser microphone doesn’t have the weight of a coil around it, so it can respond faster and actually sounds better than a dynamic microphone.

Condenser microphones can be found in USB and XLR microphones, and we’ll discuss those as we get to those categories.

“Cheap” microphones -

So let’s start with the first option of microphones, since many of you will be tempted to go that route. “It’s cheap, and I can put the microphone in front of my mouth,” you say. True. You certainly can maneuver the microphone in front of your mouth, whether it’s a desktop microphone, or it’s a headset microphone. But, the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” You spend $10, you’ll get $10 sound quality. These microphones are only slightly better than the typical built-in microphone on a computer, so I don’t recommend them at all. Almost all of the microphones in this category are dynamic microphones, and don’t pick up sound very well; many of them also require a “microphone” port on the computer. On many PCs with an add-on soundcard, this is an option, but on some computers, there’s a shared “microphone/headphone” port. Plug a cheap, $10 microphone in, and you don’t have any way to hear the sound coming out unless you’re using the built-in speakers, which can cause echo or feedback through the microphone.

Here’s really the only time I would recommend using a cheap microphone: If you haven’t paid anything for it, it’s built into your headphones (i.e. you have a boom microphone headset, or the earbud/microphone combo that came with an iPhone), and you’re using it as a short-term solution to get something better.

I went this route when I first started my podcast; I had a problem with my USB microphone and had to send it back to the manufacturer. For one of my episodes, I was using the microphone/headphone combo that came with my iPhone, and while it worked, it took a lot of finagling with filters to get a decent quality (and it STILL didn’t sound as good as my USB microphone).

USB Microphones -

The next option is the USB microphone. There are quite a few different options within this category, ranging from Logitech headset microphones to microphones such as the Blue Yeti.

These microphones are great microphones to start with. They interface with just about any computer, and provide relatively superior sound quality to the cheap microphones that you can buy at the local electronics section of a big box store. They also don’t require a separate analog-to-digital converter or USB mixing board to import the sound into a recording program like Audacity or GarageBand.

The best recommendation I’d have in this category? The Blue Yeti USB microphone. There are several reasons for this microphone choice - Price, (approx. $100 through Amazon and other online retailers), condenser microphone, and features. This microphone offers a built-in mute button, which is good if you have to cough or mute to pass the microphone around; it also has different vocal patterns within the microphone to pick up sound with, and it has a headphone jack that you can plug a pair of headphones in to hear yourself with.

Some caveats you should be aware of, though:

1) USB microphones should be connected directly to your computer. Don’t try to run them through a hub, as you’ll experience lag and you’ll get an echoing effect at best, or no connection whatsoever at worst.

2) If you are going to go with a USB microphone, my recommendation again is to avoid the headset microphones. Yes, they will work, and yes, they will capture your sound - but they’re not the best sound quality, so you may experience crackling or muffled sound.

3) While I haven’t experienced this in recent years, it may be something you’ll run into with using a USB microphone - drivers that are missing or need to be installed. PCs tend to run into this issue more than Macs, although I’ve come across a few older USB microphones that have issues with some of the newer operating systems, regardless of whether you’re using a PC or a Mac.

4) USB Microphone use is pretty limited. By this I mean that you can generally only use one USB microphone plugged into your computer. This generally isn’t an issue if you’re the only one recording or you’re sharing a microphone between you and an in-studio guest, but if you plan to have dedicated microphones for each guest, It’s not recommended to use USB microphones. I’m sure that there are ways to get multiple USB microphones working for different inputs, but it’s something of a hassle.

This leads into our next option:

The XLR microphone

XLR microphones will generally give you more options to go with than the USB microphone. They use an industry standard to connect with; the XLR fitting is found on most pro audio microphones, stage equipment, and PA systems.

This connection, however, will require additional equipment such as an analog-to-digital converter/USB audio interface, so it means an added expense, but this will allow multiple microphones connected at once, and will allow the use of a mixing board and digital recording device should you not be able to record through a computer.

Be aware that depending on what kind of microphone you may be using, your audio interface to the computer or mixing board may need to use something called “phantom power”. This is primarily found with condenser microphones, and usually require 48v.

