How to Make a Podcast

Podcasting is a relatively new form of media broadcasting. If you don’t know what a Podcast is, it is essentially a show created – much like a radio show – that is distributed over the Internet in mp3 and other digital audio formats. Some Podcasts are made by famous businesses, such as Disney, and others are made by an amateur with a microphone and computer. It doesn’t matter which you are, only that you have something to say. A Podcast can be essentially anything, ranging from a conversation you have with yourself to a reading of your own poetry to news. For a nice example of a Podcast visit www.japanesepod101.com, a Podcasting site that produces Japanese language lesson Podcasts. You can also view a wide plethora of Podcasts on iTunes, in the Podcasting category.

So now that you know what a Podcast is, you want to know how to make your own? It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. I am going to assume that you are wanting a simple, relatively inexpensive Podcast, and detail my method of making such.

The first step is to have a computer. Even an old computer will do, it just needs to have a good sound card, Internet access, and a microphone port. You will also need a microphone. This is the one area I suggest you don’t buy the cheapest available, because cheap microphones can end up having horrible quality; I wouldn’t spend more than $15 dollars, though.

Okay, now assuming you have a microphone and computer, you will need a program to record to. There are many options; you could opt for expensive software designed specifically for the purpose of creating Podcasts, such as ePodcast Creator, or you could go with a simple digital recorder, such as Total Recorder. Total Recorder costs $18USD, and is a wonderful program, the best I have ever used. It does a superb recording job. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can also use Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net) a free digital recording program. As I said, I prefer Total Recorder, but either program will be fine.

Now that you have everything needed, make a test recording with your microphone, and adjust any levels needed accordingly.

Your microphone should be hooked up for this stage and your recording program opened. You should have created a test recording and have your microphone configured to your preferences. Now comes the fun part. You can start recording your show. Most Podcasts start with an intro, which can be anything you want to identify your show. Most feature a song and title announcement. Recording your show can be a well organized process or completely random. You can have other people with you, or it can be just you. It’s all up to you!

Now you should have a completed Podcast. If you used Total Recorder, the file type will be .wav, and if you used Audacity it will be .aup. Never use .aup, hardly any programs can open it. You can use Audacity to convert your file to an mp3, but it will require you to download LAME (free) and will offer instructions on how to do so.

If you used Total Recorder, I recommend converting your WAV file to an mp3 file because most programs can open an mp3, and because the file size is much smaller, a necessity if you are going to produce many Podcasts. To convert your WAVs, download River Past WAV to MP3 converter, it is free at http://www.riverpast.com/en/prod/waveatmp3/index.php and the best you can find.

After you have converted your Podcasts and have them saved safely to your hard drive, its time to upload them to a website. There are many ways to do this. If you have your own site already, simply link them to it and you’re set. If not, you will need to start a site. You can create a free Yahoo Geocitie site (yahoo.com/geocities), or an even simpler method is to make one at blogger.com.

You can also upload your Podcast to Podcasting.com or iTunes Podcast directory, though this will require you to create an RSS feed. Details on this can be found at www.rss-specifications.com.

Congratulations! You now have your very own Podcast. Its time to start advertising it. Email everyone you know and tell them to listen (or better yet, send them here so they can make their own!)

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