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Host AMAsAMA with Chris Curran, Founder of the Podcast Engineering School
AMAs >  Chris Curran

Chris Curran

organization Podcast Engineering School
When November 18 2019 @ 11:30AM (EST)

Chris Curran is the founder and lead instructor of Podcast Engineering School teaching students how to produce and engineer podcasts at a professional level. He also hosts The Podcast Engineering Show.

As the founder of Fractal Recording, he currently produces or has produced podcasts for Forbes, Dun & Bradstreet, Johnson & Johnson, as well as many other companies and select business authors.

Chris has previously been on staff at some of the most prestigious music recording facilities in the world: The Hit Factory, The Soundtrack Group, and Quad Recording. He has many album credits including engineer, producer or assistant engineer roles on projects with Foreigner, Sarah McLachlan, Jeff Buckley, MC Hammer, Itzhak Perlman, Naughty by Nature, Ice Cube, Philip Bailey, Biohazard, God Street Wine, Biggie Smalls, Puffy, Heavy D., Helmet, Monster Magnet, Orange 9mm, Nuno Bettencourt, Onyx, Quicksand, Savatage and many others.

Twitter | Instagram | Company Website

Questions now closed.

11 Questions
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Tom Slack Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. I’d love to hear your perspective on what you think makes a successful podcast?

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Tom, this is an unanswerable question because it’s WAY too vague. I would need to know from you: What constitutes success? How will you know when you’re successful? And are you talking about monetary success, business success, or audio success, or marketing success, or social success, or audience success, or marital success, …? I realize that you’re just trying to get this thing going but really I don’t know how to answer that. Should I just spout some random podcasting knowledge? I detest doing that. Also, am I supposed to write a book here? I’ve never done an AMA before and honestly I detest this format because I’m a professional AUDIO guy, not a writer/blogger. I appreciate you having me here but I thought this was going to be a video stream where we actually discuss things and answer questions and provide personalized help to individuals, etc. Oh well, I’ll do my best. Thanks again, Tom.

Mauricio Bara Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Chris – it looks like you’ve had an incredible career. What have been the highlights? 

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Mauricio, you can see a summary here: https://podcastengineeringschool.com/chris-curran/

How has this information helped you, Mauricio? Thanks

Geoff Roly Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Hey Chris, any hacks to save time during production?

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Geoff, there are a million, and to give you an answer that’s valuable to you, I would have to know lots of details about you like what kind of production you’re doing and what software you’re using and what level of production you’re trying to create, etc, etc ,etc. … Geez, I really do not like this AMA format. I guess I’ll just spout off a few random high level ideas and hope they apply to you.

Save/use plugin chains for each participant
Save/use episode templates in your DAW
Record audio properly to avoid difficult post-production
Teach participants how to speak in to a microphone, and how not to
Have a soundcheck list to run guests through
Set up keyboard shortcuts for the tasks you do repetitively
Prepare your content substantially before turning on the recorders

So random. Hope this helps. Ugh

Driton X Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Any particular advice on equipment? 

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Driton X, yes I have lots of advice on equipment. What type of equipment are you asking about? For what type of production? In what type of environment? For what level of audio quality? For what budget? For how many participants? In-person or over the internet? Live or just recorded? Thanks

Skyle Murphey Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Hi Chris, I’m interested in hearing about what type of audience development and market research you do before launching a podcast on behalf of your corporate clients? Thanks! 

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Skyle, I don’t do any of that stuff. I am strictly a technical engineer/producer. Sorry to be of no help.

Tash Kiely Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Hi Chris, thanks for being a part of this. What genres/types of podcasts do you like listening to?

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Tash!, here are some shows I listen to:
The Bandrew Says Podcast
Sunshine and Powercuts
The Cinema Guys
Broken Record
Darknet Diaries
Hardcore History
Podnews
Jordan B. Peterson
The Way I Heard It

What do you listen to?

Ted Cragg asked this question 4 months ago

Hi Chris, I’m wondering where podcast audio editors are finding work these days, are they reaching out to potential clients individually? Are there any dedicated job boards for podcast editing? I’m curious about the state of the audio podcast editing ‘industry,’ where the demand is and what the needs are.
Where do you see it evolving in 2020?
Thanks

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Ted, yes, by and large editors are reaching out to individuals and business to find work. That seems to be part of the deal when you’re an independent editor/producer.

Regarding job boards, the Podcast Editors Club on Facebook is a great group for editors, and sometimes Steve Stewart (head honcho over there) posts job postings and other work related information.

The demand and needs are all over the map. There are no overarching concrete definitive answers. The trick seems to be for each editor to find their uniqueness and then build up experience, success, etc. It takes A LOT of effort, but if you persist good things will happen.

Regarding its evolution, I have no idea. The opportunity is here, the tools are here, now it’s up to the individual to step up, commit, and put in A TON of effort. Sadly, many people don’t have the strength or the guts to take on that battle. It’s really hard.

If you are one who is also looking for editing work and a career, etc., —> strategize, make some plans and give it your ALL for 3 years. If I can help, let me know 😉

Cassie Houston Staff asked this question 4 months ago

What signals do you look for to tell if a podcast is getting genuine/promising traction or not?

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Cassie, this totally depends on the podcaster, their purpose, their goals, their timeframe, their future vision, their temperment, etc etc etc.

I believe this is true though: If a podcaster is ONLY doing it for the money or for big impressive audience numbers, then their podcast is simply a business and not a passion project, and if it’s only a business and they’re going to (as they should) harshly judge the podcast by its download numbers or widgets sold, in my experience that is a VERY tough road to travel. I can’t think of a single independent podcaster who had that attitude and lasted very long.

It’s helpful for podcasters if they clarify their exact goals before they start their show, and also have a plan to quit when their goals aren’t being realized. If anyone wants to make it that black and white, it’s easy.

Hope this helped. Not sure it did. Sorry

asked this question 4 months ago

What was the most important piece of audio engineering advice you ever received? Why did it resonate?

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Josh Wade from Recap.fm!!! What an honor 🙂

“Record it right the first time.”

I love this advice because it underscores how important the recording phase of production is, and also hints at the fact that fixing things in post-production is almost always a pain in the rear.

Ultimately, following this advice saves me a lot of time and headaches. That’s why I resonate with it 😉

Eric Hung Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Hi Chris where is best to focus on starting a new podcast to make sure it sounds good and gets some listeners

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Eric, regarding sounding good, learn about audio production and podcast production, invest the money for decent equipment and software, and take it seriously. Regarding getting listeners, NO ONE knows any shortcuts for that issue. There are lots of methods for marketing your show to grow your audience, and usually it’s good to do ALL of them because they will all work together and help amplify each other: Share your episodes everywhere, build a community around your show/business, interact with others in your field to help each other grow, meet people at podcasting conferences, create great content that your current listeners will want to share with their friends and colleagues (new listeners for you), etc etc etc etc. All in all it’s quite difficult, but if you plan properly and stick with it, good things will happen. Hope this helps.

Tom Slack Staff asked this question 4 months ago

Chris, assuming a small promotional budget of, say, $500, do you have any thoughts on where it should be spent to grow show from 0 listeners?

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Chris Curran replied 4 months ago

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Hi Tom, I am not the person to ask about marketing. I’m an audio engineer who constantly struggles with my own marketing. I’d love to ask you the same question, but since you asked me first I assume you don’t know the answer.

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