January 17, 2024

How to record a podcast on Zoom: A beginner’s guide

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to record a podcast on Zoom, then learn about why it may not be your best recording option.
January 17, 2024

How to record a podcast on Zoom: A beginner’s guide

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to record a podcast on Zoom, then learn about why it may not be your best recording option.
January 17, 2024
Alex Boswell
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Transcriptions

Zoom.us is a video conferencing app that many of us have come to rely on for remote work since 2020, when “Sorry, I think you’re on mute?” became our most commonly used phrase. Between 2019 and 2020, Zoom’s revenues almost doubled, but between 2020 and 2021 it jumped up 325% and is still growing year-on-year. 

Meanwhile, between work calls, lots of people found another way to use Zoom—to create podcasts.

Thanks to Zoom’s ability to record remote interviews, you can have a decent-quality podcast up and running quickly and, in many cases, for free. 

If you’re new to podcasting altogether, you’ll want to start step-by-step as a beginner to make sure you build your show on the best foundations. But in this guide, you’ll get the full rundown for recording a podcast on Zoom. 

Can you record a podcast on Zoom?

The short answer is yes. Even on the free plan, it’s possible to record podcast episodes. Zoom has a built-in recording feature that lets you record yourself through your webcam, smartphone, or hooked-up camera and microphone.

From a technical standpoint, the better your audio and video recording equipment, the better your recording will be. Still, you can start minimally with just your laptop or smartphone built-ins. 

What’s more, you can have multiple guests on your Zoom call with you, all recorded on separate tracks ready for editing. However, using Zoom to plan and produce your podcast comes with pros and cons. 

Recording podcasts on Zoom: Pros and Cons

It’s possible to record your podcast using Zoom, but does that mean you should? Here’s everything you need to consider.

Benefits of recording podcasts on Zoom

  • Zoom has a free plan. You can get started without spending a penny (in theory).
  • Since 2020, lots of people have become very familiar with Zoom. This means your guests will likely have fewer problems navigating the software.
  • Your podcast guests don’t need to download the app. As long as the host has an account to create the meeting, guests can join using a link in the browser.
  • You can save a local recording or use Zoom’s cloud. Files are easy to find within the Zoom app under “meetings,” then “recorded”, or in whichever folder you have designated for local storage. 

Drawbacks of recording podcasts on Zoom

  • Zoom was never designed for podcast recording—it uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which means calls rely entirely on a live, good-quality internet connection. If you lose connection quality, you also lose audio and video clarity on your recording.
  • The benefit of Zoom for video conferencing is that it compresses audio and video for a smoother conference experience. That’s bad news for podcasters who want to record with high video and audio quality.
  • The free Zoom plan only lets you record up to 40 minutes per meeting, so if you're hoping to have a 40+ minute episode, you’re out of luck.
  • There are no native options for publishing your podcast to popular podcasting platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Amazon Music. 
  • Zoom has no native editing features. While it’s not “essential” to edit your podcast, it does improve the listening experience.

How to record a podcast on Zoom

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and still want to try recording your podcast on Zoom, here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do it (while optimizing it for the best experience in post-production). 

Step 1: Prepare ahead of time

To give yourself the best chance of having a successful podcast recording, you need to plan ahead. 

Some basic prepping checklist items include:

  • Do you have a stable internet connection? Consider plugging directly into your router rather than relying on wifi.
  • Are you going to be in a quiet recording environment? Choose a private space with lots of soft surfaces, and let housemates know you’re about to record an interview. 
  • Do you have your audio and video recording equipment ready? Check Zoom’s settings to make sure you’ve chosen the right inputs.
  • Have you briefed the guest on what the podcast episode will be about and the topics you plan to cover? Include this in your scheduling email, if you can.

Preparing these factors before you sit down for recording will save you time and headaches later. 

Step 2: Schedule your recording

Once you’ve landed on a good date and time for the other hosts or guests for your podcast, schedule a Zoom meeting by opening the Zoom app and selecting Schedule. Then, send all attendees the link. 

Alternatively, you can use the Zoom for Google Workspace add-on to schedule the Zoom meeting directly from a Google Calendar event.  

If you’d rather start your meeting right now, skip to step 3.

