Left-Handed Radio Anna Rubanova – TechCrunch
The beauty of podcasting is that anyone can do it. It’s a rare medium that is almost as easy to craft as it is to consume. And as such, no one does it exactly the same way. There are a plethora of hardware and software solutions open to potential podcasters, so the setups run the gamut from NPR studios to USB Skype platforms (the latter of which has become something of a default during the current pandemic).
We asked some of our favorite podcast hosts and producers to highlight their workflows – the equipment and software they use to get the job done. The list to date includes:
Rose Rimler of Science vs.
David Rees election profit makers
Welcome Eleanor Kagan from Your Fantasy
Articles of interest Avery Trufelman
First draft and follow-up of changes’ Sarah Enni
RiYL Remote Podcasting Editing
Sam Dingman of Family Ghosts
I listen to Anita Flores
Justin Richmond of Broken Record
Criminal / This Is Love’s Lauren Spohrer
Jeffrey Cranor of Welcome to Night Vale
Jesse Thorn from Bullseye
Ben Lindbergh of Effectively Wild
My own podcast, RiYL
This week we are talking to Anna Rubanova. Comedy writer turned podcast producer, she has worked on a myriad of podcasts, including “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” and “Election Profit Makers” (with recent How I Podcaster, David Rees). Rubanova is an executive producer at Forever Dog and has hosted programs for WNYC Studios and Stitcher Premium. She co-produces and hosts the narrative sketch comedy show “Left-handed radioWith Adam Bozarth.
I use my phone a lot. I used to write down sketch ideas and inevitably forgot what made them good. “When I win the lottery, I’m going to teach a fish to smoke. It’s in one of my notes and I have no idea what it refers to. With a voice memo, I can immediately capture the feel of the bit. The recording can serve as a starting point for a fully written sketch, perhaps an invitation to improvise. I could re-record it using a better mic or, screw it in, use it as is. I go with whatever is funniest or, sometimes, pretty good. You can always justify it later with the context. With enough music, restoration, or SFX, the worst quality sound seems intentional. Plus, there’s no point in doing something “right” in podcasting. It’s like trying to make the perfect sandwich. Anyone who thinks there is a way to podcast or radio or use two slices of bread is a con artist or a solipsist.
Speaking of podcast perfection, Left Handed Radio is my everything. It’s a portfolio, a creative outlet, a humorous album and an excuse to play with my best friend and partner in all things, Adam Bozarth. We do skits, consciousness flow monologues, whatever we find funny or interesting.
Over the past decade, we have accumulated a lot of recording material. Nothing fancy: a few Zooms, two AudioTechnica 2020 USB mics and a Rhode shotgun. Most of what we got was for DIY movie making. About ten years ago there was a boom in post-YouTube short comedies. When all of those branded content sites were gone, we stopped playing with video and turned more to animation and podcasting.
Narrative audio is my passion. The podcast is my job. Like I said, we don’t collect equipment but, as producers of up to 12 shows at a time, we had to invest in plugins and software. The simplest DAW for dialogue has to be Audition. Logic is great for creating soundscapes and, of course, music. We remotely record calls to Audition and mark edit points as we would in a studio. (Thanks, Loopback!) Two years ago, I dropped $ 1,000 on recovery software. During the pandemic, this software saved me hours of work. When everyone is recording from home, literally anything can go wrong.
Gone are the days when clipping and plosives were our biggest concern. Once a podcaster (i.e. someone with their own podcast) called for a show I was producing from a rooftop party. By the time I finished restoring the recording, no one could tell. (Thanks, RX-7; I wish I could afford RX-8.) Plugins aren’t just useful, they can be delicious. We have one that can make the sound ring like it’s coming out of a speaker under a woolen blanket. Did I find a good use for it? Not yet. But I can imagine the possibilities.