Podcasting in 2008 … What’s your plan for the coming year??


Are you a new podcaster (or an advanced podcaster) looking get started or make changes to your podcast for the coming year, 2008?

Since this is the new year it is as good a time as any to think about your plan for podcasting in the New Year and what, exactly, you want to accomplish in the months ahead?

  • Have you been thinking about starting a Podcast?
  • Have you been podcasting but not getting anyone to stop by and listen?
  • Have you been trying to make a podcast worth listening to?
  • Have you just been throwing one together or have you had at least some sort of a plan?
  • Do you want to make your podcast better than ever this year?

If some, or all, of these relate to you then this is one place you want to visit frequently in the year ahead. I really believe it will be worth your time. Continue reading Podcasting in 2008 … What’s your plan for the coming year??

The Season’s Best To All!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

I know, I know, it’s just that time of year again.  I haven’t forgotten about you all, (Ya’ll where I live); I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had time to finish anything.  I have a lot of good stuff coming in the New Year and I am looking forward to it.  My intention is to get one more”blogcast” out before the end of the year, BUT, it depends on how things go.  I have been so busy I am already three days into the New Year, (and that is highly unusual for me at this time of year), and have a lot of stuff to get out before the end of this week.  I hope you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!, (just in case you don’t hear from me before then.)

When Longer Really Is Better__ … __Podcasting Quicktip #8 __(Making Short Musical Spots, Longer)

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article from “mypodcast.com”

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article from “podcastpeople.com”

Since we’ve recently been talking about putting a musical floor beneath your talking or reading of your podcast, you may have the problem of your musical spots being to short. So, if that is the case, what can you do to make them longer?

In this article I will be talking about, and using “Audacity” (1.3.0-beta version). It’s for Windows XP . If you download a later version, (like 1.3.3, which I think is the latest) I will be updating this article and it’s information to that version soon. There are some slight differences in the 1.3.3 version and I am not totally familiar with it yet, (but you can get it by Clicking Here).

If you are using an editing program like “Audacity” I will be showing you what I consider to be the easiest way to extend the length of those short musical spots that you have access user rights to and want to use. Even if you aren’t using “Audacity”, the principles and techniques will still hold true. This is not something that is hard, but it does require you to expend a little effort to accomplish the desired results. Who knows; you may actually find that it’s a lot of fun finding ways to make them work differently.

Remember; my examples are just that– examples– and please do not think I am in anyway trying to limit your creative capabilities. I simply offer these examples as my creative offering. Continue reading When Longer Really Is Better__ … __Podcasting Quicktip #8 __(Making Short Musical Spots, Longer)

Having Laugh Or Two With My Podcast Out-Takes

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article

I seriously thought about calling this audio blog/article, “And you thought this was easy,” but I was afraid you wouldn’t hang around and listen to the out-takes I have for you and then you would miss out on having a good laugh or two.

Well, for some this may be easy, but for others, (myself included), it only seems that way. Even if you didn’t think it to be so, take comfort in the fact that you too, with a little editing practice and expertise, can make your podcast flow with the best of them and sound as professional as anyone’s.

Today, I wanted you to have a little fun today at my expense. I am going to take you behind the scenes of my podcast before it is edited. Unfortunately, I am sure this may be something I will someday regret, BUT, I wanted you to see that you don’t have to be even close to perfect to make something happen out of what may originally seem like a disaster. (Take heart good friend, this is all about editing out the stuff you don’t want people to hear. )

This is why I like to pre-record my instructional podcasts and why I know — absolutely — “You Can Do This!” Continue reading Having Laugh Or Two With My Podcast Out-Takes

Things To Consider For The Main Body Of Your Production

(Click Here for the podcast version of this article)

Now we come to the main body of your audio podcast. I can’t really tell you too much about the body of your podcast. It is up to you, your subject matter and the format you decide to use with your podcasting idea. What I can tell you is that there are several ways in which you can present it.

