Note: This glossary is for the newbie podcaster. Some terms listed are very specific to podcasting and may have other, more complex definitions outside of what’s presented here. I’ve kept it simple to avoid Information Overload as a beginner.
I’ll also be adding to this as time goes on. If you see anything I’ve missed, go ahead and put a comment below! :)
This is the No. 1 app for listening to podcasts. Apple Podcasts is the mobile phone app. iTunes is the desktop software. Apple prefers podcasters to use “Apple Podcasts” when referring to it. It’s confusing, but important to know since it’s responsible for about 60% of podcast downloads. The mobile app is exclusive to iPhones, while the desktop version is available for Mac or PC.
This connects from your microphone to your computer. Usually needed if you have an XLR microphone instead of a USB microphone. It can also be used to record more than one microphone into a computer. Popular models include the Focusrite Audio Interface 2i2 or the RODECaster Pro.
The measure of how quickly you can transfer data and measured in kilobits per second (kbps).
Recommended: 64kbps or 94kbps.
How sound is captured and played back, either in Mono or Stereo. When an audio track is in Mono, there is one channel. When an audio track is in Stereo, there are two channels.
Mono: When you put on headphones and can hear the same exact thing on both the right and left sides. Most podcasts do best when audio is exported in Mono.
Stereo: When you put on headphones and there are differences between the right and left sides. Audio dramas can use this effectively to create a Theater of the Mind experience.
Boosting the quiet parts of audio and lowering the louder parts. This can either be done while recording using a Compressor, or it could be done during editing using software.
(See Dynamic Microphone)
This is the artwork associated with your podcast.
Talking over a guest or co-host.
When each participant of a conversation records their own audio file of themselves, which can then be edited together to create a dialog.
Dynamic Microphone (vs. Condenser)
The difference between these two microphones are actually much longer than this description, but what a beginning podcaster should be aware of is this: Dynamic microphones pick up sound that’s right in front of it. Condenser microphones pick up sound from all around it.
Picture a Push-Pop as a Dynamic Microphone: You only get a delicious treat from that one opening on the top.
A Condenser Microphone is more like an ice cream cone, where you can get the delicious treat from all around it.
Anything that is said as filler while a speaker is thinking of the next thing to say, like “Um,” “uh,” and “like.” Sometimes referred to as “Verbal Crutches” or simply “Crutches.”
“Verbal Tics” is another term that’s sometimes used, but this is referring to the unconscious and sometimes excessive use of Filler Words.
Gain (vs. Volume)
Gain traditionally means the decibel input of sound as it goes into the recording source or mixer. The volume is the decibel output of the sound, as in how loud it is in headphones or speakers.
If you notice your recording volume is too low on the track, your gain needs to be adjusted. If you can’t hear yourself in your headphones while you’re recording, your volume should be raised.
A physical piece of electronic equipment, like a Mixer or Audio Interface.
IAB stands for the Interactive Advertising Bureau. When you hear Hosting Companies say they are IAB-Certified or IAB-Compliant, it means they follow a number of guidelines put in place by the IAB to report accurate statistics.
Certified means they actually have the certification by the IAB, compliant means they adhere to the standards, but have not received certification yet.
An example would be like going to a Farmer’s Market and talking to a farmer who uses Organic methods of farming, but has not gone through the process of getting their produce officially Certified Organic.
Information relating to your audio file that allow podcast apps identify the type of data in your audio file. The tags are manually added to your audio file as you export it or when you upload it to your Hosting Company.
These tags are found in your RSS feed and used by Podcast apps. Also called simply “Tags” or “Metadata.”
Note: As of March 2019, there are Apple/iTunes-specific tags that Apple encourages podcasters to use.
Music that plays underneath speaking. I use a music bed throughout my history podcast, The Story Behind.
Similar to an Audio Interface, but with usually more bells and whistles.
Mixers offer a way to control the sound that gets recorded by using knobs, buttons and/or sliders for things like volume, equalization (EQ), tone, etc. Mixers can also be used to record more than one microphone into a computer.
MP3 or .mp3
The most widely-used audio format for a podcast.
