Just like any field, podcasting has its own terms and lingo. If you’re new to industry, you might find yourself Googling things like, “what is a bit rate” and “condenser vs a dynamic microphone.”
If that sounds like you, don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’ve created the ultimate podcast glossary of every podcast term you’d potentially come across on your journey.
Affiliate marketing is when a company will pay you a small commission for every item you sell on their behalf.
Your podcast analytics are metrics that will help you determine how your audience is interacting with your podcast. For example, with an analytics tool or dashboard, you can track how many people are downloading and subscribing to your podcast. Analytics can help you create a strategy to grow your podcast, and they’re important if you plan to apply to sponsorships or networks.
The bit depth determines the overall quality of your sound, and should be determined before you start recording. It can be anywhere from 16 to 24 to 32. 16 is a perfectly acceptable bit depth for podcasting.
Every second of an audio file contains data, measured in kilobits. A bit rate tells you how many bits of data are in your podcast per second.
Bit rate most commonly comes up when you convert a podcast audio file to MP3 from WAV. If you select a high bit rate, your audio quality will be better, but your file will be much larger.
Clipping is when your audio is so loud, its peak gets cut off in your recording. Not only will this sound bad, your podcast might not play correctly if your audio is too clipped.
You can fix this by reducing your gain.
Compression is when the loudest parts of an audio file are evened out with the rest of the sounds.
A compressor is what compresses an audio file, i.e. makes the sound volumes more even and balanced.
A condenser microphone is a sensitive type of microphone. It needs its own power source and it’s designed to capture audio as accurately as possible.
Cost Per Mille (CPM)
Cost per mille is an advertising term that means you’ll get a payout from your podcast sponsor for every 1,000 downloads your podcast receives.
DAW stands for digital audio workstation. In other words, the software program or platform where you edit your podcasts. Popular examples include Audacity, Cakewalk, and Waveform.
A podcast directory is where listeners can search for and subscribe to podcasts. Common examples include Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.
A double-ender is a type of audio recording where all tracks are recorded locally and put together during editing.
One of the most common types of podcast microphones, dynamic microphones are sturdier and less sensitive than condenser microphones.
The dynamic range is the difference between the softest part of an audio clip and the loudest part.
An echo is a reflection of sound. Echos happen when sound is reflected over a far distance. The distance is what makes an echo sound like a repeated word, rather than a continuation of a word.
Equalization is a sound editing technique that most DAWs come equipped with. You can use equalization to increase or decrease certain sound frequencies in your audio file.
While volume measures how loud the resulting sound is, gain measures how sensitive your microphone is to picking up sound. For instance, if you find that your audio is coming out at a low volume after you’ve recorded, you likely need to increase your gain. That way, your microphone will measure the incoming sound as louder.
Hard limiting lets you limit the peak levels of your audio. This is done to make an audio file sound more consistent and even.
Headliner is a podcast marketing tool that lets you transform your waveforms into shareable social media graphics. Easily take the best clips from your podcast and add captions, animations, and eye catching backgrounds to post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.
A hosting site is a website where your podcast audio files will live. Hosting sites help generate RSS feeds, which you need to have in order to add your podcast to popular directories like Spotify.
A high-pass filter is an equalizing technique that removes unwanted background sounds like wind, microphone touches, or knocking things over.
Also known as metadata, this is information about your podcast like its show title, episode title, cover art, and etc. This data is what gets uploaded into RSS feeds.
Like a mixer, an interface acts as the bridge between your microphone and your recording software. It’s usually needed for XLR microphones, and it provides the required power for condenser microphones. Your interface will give you more control over things like gain.
Intro music, or a jingle, is the music you hear before a podcast begins. Some podcasts hire artists to create original intro music, while others opt to use music that’s free and legal to use.
Short for audio levels, this refers to how loud (or soft) your podcast is. Levels are measured in decibels.
A limiter is a type of compressor. A limiter limits your podcast wavelengths and clips them once they reach over a certain threshold.
Local recording, or recording locally, means you record your podcast directly onto your device instead of through the internet. For example, using your phone to record a voice memo would be an instance of recording something locally. In contrast, calling someone on Zoom and recording the Zoom meeting would be an example of recording over the internet.
A low-pass filter is an equalization technique used to remove high frequencies from an audio clip. They’re not as commonly used as high-pass filters.