Step 3: Open the Zoom app and start your meeting

The day is here! Time to open up the Zoom app again, navigate to your scheduled Zoom meeting, and hit Start. If you didn’t schedule anything, just select the New Meeting icon.

Starting a new meeting in Zoom for a podcast recording

Step 4: Select your audio and video recording equipment

From here, select the camera and microphone you want to use for your recording. At the bottom of the meeting screen, you’ll see the camera and microphone icons—click on these to open the Zoom settings and select your equipment:

Choosing microphone and camera settings in Zoom

If, for some reason, you can’t see your equipment here, try exiting the app and double checking it’s all connected properly before opening the app again. If you still can’t see it, check your computer’s input settings and try again. If all else fails, restart your whole computer. 

Still nothing? There may be a fault with your equipment. 

Step 5: Adjust the meeting settings

Okay, so assuming you’ve successfully finished step four, here’s where the more obscure but worthwhile step happens. First, open up the Audio Settings tab:

Adjusting the audio settings in a Zoom meeting

From there, scroll down a little, and you’ll see some options you can enable:

Adjusting audio settings to improve audio on a Zoom meeting

For the best chances of good post-production editing, we’d recommend choosing the “Original sound for musicians” option—this removes all the effects Zoom uses by default for smooth video calling, like high-pass filtering, automatic gain control, and noise suppression.

After changing the audio settings, go to the Recording settings on the left panel, then find “Record a separate audio file for each participant,” and toggle it on:

Choosing the option to record multitrack in Zoom

Enabling this setting means you’ll be able to edit the separate audio tracks in post-production (e.g., if one speaker used built-in microphones and the other used a studio one, you can use Studio Sound to improve one without affecting the other). 

Step 6: Record your podcast

Now is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. At this point, feel free to hit Record. If you don’t see it on the menu, you’ll find it in the More panel—the three dots at the right of the menu icons. Hitting this button will play an automated “Recording in progress” sound. Then, it’s off to the races. 

Remember, if you’re on the free version of Zoom, you’ll only have 40 minutes total to start your meeting, get your guest on, and record your conversation. If you’ve opted to pay for a Pro plan, chat as long as you need.

Step 7: Edit your podcast recording

Go ahead and say your goodbyes and end the meeting. If it’s your first time recording as a host, Zoom will prompt you to choose a local storage location to save the recording and convert the video file to an MP4 and the audio to an M4A file. 

With your files at hand, you can now edit them. Plenty of podcast editing software options are available, but Descript is arguably the best. In Descript, you can automatically remove filler words like “um” and “uh” and use its AI features, such as Studio Sound and AI Voices, to give your podcast a much cleaner audio experience.

Step 8: Publish your podcast

There we have it. Your podcast is ready for the world. 

Since Zoom doesn’t let you publish your podcast recording to other platforms as a native feature, you’ll need to manually do this by logging into your relevant accounts and uploading the file to each platform. Depending on your internet connection, this step will take a fair bit of time. 

3 Zoom alternatives for high-quality podcast recording

Already tried making a Zoom podcast and aren’t entirely happy with the results? Here are some alternative recording software choices for either video podcasts or audio-only podcasts.

SquadCast by Descript

If you have guests on your podcast (which is likely why you chose to use Zoom first), the upgrade you need is a remote podcast recording tool like SquadCast by Descript.

Image showing the difference between recording a podcast on Zoom and Descript

SquadCast now supports up to 4K remote recording (on a paid plan, but free plans still get up to 1080p). The best part about using SquadCast compared to Zoom is that it’s designed for recording, and maintains the quality you need as a podcaster. If you or your guest’s internet connection dips, with Progressive Uploads, it won’t affect your podcast recording. 

Recording at source means you’ll get the best audio quality, as if you were in a recording studio. What’s more, since SquadCast is part of Descript, you get all its podcast video and audio editing tools, like Studio Sound to remove background noise, echo cancellation, and filler word removal, in one place.

Pricing: Included in all Descript plans—including the free tier.

Skype

Okay, hear me out. Skype has been around for 20 years and is still going strong. Yes, it’s still VoIP software, and like Zoom, it was never designed for recording podcasts. However, it still makes a strong case for those who want to do podcast hosting or be a co-host for free.

