Chapter 8: Editing Software & Audiograms

Learning Objectives

  • Audacity audio editing {Video tutorial}
  • Garageband audio editing {Video tutorial}
  • Adobe Audition audio editing {Video tutorial}
  • All-in-One App Services
  • Editing Social Media Audiograms (Video tutorial}
Photo by Matthew Kwong on

Chapter 8: Editing Software & Audiograms

Once a podcast has been recorded, scripted, and voiced it’s time for digital editing. There are a number of software options available for a variety of budgets, production demands, and expertise levels. Your selection of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) also comes down to personal preference.


Screengrab of Adobe Audition

This chapter emphasizes free or low-cost audio editing programs – Audacity, GarageBand, and Adobe Audition. I created video tutorials to cover the basics and also offer links to NPR Training on audio mixing. The concepts apply to all digital audio software no matter which software program you decide to use.

Record & Edit in WAV or AIFF 

Audio recording and editing should always be done using uncompressed WAV or AIFF audio files, which take up a lot of disk space. However, once editing is completed the files should be exported into compressed MP3 audio files, the format virtually every digital device can read.

Listen Before Editing

The best place to start editing is actually through listening.

Listen to all of your interviews at regular speed even though it might be tempting to listen at twice the speed in order to speed up the editing process. But this shortcut is not a good idea because it doesn’t allow you to get a feel for natural pacing and pauses during the interview. Take notes on sections where you think the audio is best and note the timestamp of where the clip is located on the timeline.

You will want to edit out background sounds, plosive pops, and loud breathing when you can. However, be careful not to go overboard with editing especially when it comes to breathing because it’s unnatural if you don’t hear any breath intakes.

Instead of editing out the breaths, you can just reduce their audio level, and then it doesn’t sound like you have artificially interrupted the flow of the conversation. At the right moment, a lingering pause can be a powerful moment in the story.

Audacity {Video tutorial}

Audacity is a free recording and editing software that’s been around since 2000. It has huge appeal because it’s free and can be used by both Mac and PC users.

While Audacity does have a bit of a learning curve and there can be some recording or editing problems with free platforms, there are online help forums.

I created a video tutorial to help you learn Audacity, such as the one provided below. There are also keyboard shortcuts that can save you time and effort.

To go more in-depth there are several other free online video tutorials offered here as well as those provided by the Advanced Media Institute at UC-Berkeley.

For more advanced work, Buzzsprout explains how to isolate and remove unwanted background sound in Audacity.

Syncing Up Audio Tracks in Audacity

When editing two separate voice tracks – the host and the interviewer – each track needs to begin at the same time. In the recording process, it’s helpful when doing a remote interview if both the interviewer and the guest clap hands at the same time so those tracks can be lined up together when it’s time for editing.

To show what this sync process looks like SOC Photography Manager Shaun Schroth has created a video tutorial on Audacity.

A podcaster would have two separate tracks if recording a double-ender interview as discussed in Ch. 4, where the interviewer and guest each records their own voice into a digital device, usually a mobile phone voice app.

This recording method works well if you cannot physically be in the same recording space, don’t have enough room, or are operating on a shoestring budget.

GarageBand {Video tutorial}

GarageBand is another free option, but only for Mac users. The Apple product has been around since 2004 and is considered user-friendly.

There are a number of free online tutorials, such as the one provided below and one offered by the Advanced Media Institute.

There are keyboard shortcuts when working in GarageBand that can save you time and effort once you get familiar with the software.

The sync process for GarageBand audio tracks is demonstrated by SOC Photography Manager Shaun Schroth.

Adobe Audition {Video tutorial}

Adobe Audition is professional-level audio editing software that works on both Macs and Windows and is my favorite DAW.  Monthly or annual subscriptions can be purchased via the Adobe Creative Cloud suite for just the Audition app, or, for a plan with other Adobe products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro.

If you’re an enrolled student or teacher you can get a 60% discount. There’s also a seven-day free trial period. If you’re lucky enough to attend a university that offers Adobe products, take advantage of using these professional tools.

The video tutorial below covers the basics of editing in Adobe Audition and another is provided by the Advanced Media Institute.

The sync process for Adobe Audio audio tracks is demonstrated by SOC Photography Manager Shaun Schroth.

ADOBE AUDITION Free Editing Tutorials


Hindenburg is audio editing software specifically made for podcasters, journalists, audio storytellers, and audiobook producers rather than for music production.

Some 150 NPR stations, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 30,000 independent radio producers and podcasters in the U.S. as well as many schools and universities use the software. Hindenburg Pro has a 30-day trial and can be purchased for a one-time price of $399, or you can do an annual subscription for $120 or monthly at $12. The new PRO v2 offers transcription editing and it gets a rave review from Podnews. The team behind the new version offers a demonstration.

Buzzsprout created a free online video tutorial on how to use the software and Hindenburg has posted its own video tutorials on Youtube.

The unique Hindenburg name reflects the historic moment in 1937 when a Chicago radio reporter gave an emotional eyewitness account of the fire and crash of the German passenger airship, the Hindenburg, in New Jersey.

Descript + Squadcast All-in-One App

For those looking to automate editing, Descript allows audio and video editing using text. Now thanks to a merger, Descript, has purchased the remote recording service, Squadcast – putting in one place the ability for users to record multiple people online, edit, and publish podcasts, with backups in the cloud. There is a limited free service to get started, see pricing here.

Editing Social Media Audiograms {Video Tutorial}

Audiograms are not a software editing program but a way to edit social media posts to promote your podcast on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and such. By using a still photo, a headline, and an audio clip from your podcast you can create audiograms quickly, easily, and many times for free.

Photo by Jill Olmsted

Start by finding a short audio clip from a show episode.

That MP3 file is combined with an image to create a video file that works on social media. Programs such as the Headliner app can do that easily when you upload an MP3 audio clip, an image or add text. A video tutorial takes you through the process.

Other apps for creating audiograms include Audiogram and Waave. Medium outlines how to create a killer audiogram with more on the benefits of this promotional effort in the next chapter on podcast promotion.


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Tools for Podcasting Copyright © by Jill Olmsted is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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