Bradley Denham’s journey from small-town Indiana teenager to podcasting pro started with a recording studio in his family’s kitchen — but in this original set-up, he was laying down music tracks instead of conversations.
“At one point, we took the kitchen table out because I was doing so much drum recording that we just needed a space to set up all the drums,” Bradley says on an episode of Between 2 Mics. “Obviously, that didn’t pan out.”
Growing up in a musical family with a guitar-playing father, Bradley dreamed of being a music producer. He saved the earnings from his high school job working on a neighboring farm to purchase the gear for his DIY kitchen studio. Although he’d tried his hand at playing instruments and starting bands himself, he admits he wasn’t very good.
“I was always fascinated by the technical aspects of it,” he says of making the pivot away from playing music. “So I bought the equipment and learned how to use it. It was enough to get the ball rolling.”
Years later, it’s safe to say Bradley is most definitely still on a roll. Today, he’s the Head of Audio Productions at Kast Media, a full-service podcast production company. He’s also the co-founder of Clipgain.io — a one-click solution to common podcast audio woes — and the creator of Record Edit Podcast, an educational resource for podcasters.
Here are a few of Bradley’s best tips for breaking into podcasting — whether from a makeshift recording space in your kitchen or a fancy corporate studio.
The answers are out there — on YouTube
Bradley comes from humble beginnings, and racking up debt from a four-year college didn’t seem like a smart move for him, given his family’s financial situation.
“I didn’t feel like I had anything to lose by opting out,” he says.
To feed his interest in the behind-the-scenes operations of music production and recording, Bradley took to YouTube.
His first home recording studio was designed and built based on instructional videos from YouTube — and when he started listening to podcasts for fun and began to wonder what it would be like to make them, he turned to the site again to get a handle on the basics and beyond.
“That led to the YouTube rabbit hole of, like, okay, so how do you mix dialogue?” Bradley recalls. “What’s the broadcast standard of volume for podcasts? I remember looking all this stuff up.”
Bradley’s rise from audio newbie to podcast production expert is a testament to all of the information that’s readily available online — if you’re willing to look for it.
Listen to a lot (like, a lot) of podcast content
Armed with the technical know-how he picked up from YouTube, Bradley’s next step in transitioning his interest from producing music to producing podcasts was to listen to podcasts — and a lot of them.
His goal? To get in touch with the teams behind the shows and ask for an opportunity to test his newfound skills.
“When I first got started, I would comb through iTunes, downloading all the small shows that would interest me,” he says. “I knew the top dogs were basically untouchable, but anything that only had a few reviews on iTunes, I thought I might stand a chance if I reached out.”
Bradley looked at each listening session as an audition of sorts. He listened carefully to the many episodes he downloaded and identified shows that could use extra help with evening up volume, compression, and more.
Cold pitching is cool
To prove the value of his production services to the podcasts he was listening to in those early days, Bradley would download 30-second clips, edit them for quality, and send them in a “before and after” format to the hosts and creators of each show.
“That’s actually how I got my first real client, just through cold pitching a show on iTunes,” he says. “It’s been this wild ride of deciding that you want something and then pouring all of your energy into it.”
Even Bradley’s current position at Kast Media can be traced back to cold pitching. Given his lifelong love of music, it should hardly come as a surprise that he started listening to a podcast called The Modern Musician. The show was created by Colin Thomson, who was also building Kast Media at the time. Bradley reached out to Colin, asked for an opportunity to show off his skills, and “the rest is really history.”
Today, Bradley is responsible for interfacing with talent on Kast’s many big-name podcasts (On Purpose with Jay Shetty, Impaulsive with Logan Paul, and the Tai Lopez Show, to name a few) and making sure their audio is of the highest quality.
High-quality audio comes down to headphones and microphone
He might work with the biggest and best in the biz, but Bradley assures aspiring podcasters in his Record Edit Podcast courses that clean audio is accessible for pretty much anyone.“The quality that we get at a high level isn’t unobtainable to the everyday guy, because it literally comes down to two things,” he says. “A dynamic microphone and some sort of headphones.”
Yes, it’s really that simple. A dynamic microphone and some manner of headphones (not a speaker).
“Just get one of those mics and plug it into your computer,” Bradley says. “You’re done!”
For more practical tips on learning about podcast production and making it in the biz from Bradley Denham, listen to this episode of Between 2 Mics. Be sure to subscribe to get future episodes directly in your preferred podcast player.