10-Step Podcast Guest Cheat Sheet

In case you haven't heard, podcasts are the new hot jam. And naturally, there are plenty of useful (and useless) resources out there on how to start, record, edit, publish, and promote your own podcast. What I haven't found, however, is a simple to-do list to give to people who will be joining a podcast remotely — which usually means via Skype.

So I wrote one myself.

Make sure you run through these steps before the Skype call...

  1. If you have a laptop, ensure your power cable is plugged in and connected properly.
  2. Connect your computer to your modem or router with a LAN cable.
  3. Plug in your microphone and headphones (or just your headset, if you're going that route).
  4. Restart your computer.
  5. Disable wi-fi; ensure your computer has an active internet connection via the LAN cable. Just open any site in a browser to test this. 
  6. Quit any apps that you don't absolutely need during the recording session. Check your menu bar (Mac) or system tray (Windows) to ensure you really have closed everything possible, especially apps like Dropbox that use precious bandwidth in the background.
  7. Open GarageBand (Mac) or Audacity (Mac/Windows), and ensure the settings are correct for recording a podcast. 
  8. Check the settings in your audio recording program to ensure that your microphone is selected as the active sound input device, and your headphones are selected as the active sound output device.
  9. If you're unsure, do a quick test recording, and listen to it. Once you're happy with the settings, delete the test file and open a new one so you're ready to record. Give it a sensible name.
  10. Open Skype. Check the settings here too, to ensure that your microphone is selected as the active sound input device, and your headphones are selected as the active sound output device.

That's it! You should be ready to start the Skype call and record your podcast. Just make sure you don't forget to hit "record" in GarageBand or Audacity when the call is active and the time is right. And of course, don't forget to send the recording file to your host or producer when you're finished.