Are you struggling to figure out what podcast software you need to start your show? I don’t blame you!
We need software for various tasks in podcasting, and the choice of applications is vast. That’s good and bad, of course.
- Good: The competition encourages great tools and brilliant platforms that really help us out.
- Bad: The sheer variety makes it helluva confusing when you’re starting out.
Don’t worry, though; choosing your podcast software doesn’t have to be complicated. That’s what we’re here for.
In this article, I want to show you all of the different types of podcast software on the market.
If you want a quick answer – just to be told: “This one’s good, use it!” then I’ve got a couple of top recommendations in each section.
But, if you want to go deep – and I know some of you do! – then, I’ll guide you towards specific resources for each area. We’ve covered a lot of these tools in detail, after all.
So, what software do you need to make a podcast? Let’s take a look!
The first step – record your podcast! You can’t have a podcast without recording your voice, after all.
The good news is that it’s never been easier to record your own voice, or even a conversation with others. But there are a few different ways to do it. So, let’s look at the options.
Starting with the simple option, let’s just record ourselves. Why might you do this?
- running a solo podcast – just you and your mic, talking to your audience every week
- recording a solo section for a podcast – for example, an intro, an outro, an ad slot, or a news update
The solo show is a good option in a lot of cases. It’s a nice, simple, sustainable way to spread your message. And even if you run a larger show with more than one person, you’ll often need solo segments to mix in amongst the main recordings.
In either case, you need to record yourself, and that means having a bit of software that can quickly and easily capture your voice.
Computer-Based Solo Recording
The first option is an audio program for your computer, often called a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). You download it, you install it, and you hit record.
The most popular option here is Audacity, which is a free audio recording and editing app. It’s a little clunky and quite old-fashioned, but it’s amazing considering it’s free. Can’t argue with that value!
On the other end is Adobe Audition, which is a Pro-level audio editing package. It’s one we’ve used a lot over the years here at The Podcast Host. Audition has a monthly fee, but for that, you get a much better workflow, a lovely user interface and loads of presets and automation. It’s overkill for most podcasters, though, and learning takes quite a time investment.
Recommended tools & further reading:
Web-Based Solo Recording
If you want to be flexible in where and when you record, you can use a web application to record yourself, rather than software on one computer.
Alitu is a great solution here. Alitu is our ‘Podcast Maker’ web app that automates all the complex processing tasks, like volume levelling, noise reduction, EQ, and compression. You can create a new episode in Alitu, either by recording solo segments or online calls.
You can also upload audio that was recorded on any other platform, and easily sync it all together. You can add music, effects, ads, and any other segments with the ‘Episode Builder’ tool. Once it’s ready, you can publish the finished episode to Apple, Spotify, and every other podcast platform, directly from within the Alitu dashboard!
Recording a Call
The interview show is one of the most popular podcast formats in the world. And for good reason! When done well, an interview show is interesting and valuable. But what podcast software do you need to record that interview? Here are the options.
It’s possible to record a conversation fully online, just inside your web browser. The big advantage of this is that you can do it anywhere, on any computer. No need to install an application on your computer.
If you go this route, there is no shortage of options. One of the most common is to use Zoom.us. This web conferencing application is about as easy as it gets. You sign up, get your link and once everyone clicks it, you’re all in a conference room together. Zoom will record the call on its own servers, and then send you the audio file at the end. Easy!
The downside is that the quality can be a bit spotty, depending on everyone’s connection. If someone’s on dodgy broadband, it records the glitches, the dropouts and all the rest. But it’s generally pretty reliable, so it’s a decent option.
The next option is to use web software that records on each individual computer. This is commonly called a double-ender because it records at both ends: your own end and the interviewee’s end. This means it records the best quality for each person and doesn’t depend on the connection quality.
For this, you’ll usually pay a bit more, but you’ll get much better quality as a result. Riverside.fm is a fantastic option here, as you can record multiple people in both audio and video form, all on individual channels. Your audience can tune in live to episodes being recorded, too. What’s more, you can even have them call into the show, as well as live stream your content to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Twitch simultaneously.
Finally, if pure simplicity is what you’re after, you might opt for Alitu. With Alitu, you can record calls, produce them, edit them into your episodes, and publish them all from within the tool’s dashboard. It’s a great all-in-one podcasting solution.
Recommended tools & further reading:
- Riverside.fm review
- How to record a podcast remotely
- How to Make a Podcast with Alitu
- Recording a podcast with Zoom
What About Skype?
