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How to Produce a Podcast: Behind the Scenes of Altered State's Radiolab-Style Episode

Updated: Jun 10

A How-To Guide on the art of podcast production and the technical mastery involved in the original podcast, Voices of Influence. Enhanced by original music, powerful audio cameos, and immersive effects, the original podcast blends an intricate web of recording, editing, and mixing, unveiling hidden techniques that transform soundwaves into pure artistry.


Podcast recording booth with acoustic treatment

Podcasts have taken the world by storm in recent years. With the rise of podcasting, there has been an increased interest in producing high-quality audio content for various purposes, including entertainment, information, and brand recognition. RadioLab, a popular podcast, has set the standard for producing content that hits the mark on all three of those elements. It's essential to recognize the importance of sound and auditory input when creating a podcast episode.


In a Radiolab-style podcast, sound effects and music can help recreate the story's atmosphere and enhance the emotional impact of the narrative. By incorporating sound in this way, the audience can feel more connected to the story and more engaged with the content. In this blog post, we'll take a look at how we turned a content piece into a podcast episode that is similar to the RadioLab podcast style.


Whether you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at our process or you're looking to learn how to start a podcast, read on for more. Follow us as we walk through the podcast production process from how to create podcast content, how to edit a podcast and add effects to audio, to distribution strategy.




Step 1: Choose a Compelling Story

two people inside the car

The first step in producing a podcast episode similar to RadioLab is choosing a compelling story. RadioLab is known for its unique and captivating stories that keep its audience engaged throughout the episode. The story should have a strong narrative arc and be able to hold the listener's attention.


For the episode we discuss here we selected an artist's story of overcoming tragedy and memory loss to create a masterpiece. It is already a compelling story and it has a clear narrative arc with a challenge that the artist had to overcome, making it perfect for a podcast episode.

RadioLab is choosing a compelling story.

Story 1: The first step in producing a podcast episode similar to RadioLab is choosing a compelling story. RadioLab is known for its unique and captivating stories that keep its audience engaged throughout the episode. The story should have a strong narrative arc and be able to hold the listener's attention.


Story 2: For the episode we discuss here we selected an artist's story of overcoming tragedy and memory loss to create a masterpiece. It is already a compelling story and it has a clear narrative arc with a challenge that the artist had to overcome, making it perfect for a podcast episode.


Story 3: The first step in producing a podcast episode similar to RadioLab is choosing a compelling story. RadioLab is known for its unique and captivating stories that keep its audience engaged throughout the episode. The story should have a strong narrative arc and be able to hold the listener's attention.



Why mix them all up? For the episode we discuss here we selected an artist's story of overcoming tragedy and memory loss to create a masterpiece. It is already a compelling story and it has a clear narrative arc with a challenge that the artist had to overcome, making it perfect for a podcast episode.




Step 2: Research and Gather Information

A person surrounded by books and digital resources, collecting data and conducting thorough research.

It's important to start with a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve with your episode. Consider what questions you want to answer or what information you want to convey to your listeners. This will help you focus your research efforts and ensure that you gather information that is relevant and useful.


The research phase includes conducting interviews, gathering data, and fact-checking. The information should be presented in a way that is both accurate and engaging. In our most recent podcast, Altered State Productions conducted interviews with the featured artist, their family members, and experts in the fields of art or neuroscience. We also gathered information on the brain and how it can be affected by trauma and memory loss.


When presenting the information you've gathered in your podcast episode, it's important to do so in a way that is engaging and accessible to your audience. Consider using storytelling techniques or incorporating sound effects and music to enhance the listening experience. The goal is to present information in a way that is both informative and entertaining, keeping your listeners engaged from start to finish.



Step 3: Plan the Episode Structure

Outline and organization of podcast episode segments for engaging content flow.

When planning the structure of your podcast episode, it's essential to create a compelling narrative that captures your listeners' attention from start to finish. A great way to do this is, to begin with an introduction of the subject or artist you will be featuring. This sets the tone for the rest of the episode and helps your audience understand what to expect.


Consider using interviews with the artist or other relevant individuals to provide a personal perspective on the topic at hand. For instance, our example episode is about an artist who experiences memory loss. Interviews with the artist and their family members to gain insight into how memory loss has impacted their work and personal life makes great sustenance.


To enhance the podcast's impact and memorability, you should utilize sonic branding to craft a unique auditory identity that evokes the topic of memory loss and brain compensation. This creates a more engaging and informative experience for listeners, allowing them to delve deeper into the science behind these complex topics.


