Podcasts have exploded in popularity in recent years — people are listening at home, in their cars, at work, and pretty much everywhere else. 50% of U.S. households are fans of podcasts, with 24% listening to at least one weekly. Many religious leaders and churches have podcasts, including some prominent Catholics such as Bishop Robert Barron, Scott Hahn, and Jennifer Fulwiler. Given the growing popularity of this medium, you might wonder if you should enter the podcasting game. Below are some ideas to help you start.
The who, what, and how often
A podcast needs a host, which may be the biggest challenge among your busy parish staff. If your priest or deacon can commit to it, great, but you can also look to willing members of the ministry staff to fill in.
Then you can decide on content. Do you want to focus on a particular topic (perhaps an area of interest within the parish or something to complement liturgical seasons)? Who is your target audience? 48% of podcast listeners fall in the 12-34 age group, which is something to consider when you are making these decisions. You also need to decide how often you want to record a show. This will depend on how much time you are willing or able to commit; consider weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. This is something you can re-evaluate as you go.
Get your equipment
The basics you will need for your podcast are a microphone and a computer to record your voice. There are several “extras” that will help your recordings sound more polished and professional, such as pop filters, amplifiers, mic stands, and more. There are options for beginner budgets and those that are able or willing to spend a little more. If you plan on having guests on the podcast, you may want to invest in more than one microphone.
You can also record podcasts on a smartphone, but you would want to download an app that turns your phone’s microphone into a higher-quality audio recorder.
You will also need audio editing software, such as Adobe Audition or Audacity, as well as a hosting site like PodBean or Spreaker to which you can upload your audio file.
In addition to the tech side, you will want to create cover art for the podcast, particularly if you’re going to upload it to Apple iTunes or Spotify; this is your first chance to draw people from outside your parish in, if that’s your goal. Another thing you may want is call recording software if you plan to have guests call in. Less important — although many prominent podcasts feature it — is intro or outro music.
You will need a web host for the podcast; if you upload audio files to the same server as your website, you run the risk of exhausting your bandwidth and slowing your website down. There are several hosting sites, such as Spreaker, PodBean, and BuzzSprout. Finally, it’s time to choose the channel on which you want the podcast to appear. Apple Podcasts and Stitcher are the most popular, and YouTube is very effective as well. You can ultimately choose to have your podcast appear in as many channels as you’d like.
Let your parishioners know about your podcast by featuring it in your bulletin, talk about it during announcements at Mass, link to it on your website, and post to your social media channels whenever a new episode is released. Encourage your parishioners to share the podcast with friends and family.
What tips have helped you create a podcast at your parish? Let us know below!