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Research Guides@Tufts

MyTERN Podcast Project

Structuring your podcast

There are a variety ways to structure your podcast can take.  Depending on your topic, your podcast might be best served picking one approach or having a variety of approaches to help break up distinct sections.  Consider how your structure supports the information you are trying to convey.  


One person speaking, usually with in-depth expertise on a particular subject.

Asking questions (with intention) to elicit information, experiences, emotion on a specific topic.  With this format the interview may be used as is or be heavily edited.

Group of people discuss various topics, often informally

The story is told directly by the storyteller, usually with little interruption from a narrator.

Some podcasts have a narrator that is interwoven throughout a story to help push the narrative forward. 

Story (fiction / non-fiction) using anecdotes and scenes exploring larger concept

Layering and intercutting various types of audio on a subject or theme without a narrator 

Creating a script

Creating a script can help you organize your ideas before you even open an editing application.  Not all podcasts require a script but having some structure will help your listeners understand what they are listening to and why.  Below are some organizing structures to consider as well as a template to get you started.  Scripts can take many shapes and they can be helpful even when recording non-vocal sounds.  You may even find that your podcast has segments that have different formats and thus different relationships to script creation. Don’t hesitate to invent a script format that works for your project! 

  • Scripted Narrative - An approach that maps out, in a very detailed fashion, the narrative arc and trajectory of the podcast.
  • Loose Script - Helpful for conversational formats, as well as approaches that focus on non-vocal sounds, outlining topics or a conversational thread 
  • Unscripted - Being open to wandering, listening and shifting your subject based on what you encounter, doesn’t mean you can’t establish a structure during recording or editing


There are two free options offered through Tufts and available in the DDS.  Either option will likely require you to review and edit the transcription.

Option 1 – Adobe Premiere Pro

You can import your audio files into Premiere Pro and create a transcript that is time stamped in the application.  Once you made edits you can then export to a text file.  Here is a step by step guide.  All DDS Studio computers have access to Adobe Premiere Pro.

Option 2 – Microsoft Word 360

The university does give students access to Microsoft 360 which has a transcription tool embedded in Microsoft Word.  This should guide you through the process of using that tool.

Writing for listening

Writing a script is different than reading a script.  If you plan to work from a script, try writing the way you speak instead of writing the way you read.  When writing, also consider your audience.  What prior knowledge do they already have about your topic?  Is the language you're using accessible to your listeners? 

This is an example from the book Soundwriting: A guide to making audio projects on how your writing might shift for audio.

Newspaper Copy Audio Script

Even in the best of times, dating can be a nerve-racking experience.  The isolation brought on by the coronavirus has left many singles even more apprehensive (and simultaneously, perhaps, more eager).

Logan Ury, the director of relationship science for the dating app Hinge, calls for phenomenon F.O.D.A., or fear of dating again.  "People are worried about their rusty social skills, not having anything to talk about," she said.

Ms.Ury, who also ran Google's behavioral science team, also notes singles who suffered from loneliness during lockdown are now prioritizing dating over their career, family, and friends after realizing that their jobs were not keeping them warm at night. 

Dating is scary.  There's no doubt about it.  It's even scarier when you've been cooped up in the house for more than a year because of a global pandemic.

Logan Ury, who's a relationship scientist for the dating app Hinge, calls this foda - that's other words, fear of dating again.  She says people are nervous they won't know what to say, but they're also eager to get out there for some human connection.

Rodrigue, Tanya K., and Kyle D. Stedman. “Planning and Gathering Sounds.” Soundwriting: A Guide to Making Audio Projects, Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ontario, 2023, p. 154.

In Action:

Goal: The goal of this exercise is to practice writing for a podcast.

Materials: Pencil and paper or a word processing application like Microsoft Word

Instruction: As a group, complete the following sentences:

The theme of this episode is [blank].  We chose this topic because [reason 1] and [reason 2].  As a listener we hope you [state what you hope the listeners gain from listening to this episode].  The people we'll be hearing from this episode are [name participants].  

Once you have a basic script.  Have each group member change the language so it feels more comfortable for them to read.  This might mean changing the order of the sentences, swapping out words or including a sentence or two that isn't in the template above.  Share out.

Debrief: How does the changes each person made speak to their individuality?  How do those changes impact how the podcast might be received?