On-Location Podcast Recording: What, Why, & How (+ Examples)

Tired of the podcast studio aesthetic? Considering an on-location podcast recording? Here’s everything you need to know, & how the team at Cue Podcasts can help.
June 5, 2024

Because there are a lot of podcasts already out there, finding ways to make yours stand out is key to having a successful show.

One way you can do this is to break away from the generic podcast studio environment, and record your show on location. There’s so much more creativity, flexibility, and individuality in doing so.

We’ll go into the specifics of on-location podcast recording shortly. But for now, let’s briefly touch  base on the current state of podcast production. And we’ll go out on a limb to say that most of it is taking place in a studio environment - whether it’s a remote recording, a live stream, or an in-person interview between two (or more) people. The point being that listeners rarely get to experience anything else.

In other words, it could be time to leave the studio setting for something a bit more unique. Here’s everything you need to know when deciding if an on-location podcast recording is the right next step for your show…

What Is an On-Location Podcast Recording?

It’s pretty simple. An on-location podcast recording is when a podcast is recorded outside of a studio environment. So, it might be in a coffee shop, in the middle of a field, at a conference, or somewhere else. It’s generally a lot more creative, authentic, and personality-fuelled than a studio recording is. Plus it can also feel much more natural and less set up.

Bear in mind that an on-location podcast recording won’t be right for every show. And sometimes, a studio environment is much more fitting to a podcast’s tone, format, and theme. It’s important to really weigh up your options and figure out which one will work best for your show before committing to either one.

We should also note that an on-location podcast recording can be more costly than a studio recording. On top of that, you won’t be in a controlled environment. Meaning you’ll naturally run the risk of poorer-sounding audio, potential background noises, and general disruptions. That being said, the potential payoff from an on-location recording can absolutely be worth the time investment and added cost.

4 Reasons to Record Your Podcast on Location

Now we’ve established what an on-location podcast recording actually is, it’s time to look at which situations it can be most beneficial to. Here are the main 4:

1. The Environment Is Key to Your Story

Podcasts recorded on location can really take advantage of the environments around them. If the atmosphere is captured well, it has the power to shape the tone and feeling of a show, and to transport listeners to a different world.

If your podcast is a documentary or audio-drama, for example, recording on location will play a huge part in setting the scene for listeners. It’s also immensely effective for elevating your general mise-en-scène. Sounds and ambiances can create an immersive and engaging listening experience for the audience. Animal noises, background chatter, sounds from the street, rockets launching into space. You get the idea. It helps the listener understand what’s going on, adding a layer of transparency to your content. This more often than not can’t be achieved in a studio environment.

2. Your Show Is Focussed on an Event

If your podcast relates to a specific event, recording it on location is ideal. It could be a sports game, a conference or panel discussion, or a celebrity event, for example. Whatever it is, reporting on something in real time, and on location, can create a really unique listening experience for your audience. The inevitable background noise will give them a much closer feel for the atmosphere. Plus, there’ll be a heightened level of enthusiasm coming from the host(s) and guests. Overall, episodes will appear much more authentic and intimate - meaning listener retention rates will likely increase. Win-win.

Example: 2 Minute Tech Takes at TOA - Berlin 2023

Tech Open Air Festival (TOA) is a two-day event that started out as the world’s first crowd-funded festival, and has since evolved into a whopping community of like-minded tech enthusiasts coming together each summer. Speakers include some of the biggest tech leaders in the game, as well as a whole host of academics, creatives, and founders.

So whilst attending the event July 5-6 2023, we at Cue Podcasts set up a pop-up podcast studio for our fellow attendees and speakers to share their 2-minute tech insights. We wanted to know where they think tech is heading, and how they think the landscape is changing.

Check out our case study from the event below:

You can hire Cue to bring the podcast experience to your conference or event - whether you want to interview speakers, talk to attendees, or just capture the atmosphere whilst producing audio content relevant to the industries you want to attract. To get in touch and book us for your event, click here.

