Mic Check | Mic Drop : The Design Lab Presents its New Podcasting Guide

From its origins as a tool for time-shifted or on-demand radio to its rapid evolution into a robust narrative medium in its own right, podcasting has certainly captured the public imagination and attention (to the tune of millions of listener-hours per day in the United States alone).

The relatively low cost of producing a podcast, coupled with the internet’s generous abundance of how-to materials, make it an attractive and approachable format for a wide range of audio storytellers. Among these aspiring podcasters are entrepreneurs, hobbyists, journalists, and, increasingly, academics.

In light of the growth of podcasting as a medium, the bloom of podcasts as texts that merit study, and recent interest from faculty in tasking students with the creation of audio essays, the Shapiro Design Lab is pleased to present its new Podcasting and Audio Storytelling Guide.

The guide is a hub for resources in the U-M library collection, library services and spaces that offer support for audio storytelling work, links to third party sites with wiki-style documentation and tips, and online communities of practice like Transom and Creative Field Recording.

The guide also contains a brainstorming worksheet designed to help aspiring audio storytellers navigate the process of planning, framing, and creating their first podcast episode. It includes questions about audience, narrative voice, structure, and conveying story through sound.

Other pages of the guide gather links, tips, and resources related to:

  • Hardware and software for audio recording and editing
  • Audio production + post-production
  • Hosting and distribution
  • Finding and using Creative Commons and Public Domain audio to incorporate into your project
  • U-M affiliated podcasts

The Design Lab has collaborated with a couple of classes this summer to incorporate audio essays as culminating assignments in lieu of papers, and this guide is intended in part to create more robust support for similar assignments and projects in the future. That said, some students, faculty, and staff are interested in podcasting more as a pet project than an assignment or work responsibility. This guide is meant for folks who fall under this umbrella, too.

We also offer one-on-one consultations on a wide variety of types of projects, including podcasts and audio essays. Interested in setting up a consultation or exploring the possibility of collaborating with Design Lab staff to incorporate a podcast-related assignment into your course? Email us at shapirodesignlab@umich.edu.