Image of four people from different countries speaking on Skype
Source: Skype

For one thing, you get 24 hours of call time, which means no more trying to squeeze everything into a 40-minute recording. You can also (with some technical know-how) use Skype to live stream to social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and LinkedIn. 

These two features alone can be worth jumping ship from Zoom to Skype, but you still suffer the problems of recording a VoIP call, and you don’t get the high-quality audio you can get using dedicated software.

Pricing: Skype-to-Skype calls are free; there are various call rates per country for mobile calls.

Riverside.fm

Another podcast recording software option with a great reputation is Riverside. Similar to SquadCast, it specializes in remote podcast video recording at high resolution.

Image of recording studio in Riverside.fm
Source: Riverside.fm

It has many of the same features as SquadCast—you’ll get superb recording quality as if you’ve recorded in a professional production studio and a free starter plan to help you get started. While you’ll get a much better podcast recording experience here compared to using Zoom, the editing capabilities aren’t as strong as other tools available, you’re limited to seven guests per recording, and each recording is watermarked on the free plan. 

Pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15/m with annual billing.

How to record a podcast on Zoom FAQs

Is it possible to audio record on Zoom?

Yes! You can audio record on Zoom the same way you record any video call. In this case, if you don’t want video, you can turn the video camera off before hitting the record button.

How do you record a podcast?

You can record a podcast in a few simple steps:

  1. Plan what your podcast will be about. If you’re including cohosts or guests, schedule a recording time with them.
  2. When the time comes, open up your podcast recording software and greet your guest(s).
  3. Talk to your guest(s) first about any housekeeping rules or issues.
  4. Hit the record button and start your podcast session.
  5. Once your recording is finished, edit your file in free podcast editing software like Descript or Audacity.
  6. Export your file, select the platforms you want to publish it on, and share it with the world.

Is Zoom the best way to record a podcast?

Zoom is a great option for recording short (30 minutes or less) podcasts when you’re just starting out. However, upgrading your podcast with a dedicated podcast recording tool will significantly improve the quality of your podcast and your recording workflow. 

Alex Boswell
Alexander Boswell is a freelance MarTech and eCommerce writer, as well as a business PhD candidate. While not writing, he’s playing baseball and D&D.
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How to record a podcast on Zoom: A beginner’s guide

Pink monitor with white and pink keyboard and pink background

Zoom.us is a video conferencing app that many of us have come to rely on for remote work since 2020, when “Sorry, I think you’re on mute?” became our most commonly used phrase. Between 2019 and 2020, Zoom’s revenues almost doubled, but between 2020 and 2021 it jumped up 325% and is still growing year-on-year. 

Meanwhile, between work calls, lots of people found another way to use Zoom—to create podcasts.

Thanks to Zoom’s ability to record remote interviews, you can have a decent-quality podcast up and running quickly and, in many cases, for free. 

If you’re new to podcasting altogether, you’ll want to start step-by-step as a beginner to make sure you build your show on the best foundations. But in this guide, you’ll get the full rundown for recording a podcast on Zoom. 

A fully powered tool that does everything you’d want an editing suite to do. So you can spend less time on the technical grind and more time creating something great.
Descript makes editing easier, faster, and more fun.

Can you record a podcast on Zoom?

The short answer is yes. Even on the free plan, it’s possible to record podcast episodes. Zoom has a built-in recording feature that lets you record yourself through your webcam, smartphone, or hooked-up camera and microphone.

From a technical standpoint, the better your audio and video recording equipment, the better your recording will be. Still, you can start minimally with just your laptop or smartphone built-ins. 

What’s more, you can have multiple guests on your Zoom call with you, all recorded on separate tracks ready for editing. However, using Zoom to plan and produce your podcast comes with pros and cons. 

Recording podcasts on Zoom: Pros and Cons

It’s possible to record your podcast using Zoom, but does that mean you should? Here’s everything you need to consider.

Benefits of recording podcasts on Zoom

  • Zoom has a free plan. You can get started without spending a penny (in theory).
  • Since 2020, lots of people have become very familiar with Zoom. This means your guests will likely have fewer problems navigating the software.
  • Your podcast guests don’t need to download the app. As long as the host has an account to create the meeting, guests can join using a link in the browser.
  • You can save a local recording or use Zoom’s cloud. Files are easy to find within the Zoom app under “meetings,” then “recorded”, or in whichever folder you have designated for local storage. 

