How to Produce Your Own Podcast
Podcasting 101 Series: A Complete Guide to Create, Edit and Publish your Own Podcast
So you want to be the next Howard Stern do you? Gone are the days when you had to be syndicated coast to coast by a chain of radio stations and multi-millions of dollars in equipment and financial backing.
If you’ve got a computer you probably already have most of what you need. Sounds too good to be true? Then read on.
CNET has a decent video showing what you need to get into podcasting, how to produce your own podcasts and what to do with it after it is finished.
Using the video as the core of this post I have for your convenience filled in the blanks by adding important links, recording tips drawing from my background in the music industry, as well as a few embellishments of my own that were thrown in for good measure.
As a former recording engineer and producer of rock bands I have a fairly good background in recording, and the same basic principles still apply for podcasting. But you don’t need to be a recording engineer. Anybody can be a podcaster and this post will show you how easy it really is.
To the right is a rendition of yours truly that was drawn many moons ago. Whatever you do please don’t tell me I wasn’t cool because my feelings are fragile. There’s a story that goes with the hat that became the catalyst for an audience with Alice Cooper, but that’s another post.
Now back to podcasting. Our first order of business is determining your hardware and software needs.
If you are an Apple user there is a very good software package called Garage Band. It is a sophisticated podcasting program that will meet or exceed most your needs.
If you are a PC Windows user there is a software package called Podcast Station.
But if you are on a shoestring budget then purchasing podcasting software may be a little overkill. In fact all that you really need is any type of software that will record and edit to MP3. A free program that meets this requirement is called Audacity and you can find it available for download at SourceForge.
A quality microphone (and of course a decent sound card) is the only hardware that you will really need. I recommend using a headset for the best capture of your voice. Plantronics is a good brand (no I’m not trying to sell you anything) and a mid-priced unit should do just fine (but any decent brand will suffice).
The reason I recommend a headset is that a hand-held microphone (or on a stand) is difficult to keep at the proper distance from your mouth at all times. You will find that as time marches on during your podcast you will tend to move in and out of range of the microphone.
It is very difficult if not impossible to keep your mouth at the right distance over an extended period of time. And trying to do so will restrict your movements and your natural tendency to animate as you talk.
The end result is your voice may sound stilted and tend to get louder and softer as your mouth sways in and out of range of the microphone, and your podcast will end up sounding amateurish.
Only professional broadcasters and entertainers have the discipline to do it right. But they are pros and have a lot more experience behind them.
A headset on the other hand, once it has been properly adjusted, will always be in the right position no matter how much you move your head. It will free up your hands and body so that you can talk and move naturally.
The best place to set your microphone is the corner your mouth at the lower lip to prevent breathing directly into the microphone and popping your Ps. Now you know why Britney Spears uses one when she’s doing the bump and grind on stage.
If you wish to add extra microphones for another person you can get a Y-Splitter adapter (see picture above) at your local electronics store. That will give you an adapter for a second microphone.
Or if you want to use more than two microphones, and for more sophisticated control over your recordings, you can also purchase an inexpensive mixer board. But this is optional.
If you intend to purchase a mixer board (see picture below), save your money and don’t run out to buy the best state of the art equipment because you will probably be only recording your voice. Voice is generally found within the midrange of the sound spectrum, so great specs aren’t that critical and picking up an older piece of equipment at the local garage sale will do just fine.
The only exception to this would be if you were planning on producing your own jingles, which I doubt most of us will be doing. And for that matter you can always do a Google search and find tons of free jingles off the internet.
Or, like the radio stations do you can edit a short clip from one of your favorite songs. If I’m not mistaken a 10 second intro does not violate copyright laws, but don’t quote me on that so please do your own due diligence and check that out for yourself.
Where can you store it?
After you have finished your recording you will need to upload it somewhere. Rather than using your own webspace CNET recommends putting it on the Internet Archive to store your files for free (forever). You can of course always Google for free webspace storage.
Burn baby burn:
Next you will have to create an RSS XML feed for people to subscribe to your podcast. The best service around for doing that of course is FeedBurner. Or, you can purchase software such as FeedForAll that will enable you to create, edit and publish your own RSS feeds.
Now that you have created your masterpiece you will have to promote it (this is the part that I hate most but it is a necessary evil). You can submit your feed to sites such as iTunes, ODEO, Podast Alley, or again just Google it.
Editing and Formatting:
If the CNET video link no longer works or you just want to listen in I have an MP3 (podcast) link that I made for you. I created it by using sound capture software such as Super MP3 Recorder. After recording the video I then converted it to a lower bitrate to make it smaller in size with a free software program called dBpowerAMP Music Converter (dMC).
The original MP3 file was 4.64 MB, but after conversion I reduced it to only 764 KB. That’s quite a bit of space savings without losing much sound quality because again, voice is not as critical compared to recording your favorite songs.
As I said earlier Podcasts need to be formated as MP3, and dBpowerAMP will also convert WAV files to MP3 if you need to. For editing your podcast any audio editor such as Audacity will do the trick. Later I will post more details about how to edit sound clips and/or to add your own jingles, but there’s only so much time in a day so stay tuned.
Digital Recording of Telephone Conversations:
One more thing. What if you want to record a telephone interview with that hotshot computer czar? No problem. All you need is software such as Super MP3 Recorder. Or if you’re cheap like me, I use a free program called TRx. The only hardware requirement is a voice modem (which you probably already have) and you’re an instant podcaster.
Well there you have it. Podcasting 101 in a nutshell. So what are you waiting for? Get podcasting!
Related links: instabloke, blog, weblog, blogging, blog tools, web 2.0, blog resources, computers and internet, technology, tech, software, hardware, music, audio, recording, ipod, podcasting, podcast, video, media, mp3