The choice is naturally, up to you in how you want to present your information or interviews. I personally like a couple of ways. One is without a music floor and one is with. For those of you that are totally new to some of this, I offer this short explanation as my interpretation of a ‘music floor’.

A ‘music floor’ is some kind of music, usually instrumental, playing beneath your talking or reading of your scripted material. My musical choices are very likely going to be different than yours. Some of you really like to “rock out” and some of you are really into that “head bangin” stuff. Those are fine if that is your taste and choice. Others will choose “heavy metal” while still others will choose some more laid back types such as “easy listening”, “jazz” or even “classical.”

Any of these are reasonable choices because it doesn’t really matter that much what type you choose, but there are a few things to consider while you make your choices in types or styles.

One of the most important things to consider is to make completely sure that the music you choose is not overpowering what you say and the second most important is right there with it. Continue reading Things To Consider For The Main Body Of Your Production

Things To Consider When Working On Your Podcast Closing

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article

You have to know and you have to understand that the closing to your podcast is also an important part of your production. Some of your listeners will get to the end of your podcast and be ready to move on. If you work the transition of the closing of your podcast into the ending of the body of your podcast properly, the listener will generally hang around for any important info you include in your closing. It is important to have a closing if for no other reason than adding a bit of finality to your podcast. You can use it to point the listeners to more of your information and podcasts, or to other sites of interest. It can also be a great way to transition to an insertion of a spot for your advertisers.

Many of the same rules apply as you think about how you want to close your podcast as when you thought about your opening. Both are important and both should have a specific and definite purpose. The opening was to introduce you and your subject(s) and the closing leaves the listener with a good taste in their mouth about your podcast. As they leave your podcast it gives them something to remember you by and perhaps want to check out more of your available podcasts and information.

As was the case in the previous article, this one also is one you will want to listen to the audio podcast version while you read along (or instead of reading along), because it will have some examples of closings that are better heard than read. (Besides, I won’t be writing out the examples anyway.)

There are only a few things I want to say about the closings. I have a way I like to close mine and that is what I will demonstrate, but remember, a closing needs to be something your listener won’t want to turn off. It needs to smoothly transition them into action of some sort. Continue reading Things To Consider When Working On Your Podcast Closing

Some Things To Think About and Do For Your Podcast Opening

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article

I can’t tell you how important it is to remember that everything you do in your podcasting adventure does not have to sound like every other radio or TV show you’ve ever heard. It doesn’t have to have that relentless radio sound and it doesn’t have to have the television infomercial look or sound either. Your podcast can have its own character and sound. It is absolutely possible that it can be unique and different and still use all of the necessary elements of good recording technique and proper audio/video capture and editing expertise.

Even though you are beginner at any of the above mentioned items, you can soon become very proficient at all of the above with a little practice and planning.

First, lets think about the opening of your podcast. Some like to just start talking or reading to present their ideas to their audience. Others like to have an opening made up of a music intro and then do a ‘voice-over’ to introduce their topic for their podcast. If you don’t want to do much of an opening other than talking, that’s fine. In fact, that is probably the easiest way. However, using an opening of some sort will eventually prove itself valuable to you at some time or other as you begin to produce a regular podcast. It is just one thing less you have to be concerned about. Another plus, depending on how you do it, is how it can give your production something your audience can recognize as you. It is sort of like signing your signature to it.

Because of the nature of this article, it is going to be much easier for you to listen to the podcast version rather than read it. Even though this article will contain most of what will be talked about, the examples I use will only be referred to in the article, but you can hear what I am talking about in the podcast version. I want you to actually hear the difference of how using certain techniques can affect your production in positive ways. (Someday, in the very near future, I fully intend to be able to present to you both audio and visual aids to enhance this teaching and learning experience.)

As is the case with many things in producing podcasts and other types of recordings, you never know what kind of impact something will have unless you try it. I now do things I never thought I would because I did try them. After I heard what a difference they made, I became more comfortable with what they added to my productions and looked for ways to make them even better. I still believe there is often a fine line between something that will add a special touch to a recording or detract from it in some way, whether large or small.

