Director and host discusses lessons learned while producing first ever podcast episode.
“Request Pending” director and host Sara Schleede has experience writing short news stories and working collaboratively in other audio workplaces, but working on the first episode of her podcast gave her a chance to improve on things she’s never thought of before.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic restricting human contact and preventing high-quality recorded interviews in person, Schleede had to learn how to make phone interviews translate into clearer audio on Adobe Audition, a digital audio editing software.
“That was the biggest hurdle, but I learned a lot because the thing about Audition is that you can’t learn all of it by just sitting down and watching videos,” Schleede said. “You have to wait until you have a problem, and then you learn how to fix it.
As the host of the podcast, she also had to learn to record her audio with a narrator’s voice rather than her usual fast-paced talking style.
“When recording, I had to keep reminding myself to slow down when I narrate,” Schleede said. “To a certain extent, people are allowed to have a personal style when they talk, but you still need to be understandable. I added a lot of pauses in the ending where they didn’t initially exist.”
When Schleede started working on “Request Pending,” she looked to her fellow podcasters at The Drag audio production house to help her navigate through the audio world. Haley Butler, senior producer at The Drag, helped her learn how to take a different journalistic approach than what she was accustomed to.
“Haley reminded me I can have more fun with this and be less formal,” Schleede said. “I didn’t have to always follow a formula with my writing.”
As a student reporter for The Daily Texan, UT’s student newspaper, Schleede was accustomed to structured writing and formal reporting over pressing issues and major topics. Working on “Request Pending” didn’t necessarily fit into that category, with podcast topics being more on the light-hearted side.
“When I first started doing journalism, I expected the things I would be covering to be a lot more serious,” Schleede said. “But podcasting and radio-style audio stories are actually a lot more different than people realize. It was like learning how to break the same rules I had been learning all throughout journalism school.”