Skype was long the preferred way to run a podcast interview, but the competition in recent years has definitely cut that down. In the past, the trouble was always that you had to download a separate bit of software to record a Skype call, such as eCamm for the Mac or Talkhelper for the PC. But now, Skype has call recording built in, so that has made it a fair bit easier.
The downside, of course, is that you need to download and install Skype, and the person on the other end has to have it too. In the past, that was a given, but nowadays it’s a little less common. That’s why I tend to use Alitu, Zoom or Riverside, above. These platforms don’t rely on the interviewee having anything at all installed. They just click a link and join the call.
But, if you do want to go with Skype, be sure to check out our guide on recording Skype calls for a podcast.
A simple option is to pull out your smartphone and record right there on the device you already have. If you do that, what are our choices when it comes to mobile podcast software?
First, nearly every smartphone has a default audio recording app. iOS has one as standard, called Voice Memos. On Android, it’s often just called ‘Voice Recorder’. And, if you do a search in the app store on either platform, you’ll discover dozens of other specialist recording apps with a whole slew of features. Here are the best recording apps for iOS/iPhone and best recording apps for Andriod phones.
One particular tool worth mentioning comes from a company called Spreaker. Spreaker is a podcast hosting platform, but they also provide a great podcast recording app called Studio for Podcast that ties right into their hosting.
Load this app onto your phone, and it’ll let you record a podcast right there, as well as offering a whole bunch of useful features. They include a sound cart (a set of buttons that you can load music and SFX onto, so you can play them live into your recording), live broadcasting and the ability to bring in an interviewee or co-host.
If you don’t mind going with Spreaker as a podcast host (and they’re one of our top podcast hosting platforms), then the app makes things very, very easy.
Spreaker is far from the only great option for mobile recording, though. Podbean is also well worth a look if you’re considering going down this route. It’s similar in many ways to the Spreaker app, meaning you can do all your recording, live broadcasting, and publishing from within the app itself.
Recommended tools & further reading:
Editing & Production Software
Once we’ve recorded our show, the next task is editing & production.
Editing usually means the process of cutting up your recordings and putting them back together again as one episode. That can mean adding music, removing mistakes, combining two or more recordings and much more.
On the other hand, production is usually taken to mean making your audio sound better (sometimes called mastering). That means playing with the volume levels, removing noise, adding compression, and a range of other tasks.
So, any podcast software we use at this point should be able to do both. If you’re curious about the level you need to reach here, check out the article: How much editing should I do?
Web-Based & Automated
There aren’t many online tools that can do both editing & production well. It’s a resource-intensive process (big audio files & browsers are a tricky combination…).
But one such tool is Alitu, the Podcast maker app. Alitu is designed to automate the production of your podcast, handling conversions, bitrates, levelling, compression and noise reduction for you, automatically.
For editing, Alitu provides a tool designed specifically for podcasters, allowing you to trim recordings and remove mistakes. You can even edit by text, if you’d prefer – Alitu auto-generates transcriptions for you and lets you delete text, which also deletes the corresponding audio!
Another popular time-saving feature in Alitu is the Playback Speed settings. Say you’ve recorded an hour-long conversation and need to listen through it to find and make any edits – well, with Playback Speed, this can now be done in half the time.
Finally, Alitu offers an episode builder to create your episode from music, recordings & transitions through a drag-and-drop interface.
Remember, you can also record your podcast episodes directly into Alitu, be they solo conversations or online calls.
And, as mentioned, Alitu will also automatically transcribe your episodes for you. Then, you can publish directly to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all the other podcast directories via Alitu’s built-in hosting!
I talked about DAWs – computer-based podcast software – earlier as a recording tool. Well, as you’d imagine, they’re also designed for editing and production.
The same arguments as before apply here. Audacity is free, but a little clunky, and Audition is more expensive but powerful & slick.
If you want to see all of the options, check out our Top Podcast editing software article for the details.
Recommended tools & further reading:
One of the biggest time-sucks in running an interview show (and to some extent a co-hosted show…) is the infamous email ping-pong when trying to schedule a time to talk. You suggest Time A, but they can’t make that and suggest Time B, but you can’t make that and suggest Time C, but they can’t do that and suggest Time D, but… you get the idea.