So what is phantom power? Well, think of it like this: USB microphones generally run off of power from the USB port. XLR microphones that require phantom power have an active circuit inside them that require power to operate, thus requiring the audio interface or the mixing board to provide power for the microphone, just like a powered USB hub would be needed for some USB equipment on your computer. 



It’s generally not a problem, as most good mixing boards and audio interfaces have a phantom power switch that you can enable for use with a powered microphone, but be aware what might be needed for your specific use.

All this said, the XLR option can be an expensive one.

Here’s an example of equipment that I use for recording, and the various costs:

MXL 770 Condenser microphone - Approx. $80 Alesis Multimix 4 USB Four-Channel USB Mixer - Approx. $70 Heil Sound HB-1 Steel Microphone Boom - Approx. $70 15’ XLR cable - Approx. $9

This is all just for the microphone connection. I will state that the XLR cable can be shortened and lessen the cost, and the microphone boom isn’t needed, but a stand of some sort will be required for most microphones in this category.

If you’re starting out in the podcasting market, this probably isn’t going to be the best way to go, unless you’re absolutely sure you want to make this jump, or you have another use for the audio equipment. I not only use my microphone setup for recording a podcast, but I use it for recording voice-over work for animations as well, so the investment is a sound one for me. Again, this is why I asked the questions at the beginning about what your podcast will be, and how much you’re willing to put into it - financially, mentally, and emotionally - in order for it to be a success. I’m not trying to scare anyone off, but a quality podcast takes work. It can be fun (and it should be, or you’ll never keep doing it), but think about how much you want to invest before you jump in over your head.

So what do I recommend, microphone wise, for starting out?

A USB microphone, preferably the Blue Yeti, for reasons listed in the USB microphone section. It’s inexpensive, it gives you great sound for the buck, it doesn’t require an audio interface, and it has an option to give you monitoring capability directly from the microphone. Lastly, the Yeti comes with a built-in microphone stand, so you won’t necessarily need anything additional, although a pop filter and shock mount are good things to have. We’ll get to those when we discuss optional equipment.

There are some disadvantages to going with the Blue Yeti. If you decide to go the route of XLR, the USB Blue Yeti will not be usable and will have to be changed out for a different microphone. Also, the Blue Yeti is a rather large microphone. If you plan to use it on a boom microphone stand (which is certainly possible), make sure you get one that can hold the weight of the microphone, since this sucker is heavy compared to most other microphones.

Another option, if you have it, and want to try to cut costs:



I know several podcasters who have utilized the microphones that came with Rock Band for their XBox 360, or the USB microphone connection from the SingStar game for the PS3. They have decent (albeit not GREAT) microphones, and an analog-to-digital USB connection. Use with caution; some computers may have issues detecting these microphones

Speakers/Headphones

So, as I mentioned before, you want to be able to monitor yourself, hearing what you’re actually saying.

So many times, people try to rely on using their computer speakers, and it’s just not a good sound. Again, I cannot emphasize enough that the sounds coming out of the speakers can be picked up by the microphone and echoed back in to the recording, because if you can hear it, your microphone can hear it as well. So what’s the solution?

Headphones.

I would say this is the MOST important thing to spend money on, behind a decent microphone - you’re going to be listening to your podcast through them, and you’re going to want to use them for editing - they’re essential to get a quality sound for your podcast.

The biggest advantage with headphones is that they deliver superior sound quality, especially when it comes to capturing bass tones. They're also great at blocking out ambient noise - background noise that's always present, such as traffic on a street.

Headphones will give you the ability to isolate noises through the microphone, because, with a decent pair of headphones, you can drown out the sounds of the room and hear yourself. Also, if you’re hearing what’s coming through your microphone, you can tell if there’s any additional noise that’s a problem on your recording - i.e. dogs, cats, small children, air conditioning, refrigerators kicking on and off (I have had all of these problems, so I can feel your pain!).

So what kinds of headphones do you need?

That depends. There are a couple of options you have, and I’ll try to point out the pluses and minuses of each.

