Do you use a backup recorder? I mean something else other than what you normally record your podcast on?

I do and there’s a big reason why!

Reel to Reel

As the story goes… a long, long time ago when reel to reel tape players were used in radio studios, I was interviewing Tony Hadley, former lead singer of Spandau Ballet.

This was a big deal. Spandau Ballet were a MASSIVE global band back in the 80s and Tony was loved by millions. He was promoting his first or second solo album and ended up in my studio. Extremely exciting.

I got myself a fresh reel of tape, wrapped it around the Studer tape deck and got ready for the big interview.

In strode Tony, all smiles and ready to go, hair wafting in the breeze of the big thick soundproof doors. I made the introductions, ran through some pre-interview questions and got to it.

Everything was going great.

About half an hour into the interview I looked behind me to check the tape was OK.

It wasn’t going round. I forgot to hit record!

This was an open mouth situation. Lots of apologies ensued and Tony was great about it and we started recording again.

This experience taught me to:

  1. Check the record button has been pressed!
  1. Set a backup recorder running just in case.

Now that I’m podcasting, I tend to record everything within my web browser using Cleanfeed. The sound quality is excellent, I get a multi-track recording for editing and there’s nothing on the screen to have to fuss with. Just scripts, questions and a big record button.

Plugged into the output of my audio interface (sound card) is a Zoom H2N and I use this as the backup recorder. It’s only a single-track recording but would be fine in case of an emergency.

In the picture below you can see the Zoom towards the bottom right.

Podcast Backup Recorder

I’ve only had to use my backup once. I was recording an interview and forgot to set the main recorder going until about 30 seconds into the guests first answer. Thankfully, I had set the backup to start so I used this for the missing half minute, and no one ever knew. Until now!

Don’t worry if you don’t have a stand-alone audio recorder, anything will do. Even your phone should be able to record a backup for you, just plug it into one of your audio outputs.

Once you’ve got the main recording securely backed up you can then delete everything on the secondary recorder.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to use your backup but if something did go wrong with the main recording it would save you having to reschedule an interview or do a bunch of work again.

What I’m listening To

One podcast that I’ve been listening to for years is The Infinite Monkey Cage presented by Brian Cox and Robin Ince.

It’s a panel style science podcast featuring a bunch of experts and one comedian. As you can imagine there are lots of laughs at the same time as learning something.

The Infinite Monkey Cage

Listen to the latest episodes of The Infinite Monkey Cage on BBC Sounds

Death in Ice Valley