In this post, Stacey answers a common question about what the interview process is like.
If you are going to be a guest on the podcast, we’ll make an appointment to meet in person or on Skype or Google Hangout or a similar tool or another free online service. I use all free and low-cost tools for the whole thing. Every once in a while I actually get to be in the same room with the person I am interviewing, but usually, we are in different states or even countries. I have experimented with a few methods, including using the recording feature in Google Voice calls, but over time I have settled on a system that works for me.
I usually meet the guest on Skype or Google Hangout, and I do all the recording on my end with a free recording tool called CallNote that I have been incredibly impressed with. CallNote gives me separate tracks, one of the guest and one of me, that I can then mix during editing, or I can choose a single track with both participants. The sound quality is usually excellent as well. I also record my end with a little Zoom 1 recorder (that I bought on sale…really really on sale). I recently bought a cheap pop-screen and handle accessories for my Zoom and they have made a huge difference in audio quality as well. It’s a great, portable, cheap option, and I highly recommend it. Another key for doing internet interviews: I ask my guests to find a quiet place with excellent internet connection and use headphones or even earbuds with a mic. Headphones are a big plus for audio quality.
I use Audacity (free, open-source) for editing. I originally learned how to use Audacity during a one-hour consult with the awesome educational technologist where I work, and have continued learning with hundreds of hours of practice (thousands? millions?!? 😉 just all my spare time for the last year or so) and a few YouTube tutorials.
There are also some cool facilities on my campus that I occasionally make use of, like a recording studio that I have finally learned how to use unsupervised, although I still feel like they should not allow me to use their nice equipment without a chaperone! (For real, why do they let me touch the expensive equipment?!?!) If you have noticed that the audio quality has gone up over the first year of the podcast, that is directly correlated to my own skill level going up as I slowly but surely learn new skills. I’ll be honest, this weekly podcast schedule is brutally fast-paced at times, and the episodes aren’t always as perfect and flawless as I would like. But without a production team or a budget, getting episodes out on schedule often means just doing my best and hoping you guys like the show enough to extend grace when the production values fall short.
I can tell you a few things for sure:
-I will keep doing my best to put out great weekly episodes.
-Because I keep learning and improving, my best will get ever so slightly better each week, and quite a lot better each year.
-I am committed to keeping the costs low, and will use free and low-cost tools whenever I can. It’s just in my nature to choose the open-source and the free over fancier, more user-friendly alternatives.
If you have questions about the show, about language teaching, about me, or about any topic related to this podcast, please reach out. I’d be very happy to hear from you.