In-Ear Headphones/Earbuds -

These are, well, they’re not my favorites. They work okay, but not great. The quality of sound that comes out of most of these earbuds is poor, and I’ve found that the fit for them kind of sucks. I can wear them, walk around with them in my ears, but if I start talking, they tend to fall out while I’m working my jaw. To me, that’s a failure, especially if I have to keep picking them up off of the floor or pushing them into my ear.

Some people have found they can adjust the fitment with foam or rubber ear plugs on the ends; I myself have never been able to get them to fit properly. If you can get them to fit perfectly and you can talk with them in? Good for you; you might want to use them, but they’re not the best solution for monitoring your podcast. They may be good for jogging and listening to a podcast, but I don’t recommend using them for long term, quality use.

If you 're dead set on using earbuds, however, spend the money for a pair of high end earbuds. Don’t think the $10 Skullcandy earbuds are going to work for you; they tend to sound tinny, and don’t have a lot of the lower-end bass sounds. They’re generally not able to play the full range of sound. Sennheiser earbuds are nice, but at $130/pair for the noise canceling ones (which you don’t necessarily want; see the “noise cancelling” vs. “noise isolation” in the “on-ear headphones” section), they’re expensive.

The build quality for earbuds also tends to be low. The cables can break easily, and the ear pieces tend to crack and fall apart. If you plan on using them on a weekly or daily basis, I don’t recommend them at all. However, If all you have is a pair of earbuds, use them over your speakers.

It’s a much better option than using the speakers because of the echo/feedback possibilities, and most people have a pair lying around, and these will work until you can afford a pair of better headphones.

On-Ear Headphones

These are a little better than earbuds. On-ear headphones do just that - they sit on your ears, rather than fitting into your ears. They’re padded, and are generally much more comfortable than earbuds because they don’t have to squeeze into your ears.

That said, they tend to leak sound around them because they don’t give a good seal, so it’s possible that they will broadcast sounds out to your microphone.

These come in a large range of prices, going from the cheap, $20/pair sets that might have come with an old CD player, or were found in the bargain bin of your local drugstore; or you can have them range up to the $1000 range for things like high end Sennheiser headphones.

If you’re going to go through the route of on-ear headphones, don’t go cheap. $20 audio sounds like $20 of audio, and is generally only slightly better than a tin-can walkie talkie. Spend a little more, but do your research before throwing money at it.

Now, something to mention for both of the on-ear headphones and earbuds is noise-canceling abilities, vs. what’s known as noise isolation. Let’s start with noise isolation, as this is something both headphones and earbuds can do.

Noise isolation basically allows you to isolate the sound and block out the background noise. Imagine putting on earmuffs, or sticking your finger in your ears. That’s basically what noise isolation is doing, either in the earbuds or the headphones. On-ear headphones do not isolate sound as much because of the way they sit on the ears, but they generally have a better sound quality in the lower bass range.

The other technology that’s available for headphones is called noise-cancellation. This is an acoustic technology that detects ambient sounds and creates an audio wavelength that phases out those sounds. However, it does not filter out all sounds. If there’s a sharp bark of a dog, or kids screaming and laughing, it’s not going to filter them out. It’s meant more to drown out low hums and other low-frequency ambient noise - say, a refrigerator hum, or the computer fan whining.

Because you’re trying to use them to monitor your sound from the microphone and hear what the mic is picking up, I would recommend against using noise-cancelling headphones for monitoring; this way, you can pick out those sounds and either edit them out, or move the mic away from the noise. Most “studio” headphones will be perfect for what you’re looking for.

Over-The-Ear Headphones

These headphones are what you’ll see a lot of people who want decent sound quality using. There are “studio monitor” headphones, “audiophile” headphones, and “regular” headphones. These headphones generally cover the ear, and trap in the sound; I really prefer these for recording because they can muffle other noises in the room at a relatively low volume, so you’re not cranking up the volume and blowing out your hearing.



Now, what’s the differences between the types of headphones in the over-the-ear style, and does it make a difference in sound?

The answers are, “Not a whole lot”, and “maybe”. It honestly depends on what type of sound you’ll be playing through your headphones. Let’s look at the differences first:



The biggest advantage to going to an over-the-ear versus an on-ear headphone is that the over-the-ear style help to isolate noise more effectively. What this means is that you can block out sound around you, and hear more of what’s being fed through your microphone than environmental sounds.

