I'm wondering if this question keeps popping up because there is serendipity around the fact that I'll be recording the 100th episode of Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast this weekend, or if it's because there's an increased interest in the power of Podcasting, and what it can do - as a Marketing tool - to drive business.
Either way, it seems like a lot of people have been curious about how, exactly, I create a Podcast. In the interest of transparency, I don't think I have the right formula. It's simply the best (and fastest) formula for me. I should also state that I don't consider myself all that technologically astute - so I do keep things fairly dumbed down.
Here's how I Podcast (but please keep in mind that I am a huge proponent of doing a lot more pre and post production for maximum efficacy):
I don't do much to prep for a show. Over the course of the week (in-between episodes), I save certain news item to a Microsoft Outlook email folder or in Google Reader. On the odd occasion, I'll look at the content on the Six Pixels of Separation Blog to see if there's something I Blogged about that I wish to expand on. If I'm feeling overly productive, I will - sometimes - record some audio using my portable recorder, the M-Audio MicroTrack (I'm in love with portable recorders like this one - they sound amazing).
Prior to recording, I take all of the audio comments I received (I use a free audio message site called, K7.net) and transfer them from WAV file to MP3 format using Audacity (which is a free audio editing software) - this was a tip I got from Joseph Jaffe over at Jaffe Juice. A lot of Podcasters use Audacity to record and edit their shows in their entirety. While I'm no audio expert, it is my understanding that Audacity is quite good for doing all of your audio Podcast recording.
Once the audio files are transferred, I dump them into CastBlaster. I use CastBlaster to record my Podcast (thanks for introducing me to it, C.C. Chapman :). At this point, I'll also dump any other audio files into CastBlaster as well (like recordings I've done using the MicroTrack). From there I pop open a Word document and create my show notes.
I don't script anything I say, so the show notes are my guide for the entire show. Because I don't do any audio editing, the whole show is done live... one take (this makes most Podcasters cringe - most do multiple takes, edit, etc...). I record the show using a Logitech headset that goes right into my Sony Vaio laptop. Once the show is done, I copy and paste the show notes into CastBlaster, and save the final file as an MP3. I use FireFTP in Firefox to transfer the show over to my hosting service. Then, I write up the Blog posting in Windows Live Writer and hit the publish button on my Blogging software.
I'm sure many audiophiles weep a little when they hear how I record Six Pixels of Separation - no EQ adjustment, no removal of the "umms" and "ahhs", and no editing to "tighten it up." Who knows, maybe somewhere in the next one hundred episodes I'll catch the Podcasting bug and break out the mixer, microphone, and audio editing software. But, for right now, I'm just having fun with it.
By the way, I use the exact same set-up to record my other Podcast, Foreword Thinking - The Business And Motivational Book Review Podcast. I need to work on that one a little bit more moving forward, because most of the episodes are audio conversations that are recorded over the phone, and the final sound quality is not where I want to be (yet). I can feel John Wall from Marketing Over Coffee and The M Show nodding in agreement.
My way is, probably, not the most professional way to record a Podcast... but it is my way. I'm hoping that my passion, knowledge and insights make up for what's lacking in professional editing skills and audio quality. I'm also quite sure that as Podcasting becomes more and more mainstream, the demands to produce a higher quality show (in terms of pure production and audio) will force me to figure out a newer way to take it to the next level.
Until then, Happy Podcasting.