3. Episodes Have Lots of Host-To-Listener Interaction

If there’s a lot of host-to-listener interaction in your episodes, you might want to consider on-location podcast recording. Getting out of the studio and onto the street will give you a great opportunity to connect with audiences on a new level. Plus, it can often make for entertaining content. You’re much more likely to capture funny, off-the-cuff stories on location, than you are tucked away in a studio. Plus, real-life interactions are much more engaging, intimate, and interesting than virtual call-ins are.

4. You’re Recording a Live Episode

Live podcasts are starting to become more and more popular, yet still remain a very niche format. Not many podcasters actually conduct live broadcasts of their episodes, or if they do, they usually use in-built tools on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.

But rather than doing it virtually, why not record it on location and in front of a real audience? It’ll be much more intimate, personal, and engaging. Not to mention it’ll allow you to create a deeper connection with listeners. You may even find that the feeling of being “on-air” motivates and energises you during the recording, which in turn can lead to better content.

How to Prepare for an On-Location Podcast Recording

If you’ve decided to give on-location podcasting a go, the next step is preparing for your first recording. It’s not terribly different to if you were preparing to record a normal episode, but there are some different factors to think about.

1. Put an Episode Plan Together

You know what they say about failing to prepare. Putting a rough episode plan together can make all the difference between a smooth-running show, and one full of awkward blunders. On-location podcasts have much less room for error, and mistakes are a lot more noticeable than they are in a studio-recorded episode. A bullet point list of talking points will do the job. So if your mind goes periodically blank, you can quickly refer to it.

2. Invest in the Right Recording Hardware

Let’s be honest here. An on-location podcast recording is much more on-the-go than a studio recording is. So investing in light, portable equipment is important. You still want good quality, but you don’t want the hassle of lugging around a heavy set up.

Make sure you do plenty of research before investing. We’d recommend buying an all-purpose portable recorder, like the Zoom H6 or the Nomono Sound Capsule. You can read more about why the H6 is a stand-out option here, or watch the video below to see the Sound Capsule in action.

3. Do a Trial Run Beforehand

Practice makes perfect. Before you actually record your podcast episode, it’s always a good idea to have a run through beforehand. Especially for the first episode. Doing so gives you a chance to go through your plan, iron out any shortcomings, and pre-set the overall flow in which you go into it. It’s also a good way of testing out your equipment and making sure everything’s working as planned.

4. Last Minute Checks

On the day of the on-location podcast recording, you want to avoid getting thrown off by minor technical hiccups. So here’s a list of little checks that can make a big difference:

  • Take food and water supplies with you
  • Remember to pre-charge equipment and devices before setting off
  • Have a location already in mind to avoid aimless wandering
  • Turn your notifications off before you start recording - phone and laptop
  • Double check your equipment is working (test recording is a good idea)
  • Have your episode plan to hand to quickly refer to when needed
  • Take a deep breath and relax

5. Work With a Podcast Production Company

If you’re a bigger brand with a production budget to work with, you might decide to partner up with a production agency. An agency will handle everything from the initial concepting stage, right down to promotion and distribution.

That’s exactly what we offer here at Cue Podcasts. And there’s absolutely no limit to where we can record - whether it’s audio-only, or video too. To give you an idea, below are a couple of the shows we’ve previously produced on location:

Example #1: Deep Roots

Deep Roots podcast artwork

Deep Roots is a podcast hosted by Damian Browne, and one we recorded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Yep, you read that right. Damian’s mission was to share his journey to self-realisation through the vehicle of extreme adventures and expeditions. And what better way to explore the pursuit of his physical, mental, and emotional edges than surrounded by nature’s wonders? You can check it out using the link below:

Listen to the Deep Roots podcast here

Example #2: Home Truths

Home Truths podcast artwork

Produced in partnership with Halifax, the Home Truths podcast is a 5-part series helping first-time buyers understand the process of buying their first home. We thought it was really important to capture the right atmosphere for this one, and to create a sense of place for listeners, so we transformed an actual bank into a podcast studio and shot it on location. You can check it out using the link below:

Listen to the Home Truths podcast here

Ready to Take Your Podcast on Location?

As mentioned previously, there are no limits to where we can record. Find out more about our previous on-location work, and how we can work with you to record an on-location podcast for your brand below:

If you’d like to get in touch with us to talk about the project you have in mind, click here.

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