An on-ear headphone will provide decent sound, but they’re generally a lot harder to isolate sound with; many times, the fit doesn’t allow for good sound. This is where the over-the-ear style will help out. Some people don’t like them because of they way they fit, or that they get sweaty; my response is to try some out and see what you like before you drop money on them. 



What I recommend is trying to find a pair that sits comfortably on your head, is adjustable, and muffles noise when they’re not connected to anything.

I use a pair of Audio Technica ATH-50 headphones, and I love them. The sound is smooth, the noise isolation is great; the price is affordable as well. They’re studio quality monitoring headphones, they fold up nicely into a smaller package that I can fit into a bag, and they have an adapter that allows me to connect them to either a 1/4” jack, or a 3.5mm jack. There are nicer sets of headphones that will do the job, but for the cost? I don’t think they’re worth it. They’re consistently a top favorite on Gizmodo, CNET and Engadget, and are well built, solidly constructed headphones for under $200 (and in many cases, under $150 - sometimes even under $100 when they’re on sale).

I would say this is the MOST important thing to spend money on, behind a decent microphone - you’re going to be listening to your podcast through them, you’re going to want to use them for editing - they’re essential to get a quality sound for your podcast. And don't think you need to go out and get a pair of ATH-50 headphones just because I like them - again, it's all about comfort, fit, and sound quality.

Optionals -

Microphone stand

Shockmount

Pop filter/windscreen

Microphone stands

Microphone stands are optional; however, I recommend them for several reasons - they keep your hands off the mic, and they can keep the mic at a relatively constant distance to your mouth.

“Wait a minute,” you think. “I see singers holding microphones all the time when they’re performing songs at a concert, and I don’t hear issues with handling the microphones!”



Yes, that’s true - for the type of microphones and type of situation that they’re using it in. However, when you start using a microphone in a closed environment, any dragging of the cable, bumping the microphone, etc. gets carried right back to the speakers.

Also, the singers tend to have practiced good mic technique to control the volume going into the microphone. They tend to keep the microphone at a certain distance from their mouth, moving it closer or further as they want to change the sound. With recording most podcasts, you want to keep the sound constant, so you’re not going to want to move the mic around. Keeping it on a desk stand in front of your mouth, or even a boom stand that can swivel, is generally a better option.

Shock mount

Shock mounts have been in use since the early days of radio; if you’ve ever seen an old time radio show where they have a huge hoop with something in the middle, and springs suspending that thing in the center, well, that’s a shock mount holding the microphone.

The purpose of the shock mount is to help prevent vibrations from the desk or cable movement from being translated into sound that is picked up by the microphone. The springs/bungee cord material allows the microphone to “free-float”, if you will, preventing vibrations from traveling through the microphone stand/boom and into your microphone.

It doesn’t reduce thumps and bumps 100%, but it will help quell a lot of the noise that might be picked up, say from bumping your desk, walking on the floor near your boom stand, etc.

Most good XLR Condenser microphones come with a shock mount, but you can buy them separately for your own microphone. Be careful on what you’re buying, however; a lot of shock mounts say that they are a “universal fit”, but they aren’t. They may be sized to fit a small condenser mic, a large condenser mic, or even a dynamic microphone. If you plan on buying a shock mount for your microphone, find out what the manufacturer recommends for your specific mic; this way you can get something that’s guaranteed to fit.

Pop Filters

These devices are used to help reduce wind noise and plosives. They’re really 2 different things, but sometimes you’ll see them sold in the same areas for microphone accessories.

Pop filters are basically there to help reduce sharp sounds of “T”s, “P”s, “K”s - basically harsh sounds. The microphones can pick up this sound and cause your audio to crackle, so generally you’ll use a pop filter to reduce those sharp sounds. The pop filter itself usually looks like an embroidery hoop, with nylon stretched across it; in fact, some people have made their own out of those very materials. While you can certainly do that, the cost isn’t really worth it. Embroidery hoops can run $7-$8 each, nylons $2-$3 a set. So you’re at about $10-$11 for them. This doesn’t include any sort of clamps/mounts to mount this thing to your microphone, so by the time you add that hardware, you’re at $15-$20 for a homemade pop filter.