Drawbacks of recording podcasts on Zoom

  • Zoom was never designed for podcast recording—it uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which means calls rely entirely on a live, good-quality internet connection. If you lose connection quality, you also lose audio and video clarity on your recording.
  • The benefit of Zoom for video conferencing is that it compresses audio and video for a smoother conference experience. That’s bad news for podcasters who want to record with high video and audio quality.
  • The free Zoom plan only lets you record up to 40 minutes per meeting, so if you're hoping to have a 40+ minute episode, you’re out of luck.
  • There are no native options for publishing your podcast to popular podcasting platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Amazon Music. 
  • Zoom has no native editing features. While it’s not “essential” to edit your podcast, it does improve the listening experience.

How to record a podcast on Zoom

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and still want to try recording your podcast on Zoom, here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do it (while optimizing it for the best experience in post-production). 

Step 1: Prepare ahead of time

To give yourself the best chance of having a successful podcast recording, you need to plan ahead. 

Some basic prepping checklist items include:

  • Do you have a stable internet connection? Consider plugging directly into your router rather than relying on wifi.
  • Are you going to be in a quiet recording environment? Choose a private space with lots of soft surfaces, and let housemates know you’re about to record an interview. 
  • Do you have your audio and video recording equipment ready? Check Zoom’s settings to make sure you’ve chosen the right inputs.
  • Have you briefed the guest on what the podcast episode will be about and the topics you plan to cover? Include this in your scheduling email, if you can.

Preparing these factors before you sit down for recording will save you time and headaches later. 

Step 2: Schedule your recording

Once you’ve landed on a good date and time for the other hosts or guests for your podcast, schedule a Zoom meeting by opening the Zoom app and selecting Schedule. Then, send all attendees the link. 

Alternatively, you can use the Zoom for Google Workspace add-on to schedule the Zoom meeting directly from a Google Calendar event.  

If you’d rather start your meeting right now, skip to step 3.

Step 3: Open the Zoom app and start your meeting

The day is here! Time to open up the Zoom app again, navigate to your scheduled Zoom meeting, and hit Start. If you didn’t schedule anything, just select the New Meeting icon.

Starting a new meeting in Zoom for a podcast recording

Step 4: Select your audio and video recording equipment

From here, select the camera and microphone you want to use for your recording. At the bottom of the meeting screen, you’ll see the camera and microphone icons—click on these to open the Zoom settings and select your equipment:

Choosing microphone and camera settings in Zoom

If, for some reason, you can’t see your equipment here, try exiting the app and double checking it’s all connected properly before opening the app again. If you still can’t see it, check your computer’s input settings and try again. If all else fails, restart your whole computer. 

Still nothing? There may be a fault with your equipment. 

Step 5: Adjust the meeting settings

Okay, so assuming you’ve successfully finished step four, here’s where the more obscure but worthwhile step happens. First, open up the Audio Settings tab:

Adjusting the audio settings in a Zoom meeting

From there, scroll down a little, and you’ll see some options you can enable:

Adjusting audio settings to improve audio on a Zoom meeting

For the best chances of good post-production editing, we’d recommend choosing the “Original sound for musicians” option—this removes all the effects Zoom uses by default for smooth video calling, like high-pass filtering, automatic gain control, and noise suppression.

After changing the audio settings, go to the Recording settings on the left panel, then find “Record a separate audio file for each participant,” and toggle it on:

Choosing the option to record multitrack in Zoom

Enabling this setting means you’ll be able to edit the separate audio tracks in post-production (e.g., if one speaker used built-in microphones and the other used a studio one, you can use Studio Sound to improve one without affecting the other). 

Step 6: Record your podcast

Now is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. At this point, feel free to hit Record. If you don’t see it on the menu, you’ll find it in the More panel—the three dots at the right of the menu icons. Hitting this button will play an automated “Recording in progress” sound. Then, it’s off to the races. 

Remember, if you’re on the free version of Zoom, you’ll only have 40 minutes total to start your meeting, get your guest on, and record your conversation. If you’ve opted to pay for a Pro plan, chat as long as you need.

