How to Start a Podcast During the Quarantine
A little podcasting 101 (AKA how to start a podcast) from the hosts behind your favorite confidence lessons and weekly barangay meetings
Once upon a time, podcasts were a form of entertainment primarily reserved for driving. Or doing chores. Or those moments when you had no new album to stream on heavy rotation, but needed a little auditory company.
These days, we experience those moments in abundance. At home with nothing to do, we literally exist to the sound of others conversing. With our Netflix watchlists all binged and YouTube recommendations fully exhausted, there’s arguably no better way to pass the time than turning on your favorite podcast. Or better yet, why not start your own?
Ahead, three hosts who started or expanded their podcast throughout the quarantine share their tips, tricks and triumphs. Where to begin? What about equipment? Spotify or Clubhouse? All your pressing questions, answered below.
Ayn Bernos, Camp Confidence Radio
Ayn Bernos is the founder of Morena the Label, and one half of the Camp Confidence Radio team. Dedicated to dissecting self-love, success and entrepreneurship, Ayn started the podcast in July 2019. When the pandemic kicked into full swing, businesswoman Rizza Lana-Sebastian joined the show as Ayn’s co-host.
Wonder: What makes a podcast a good podcast?
Ayn: For us, it’s all about the community we build and the value we create for them. More than being entertaining, we want our weekly conversations to be educational and inspirational as well. Camp Confidence listeners are driven, proactive go-getters, and we love hearing about their progress as much as they do ours. A good podcast for me is impactful, and we hope we can be exactly that.
W: What equipment or programs did you need to get started?
A: Since I did everything myself in the beginning, I just started by ordering two USB microphones online (one for me, one for my guest; this was pre-pandemic) and recording through Audacity. When Rizza joined, I sent her the other microphone and we recorded online via Zencastr.
For Season 3, when we started ranking on the Spotify Top Podcast Charts, Rizza’s husband Josh gifted us with matching HyperX QuadCast microphones, and they were such an upgrade! We also hired an editor, who migrated us back to Audacity + iPhone camera recordings. We upload video podcasts on our YouTube as well.
W: How has Camp Confidence Radio changed since its pilot episode?
A: Camp Confidence Radio has evolved SO MUCH. It was just a simple passion project at first, a way for me to hear more stories and connect with more people. But since our Season 3 “strategy meeting”—as Rizza and I like to call it—earlier this year, we have grown our audience and community, and started working with brands as well. We were able to turn our weekly chikas to an essential part of our lives, not to mention, an additional stream of income. We also started working with Podcast Network Asia, who has helped us elevate our content and connect with others in the industry. Our biggest win was probably adding a third person to our team. We feel legit and often laugh about it.
W: What is one important lesson you’d impart to aspiring podcasters who hope to build up an audience?
A: If you want to be taken seriously, take your show seriously. Create an upload schedule so listeners know when they’ll hear from you next, share about your episodes on social media, and don’t be afraid to invite guests over. Always record as if you already have an audience, and they will come soon.
Stream Camp Confidence Radio on Spotify.
Zee Puerto, The Kimbop! Show
The world of stan Twitter can give way to many a passion project: new businesses, cup sleeve events and, yes, even a podcast. With a little push from the quarantine, Zee Puerto, together with her co-hosts and co-fans Michy and Aila, got together to mount the K-culture podcast, The Kimbop! Show.
Wonder: Has podcasting always been something you’ve wanted to do?
Zee: My mind is restless, always buzzing and twitching thinking of new things to do. I’m also very opinionated on things so I thought about sharing them and podcasting is the perfect avenue for that. I’ve always wanted to do it but I just can’t find the right timing and right person to do it with. Luckily, the quarantine gave me the perfect chance to find both. Of course not to promote toxic positivity but I believe each of us has to find that silver lining in these hard times and that’s what our podcast is for me.
Wonder: What equipment or programs did you need to get started?
Z: When we were just starting, I used my iPhone to record our episodes. It’s only when we got signed by Bunk Collective, a podcast network for fun and creative podcasters like us, that I finally purchased a professional recording microphone. For editing, I just use free software. Sometimes people from the network—our bunkmates as we call ourselves—help us fine tune our episodes and edit our publication materials.