Amazon sells actual pop filters for about $15, that come with a clamp and adjustable arm that will allow it to mount to virtually any microphone stand. I currently use a Nady pop filter that ran me $14.99 through Amazon, and it works well. The only complaints I have are the bracket that I use to mount the pop filter to is rather large and doesn’t mount well to my boom arm; and the adjustable arm is a little weak, so I have to maneuver the arm into a specific position for my microphone. That said, once I have it in position, I don’t have to adjust it unless I smack the arm or the pop filter - and it works GREAT for $15.

Windscreens

Windscreens are a little different. These can be big foam covers over the end of the microphones; they help muffle the sharper sounds and keep the wind noise to a minimum; hence the name windscreen. These can be foam and come in a variety of colors; some can even look like a furry monkey. If you are in studio, you'll probably be ok without a windscreen, and going with just a pop filter, but if you have guests who don't know how to utilize a microphone and are of the "say it, don't spray it" pattern of speech, a foam windscreen might be ideal for usage on your mic.

If you are doing outdoor environmental podcasts, you will most likely be wanting to use a windscreen; in heavy wind conditions, this is where that furry monkey windscreen would come in handy. However, they're also usually found on expensive, foley artist/audio technician microphones on the set of an expensive movie, so odds are, you're never going to need one and can get along fine with the foam style screens.

"NOW am I ready to podcast?"

As ready as you can be. Go out in the world, and start recording. Record several episodes of a podcast before you start posting them. Listen to the first few before you post them, so you can hear where you've made mistakes, and correct them for future podcast recordings. Learn how to edit your podcasts, putting sound in the background, or ads, or even sound bites. But the best way to podcast is to just start talking. Realize your voice will be heard in front of hundreds, maybe thousands of people worldwide, because they want to hear what you have to say.

 

Direct download: How2Podcast_2.pdf
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29pm PDT

  Spanning more than 30 years, a live action Disney film has created an incredible franchise. It has gone from being a movie to a video game, and then from the video game to a sequel, more video games, a cartoon show, and currently a 3rd movie in the works.

This week, we travel back to one of our previous episodes with TRON, forward to 2010 with TRON: Legacy, and tie it off with TRON: Uprising, while mentioning the new announcements of TRON 3.

Join Doug Abel and Mike Blanchard as we discuss a great film franchise that has enthralled us, TRON.

Direct download: TBMG_TRON.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am PDT

In Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie wrote about a series of boys that never grew up, and were a gang that followed Peter throughout his merry adventures in Neverland.

In 1987, Joel Schumacher (yes, the same guy who decided that George Clooney's Batman suit needed nipples, and that Ahnold needed to wear that horrible Mr. Freeze outfit, saying bad puns) brought back images of those same boys - only, these had been thrown a twist, and had gone bad, becoming vampires.

We also see a family that is torn in a divorce, the two Coreys team up for the first time, and we meet the infamous Frog Brothers, vampire hunters extraordinare.

This week, travel back in time to 1987 and Santa Carla with Nicole Hale and myself (Mike took the week off, because he prefers vampires that "sparkle") as we discuss perhaps one of the BEST vampire movies ever, The Lost Boys.

Direct download: The_Lost_Boys.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:44am PDT

Kingsman Movie Poster This week is a little different. We've opted to discuss a new movie, just because it pokes into our comic book hearts and roots, but is something of a James Bond for the next generation. That's right, we're discussing Kingsman: The Secret Service. A 2015 movie release with Samuel Jackson, Colin Firth, Michael Caine, and Taron Edgerton, this film is something of a parody of the James Bond films of the 70's, without being campy - Think xXx, but with a proper English spy, instead of voice of the Iron Giant. :) Mike and I reviewed it, and were...well, listen and see what we say on this week's episode, as we review the film!

