How To Get Started As A Podcaster
I get asked this a lot. And I’m only too happy to help. The point about podcasting is that anyone can do it. You don’t need broadcast quality sound to podcast for your family, friends or sports club. In fact, as a consultant, I will sometimes advise on a low-fi approach depending on the requirements of the client (internal communications, community and voluntary groups, etc.)
The vast majority of podcasts are hobby-productions which give enormous satisfaction to those who produce them and the select audience for whom they are intended. If you want to get started in podcasting, you’ll find a wealth of free information on the web, including on this site here. If you have a specific question, feel free to get in touch and I’ll help if I can. Here’s an extract from an email response I sent this morning:
To get started podcasting, download Audacity, open source sound recording and editing program. This will work with a basic PC mic on your soundcard – or i think also USB. This works OK for a start. You can get better quality with a mic, via pre-amp, connected to the line-in port on your sound card. If you go this way, you can upgrade your mic also, but take it one step at a time – try the basic option first.
More important than the quality of your mic, is how you position it. Get in nice and close, but not so close that you “pop” (on the “p” sounds) – or “overmodulate” (Watch the recording level on Audacity – it should be fairly high – only occasionally dipping into the red.)
If you have more than one voice taking part, consider getting a mixer (as cheap as 50 euros), and extra microphones. Ideally each subject should have his/her own mic.
Consider getting a mobile digital voice recorder to give you more flexibility away from the computer. Look for something with a frequency response of 20kHz. This will give you full-bandwidth broadcast quality if you use it properly. I use a M-Audio Microtrack 24/96.
Also check out Castblaster DJ studio application for Windows (castblaster.com). I haven’t used it in a while, but I think the trial version still allows you to create a 10-minute podcast for free. It also embeds tag information and generates MP3 and later versions are integrated with the Podshow network (I think the upload functionality is built in). Podshow will host and promote your podcast in return for putting ads in it – and if you get enough listeners you might make some money too.
Other hosting options include libsyn who charge a flat rate which allows you to upload so many MB per month – but offer unlimited downloads after that so you don’t get screwed if you suddenly get popular.