Is podcast editing hard?

The Planet Rock radio studio I worked in

Is podcast editing hard? In other words, should you do it yourself or use someone like me?

[sound effect of swirling harp as the picture goes all wobbly. Strap yourself in, we’re going back in time kids…]

When I started working in radio, editing audio involved chopping up bits of tape with razor blades and sticking them back together. And before you start thinking I’m 105 years old, this was the mid-1990s, so not *that* long ago. 

It was an interesting time because digital editing (editing audio on computers) was on the way in and the two technologies ran side-by-side for a while; the razor blade and the mouse.

Spoiler alert: mouse won.

A photo of me and three colleagues from the mid 90s in a chunky monitored filled room.
Me in my early 20s with some BBC Radio Sheffield colleagues and chunky mid-90s tech. This is where we broadcast the travel news from.

I ended up working in the industry for 15 years, starting off behind the scenes at BBC Radio Sheffield before switching to commercial radio and becoming a presenter. After stints in Derbyshire and the West Midlands, I moved to London in 2006 to present the mid-morning show on the national digital station Planet Rock where I was paid to play loud stuff and meet rock stars. Was in the pub by 1:30 p.m. every day too. At the time, the Planet Rock studio was in Leicester Square opposite a pub called The Garrick. I only had to set foot on the zebra crossing between the two after finishing my show and they’d start pouring me a Guinness. Not shabby tbh. (I’ve not touched alcohol for nearly seven years now – think I’ve done my bit for the brewing industry.)

Me standing next to a smiling Slash from Guns N Roses
Me with Slash from Guns N Roses

Anyway, the reason for this nostalgia-fest is that for every day of that 15-year radio career, I edited audio. Interviews, phone calls from listeners, trailers for shows – they all needed volume levels balanced, durations shortened and cock-ups hidden.

So I’m really good at it. And quick. And I enjoy it.

Back to the present

Fast forward to the 2020s and I’m running a successful motion graphics and post-production business which helps people explain stuff and reach wider audiences using animated videos (subtle plug). Also, it’s a time when podcasts are enjoying another surge in popularity. So I decided to use those skills I’d amassed over the years and give podcasters some of their precious time back.

Because when I looked into how long podcasters were taking to edit their shows, I was shocked. “Five to six hours”, “a day” according to some social media posts I saw. That’s time when those people could instead be earning money doing what they do best.

It’s very likely that by paying me to take care of their podcast editing, they’d end up making more money because they’d not be wasting days trying to do it themselves. Time = money.

Screenshot of two posts from Threads from people talking about how long it takes them to edit their own podcasts.
Two posts from people on Threads talking about how long it takes them to edit their podcasts

There are plenty of factors that dictate how long it takes me to edit an episode but on average it’s two hours and even less if the client tells me exactly what they want to cut. And that speed is thanks to the 15 years I spent getting good at it.

And I don’t just take care of the editing. I know all about nerdy but important things like compression, LUFS targets and equalisation – all the stuff that makes your podcast sound punchy and professional.

Video podcasts are also growing in popularity and as I already spend a lot of my week editing videos for clients as part of my post-production services, I can help with those too. Need a quick animated Instagram Reel to promote your show? I’ve got it covered – that kind of thing has been my bread and butter since I started DBM Motion Graphics in 2015.

So is podcast editing hard?

I don’t think so but I’ve been doing it for a long time. If you’re interested, I could probably teach you the basics in a couple of hours and I can also recommend the best free software to get you started. Drop me a message here if that sounds like it could help you.

For me, the question is how best should you use your available time? I *could* have decorated my daughter’s nursery last month but I chose to pay someone who did it in a third of the time, to a better standard, which left me free to get on with earning money doing what I do best.

Me and my two-year-old daughter checking out the new wallpaper in her nursery
My two-year-old daughter and I in her recently decorated nursery. I didn’t do it so it looks decent.

I used to do my own accounts. I used to make my own website. But after a while I realised I’m better off outsourcing tasks like that to professionals. I think for many people, podcast editing is one of those tasks.

Finally, podcast editing is as much a creative as a technical process. As such, having a fresh pair of ears working on your show, someone who’s a little further removed than you are from your project can really help bring perspective and objectivity.

Fancy collaborating on a podcast or need some advice on how best to proceed? I’d love to chat with you about it.


BBC Radio Sheffield

Planet Rock

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