A Crash Course in Podcasting

Since fall 2017, the UCLA Parent & Family Association (PFA) has produced Bruin Family Insights (BFI), a program exploring topics important to college parents and families. BFI’s original iteration was a successful monthly, hour-long YouTube Live program. During the 2019-20 academic year, however, there was a significant decrease in program engagement and the series became more difficult to produce. With university podcasts gaining momentum and the 2020 PFA Annual Survey showing that about 70% of respondents had at least some interest in podcasts, our team sensed an opportunity to engage families through a new medium; thus, BFI 2.0 – the podcast! – was born.

Today, BFI maintains its original purpose in a new format: monthly 30- to 45-minute podcast conversations with an array of guests including faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents. Below I have outlined the benefits and challenges of producing our podcast at UCLA, as well as some tips and tricks to help you in your own process.


  • Transitioning to a podcast streamlined our administrative processes, as we can now prepare episodes in advance. The ability to do so alleviates some of the scheduling challenges we experienced with live chats (e.g. coordinating guests for a run-through and a live discussion, fielding live submitted questions, managing the event itself, etc.).
  • There is less pressure in producing a podcast than a live discussion. We have more flexibility in our content production timeline, and we can edit discussions for length and clarity to create a more seamless-sounding production.
  • Listeners can enjoy episodes anywhere and at any time, as our podcast is available across all major podcasting platforms and the program no longer includes a viewing component.


  • Podcast production can be laborious, especially for teams like ours with minimal production experience and limited human resources. However, all-in-one platforms like Anchor have embedded recording and editing functions for a more streamlined process. Building an audience for BFI has been a very slow-growing process.
  • Taking on this kind of programming requires a lot of patience and a solid marketing plan, a component for which we have found it difficult to allocate time and attention.
  • Producing a podcast can be financially restrictive depending on your institutional resources, but some of the tools noted below can help mitigate this challenge.

Resources & Tips

  • Create a content plan per quarter/semester outlining recording and release dates, topics, guests and learning outcomes to help you track episode development.
  • Write a discussion script for each episode to help guide the host and guests through the conversation, while also leaving room for organic conversation as it arises.
  • There are a number of ways to record and edit a podcast depending on experience and financial resources. At UCLA, we record via Zoom, edit using Adobe Audition, and publish/distribute via Anchor. However, as previously mentioned, Anchor is a great starting point if you need a one-stop-shop for production.
  • As much as possible, give proper attention to developing your marketing strategy and materials including digital assets, social media promotion, and email communications.
  • When building your audience, it’s also important to ensure you get your podcast on as many distribution platforms as possible (e.g. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, etc.). Anchor automatically distributes to most of these platforms; however, Apple Podcasts is a manual process that can be slow to complete.

While the above is one 30,000-foot view of podcasting, there are many paths to doing so and the process can really be tailored to your institution’s (and your team’s) resources and capabilities. Looking to explore the topic further or see examples of our process at UCLA? Check out our UCLA Podcasting Resources folder. You can also visit our Anchor page to listen to episodes of Bruin Family Insights.

Kayla Albano is the Director for the Parent & Family Association and Parents' Council at UCLA and the 2022 Family Engagement in Higher Education National Conference Chair.

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