Useful resources for this workshop


Podcasting production uses some very specific jargon which may be confusing at first. Take a look at the list below to see some terminology often repeated in the industry and this workshop.

  • Q Line: A list of questions for your interview subject(s).
  • Tape: A single or series of recordings.
  • Tracks: Scripted talking points to use in your production (usually a narrative read from a script).
  • Acts: Also known as "actualities," these are clips from your extended recording(s) that serve as "soundbites" in your production.
  • Transcript: A transcript is a text version of your media content and should capture all spoken audio and descriptions of information that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible without listening to your podcast (musical interludes, sound effects, etc.)
  • MP3: A file format for audio devices; often recommended as best practice export file for your podcast production due to smaller file sizes for your audience
  • MP4/M4A: A file format for audio devices; iPhones and some Android devices record in these formats which need to be converted or encoded before you can import them into Audacity
  • Selection tool: This Audacity tool allows you to highlight a selection of audio in your tracks; analogous to a word processor’s cursor
  • Time Shift tool: This Audacity tool allows you to shift entire sections of audio to the left or right within your timeline; analogous to a word processor’s ability to highlight a section and click-and-drag to move to another part of the text
  • Envelope tool: This Audacity tool allows you to adjust the volume of your audio tracks; analogous to a word processor’s ability to change font size
  • Normalize: An effect in Audacity that changes the overall volume in your track(s) to reach a target level. Normalizing your audio helps to set the maximum volume of your track (helpful if you have a quiet audio file) and allows you to match the volume of a group of audio files to the same volume. This is a great effect to use when you want to achieve the same level of audio across multiple recordings, but you should also realize that normalizing your audio will increase the maximum volume across all parts of your audio file (vocals, ambient noises, environment sounds, etc.). We encourage you to try using this effect and hitting undo (Edit → Undo; Ctrl + Z; Cmd + Z) if the resulting change produces unintended noise or distortion.
  • Equalize: An effect in Audacity that allows you to fine-tune the volume levels of frequencies in your audio recordings. Using Equalization, you can use a Drawn or Graphic version of hor frequencies appear in your audio files to manipulate frequencies by increasing the volume of some and reducing others. This is usually an advanced method of adjusting frequencies (often referred to as the pitch) since additional knowledge of audio frequencies is necessary to properly adjust the Hz and dB of an audio recording.
  • Compression: An effect in Audacity (referred to as the “Compressor”) that makes sound louder or quieter by adjusting the dynamic range (the loudest and softest part in your recording). It attempts to even out the overall volume level by increasing softer passages and decreasing louder passages. Whereas normalization changes the maximum volume of your track, compression finds a middle ground based on the audio range of your recording. This is a great effect to use when you have really loud or really soft sections in your recording (example: multiple speakers with varying volumes).

  • Planning Documentation

    How to build a podcast: From the makers of Criminal, Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer.

    NPR Storytelling Project Blueprint 2.0: A how-to document from the folks at NPR.

    Imagining the Story: How to tell a story with Rob Rosenthal.

    Podcasting Basics: A multi-part series covering the basics of podcasting.


    Self-owned devices: Use your own devices such as smartphones, microphones, and audio recorders.

    Student Tech Loan Program: This program at the UW Seattle campus allows students to rent audio equipment.

    Odegaard Library Sound Studio: The Sound Studio is a space to conduct audio recordings.

    Media Arcade: The Media Arcade is an audio and video viewing and makerspace open to UW students, staff and faculty.


    Audacity: Audacity is a free and open platform for editing audio files.

    GarageBand: GarageBand is an audio-editing platform available on Mac computers.

    Reaper: Reaper is a digital audio workstation and editing platform.

    Otter Voice Notes: Otter Voice Notes is an Android app that can help to transcribe up to 600 minutes of notes per month.