Podcasting With a Co-Host
Podcasting with a co-host can be a wonderful addition to many podcasts. There are a number of benefits to having more than one host for a podcast, however, podcasting with a co-host can offer some additional challenges as well. Here are some of the perks and pitfalls associated with a co-hosted podcast. In addition, we will discuss some of the logistics associated with podcasting with multiple hosts.
Co-Hosting a podcast creates a different podcasting podcast software platform altogether from podcasting alone. The podcast itself takes on a feel of conversation and discussion. Even though the audience is not directly participating in the conversation, they feel as though they are involved in one. This is markedly different from podcasting with a single host in which the host speaks to an invisible audience.
Often times it is easier to incorporate humor into a podcast in which there is more than one participant. In depth discussions are more easily achieved by adding a different perspective or point of view. When looking for a podcast co-host it is important that look for someone who shares your interests but is able to offer differing opinions. If both podcast hosts are constantly agreeing and saying the same thing two different ways, then you are not capitalizing on all the benefits of having two podcast hosts.
For some it may prove difficult to carry the load of podcasting a 45-minute podcast alone. Having a co-host can provide you with additional resources to handle some of the workload that goes into producing a podcast. Tasks like, show prep, editing, publishing, promotion can be divided between the two hosts to lighten the load on an individual as well as the hosting duties for the episode.
Once the podcast has been published the two hosts can also share the responsibilities of responding to emails and comments, interacting with the listeners on various social media platforms and generating ongoing discussion about the podcast content on the website.
It is imperative that you do not talk over each other. Having a lively discussion is great for a podcast, however, if both hosts are talking at the same time, talking over each other; you will quickly lose your audience as they are unable to clearly understand the conversation taking place.
As much as possible you should try to ensure that both you and your co-host have clear, crisp audio signals and that the volumes are properly balanced. Try to avoid having one host be excessively loud or soft compared to the other host.
If your target duration for your podcast is 45 minutes to an hour, it is important for both you and your co-host to keep track of the clock. When discussions start flowing it can be very easy to lose track of time and then you end up with a 2 hour podcast that must be edited down to 1 hr. You may end up having to cut great content out of your podcast to meet your time restraints.
Obviously, you always have the option of publishing a podcast that is longer than your typical episode, however, I would discourage this. Your audience, over time, will come to expect that your podcast will run a certain length. They will schedule an allotted time each week to listen to your podcast. An episode that is longer than usual can cause frustration on their part. Remember, podcasting is real time media and your audience will notice if an episode runs long.
Never, never share a microphone. You will create all kinds of background noise and audience frustration passing a microphone back and forth between two hosts. Having a stationary mic between two hosts does not work well either unless both hosts are able to maintain consistent distance from the microphone at all times. You will alleviate all kinds of headaches by simply investing in a separate mic.
When recording with multiple hosts in the same room you will want to use two separate microphones and preferably a mixer. Record each voice on separate tracks, this will allow you to set the gain, compression and filters individually for each host. In addition, having the hosts recorded on separate tracks will allow you to adjust the volume for each audio track without affecting the other.
The first recommendation I would make is to utilize Skype. Skype is a free software that allows free PC to PC calls to be made. You can download Skype here. Once both hosts have Skype installed, you can place the call and maintain good sound quality, the sound quality will be as good as your sound equipment on either end of the call.
The next step is to find a way to record the call for the podcast. This can be accomplished using Call Recorder software from Ecamm. Call Recorder software can be found here and is approximately $30. One of the things I like about Call Recorder is that it records the call as a movie file which can then be converted into two separate audio tracks with each portion of the call on a separate audio track.
It is also possible to have one host call into the show either via cell-phone or landline. This will require some investment in addition to the Call Recorder software. For a small monthly subscription cost you can purchase a Skype number which gives you a dedicated phone number for your Skype account. One host can dial the Skype number and the other host can record the call on a PC again, using the Call Recorder software. This will result in a significant loss of audio quality as one hosts audio will be coming through a cell phone.