To wrap up, it's important to end your episode with a strong conclusion. In our example, that meant discussing the artist's current work and how they have continued to create despite their challenges. This provides listeners with a sense of hope and inspiration and leaves them with a positive impression of the podcast.



Step 4: Record and Edit the Episode

Editing software set up for creating high-quality podcast content.

For a high-quality, engaging episode, recording raw audio with your favorite podcast recording software is the first step. This may involve conducting interviews, recording voiceovers, or capturing ambient sound to enhance the listening experience. Once you have all of your raw audio files, you can begin the process of editing.


To edit audio for your podcast, you'll need specialized software designed for podcast audio editing. There are many podcast services available that offer audio editing tools, such as Adobe Audition, Hindenburg, and Audacity. These programs allow you to trim, cut, and arrange your audio files to create a polished final product. For beginners, it's important to take the time to learn how to edit a podcast properly.


In our example episode, we used sound effects and music to enhance the emotional impact of the story. Selecting and editing sound clips carefully helped us create a cohesive and immersive listening experience. We also used sonic branding to create a unique identity for our podcast by using specific sound effects and music cues, resulting in a consistent feel across episodes.


Editing your podcast episode is essential to remove any unnecessary content and ensure that the episode flows smoothly from beginning to end. This process includes cutting out long pauses or tangents, adjusting the volume levels of different audio clips to ensure they are balanced, and adding transitions or fades to create a seamless listening experience. It's important to use high-quality headphones to be sure nothing is missed in this phase of production.



Step 5: Enhance Vocals with Artificial Intelligence

AI algorithms optimizing and refining vocal performances.

With many podcast editing services on the market, we recommend utilizing an AI-supported program for optimizing the sound quality of your recorded vocals.


Enhancing vocals for podcasts with AI audio editing software can significantly improve the overall quality of the audio content. AI software like Izotope RX7 allows for precise adjustments to the pitch, tone, and clarity of the speaker's voice. This results in a clear and professional sound while removing background noise or unwanted audio artifacts. It can also add special effects like reverb, echo, or distortion to make the episode more immersive.


Adobe Audition is a powerful tool for giving the final touches to your mix. It offers advanced audio editing capabilities, allowing you to adjust levels, add special effects and filters, and create a wider stereo image for a more immersive sound. One of the key benefits of using Adobe Audition is its intuitive interface, which makes it easy to navigate and use even for those who are new to audio editing. Additionally, it offers a wide range of features and tools that can help to enhance the overall quality of the podcast, making it stand out from the crowd.


For our episode, we used AI to clean up the voice tracks from the recorded interview to remove audio artifacts. We also added music, special effects, and well-known jingles to help our audience relate to the content and better understand the concepts being discussed. We added voiceovers, and audio clips that we found online to enhance the immersion and storytelling aspect of the episode.



Step 6: Publish and Promote the Episode with Strategy

A diverse marketing toolkit including email campaigns, and guest collaborations.

The next step is to publish the episode on a platform where it can be easily accessed by the target audience. If your goal is to promote a brand or business, your strategy might involve creating an episode that is relevant to your audience. Target their needs or interests and use those topics as a platform to showcase your brand's expertise or products. If your goal is to grow your audience, your strategy might involve identifying the best distribution channels for your content, such as social media or podcast directories, and leveraging them to reach new listeners.


Our strategy with this particular episode was to showcase the importance of sound and auditory input in podcast production, as well as our expertise in creating and using audio logos. By incorporating a compelling story that involved sound, we were able to demonstrate the power of audio branding and how it can amplify the emotional impact of a narrative. This allowed us to introduce our audience to the power behind sonic branding and how we can help create memorable and impactful audio content.


Our approach to this episode was to highlight this artist's personal story involving the healing powers of sound and incorporating the importance of auditory input. The cooperative nature of these topics embodies the structure for creating a powerful, engaging, and stimulating podcast episode. The use of sound effects, music, and even sonic branding can enhance the emotional impact of the narrative and leave a lasting impression on the listener.






 

About Altered State

Altered State Productions is a trailblazing Las Vegas media production company, poised to revolutionize the landscape of video production and marketing. With an unwavering commitment to innovation and a team of visionary experts, we are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible. We harness cutting-edge technology, boundless imagination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence to create captivating visual experiences that captivate audiences and drive impactful results. From concept to execution, we bring your brand's story to life in ways that are extraordinary and unforgettable. Partner with us and embark on a transformative journey into the future of creativity, where limitless possibilities await.

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