Pandemic Podcasting: The Sound Quality and The Fury

Microphone Settings Are Making Me Crazy.

Meghan Daum
5 min readFeb 26, 2021

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Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

As I discussed a few weeks ago, I have a podcast and it’s taken over my life. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, since roughly nine tenths of the American population now have podcasts and are apparently able to juggle that work with other responsibilities. But I’m not always the best monotasker, let alone multitasker, so every day is a battle to not completely screw up in some way.

With the U.S. population at approximately 333 million, my above-cited data would suggest that 33.3 million people do not yet have podcasts. Among those, approximately 29 million have contacted me asking if I think they should start one.

What’s the most challenging part of doing an interview podcast, they ask? Is it hard to find guests? Do you have to spend a lot of time preparing? Are you worried that rivals like Joe Rogan and Marc Maron might catch up with you and overtake you in popularity? Was happens if you accidentally book Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen for the same slot and have to reschedule one of them?

My answers, in order: No. Yes. No. Hey, shit happens.

No, it’s not hard to find guests. (One of the pleasant surprises of this endeavor is the number of people who are clamoring to be guests.) Yes, you have to do significant preparation if you’re going to interview someone intelligently and respectfully. As for the other two questions, no one actually asks them, though I keep them on my vision board in the hope that I’ll have such problems one day. In the meantime, my biggest problem is one that you’d think would be solvable but apparently is simply not. My biggest problem is how to keep guests from sounding like they’re talking through a tin can.

My biggest problem is how to keep guests from sounding like they’re talking through a tin can.

Since launching the podcast last summer I have been obsessed with audio quality— or lack thereof. Like just about all podcasters these days, my interviews are recorded remotely, computer to computer, from my home to the guest’s home. In the pandemic, hardly anyone is using professional recording studios and I couldn’t afford…

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Meghan Daum

Weekly blogger for Medium. Host of @TheUnspeakPod. Author of six books, including The Problem With Everything. www.theunspeakablepodcast.com www.meghandaum.com