In this article and the next two, we are going to talk about three things. The opening of your podcast, the closing of your podcast and the body of your podcast. Although this seems to be a little out of order, there is a method to my approach. The opening and closing don’t have to change as often as the body of the podcast does. The body of your production will change all the time. The openings and closings only change when you want them to. There are ways to keep them from getting stale, but generally, your audience doesn’t mind them sounding the same all the time. It is that signature type of thing I mentioned earlier. It is something they come to recognize you by.

Let’s get started with an opening. You need to decide several things. One possibility is to decide on whether you want to open with just talk and get right in to the message or do you want to have music and do a voice-over? Maybe you want to start with just music and no talking for your opening. Any of these will work. It is something you need to decide to give your production personality and perhaps a glimpse of its character and subject-matter.

Let’s take a listen to my first example. It is one of my first podcasts for this ‘Podcasting Resources’ site. In fact it is episode #0002. I want you to hear several things about it. First I was was trying out some different kinds of equipment and software. Although they performed well, the sound was a bit lacking probably because of the microphone I was using. It just didn’t have the warm sound I was looking for. It sounds a bit ‘scratchy’ and ‘tinny’. (As you listen to the opening of this podcast, I know you will understand what I mean.)

(Play excerpt example of episode #0002.)

See what I mean. Please remember, I was working at the time on ways for you to simply get started but not make a major investment of cash. I was looking at ways people could get started podcasting “on the cheap”.

Now let’s move to an opening of another one. This would be one I started with music and ‘voice-over’. Now admittedly, I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, but I was trying to keep costs down and keep everything legal as far as copyright matters were concerned. (That’s right, it was me playing my guitar and using a bit of music I wrote. It is just a way of demonstrating how to keep costs down and still use a music and voice over opening.)

(Play excerpt of episode #0001.)

See, there is a difference in doing it that way. I didn’t spend any money and I did turn out a podcast, (although perhaps not of the best quality.)

The next example is where I switched to using some free music from Mike Stewart, “theinternetaudioguy”. No matter how you look at it, music produced and made for this purpose is better than something you just sit in front of your computer and throw together. (Yes, I am admitting I just quickly made something to use in episode #0001.) Anyway, let’s take a quick listen to the opening of episode #0017.

(Play excerpt from episode #0017)

This one was a little bit better to me. It just ‘feels’ better. To me, it kind of settles the atmosphere preparing the listener for what’s to come. Yes, I know it’s kinda ‘laid-back’, but then I’m kinda that way myself. Your’s doesn’t have to sound like this. It can be as soft, or as loud and wild, as you want it to be.

Now for the final example of this article. It is one I have pre-made for those times I want to be different. I haven’t used it yet, but, I will some day and I will do it soon. I intend to mix things up a bit, now and again, but I don’t want to mess with the original signature stuff. Lets take a listen, now.

(Play excerpt from Podcast open 2)

This one gives you an example of how different music with basically the same ‘voice-over’ does make a difference in the ‘feel’ of the opening. What I am trying to get across is that you can make an opening in any number of ways and still have an effective production.

So far, all of my editing is done with the program “Audacity”. It is a great program and, I repeat, it is a free download. It is very versatile and turns out great product. The music I use at the present is from Mike Stewart, “theinternetaudioguy” and another bit that he and friends have turned out from “MichaelandMike.com”. It is amazing the quality of stuff they make available for little or no cost. Yes, I know they have stuff available that costs and I have invested in some of it, but . . . well . . . just click on the links here and find out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

This is just the beginning of what you can do with a podcast.

One way to discover what is best for your’s is to try out some of your ideas for openings and see how they work. You don’t even have to totally rely on one idea. Try several different ways and see how it ‘feels’ to you. Maybe you can even bounce your ideas off a few of your friends and see what they think. Now remember, when I say, “see how it feels”, I am talking about how it comes across to you and whether or not it grabs your attention and makes you want to listen. Chances are, if you like it, others will too.

