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How to Start a Podcast with NO Experience

Over Labor Day weekend (2021), I intended to fly to Georgia and pick up my new puppy, Violet. I was super excited. Lauren, one of my fun-est and best dog-show friends, was going to fly out with me and drive back. This was going to be a fantastic two-day trip filled with puppy fun, dog-training talk, and podcasts galore. Sajnos (that means ‘unfortunately in Hungarian - yes, I’m learning Hungarian for my 2022 summer trip to Budapest), my dreams were crushed, shredded, flattened, put a stop to, stamped out, extinguished, quelled, quashed,...well, you get the idea….

Lauren and I leave on Friday evening and head to Dallas. I found an excellent (at the time) deal on one-way tickets to Atlanta and a good rental-car deal to get us back to Dallas. It was a little trouble to fly out of Dallas, but when you live in OKC, the prices were far better than what we could get locally. We found a motel near the airport and hit the hay. Little did we know that when the alarm went off early the next morning, our ‘fun’ adventure would turn into one of those movies where the actors are racing against the clock to just get out of Wonderland without the Cheshire Cat or Queen of Hearts destroying us.

The alarm goes off and we get ready to head to the airport. I double check our flight confirmation numbers and status. Overnight, an email arrived informing of a 30 minute liftoff delay. This was perfect. With the holiday weekend, it was going to take a minute to find a parking spot at DFW. Well, the minute turned into 50. We grab our backpacks and race into the terminal to check in with the airline. There was still 40 minutes before liftoff.

We couldn’t check in digitally, so we headed to the airline counter. When we arrived, there were already a few potentially passengers asking about boarding passes. Airline personnel were refusing to check-in folks and provide boarding passes in order to clear security. Unbeknownst to us (at least 7 of us - Lauren, me, a couple’s teenaged son, and a family of four with two small children and car seats), in the fine print, passengers must arrive exactly two hours before the flight is scheduled to lift off. Staff kept saying that the flight had already departed - which wasn’t true - and we missed the boarding time. We plead, argue, beseech, implore, intreat, beg,...well, you get the idea…. Bocsanat (Sorry), you missed your flight. Apparently, some airlines feel the need to control their passengers’ every minute (including the two hours prior) of flight time. UGH.

What did I do? I panicked. When we realized we were never going to get boarding passes, I canceled our tickets (in hopes of starting the refund process - I don’t think I have ever been so naive!). I knew I still had a rental car waiting in Atlanta, so I looked for another flight for the two of us and crossed my fingers that the price was right.

Flight found! Yay! I looked at the information, I booked the flight leaving from the other Dallas airport. My blood pressure went off the charts. Lauren and I raced back to the Jeep. We needed to jet (pardon the pun) across town to the other airport. By this point, we had been awake since 5:00 am with not enough food and too much adrenaline. The timeline worked. Breakfast purchased. Liftoff destination: Atlanta. WHEW. Crisis we thought…

After a smooth flight, we arrived in Atlanta around 1:30 pm. I love the Atlanta airport, but it is enormous. Another short trip (one ‘subway’ and one train) to the rent-a-car location was standing in the way of me and my new puppy, Violet.

WHAT DID YOU SAY?!?! The woman at the service desk said: We don’t lease vehicles for one-way trips. WHAAAAAAATTTT?!?! The SUV was reserved through a third-party entity. Shouldn’t the company know the specific policies of these rental services? Obviously not. That’s right. You guessed it. Lauren and I are stuck in the Atlanta airport with no way to get Violet. More importantly, no way to get home. Hello, Crisis No. 2.

On the way back toward the airport terminals, I booked another pair of tickets back to Dallas. That’s right. We decided to just fly home. What else was there to do? Puppy or no puppy, we had to get back to Dallas. I called Linda, Violet’s breeder, to update her on the situation. With a heavy sigh, and empty stomach, Lauren and I head back to the terminal to fly home. Lauren suggested we, finally, take some time to eat a proper meal. Thank goodness for Lauren. She was unflappable!

Once there was a bit of food in us, we both felt much better. Still frustrated about our circumstances, but at least we could put some thoughts together. My biggest concern was timing. When would there be a good time to get back to Atlanta? I didn’t want to miss the baby stages of puppyhood that are so fun during the 10 - 16 weeks period. The best way for me to think is to make a chart, build a list, or process the problem out loud. I’m sure Lauren felt like she was watching a three-ring circus. As I paused to take a breath, Lauren said: We’ve got some momentum behind us. Once we land in Dallas, we should just get in the Jeep and start driving.