Metadata is the same ID3, or the non-audio information about your podcast, i.e. its title, cover art, things of this nature.
A mixer lets you mix the components of your podcast together as you record, instead of doing it in the post-production phase. A mixer can record multiple podcast guests, and play your intro and outro music live instead of editing it in afterwards.
Monetization is the process of using your podcast to generate income. Podcasts are typically monetized through ads, affiliate links, or both.
Monographic sound is sound that comes from a single audio channel, rather than split channels. In other words, the sound will sound like it’s coming from the same place rather than multiple places. Podcasts typically use monographic sound, not stereographic sound.
MP3 is a popular audio file format. Most hosting sites and directories accept podcast episodes in MP3 instead of WAV format. The audio quality in MP3 is slightly lower than on WAV.
A music bed is podcast lingo for background music. Having music playing in the background underneath someone’s voice is called a “music bed.”
A podcast network is essentially akin to an acting agency in the podcast world. A podcast network helps podcasts market themselves, gives them access to nicer equipment, and pitches them for sponsorship opportunities.
A noise floor is the baseline audio behind every podcast. In other words, the background noise.
Normalization is another way to even out the sound of your audio. It changes the sound levels based on your audio’s highest peaks, but it won’t change the shape of your waveform.
Peaking is when a loud noise causes your audio to spike, or peak.
Phantom power is what powers a condenser microphone. Phantom power usually comes from a mixer, interface, or recorder.
Every microphone has a polar pattern, which is a set pattern as to how they hear and record sound. There are seven types of polar patterns: omnidirectional, subcardioid, cardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid, bi-directional, and shotgun.
A pop filter is a device that minimizes the popping sounds of certain letters, like p and b, into a microphone.
Post-production refers to everything that happens after recording, i.e. editing and mixing.
Progressive uploading is when audio tracks are uploaded to your editing software at the same time they’re being recorded.
A reflection filter blocks noises and echos by acting as a barrier between your microphone and recording space.
Remote podcasting involves multiple podcast speakers recording an episode from different locations, rather than everyone being located in the same room.
Used interchangeably with noise floor, room tone is the background, static audio present in a recording space. Even if your room is completely silent, a podcast microphone will still pick up some ambient noise.
Reverb is a reflection of sound over a short distance. The shorter distance is what makes it sound like continuation of speech rather than repeated speech, like with an echo.
RSS stands for really simple syndication, but for podcasting, it’s a simple link that your hosting site will provide for you once you’ve uploaded your episodes. You then use the RSS feed link to submit your podcast to directories. Directories will not accept podcasts without an RSS feed link, so they’re essential to the industry.
A sample rate is the number of samples of audio carried per second. A high sample rate will lead to better audio quality, but also a large file size. The ideal sample rate is 44100 Hz.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In most contexts and industries, SEO pertains to search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing, but podcasters also need to consider platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify as search engines as well. To reach more listeners, a podcast’s description, and show notes are optimized to appear in relevant search results.
Show notes are a written description of what was covered in a podcast episode. Show notes can include descriptions, transcriptions, and links to what was talked about during an episode. They’re a great way to give your listeners additional content, and key for both accessibility and SEO.
Sponsors are companies or brands that pay for podcasters to advertise. This can take many forms, one of the most common being ad slots during a podcast episode.
If you’ve ever listened to a song where one part of the music played on one earbud, and another part of the song was playing on the other, you’ve listened to stereo sound.
Stereo sound splits audio across two channels, making it seem like the sounds are coming from two different directions or sources.
Subscribing is how listeners can make sure they get notified when you drop a new podcast episode. Devoted listeners will opt to “subscribe” on whatever platform they listen to your podcast on.
A track is a recording of audio or video. In podcasting, intro music and voice recordings are separate tracks. It’s best practice to keep as many tracks separate as you can for easier editing.
A USB microphone is a microphone that uses USB cables. You can plug USB microphones into mixers, interfaces, or recorders.
A WAV file is one of the most popular audio file formats. WAV files have higher audio quality than MP3 files.
A waveform is how your audio looks on screen. If you’ve ever seen a voice memo or an audio recording represented visually, you’ll recall that it resembles a wave.
An XLR microphone is a microphone that uses an XLR cable. Just like with a USB microphone, you can also plug XLR microphones into mixers, interfaces, or recorders.