Direct download: Kingsmen_The_Secret_Service.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 2:15pm PDT

Kingsman Movie Poster Ahh, 1999. The last year before Y2K, the millenials being coined, and the year of Prince partying till there was no end. It was also the year a great hidden gem of a parody film debuted. No, not Weird Al doing UHF, or the horrible Vampires Suck film; no, this was a parody homage to Star Trek, with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shaloub, and more. We got a great film, Galaxy Quest. This week, Mike and I are joined by Nicole “BeatlesDiva Hailstorm” Hale in a Talkin’ Bout My Generation/Geekcast Movie Week In Review crossover episode, as we discuss a great flick from the late 90s!

The post Galaxy Quest appeared first on Talkin' Bout My Generation!.

Direct download: Galaxy_Quest.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 7:05pm PDT

Ok, folks – this week (well, it’s a week late) I have posted up our Failed Franchises finale. :) We discuss some of our favorite franchises that were killed off way too early – Clerks: The Animated Series, Young Justice, and more.

Sure, we all agree that there were some cartoons and TV shows that should NEVER have been made, but there were some that were just not given a chance!!! Come on, folks – just because it doesn’t have a successful action figure toy sale, or crazy popular DVD sales, does not mean the show needs to be killed off!!!

So check out what Mike and Doug discuss this week in our Failed Franchises, part III.

The post Failed Franchises, Part 3 appeared first on Talkin' Bout My Generation!.

Direct download: Failed_Franchises_Part_3.mp3
Category:Cartoons -- posted at: 1:02pm PDT

In our second installment of Failed Franchises February, we riff on some more just godawful, horrible cartoons that should never have been made.

Like what, you may ask?

Butt Ugly Martians.

Father of the Pride.

Just a few examples of what’s to come in this week’s episode where Mike and Doug sit down to discuss more things that really should NEVER have been made. (I mean, seriously? Butt-Ugly Martians? Did the studio heads actually hear the name BEFORE they aired it? And if so, who thought it was ok?)

The post Failed Franchises Part II appeared first on Talkin' Bout My Generation!.

Direct download: Failed_Franchises_Part_2.mp3
Category:Cartoons -- posted at: 12:03pm PDT

The cartoons we know and love, the movies we remember fondly – well, for every one of those, there was a dud sitting out there. And we want you to remember them with horror! :)

For the rest of the month of February, Doug Abel and Mike Blanchard are taking you on a horror trip down memory lane as we remember some awful franchises.

This week, we’re pulling out Rubik’s Cube, Coconut Fred’s Fruit Salad Island, and Crocodile Dundee (because really, they should have stopped after the first one).

As always, please leave us feedback as we go through Failed Franchises, Part I!

The post Failed Franchises Part I appeared first on Talkin' Bout My Generation!.

Direct download: Failed_Franchises_Part_1.mp3
Category:Cartoons -- posted at: 4:56pm PDT

Hi HOOOOOO! Hi ho, here we go now, it’s time for the 7D!

This week we’re actually talking pop culture of the current generation and one of our favorites on the air currently, Disney’s The 7D. It’s a reimagining of the Seven Dwarves from Snow White And the Seven Dwarves, with much of the cast and crew of Animaniacs coming back to write and perform.

Mike and I sit down and discuss this gem that was mined from old concepts, revamped by writers, directors, and producers Tom Ruegger, Paul Rugg, and Sherri Stoner, and absolutely incredible voice talents of people like Dee Bradley Baker, Maurice LaMarche, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Bill Farmer. So join us as we discuss a great cartoon on the airwaves now, Disney’s The 7D!

The post The 7D appeared first on Talkin' Bout My Generation!.

Direct download: The_7D.mp3
Category:Cartoons -- posted at: 9:46am PDT

To finish out our James Bond January, Mike Blanchard, Stephen Ring and I went back to perhaps what I think is one of the worst 007 movies ever – Die Another Day. Sure, it lacked Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist, but the CGI in this film was cheesy, the car chase on the ice was too long, and it was too gadget laden to be interesting.

But, it was Pierce’s last role as 007, and it did have some nice homages to previous James Bond films, so I’m not throwing it out completely. Listen in as we discuss this Bond flick on this week’s episode of Talkin’ Bout My Generation.

The post Die Another Day appeared first on Talkin' Bout My Generation!.

Direct download: Die_Another_Day.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:52pm PDT