See ya next time . . .

Getting Started With Your Podcast Productions

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article

Okay, I know you’ve noticed some differences in my podcasts of the articles lately. I’ve been trying a few different things over the last several weeks. Most of what I have done is for demonstration purposes and helping you see what you can do as a beginner podcaster. I know I’ve enjoyed making them and I hope you have enjoyed listening also. Just in case you’re new to the site or might have missed the subtle differences, I would like to point out a few of them now.

First, I would like to talk about a few of the things I am featuring in the podcasts these days. I want to say right up front that I have acquired even more respect and appreciation for Mike Stewart, ‘theinternetaudioguy’. He has some great things available to you for making your audio or video podcasts ‘as good as any and better than many’.

Just a short while ago, I mentioned in one of my blogs that I was not going to use any music that I had to pay for. I said I was going to use my own stuff and I was fully intending to do so. The reason I wanted to use my own stuff was because it was free and my budget for frills such as that was, and is, limited. I had tried other free music clips and was usually disappointed in their quality or style. What I mean is, if I don’t like the way they sound or I can’t listen to them, I’m not going to put them in my audio work. It’s just the way I am.

Then, I visited Mike Stewart’s site again. That’s not uncommon because I do visit it often for several reasons. This time I found that I could take advantage of some free music to use for spots if only I would sign up for his newsletter. Do you have to ask? Yes, of course I took advantage of the special offer and I cannot tell you how pleasantly surprised I was at the quality of the productions. I should have expected it to be good because it is easy to tell the type person Mike is especially if you go by the quality of the productions he turns out.

I guess I was just gun-shy at first. I mean, these days so many people offer you some mediocre product just to whet your appetite so they can really soak you for the good stuff. Not so with Mike Stewart. He has proven to me more than once that he is quality through and through.

Although I have never met him, I can tell he thinks along the same paths I do. He is interested in people being able to turn out the best quality audio or video product that they can and turn it out without investing an arm and a leg with nothing to show for the investment. Now, that does not mean that everything he offers is inexpensive, but, in my experience, he does give you great value for the money you invest. He has some great software and hardware packages available at great prices. These are things he uses himself and will often demonstrate them as he talks about them and how to use them. (Did I mention he does this at great prices?) He is a great source for getting started with audio or video podcasting and I highly recommend his sites.

Now lets get back to what I started out with in the title, “Getting Started with Your Podcast Productions”. This is about you as a beginner getting a great start in making a professional sounding podcast. It may not happen without spending some work and time in editing, but it will happen and probably sooner than you ever thought possible. My plan over the next few audio blog/articles is to show you some simple things that make a big difference in the sound and feel of your podcast.

“Take the time for a few minutes to go back and read/listen to, “Can’t See the Forest for the Trees“. Listen to the opening and then the body of the article. Take note of what you hear as you listen.

After that, go and check out, “Failure Is Not an Option Unless You Make It One“. Listen to the opening and the body of the article also. You will notice a subtle difference between the two. Although the openings are the same, what I did with, (or should I say in the background of), the body of the article is different. Yes, that’s right, I added music underneath the reading of the body of the article. It does make a difference in the over-all feel of the article itself and it is subtle, yet effective.

If you really want to hear a difference in those that I did first and the ones I do now check out, “episode #0012“. I’m not saying the first ones are bad, I am merely saying they are different and demonstrate different ways and techniques of accomplishing these productions. I think they are good examples of the possible modes of presenting material for consumption by those that are interested.

In the audio blog/articles to come in the very near future, we will discuss these techniques even more. I hope you will be here for them. I think you will find them very interesting. In fact, I have some really great plans for the up and coming articles and can’t wait to share them with you.

See ya next time . . .

Failure Is Not An Option Unless You Make It One

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article

Okay, I think I’m actually leaving the forest behind me for now, at least for the moment, while we move on to the actual preparation for a podcast. I think we’ve spent enough time in discussion and it is time to consider action. In other words, it’s time to quit talking about it and start doing it.