Step 7: Edit your podcast recording

Go ahead and say your goodbyes and end the meeting. If it’s your first time recording as a host, Zoom will prompt you to choose a local storage location to save the recording and convert the video file to an MP4 and the audio to an M4A file. 

With your files at hand, you can now edit them. Plenty of podcast editing software options are available, but Descript is arguably the best. In Descript, you can automatically remove filler words like “um” and “uh” and use its AI features, such as Studio Sound and AI Voices, to give your podcast a much cleaner audio experience.

Step 8: Publish your podcast

There we have it. Your podcast is ready for the world. 

Since Zoom doesn’t let you publish your podcast recording to other platforms as a native feature, you’ll need to manually do this by logging into your relevant accounts and uploading the file to each platform. Depending on your internet connection, this step will take a fair bit of time. 

3 Zoom alternatives for high-quality podcast recording

Already tried making a Zoom podcast and aren’t entirely happy with the results? Here are some alternative recording software choices for either video podcasts or audio-only podcasts.

SquadCast by Descript

If you have guests on your podcast (which is likely why you chose to use Zoom first), the upgrade you need is a remote podcast recording tool like SquadCast by Descript.

Image showing the difference between recording a podcast on Zoom and Descript

SquadCast now supports up to 4K remote recording (on a paid plan, but free plans still get up to 1080p). The best part about using SquadCast compared to Zoom is that it’s designed for recording, and maintains the quality you need as a podcaster. If you or your guest’s internet connection dips, with Progressive Uploads, it won’t affect your podcast recording. 

Recording at source means you’ll get the best audio quality, as if you were in a recording studio. What’s more, since SquadCast is part of Descript, you get all its podcast video and audio editing tools, like Studio Sound to remove background noise, echo cancellation, and filler word removal, in one place.

Pricing: Included in all Descript plans—including the free tier.

Skype

Okay, hear me out. Skype has been around for 20 years and is still going strong. Yes, it’s still VoIP software, and like Zoom, it was never designed for recording podcasts. However, it still makes a strong case for those who want to do podcast hosting or be a co-host for free.

Image of four people from different countries speaking on Skype
Source: Skype

For one thing, you get 24 hours of call time, which means no more trying to squeeze everything into a 40-minute recording. You can also (with some technical know-how) use Skype to live stream to social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and LinkedIn. 

These two features alone can be worth jumping ship from Zoom to Skype, but you still suffer the problems of recording a VoIP call, and you don’t get the high-quality audio you can get using dedicated software.

Pricing: Skype-to-Skype calls are free; there are various call rates per country for mobile calls.

Riverside.fm

Another podcast recording software option with a great reputation is Riverside. Similar to SquadCast, it specializes in remote podcast video recording at high resolution.

Image of recording studio in Riverside.fm
Source: Riverside.fm

It has many of the same features as SquadCast—you’ll get superb recording quality as if you’ve recorded in a professional production studio and a free starter plan to help you get started. While you’ll get a much better podcast recording experience here compared to using Zoom, the editing capabilities aren’t as strong as other tools available, you’re limited to seven guests per recording, and each recording is watermarked on the free plan. 

Pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15/m with annual billing.

How to record a podcast on Zoom FAQs

Is it possible to audio record on Zoom?

Yes! You can audio record on Zoom the same way you record any video call. In this case, if you don’t want video, you can turn the video camera off before hitting the record button.

How do you record a podcast?

You can record a podcast in a few simple steps:

  1. Plan what your podcast will be about. If you’re including cohosts or guests, schedule a recording time with them.
  2. When the time comes, open up your podcast recording software and greet your guest(s).
  3. Talk to your guest(s) first about any housekeeping rules or issues.
  4. Hit the record button and start your podcast session.
  5. Once your recording is finished, edit your file in free podcast editing software like Descript or Audacity.
  6. Export your file, select the platforms you want to publish it on, and share it with the world.

Is Zoom the best way to record a podcast?

Zoom is a great option for recording short (30 minutes or less) podcasts when you’re just starting out. However, upgrading your podcast with a dedicated podcast recording tool will significantly improve the quality of your podcast and your recording workflow. 

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