Carolla Digital Reaches Millions of Listeners with Record-Setting Audio Podcasts

by Nakiesha Koss

posted on 08-25-2017

When many people think of talk radio and podcasts, one of the first names that comes to mind is Adam Carolla. For more than two decades, Carolla has been a prolific radio personality and podcaster. For 10 years he co-hosted Loveline with Dr. Drew before starting his own radio show, The Adam Carolla Show. Carolla has also worked as a television host, actor, and director, in addition to being a published author.

Today, Carolla continues to stay involved in many projects. Since 2009, he’s hosted The Adam Carolla Show podcast, which holds the Guinness World Record for the most downloaded podcast. His podcast network Carolla Digital, which is part of the PodcastOne network, hosts many popular shows including The Dr. Drew Podcast, CarCast, and The Koy Pond with Jo Koy. He is also a partner in Chassy Media, the production company behind the documentaries The 24 Hour War and Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman.

Producing great audio content

Chris Laxamana started working with Carolla eight years ago as an audio engineer on The Adam Carolla Show podcast. Since then, the network has grown and now produces up to six hours of content each day. With so much content, the team needs to work quickly while maintaining the highest quality possible.

When Laxamana first joined the team, they were simply recording the show from a mixer into QuickTime on a laptop. After trying multiple solutions, from Pro Tools to Garage Band to Cakewalk SONAR with varying levels of success, they decided to try Adobe Audition CC.

Podcasts are exported at a fairly low bitrate because the network wants people to be able to download shows quickly to their mobile devices. Despite the low bitrate, it is important to minimize the audio artifacts – such as clicks, compressed frequencies, and other distracting sounds – as much as possible so when people are listening they don’t have to constantly adjust their volume.

“We hadn’t used Audition for the podcast and honestly didn’t know anything about it,” says Laxamana. “Compared to the other solutions, Audition had the least amount of audio artifacts, best sound quality, and enabled us to export an hour to an hour-and-a-half show in a minute.”

Creating the audio workflow

All of the network’s podcasts start with a standard serial wave file that is recorded from the mixer interface directly into Audition. The team uses the multitrack editor to add commercials, bumpers, and music before exporting the mix down and putting it on the internet.

“Adobe Audition is lightweight and sleek and never crashes, even when we record really long files,” says Laxamana. “Working with Audition is easy because we don’t have to go to different programs or computers, it’s all in one place.”

Not counting the time it takes to record a podcast, Laxamana estimates that it takes less than 15 minutes to produce a podcast using Audition. The team uses the plug-in presets in Audition to save time on routine tasks and maintain overall consistency. Export presets also help accelerate the process by enabling the team to export programs in a couple of clicks, rather than making adjustments each time.

“Audition lets us focus more time on the content of the shows and their promotion, rather than technical details,” says Laxamana. “The Audition interface is really intuitive with not too many buttons or parameters. And the export is the fastest and cleanest we’ve found. It’s the best of both worlds.”

The team has grown to include 10 people working behind the scenes at Carolla Digital and Laxamana is now the producer of The Adam Carolla Show. Over the years, he’s found it easy to teach new team members how to make podcasts, even if they don’t have a sound background. Today, everyone uses Audition to produce the network’s popular podcasts.

When shows are complete, all content is posted to iTunes and the various show websites. The network is lucky to have hosts with strong followings who can post about new episodes on social media to drive downloads. Word of mouth also helps grow audiences for the podcasts, and Carolla and the other hosts frequently acknowledge how important listeners and their feedback are to helping them continue to deliver high-quality content.

For Laxamana, it’s exciting to be a part of producing shows that reach millions of listeners worldwide. “Being able to connect with that many people each day is something really special,” he says. “The way we interact with music and sound is fascinating to me. I know I’ll be working in audio my whole life.”

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Topics: Video & Audio

Products: After Effects