With all of the neat technology available to us these days, there is absolutely no reason why we can’t turn out a great podcast and have it sound as if we have been doing it for years. Even if you are an absolute beginner, one that has never done even one podcast before, or possibly, never even talked into a microphone at some time or other, you can make a successful podcast and you can do it sooner than later. Why, I would even venture a guess that you can even surprize yourself with the production you can turn out using the tricks, techniques, software and hardware I’ve mentioned here numerous times over the last six months or so.

Now that I have said all of that, let’s not forget that there are still a few important things we need to remember. If you have been along for at least part of the ride we’ve taken so far over the last several months, you know one of my main complaints and objectives has been to not neglect the details. I know you’ve heard people say ‘the devil is in the details’, but I totally disagree. Paying attention to small details can make a big difference between a mediocre and fantastic podcast. There are certain things you need to work on as far as technique goes, and then there is the fact that you need to relax and get comfortable behind the microphone. Let’s talk a little bit about that, now.

I know I’m pretty opinionated when it comes to certain procedures and the resulting final products people turn out, but, and I know I’ve said it before, if something is worth doing I think it is worth doing well. Why in the world would anyone want to waste their time turning out a podcast that is full of poor production techniques and sloppy mistakes that could have been avoided with just a little forethought, practice and preparation. I’ll even borrow line from the ‘audio generator’ folks and say, “If you can talk on the phone” you can make an audio blog, podcast or whatever. All you have to do is talk to the microphone as if you are talking to a friend. I know that sounds too easy, but it is true (at least to get you started) and it could very well be that that concept is what it takes for you to be able to relax and just let your conversation flow. Don’t think of yourself as speaking in front of hundreds of people that you don’t know. Think of it as speaking to someone you’ve known for years and you are very comfortable sharing your thoughts and knowledge with.

Why not write out your script? I know that requires extra effort, but it can make you more effective in delivering your message. I realize there are some of you out there that just like to fly by the seat of your pants. If you can do it, great! However, not many can and even those that can will have at least some form of an outline of what they want to talk about. Listen. There is no shame in having your topics written down in outline form. Doing this can definitely help you stay on track.

You’re the one that makes the choice of what you need as far as this procedure is concerned. I have a friend that makes outlines from his thoughts when he is preparing to speak with one or two words per thought. I have heard him speak and I have seen his notes. I am amazed at how much he can say with so little written down. Myself, I am just the opposite. I like to write out my podcast word for word in article form, but, I am in no way bound to every word it contains. I can, and do , edit on the fly. That means I can add to it, or subtract from it, as I go.

So what does all this mean? It simply means that I have a fairly well organized script to follow that I have taken the time to research and write. That means I feel pretty confident as I talk. It allows me to concentrate on getting my point across and not have to concentrate so hard on what I want to say.

That’s why I say it is well worth taking the time to prepare. If you are doing a solo webcast, I think it is even more important to have that preparation. It makes your presentation flow.

If you have two or more hosts, your job can be quite a bit easier. Talk does come a little easier between two people. Even though I still think it is a good idea to have at least and outline with multiple hosts, it probably isn’t as necessary to have a full script. Usually, the outline gives direction when the flow of ideas reaches a lull.

So, now you need to decide several things if you want to get started successfully with your podcast:

  1. You need to decide what software you want to use. There are many to choose from and some are easier to use than others. I still recommend ‘Audacity’ for several reasons. It is free, it is easy to use and, as if that is not enough, it does a great job.
  2. Make an outline or write a script, once you have decided on a subject.
  3. Practice reading through your script. This will help you become more comfortable when you actually ‘Go Live’ in front of the mic (or audience.) The more you read, (or talk), in front of the mic, the more you learn about how to make your talk interesting and the easier it becomes to sound natural and confident. In general, you learn learn your craft better.
  4. Practice recording with your software program. This will give you the chance to check your levels and be sure you are able to capture your production. (There is nothing worse than finding you have just made something that is unusable and having to do it over.)

