Create a Podcast

FITZ CAHALL started producing stories, radio-style, in a closet with $600. Now it’s considered the “This American Life” of outdoor adventure. Here’s how it works.

Apr 16, 2012
Outside Magazine
Fitz Cahall

The man behind the equipment    Photo: Courtesy of Fitz Cahall

Fitz recording

Fitz recording

On Where to Start: You need to have a story idea before you put your key in the ignition to go somewhere. I would actually write out a script. You may not stick to it, but that kind of preplanning is critical.

On A Basic Audio Recording Setup: You’ll need a decent mic, like the Zoom H4N1. Also, a computer for editing. There are several different sound editing programs, but GarageBand is free and works great. In our first year, we did interviews in our living room. I lived near a busy street and you could hear the traffic. So we moved into a closet, which was better. Then we lined the closet with foam. I think maybe we spent $600 that whole first year.

On How to Figure Out a Good Story: “They’re everywhere. I realized it’s what we did every time we sat around a campfire, or drove to crag. Stories are our currency. I might be at a barbecue talking to someone, and it’ll hit me: This would be great on the Diaries.”

On Using Music: The music I use either comes from people I know, or it comes from promotion groups, we essentially have an extensive music library to access. Vimeo is a great resource, where can buy cheap licenses. And don’t hesitate to just reach out, and ask. If you’re tracking down the Arcade Fire, good luck. But if it’s a band you saw in some bar, go hit ‘em up on Facebook. Sometimes they’ll say no, but a lot of times they’ll say yes.

Filed To: Adventure