Well, there’s a solution, which comes in the form of a scheduling app. These wonderful apps are simply bits of software that sync with your calendar (Google Calendar, iCal, etc) and then offer your interviewee a link to book in. The link generally shows the interviewee all of the free slots on your calendar, so they can choose the one that suits them best.
There are a whole bunch of extra benefits, from automating parts of your research to sending reminder emails. The tool I use for this is called Book Like a Boss, and you can see my review of the system and how I use it, below.
Recommended tool & further reading:
Podcast Planning Software
Big-Picture Podcast Planning Software
After telling you that Alitu can record, edit, produce, transcribe, and publish your show, would you be surprised to learn that it can help you flesh out a podcast launch plan, too?
The Alitu Showplanner is a free piece of podcast software available to anyone, no login required. It’ll ask you a few top-level questions about the type of show you’d like to create, then it’ll generate a full plan for you. This includes things like potential names, target audience info, a trailer script, episode ideas, and more!
Week-to-Week Organisational Podcast Planning Software
Post-launch, it’s handy to have a tool or two to help you organise your workload, and keep things sustainable.
Right now, we also use two platforms which aren’t podcast-specific for our planning: Trello and Notion.
Trello helps us keep track of the tasks to be done, from booking an interview to publishing the show. Notion is for the information that goes along with that, such as scripts and guest research. Its Wiki-style approach lets you organise every bit of info and data you need for your podcast, and everything around it.
AI Podcast Software for Marketing & Growth
We’ve talked already about the Alitu Showplanner for generating a full launch plan, a list of potential names and episodes, and writing a draft trailer script for you.
And AI tools for podcasters are, as Lindsay put it in her roundup, “popping out like bunnies in springtime”. There are more than a few that can help you get your show out there to new listeners.
Dubb Media is an AI podcasting tool that offers an enjoyable and engaging user experience. It excels at helping you identify the most compelling aspects of your episode, and it can effortlessly create both transcripts and eye-catching video clips tailored for social media sharing.
Another noteworthy tool in the AI podcast software realm is Podcastmarketing.ai. This resource not only transcribes your podcasts but also leverages artificial intelligence to condense them into concise show notes, engaging episode descriptions, captivating episode titles, quote cards, and shareable social media posts.
Podsqueeze is yet another good option. It, too, provides transcription services for your episodes and goes a step further by generating an array of promotional assets based on your transcript. Simply input your RSS feed, select the episode you wish to enhance, and patiently await the results. In approximately ten minutes, Podsqueeze delivers a comprehensive package, including show notes, timestamps, chapter markers, emoji-filled tweets, catchy titles, relevant links and mentions (complete with timestamps), a blog post, a newsletter issue, recommended keywords, and thought-provoking quotes along with accompanying quote images.
Remarkably, AI can even step in to create cover art and promotional images these days.
Midjourney, akin to DALL-E and Stable Diffusion, is a program tailored for professional artists seeking to swiftly produce prototypes for their clients. Midjourney may not be identical to other AI art generation tools, but it operates on a similar principle. You provide a textual description of your desired artwork, and it employs AI to generate an image that matches your vision.
Many AI tools are new, with the rough edges still being smoothed out. But they’re still scarily good at times and are only going to get better. Remember, your AI-generated materials don’t need to be final, either. Often, they work better as first drafts or prototypes for briefs.
Podcast Software Is Improving All the Time
At the time of writing, that covers all the different types of podcast software you might need. The exciting thing is, though, there’s a lot more on the way. I hear about a new podcast startup just about every week, and they’re coming up with new software solutions to help make our podcasting easier and better. With AI now well and truly on the scene, too, new and powerful tools are emerging all of the time. Be sure to bookmark this post, and the roundups below, to keep up with future developments.
- Best Podcast Maker Apps
- Best Podcast Recording Software
- Best Podcast Editing Software
- Best Call Recording Software
- Best AI Tools for Podcasters
Or, just choose one or two tools that work for you and leave it at that. You don’t need to constantly chase the next shiny thing, unless that’s something you’re genuinely interested in. The vast majority of podcasters just want a minimal amount of software that can help them do the maximum amount of things, quickly, easily, and cheaply.
With that all said, it’s worth one final mention of ‘Podcast Maker’ software Alitu. Alitu is recording, editing, production, transcription, and hosting software rolled into one. And, it has some brilliant time-saving features like text-based editing, too. If your interest is piqued, you can try it out free for seven days and see for yourself!