If you will take the time to prepare your equipment, your production and yourself, there is very little room for failure. Thus, the title of this article; “Failure is not an option unless you make it one.”

By taking the time to prepare all of the above, you will just about guarantee the success of your production. If you decide to ‘wing it’, there is no guarantee you will fail, but, it could very likely be the result should you choose that option.

See ya next time . . .

Can’t see the forest for the trees . . .

(Click Here) for the podcast version of this article

I can’t tell you why I’m so hung up with this forest stuff at the present. I guess the images in my mind just fit for the moment. Every once-in-a-while, it seems I just have to spout off a little and make my position known and, I guess this is one of those times.

As I look out at the podcast landscape, I see many things available, and yet, so little of what I am looking for. When I do find something I am looking for, I either get excited or disappointed. I get excited when I find someone has actually put a little thought into their production and turned out a decent podcast and, believe me, that happens quite often. The disappointment comes for several reasons, one of them being, either they just don’t get it or I don’t.

Please don’t misunderstand me; there is some really great stuff out there in both the audio and video areas. Many are very professional technically and extremely excellent in production and content. I guess I just get weary sometimes with what some call being creative. (Of course, there is always that inattention to detail thing I harp on a lot.)

Now, admittedly, I am more oriented toward the educational side and less toward the entertainment side, but, both require a few things to be done right for them to be effective, at least in my opinion. These few things have very little to do with the way a person talks, (or looks, if we are talking video), and a lot to do with how they want to be perceived by those that will be listening or watching. It has to do with making a production that is worth seeing or listening to. It has to do with choosing the right equipment and software; maybe even in choosing the right format to get their point across to their audience in the most effective way.

I am not criticizing, nor minimizing, a person’s ability or freedom to be creative. I just think there is more than enough junk out there that keeps people from seeing the beauty of the forest. Some podcasts are nothing more than trees and have nothing at all to do with the forest because they don’t fit. The vision for them is so limited, they really ‘can’t see the forest for the trees.’ I know podcasting is still in it’s infancy, but some don’t understand they are helping lay the groundwork for the future of the industry as a whole and what peoples’ impression of it will be.

Another of the main reasons I get disappointed is poor production techniques that could easily be improved upon with a little bit more of ‘paying attention to detail’. I guess one thing I notice the most these days is how disinterested some people are in doing a good job. It seems to me they think it is cool to just get their podcast on the net and shock people with their new found freedom. They don’t have much to say and what they do say is filled with with lots of coarse language and very little content. Mostly, this type will fade pretty quickly, but it makes me wonder what their original vision was.

And then there are those that could do one or two things differently and have a much better production. I know I am a bit picky when it comes to certain things, but, things like room ambience and echos distract me. I know those little detail things don’t bother some at all, but I know I am not alone when it comes to being distracted by them.

Now bear with me for a few moments while I ride out this rant I’m on. I know that you, as a beginner podcaster, can do better than others. You’re taking the time to do a little research and planning. You have something to say and it needs to be said. Go ahead … the microphone is yours … make your point, show you’re creativity, get those laughs or enter into the land of “oohs and aahs”. But don’t forget to pay attention to those little things that can make your good podcast, great!

Hey, I like to laugh as much as anyone and I can be moved to tears without embarrassment when the message is right. Just show me that you can do it without taking the easy way out. Show me you’re creative enough to make your point, and make it well, without all of the cheap shots. And while you’re at it, do it without taking the short cuts. Take the time it takes to do it right! Taking that time doesn’t always mean hours … it could just be minutes or seconds that can make a positive difference.

In the same way that people can’t see the forest for the trees, many can’t see the value in putting forth a little more effort to create a better podcast and therefore making it more successful. There is more to it than just getting it out. Make it good … make it happen … look at the big picture. See the forest … not just the trees.

See ya next time . . .