Popping P and B sounds. This is caused by the quick release of air from our mouths when we say these sounds, and they cause jarring spikes in our audio that make a loud popping sound. These can be avoided using a Pop Filter or Windscreen.
An audio file that is able to be downloaded and listened to on a phone or computer, usually via RSS Feed.
The act of creating a podcast. (Not to be confused with listening to a podcast.)
That’s you! The person who creates the podcast!
Podcast Host or Podcast Hosting Company
This is where you upload your podcast audio file to and create your show notes. This is also where you upload your show art, description, and more for podcast apps to display. Its essentially where your podcast “lives.”
Want to learn how Podcast Hosting Companies and RSS Feeds Work? Check out thie post: How RSS Feeds Work and Why Podcast Hosting Companies Are Important.
Hosting companies I recommend are Libsyn (my favorite and what I use to host my podcast—I’ll also soon be getting a promo code for a free month of hosting very soon, so check back for that!), Podbean, Blubrry, Spreaker, and Podcast Websites.
When a podcast is downloaded, it means the audio and information is sent directly to their listening device within their podcast app.
Some apps won’t download podcasts automatically and instead will “stream” them, however this is still counted as a download. In fact, it’s known as a “progressive download,” since it’s downloading the podcast as it’s playing.
This is a device that is placed between your mouth and a microphone. It’s usually circular and has either a fabric or metal screen covering it. This helps reduce popping caused by fast-moving air in letter-sounds like P’s and B’s. (See also Windscreen)
A recording device that is small enough to be packed for podcasting on-the-go. For example, I have a Zoom H5 and it is small enough to fit in my purse. It connects to my microphone through an XLR cable.
The measurement of how many data points of a sound wave are taken per second, usually measured in Hertz (Hz) or kilohertz (kHz). It’s comparable to frame rate of a video; the higher the number of frames per second, the better the quality. Also known as “Sample Rate.”
Recommended: 44100 Hz or 48000 Hz
Reverb (vs. Echo)
An echo is when a sound is repeated after a delay. A reverb is an echo but with a very short delay. An echo would be like shouting over a canyon and hearing those words coming back at you after a pause. Reverb would be like shouting in an empty room or large hall.
RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." The RSS feed is the basis of your podcast and made up of information and coding. The RSS Feed is what gets updated whenever you publish a new episode or make changes to your podcast.
When you create a podcast, you’ll have a specific RSS Feed URL. Even though it’s a URL, if you put it into most browsers, it will bring you to a web page full of text and may look like code in some places. Here’s the RSS feed for my podcast, The Story Behind: http://thestorybehindpodcast.com/rss
You’ll most likely be using your Podcast Hosting Company to build your RSS feed.
A program on your computer (as opposed to Hardware).
There are numbers like downloads you have, countries your show has been downloaded in, what podcast apps people use to listen, etc. These measurements can be found when you log into your Hosting Company.
It’s important you work with a hosting company that is either IAB-certified or IAB-compliant.
Apple Podcasts/iTunes also has their own stats for podcasts, which you can access through PodcastsConnect.com. Be aware these are only Apple-specific, meaning they will only show you statistics for those listening to your podcast in Apple Podcasts who have given Apple permission. Another caveat is these are gathered from Apple Podcasts listeners using version 11 or higher.
This is the recording of a source of audio. When you record yourself talking, you are recording onto a track. In your DAW, each person’s voice, music and sound should have it’s own track.
When someone subscribes to a podcast, it means that as soon as a new episode becomes available, it will be downloaded or available automatically to their device. Some podcast apps will also send notifications when new podcasts are available.
WAV or .wav
This is another audio format (like MP3) that can be used when recording and editing.
Foam placed over a microphone to help reduce airflow into the microphone and recording. It can also be used to help reduce plosives. (See also Pop Filter)
The XLR cable is what connects the microphone to either a Mixer, Audio Interface, or Portable Recorder. Microphones are usually equipped with either a USB or XLR connector.
Let me know below what you think of this list and if anything should be added to it. And, remember, I want to keep this as simple as possible for a new podcaster just getting used to hearing these terms. ;)