Silence. Lauren began to eat again and didn’t look up at me. At first, I thought Crisis #1 and Crisis #2 had pushed her past the point of rational thought. No, I realized, she meant it. Just keep going. Hmmmm….in that split second, the more I thought about her ludacris idea, the more it sounded fantastic. Trying to be a voice of reason, I thought we could really decide how we felt about driving back to Atlanta once we landed in Dallas.

Time: 9:30 pm. In the most ridiculous path, Lauren and I have traveled round-trip from Dallas to Atlanta with nothing to show for the trip except a dwindled savings account. The plane lands. We got to the Jeep and started driving. It is now Saturday night. We have been traveling since Friday evening. Our progress? One large loop across the southeastern United States.

Between us, we only had a change of clothing, no snacks, no sunglasses, nothing. My mother, Effie Mae, always said: A good night's sleep can fix a lot of problems. We found a decent motel. The next morning, with a renewed purpose, and a puppy in our future, we hit the road. With new found treasures from the nearest Walmart, a playlist of podcasts, and a gleam in our eyes, we were on our way.

Let me stop here and say quickly that I am not afraid of technology. I don’t mind the new inventions, crazy new apps (you can get an app for anything these days), and the latest gadgets. However, I am known to be late to the party on the current innovations (I just figured out satellite radio!). Several of those tech opportunities are:

  • Music streaming services

  • Creating playlists from those streaming services

  • How do I set things to ‘offline use’?

  • Do all these extra tech services always cost money?!

  • Current applications (e.g., rabbit holes of nonsense is what I call them...yeah, I’m talking to you, Pinterest!)

  • Podcasts

Lauren is up-to-date on everything. Thank goodness. Hello, Podcasts (mostly malpractice, murders, and kidnappings, please).

The drive from Dallas to Atlanta is approximately 12 hours. We had a long day ahead of us. The best part of our adventure was Violet waiting for us at the end of the day. Unfortunately, there would be no great reward on the arrival home, but at least we had a puppy with us for the drive back to Oklahoma City. Time was saved when Linda graciously offered to meet us on the eastside of Atlanta. She saved us three hours. In this marathon road trip, time was as valuable as gold.

There are two options when looking for a podcast: random or referral. While there may not be as many podcasts as there are Terrans, someone could spend more time looking for a podcast than actually listening to one. After listening to twenty-plus hours of anything, Lauren and I discovered this: despite the limitless selections of subjects, there were unifying ways these podcasts were produced.

Take diction lessons from an announcer at National Public Radio. Tone is everything. One should speak carefully and fairly slowly (from my perspective). Announcers must approach every topic from world news to Disney World shutting down with equal intensity. Be sure to insert long pauses and use a soft condescending voice quality. Audible sighing is also an option.

Get an accent. I completely, as do most Americans, take the delivered news with more interest and concern when the announcer has a British accent. Hello, Simon Owen.

Podcasts should be ‘3D’. Sound effects are required for a great podcast story. Download every app that can be found. Help interject the listener into the story for the fullest podcast experience.

Music. Depending on the subject matter of said podcast, the music should be arcane and just soft enough to be annoying. Listeners will turn up the volume only to be blasted once the narrator speaks.

Move books and documents around on your desk while you record/produce your podcast. Talk radio folks do this all the time. The sound of flipping and flapping pages does cause the listener to think actual research may be happening in real time.

While Lauren and I felt this list was by no means exhaustive, we did have fun creating ideas for our own podcast. We may just start documenting our adventures of everything dogs. This could be anything canine related. This year’s latest leash styles. Where to buy the best chew toys. How to find great trainers. What to pack for a dog show weekend. Exposes' on top-ranked dog and handler teams.

While we are still deciding who will portray us when Hollywood wants to turn our adventure into a movie, just know this: we will do our very best to provide a complete podcast experience for the listener. You may need a podcast just like this the next time you are trying to fly to Atlanta, end up buying extra plane tickets, then decide to take a road trip to pick up a puppy that will change your life. We’ll be there.

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