A little while ago a colleague, Ray Bohmer, suggested that I listen to this guy named Matt Beckwith who has a podcast called PodcastStockton.  I listened to the show and was curious about what goes into a podcast production.   A week previously  Matt had read one of my blog posts about iPhone Apps on MrWes.net and left a comment for me.  Since this is the year of stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided to ask for an informational interview with Matt.

Matt agreed to meet with me and suggested we eat dinner at Panera Bread near Eight Mile Road & Trinity Parkway.  Panera Bread  is a wonderful little deli-style restaurant  that makes delicious sandwiches.  I plan to take my wife there for dinner some time soon.  The following are notes from the interview I did with Matt on February 5th, 2010.

MrWes: Why do you podcast?

Matt: I love audio production.

MrWes: What do you do for a living?

Matt: I’m a call center manager, I love helping people.

MrWes: Tell me about PodcastStockton.com

Matt: Podcast Stockton promotes Stockton. Its mission is to share the good stories of Stockton.

MrWes: Why is PodcastStockton.com totally focused on Stockton.

Matt: PodcastStockton started as a response to a Forbes article that said Stockton was one of the most miserable cities.  Sure there’s crime and other bad things that exist anywhere you go.  But I wanted to report on the positive things that are happening in Stockton.

MrWes: How often do you podcast?

Matt: We have committed to a weekly show.

MrWes: Where do you do your recording and editing?

Matt: The majority of the show is recorded in my home studio. But I will record wherever the show guest likes. 

MrWes: How did you get started podcasting?

Matt: With a family podcast called  Pizza Go Here

MrWes: Do you follow or recommend any podcasts?

Matt: In my opinion these two are the best:  Manager ToolsCareer Tools.

MrWes: Do you plan on expanding to video (vlogging) in the future?

Matt: Yes, within a year.  Rod [Matt’s co-host] and I have started experimenting with video production.

MrWes: Besides “Pizza Go Here”, do you have plans to produce or collaborate on another podcast?

Matt: Yes.

Advice for newcomers to podcasting

MrWes: How much does it cost to get started?

Matt: Nothing if you have the means to record the audio and import it into your computer for editing.  There is a lot of audio editing software available for free.  I advise you to avoid spending a lot of money until you’re sure that you can come up with content and be comfortable behind a microphone.

I have several suggestions for recording audio:

  • With a web cam you can record the show and then separate the audio from the video.
  • Many laptops now also have built-in mics.
  • Most computers have a microphone input, you can record your audio to your computer using that
  • If you have an iPhone, you can use the built-in recorder for recording audio

MrWes: Which hardware do you  use?

Matt:

  • 2 Macs
    • recording on 24″ iMac
    • web editing on MacBook
  • 2 XLR microphones with Wind Guards
    • Rode NTI
    • MXL 9000
  • 1 digital Firewire Mixer MOTU (Mark Of The Unicorn)

MrWes: Which software do you use?

Matt:

  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
  • Garage band (iLife contains Garage Band)

MrWes: If you could go back a year and give yourself advice, what would you say?

Matt: Two things. First put a show out every week, don’t let yourself “podfade”. And second you will be fine, people will like your idea.

Definition: Podfade is a term used by podcasters to describe what happens when you start missing your regularly scheduled podcasts.

Final 4 questions

MrWes: How long have you been in Stockton?

Matt: A total of 28 years.

MrWes: What do you like about Stockton?

Matt: The people – there are the most unique people and it’s full of diversity

MrWes: What is your favorite Stockton memory?

Matt: My childhood at Naughty Nicks and the skating rink on Hammer Lane

MrWes: What do you like to do for fun in Stockton?

Matt: Visit downtown, especially eating at Yasu Yani and watching the Stockton Thunder.

MrWes’ wrap-up

We talked about a lot of other things that weren’t on topic.  Of course, since I’m not a podcaster yet, I don’t know which things I should or shouldn’t leave in there.  I hope to get advice on that soon.  I really enjoyed our candid conversation about tech stuff.  Thanks Matt for an interesting and informative evening.  I look forward to seeing you again, maybe at your studio.