There's a renewed interest in podcasting. Maybe a growing interest (depending on who you ask).
Personally, I can't think of better time for a business to create valuable audio and video content in a podcasting format. In the past week alone, I've had a handful of requests to better understand how I create the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. I answered this question in detail back in 2008 (you can read about it here: How To Podcast), but things have changed. In 2008, I was about to publish my 100th episode (I've now posted over 330 episodes) and I've also switched from a PC platform to Apple.
I'm no professional.
Before digging into the details, let me make one point clear (and it's the exact same point I made back in 2008): I don't think that I have the right formula. My show is very "indie" and it's created and published with a minimal amount of production. I'm not an audiophile and I have no special propensity towards audio engineering. I see it as a fun (and different) way to communicate and connect with people. I'm ok with the fact that it's often raw, flawed and basic.
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 simply look at my Twitter and Facebook feed for people saying and doing interesting things and I reach out to those who I think might have something unique to say about a specific topic related to marketing, communications, business books, leadership or personal development.
I record all of my conversations over Skype using Audio Hijack Pro. If I have the luxury of having a conversation with someone in-person, I record it on my iPhone using the iRig MIC Cast. Once the audio is recorded, I use Audacity to record the show. I export that file into WAV format and then put it into a program called The Levelator to equalize the volume. From there, I import it back into Audacity and then export the file as a MP3. Once this is done, I bring the file into iTunes to add the cover album artwork and some additional show notes. I then FTP the final audio file over to our servers. My team at Twist Image created the custom audio player on the blog and I use the blog platform to post the 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 plugs right into my MacBook Air via USB. Once the show is done, I write up the blog posting in Windows Live Writer and hit the publish button on my blogging software.
It works for me.
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.
As I said earlier, 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 continues to evolve, 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.Tweet
Totally agree, Mitch. I've been using the same "one take and basic editing" approach for several years and it seems to hit the spot with people.
Using the same approach with youtube videos as well and while I often get suggestions for improvement from my more tech-savvy listeners, I don't adopt many. If it's too complicated, it just won't get done at all.
Thanks for your always helpful insights!
Not much into doing a lot of post-production editing either. If you're a mac user, have found Hindenburg Systems Journalist (Personal or Pro editions, you'll need the Pro version to record using Skype) and the portable companion, Field Recorder (iStuff only) combines most of the software Mitch mentions into a single, reasonably easy to use package - with one simple interface. Both have become a favorite for recording audio narratives by employees and stringers for BBC and NPR, if that counts for anything. I appreciate how the folks at Hindenburg are focused on "It's all about the story" rather than creating yet another music editor that can be bent to record interviews.
Mitch, FWIW, I enjoy every podcast you create but being hearing impaired, am sometimes frustrated with the audio quality coming from the mic end. Suffer the same frustrations trying to monitor recordings that I make it the field and found the Audio Technica AT8010 is a nice, near-broadcast quality mic. An AA battery powered condenser mic but without an on-off switch, which is a hassle in the field, have paired it with a Denecke PS-1 power supply (9V) that results in making good quality recordings anywhere at a price that won't break the bank. You'll need a box to convert the signal to USB for desktop and portable computers, or a cable from KV Connections for running the signal into an iPhone, iPad, etc. Finally found a light weight combination that can be monitored and listened to in the field, and in my quasi-studio.Reply
If it weren't for your show I might never have got into podcasting. Six Pixels was a massive influence ! I've interviewed a lot of folks including the prime minister of Sweden (for the press not my show LOL), but having you as a guest on the show was a bigger deal for me :)
Enough confessions for one day - still love the show 300 or so episodes later, low-fi or not.Reply
Thanks for sharing your process. It makes sense for you but I think most folks just getting started would find it pretty challenging. Personally, I've been podcasting for about 4 years - mostly on my Mac with Garageband and uploading to WordPress, which feeds to iTunes. Surprisingly, even this simple approach can be crippling to non-techies.
So, I create the Mobile Podcaster iOS app, which helps solve several problems. It lets you record your podcast and then upload via FTP or directly to WordPress. The clincher is that it also creates a blog post that references the recording. No it's not for everyone, but it's a step in the right direction for folks that want something more straightforward. There are still too many barriers to entry for newbies to start podcasting.
Anyway, thanks again for sharing ... I love your podcast and appreciate you giving us some insight into how you do things.
Excellent! Must be something in the air. I love train journeys, gym sessions, and walks with the dog because I get to soak up some stimulating content and dig deeper in some areas. Your podcast had been an ongoing journeying companion for a long time.
And finally I've decided to get going. Thanks for these practical pointers and once I get a bit of steam up and rolling and a bit of good quality juicy interviews....hopefully I can swing an invite over your way.
Thanks Mitch- keep pushing it out :)Reply