Editing can be a sticky subject for some podcasters. There are those who say editing destroys the authenticity of a show, and there are those who say editing is a necessary component of almost any successful recording of any kind. I definitely fall in the latter camp, and I’d like to tell you why.
In my opinion, the biggest reason to edit audio is that it is audio, and is therefore about listening. When someone is listening to your podcast, all they have to hold their attention is the sound. They can’t see your expressions or gestures, and they can’t interact with you in real time. You may be an enthralling an dynamic speaker, but your listeners are only getting a small fraction of your actual performance coming through their headphones. As someone whose job is to be an enthralling and dynamic speaker and who has also produced well over one hundred audio pieces, I can say that I certainly need all the help I can get! This is similar to what I said when discussing podcasting lectures: too much is lost in translation for most people to pull off a good recording without help.
Of course, I don’t advocate using editing to completely change what was said. What I do think should be done is more of a “clean-up” job. If someone rambles on for too long, try to remove part of the comment without changing the meaning too much. Removing some ums, uhhs, and stumbles can go a long way to making someone sound interesting. As many of my guests tell me, editing “makes them sound smart.”
If you edit a segment respectfully and skillfully, you can improve the listening experience without changing the speaker’s meaning or manner of speech. To demonstrate this, please listen to the two samples at the end of this post. Your task when listening isn’t to figure out what I edited out or why, but to compare the clarity and feel of the first clip to the second.
If this were you talking, which would you rather have the world hear?