I feel like the recording equipment or software you use when doing a podcast don’t really matter especially if you’re starting out. But after some time and you’ve built a decent audience, you’d find yourself wanting to give them better content.
W: How has The Kimbop! Show changed since its pilot episode?
Z: It started out as a passion project, so what we did back then was to talk about things that interest us. While that’s still how we curate our episodes, we now somehow feel the responsibility to talk about topics that really matter especially with our growing audience. If you’d look at our episode list, we often talk about female empowerment and that’s something that Michy, Aila and myself feel strongly about. We now want our podcast to be a tool in amplifying voices that need to be heard.
W: What is a common misconception people have about podcasting?
Z: That you’d need to be someone with a media background to become a podcast host because that’s what I’ve always thought before. But now that I host a podcast and I’m a graduate of a business course, I found that to be totally wrong. As long as you’ve got something to say and you’re ready to share it to the world, go and start a podcast.
W: What is one important lesson you’d impart to aspiring podcasters who hope to build up an audience?
Z: It can get frustrating at times especially when you worked hard on an episode, and it barely got any listens but hang in there! You don’t need a lot of people to stream your show because not everyone who hears, listens. It’s enough to have a handful of people listen to your episodes and be positively influenced by your words.
The Kimbop! Show is available for your streaming pleasure on all major podcast platforms.
MJ Jose, Barangay Hall
An audio cast hosted on Clubhouse, Barangay Hall is the (virtual) place to be for all things Filipino. Childhood summer stories! Online dating! You name it, they’ll discuss it. Originally started by Hershey Neri and Gian Nicdao, Barangay Hall now has four additional hosts who join in on their Monday “meetings”: Maine Manalansan, Jox Gonzales, Frances Cabatuando and MJ Jose.
Wonder: What’s the Barangay Hall origin story?
MJ: This just sort of became a thing—absolutely no formalities. Originally, it was just Hershey and Gian, and the rest of us came onboard at some point when they felt like it had the potential to grow into something bigger. At the time we started this, there were so few casual rooms on Clubhouse, and we wanted a space to just share fun things and not take ourselves too seriously.
Personally, I’ve always been more content to listen to podcasts rather than actively engage in one. I’m a writer by profession; a blank Pages document is my medium of choice when asked to share my thoughts. However, given a group of co-hosts you can easily jive and banter with—and I absolutely love my people—it can be great fun.
W: What equipment did you need to get started?
MJ: We’re all still on our smartphones! One of us has a mic for better quality audio, but otherwise, that’s it. This is a casual thing, so we’re not too preoccupied with tech upgrades at the moment.
W: What makes a podcast a good podcast?
MJ: Topic-wise, it’s so hard to be a standout just because everyone’s done iterations of the same things at this point. While originality and technical proficiency are truly commendable on such a platform, I think it all boils down to execution and how the host/s come across to the audience. Podcasts don’t have the benefit of visuals; the challenge lies in keeping people engaged on an audio-only basis.
One of my favorites is Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain. She doesn’t go out of her way to put out something groundbreaking. Instead, she talks about anxiety, imposter syndrome, the impact of her parents’ divorce on her childhood and the perils of social media, among other things, and it just works. She’s blunt, irreverent and easy to empathize with regardless of how old you are. Her genuineness and authenticity make her such a great host, which is what I think any good podcast should have.
Wonder: What is a common misconception people have about podcasting?
MJ: That it’s easy. In fact, it’s the total opposite. You don’t just hit record and start talking. Sometimes, we can’t even think of things we want to talk about; there are six brains on deck, but they’re all tired brains because we’re reeling from adult-y things that require our attention. There are times that we even just blank out when the episode is already in session—and the silence truly is deafening! This is the challenge that comes with having a live audience, even if they’re all on mute.
Wonder: What is one important lesson you’d impart to aspiring podcasters who hope to build up an audience?
MJ: Don’t try too hard and don’t worry too much. Building an audience is such an organic process; get up there and go be yourself. So many of us are still isolating and practicing social distancing; a digital space allows us to establish connections without compromising each other’s safety. Be more concerned about coming across as relatable and authentic rather than impressive.
Join MJ and the rest of the gang for weekly meetings on Clubhouse. Barangay Hall meetings happen Mondays at 9PM. Don’t be late!
Have any more pressing questions about how to start a podcast? Drop them in the comments below!
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver