There is nothing more disappointing to me than listening to someone’s audio or video production and finding they could have done better, “IF…

“IF what”, you say?

Well, yeah, “IF”… If they would have just paid closer attention to some small details that could have made their production much better. I have to say, there’s several things that really bother me when people don’t pay close attention to those little details, but I’ll try to be brief. Today, I’ll just list three… Next week we’ll start taking them one at a time and discuss them more fully, (and add some others as we progress over the weeks ahead.)

  • Production is of too low a quality:

There is nothing more disappointing to me that to try and listen to a podcast, a downloadable mp3 or some other type of audio file and find that it sounds like someone tried to bounce it off of Jupiter. A friend of mine described poor quality mp3’s as sounding like someone threw a bunch of marbles in a metal bowl and rolled them around while they were recording. I have to agree; In this day and age, if you can’t make your files big enough to allow the end result to be clear and pleasing to your listener, please; don’t bother even making it!

  • Poor or no edits — Abrupt ins and outs

I know it is hard to believe for many of you, but, I have come across productions more than once that whomever the person was that posted it didn’t even take the time to clean it up a little. Their ins and outs throughout the recording are abrupt and some don’t even take the time to edit out the noise at the beginning while they were waiting for someone to start talking. I’m sorry to be so harsh, but honestly, that stinks. Taking the time to properly edit the production isn’t only necessary, but it is a must. No one I know wants to listen to something that sounds like it was done on a little recorder with the ‘vox’ feature turned on. The quality may be there but it sounds choppy. Editing the beginning and the end and adding a fade in or out makes a world of difference to you listener. Once again I offer my opinion… If you don’t have the time and/or the ability to do the even the slightest bit of editing of your production to make it more listenable, maybe you should let someone else do it for you. (Or, maybe you should think about finding something else to do…)

  • Your production sounds like you’re in a large echo-chamber

(This is one of my pet peeves and it can often drive people away from your production even if it is worth listening to.) Now, understand, I’m not talking about doing a live recording out in some room like the capitol building in Washington DC. I am talking about making your recording in your temporary (or maybe even permanent) studio area and it sounds like your making it in a public bathroom. There are several ways to control that ambient (echo-chamber like) sound and some are expensive while others aren’t. One of the simplest little things to do is find a room that doesn’t have such hard walls and floors. Carpeted floors are better than hard tile or linoleum and can help reduce the ambient sound problems. I know many of the rooms in a house are either dry wall or paneling, but, there are little ways to manage them, too. Oh, by the way, if you are making your production in your bathroom, maybe you should think about moving to another room (unless you just like hearing yourself over and over again.)

To be honest, the time has come for all who are involved or want to be involved in podcasting or making audio or video productions of all types to start thinking about paying attention to some small details that will make a big difference in the end results of their productions. The days of over-all sloppiness are gone and people expect good quality productions and downloadable files. That doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect but it does mean every effort should be made to strive for excellence.

The era of just throwing something together without concern for quality and consideration for those that will be listening or watching is over. Software and hardware have become much to sophisticated and affordable to not make the best productions you can with what you have to work with. (Imagine… all this and ease of use, too.)

Don’t forget, you can still turn out very good stuff without having to spend a fortune and by paying attention to some little things that can make your productions “as good as any and better than many…”

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© June 10, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and Podcasting Resources

(All audio productions by and

Three Things That Can Help You In Your Podcasting Experience

The First Thing:

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying some new software and I’ve come across something that could very well be an advantage for you.  I’ve tried it and like it, but haven’t purchased it yet. I’m continuing to try it before I make the final decision to purchase it, but so far, I am very pleased with it.

First of all, let me say right up front that I am not associated with this company in any way.  I am not an affiliate nor are they compensating me in any way to say what I say. You see, I stumbled on this piece of software quite accidentally. I was actually looking for something else when I came across this program called, “Propaganda” by MixMeister.

At first I said, “No, this is not what I’m looking for,” but then I noticed that it had a free trial. (Now, who can pass up a free trial?  Certainly not me…  I guess I’m just a sucker for free stuff like so many others.) Yes, you guessed it, I decided t give it a try.

It turns out that this was better than I expected it would be and the learning curve was relatively quick.  I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s because I’m familiar with other programs like it or maybe it’s because it’s just that easy to use. Or, (more likely) it could be the short tutorial they have to help users get started more quickly.

Whatever the case, my experience with it so far has been quite pleasing, except, when I stumbled upon it, I was more interested in looking for something that was free as opposed to just a free trial. Just remember one of the things I harp on all the time; sometimes you have to spend a little to turn out a great podcast.  This may very well be one of those times.

The Second Thing:

Yes I know you’ve heard me talk about TwoBuckThemes(Get 5 new themes, video tutorials each month for $10) in the past and, as I’ve told you before, I am an affiliate of Mike Stewart and should you click on one of his links here, it is very possible that I could make a dollar or two because of that affiliation.  Don’t let that deter you because if you like what he says and offers as software and equipment, you can become his affiliate also and do the very same thing.

So what is so important about royalty free music for podcasts and other productions?

First, I would point you to a previous article written in this blog called, “Podcasting Resources” called, “Why you should be using royalty free music in your productions.” (That article will tell much more about the subject than I want to mention here today.) Second, it is important to remember the legal issues surrounding the use of copyrighted materials.  In case you don’t know, you can get into all lot of trouble by using someone else’s music or articles without their permission and it could be quite expensive for you.

The reason I use TwoBuckThemes is because the music is good and very affordable. I’m here to tell you that I have been using TwoBuckThemes for quite a while now and it just keeps getting better.  Mike Stewart continues to put together some of the best royalty free music available at the outrageous price of two bucks a theme, five themes at a time.  And that isn’t all he does.  He offers software, equipment and tutorials for more things than I want to talk about here today. (although I’m certain I’ll talk about more of them soon.)  Believe me when I tell you, Mike is a great source of information surrounding the subject of recording and editing audio and video of all kinds along with great techniques for making it simpler and better. (I assure you, Mike is no amateur.)

The Royalty Free music from Mike Stewart’s Two Buck Themes just keeps getting better all the time.  It doesn’t cost anything to check out his websites, but I think you will find he is a great source of information and he won’t lead you astray, but that decision is up to you. You’ll never know for sure unless you check it out for yourself.

Thing Three:

Thing three is another thing I am not affiliated with but use all the time. If you have a lot of audio files or video files that people can access at all hours of the day, then you already know the storing of those files can take up a lot of space on a server.  Why not store them someplace that is very affordable? I won’t go into great detail here, but, Amazon S 3 storage is about the most affordable storage space you can find.  What does S3 stand for?  Simple Storage Service… (That wasn’t so hard, was it?)

I’m not sure exactly what I pay for it right now, but I do think it is somewhere around 8 or 9 cents a gig. The only thing about using it is that it works with Firefox and it has a tool made just for Amazon S 3.If you’re not using Amazon S 3, perhaps it would be worth your while to check it out.

Oh, and one other thing, Mike Stewart also has a tutorial about S 3 for people that are members of two buck themes and also something that simplifies the process of using Amazon S 3  called the S 3 Media player (which you can also read about right here in “Podcasting Resources”. Just click here.)

Believe me when I tell you, since I started using Amazon S 3 for storage, I have put a lot of my audio and video files on their servers and the expense has been minimal.  What can be wrong with that? Nothing as far as I’m concerned…

See ya next time…  Rusty

© March 29, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

Podcasting ‘On The Cheap’… Don’t invest more than you need to, but, at least as much as you should…

You’ve heard me say many times, you can get started podcasting very inexpensively and still turn out a great audio or video podcast. You have also heard me say you can spend a little more money and … still turn out a great audio or video podcast.

In reality, it isn’t the amount of money you have invested in equipment and software that makes a great podcast. It is the attention you pay to small details and the quality of the content that can ultimately make your podcast, or other type of production, as good as any and better than many, and you can still do it “On The Cheap.”

Spending a lot of money doesn’t guarantee a great podcast

You see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started with podcasting.  Just throwing money at equipment and software for podcasting doesn’t guarantee anything about the final product you turn out. In fact, it doesn’t even guarantee that you will turn out a great podcast. Of course, you do need to have equipment and software that simplifies the job of producing it and you need to know enough about certain production techniques to make your podcast sound good enough to make it easy and pleasing to listen to.

Let me be blatantly bold and say, “You definitely need what it takes to present your information in a way that is appealing to your listeners.” (Yes, I was trying to be dramatic and pause for effect… (chuckle) In reality, I admit that wasn’t really so blatant and also not so bold, but, it is important all the same.)

Always keep in mind that you can spend a little money, or a lot of money, and still turn out a podcast or production that is terrible and will, in no way, appeal to anyone, (except maybe you).

So, why do I continue to offer the thought that you can make podcasts, “On the Cheap”, and why should you care?

Well…the answer is pretty easy and straight forward…it is because you can!

Now, I can hear those rumblings out there from those of you that say, “So Who Cares?!?” and I understand where you’re coming from, but, I also understand that your audience does care how, why and what you do to make your podcast a pleasurable experience and why it is important to consider what they think.

No matter what you think, there are several things to consider about quality…

Any conversation about quality will ultimately open wide ranging opinions and arguments. I know why there is concern for speedy delivery and I also know what I like. Most times, the two are not even in the same ball park.

I have a very good friend that owns a recording studio. He will be the first to tell you that he is “old school” and how disappointed he is with much of digital technology, (a viewpoint I understand but don’t totally agree with, although I do know what parts in particular he doesn’t like.). He was the first person to give me this description of low resolution mp3 files. He said, “It sounds like someone threw marbles into a metal bowl and they’re rolling around while their trying to talk, play or sing.” He has received some demo mp3’s in a very small file formats and has understandably been disappointed in what he heard and totally unimpressed by what could have been presented in a slightly larger file size and it would have made a more positive impact or first impression.

Generally, I know I don’t think like some and I know I have higher expectations of quality that many because I just don’t like listening to junk. I guess I have been spoiled by being around well produced material for most of my life. I’ve been involved in doing many types of media productions (both audio and video) and there are just some things I don’t like about the internet as yet, (although things are changing for the better all the time.)

I don’t like the fact that available bandwidth controls so much of what many say is ‘acceptable’. It has to load fast and be in small perspective for maximum effectiveness; otherwise, no one will stay around long enough to watch or listen. Fortunately, audio is easier to deliver and load speedily than video, but, some are so interested in making the file so small for extremely fast delivery and small file storage space that the quality suffers greatly.

Here are some things you need to consider for the near future…

This is where I see the greatest change coming for the future and what I have, and will be talking about more and more in the near future. Storage space costs and the speed and quality of delivery are becoming more and more important and it is important to consider these aspects as you pursue your journey (or adventure) in podcasting, whether it be audio or video.

For those that may be new to Podcasting Resources, I have some interesting news. If you  would like to know more about a great, inexpensive storage service and some great new software to easily use it, take a look at this previous post (> link to S3 media post<) I made several months ago. It will give you some great information that could very possibly make your adventure in podcasting much easier than it used to be.

For you regular visitors, we will be talking more about the ‘small details’ that can make noticeable differences in your audio and video productions and the way they are received and/or perceived by your listeners.

See ya next time…
(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)

© October 14, 2009 – all rights reserved
PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

“Make Your Website Talk v2.0” – by Jim Edwards (A Very Special Guest Article)

Hi everybody… I have a very special treat for you today. If you haven’t heard of Jim Edwards you’re going to be glad you took the time to read this article, today. Lately, we’ve been talking about ways to make your audios (and videos) better and the easiest ways to put them on your websites. Jim offers this input to you, in particular, about audio.

I can tell you, I am glad for the day I found Jim Edwards several years ago and I know he tells it like it is. Even better, he always seems to over-deliver when it comes to sharing what he knows and this article is no different. So, take a few minutes right now to read this article and be sure visit the links you come across as you do.

Believe me, you won’t regret the time you spend here… it will be worth every second.

“Make Your Website Talk v2.0”

– by Jim Edwards

(c) Jim Edwards – All Rights reserved

It seems like just a few years ago people watched in amazement as words and pictures appeared as “websites” on their computer screens through the Internet.

Just having a website rated a major accomplishment, even a status symbol, for businesses of every size.

Now, however, people expect websites as standard equipment for most businesses and the Internet teems with BILLIONS of static web pages.

In such a crowded online world, how can a business differentiate itself from all the others?

Welcome to the new frontier of the Internet where web pages, even the small ones, dance and sing with audio and video!

In the beginning, putting audio and video on your website involved very expensive “streaming” servers and complicated software.

In those days, audio and video remained the playground of mega-sites and dot-com companies with unlimited budgets.

But even then, online audio and video didn’t really take off because the vast majority of it required the listener to carry a high-speed Internet connection or use complicated formats like “Real” player.

Well those days have passed forever and quality audio and certain types of video now lie firmly in the grasp of every website owner!

Two things appeared on the scene to enable virtually any website owner to include audio and video on their website, even for dial-up surfers: faster computers and better compression technology.

Let’s face it, home computers now pack more punch than it took to send men to the moon.

When you combine that computing power with widespread use of “Flash Player,” the free web browser plug-in available at, which enables high quality audio and video to stream across the web without special servers, and you now find a perfect environment for what amounts to online radio.

Despite the fact that online audio is now more “low-tech”
than ever and can get created and posted with free and low- cost tools, most people still don’t use it (or use it correctly).

It’s funny, but most people now take online audio for granted and because it’s not really “new” anymore, they tend to discount its effectiveness (especially since the “gurus”
have moved on to more sexy topics).

But before you think audio doesn’t have a place in your online business arsenal anymore, take a look at these six
(6) suggested uses for audio to test on your own websites and blogs right now:

1) Audio Testimonials: Let your website visitors hear from
your happy customers to increase credibility…

2) Audio Welcome: Have a SHORT welcome message play that
explains the benefits of why a visitor should sign up
for your newsletter or opt-in to your “squeeze” page…

3) Audio Samples: Offer a free sample of an audio product
you’re selling right on your mini-site…
(example: I give away the first 2 tracks of my CD at )

4) Audio Paid Content: Offer Audio content for a membership
site! Record the audio yourself, or interview an expert
each month, and just offer it right from your website for
streaming or download…

5) Audio Blogging: Post an audio message instead of or in
addition to regular text on your blog. This “multi” media
approach can really help you stand out from the crowd…

6) Audio “Exit” Offers: Use audio to draw people’s attention
to special offers by giving them the gist of your offer
in 20 to 30 seconds. This is especially useful when using
exit scripts & special popups to grab people’s attention.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that online audio is “old news” and that online video is the only way to go.
Audio is, in many cases, just as powerful as video… and it’s a lot *easier* to produce and post than video!

Think about it: if audio-only content didn’t have value, TV would have destroyed radio years ago.

And with a whole new generation of tools and services to help you get your online audio created and posted, there’s never been a better time to start using audio to increase sales, subscriptions and conversions in your online business.

Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the co-author of an amazing new ebook that will teach you how to use fr^e articles to quickly drive thousands of targeted visitors to your website, affiliate links, or blogs…

Need MORE TRAFFIC to your website or affiliate links?
“Turn Words Into Traffic” reveals the secrets for driving Thousands of NEW visitors to your website or affiliate links… without spending a dime on advertising!
Click Here>

Beginner Podcasters – You Can, and Should, Make Your Own Audio Templates For Your Productions

Click the play button below to hear the audio version of this article

The way of  software and the internet today is toward making things easy for even the most casual users of the technology. Everything is moving toward software and techniques using templates. Templates allow the user to, basically, only need to know how to fill in the blanks (or overwrite what’s there) which makes what they want to accomplish much easier. I think templates are a great idea and I use the ones I have made to make my podcasts.

I make a couple of podcasts and have a couple of  more in the planning stage.  Using a template makes my job of editing and turning out my podcasts go much faster.  I can make them either way — with or without templates — but using them makes things go a little faster, especially after I have decided on the type format I want to follow. (You see, I like to have a plan and follow it. It doesn’t mean I can’t bend it a little; it just means I have a type of map to follow.)

For the purposes of this article, I will be talking about using Audacity 1.2.6. If you don’t already know about Audacity, it is an open source  audio recording and editing program that is free and it has a pretty fast learning curve to make it do what you want it to.

Now you may ask why I use the version 1.2.6 instead of the beta 1.3.7. Without going into a lot of detail, it is because it is the most simple and is fairly glitch free. (The newest version 1.3.7  is also good, but, has a lot more features and I don’t think they’re all necessary for the beginner.)

You see, I’m a firm believer in not spending more money than you need to spend for accomplishing the same ends. With what I am going to talk about today, you will find that you still don’t have to spend money to make your own templates for your audio productions (except for maybe the music). What you will have to do is learn, or become more familiar with, your free “Audacity” program and some recording/editing techniques. (Believe me, a little practice goes a long way to getting a good start.)

What equipment and software will you need to make your own templates? That’s pretty simple and straightforward. You will need:

  • Audacity (an open source recording/editing program from
  • A way to capture your voice (a microphone or recording device of some sort)
  • Some original or “royalty-free” music
  • Willingness to learn some simple recording techniques
  • The ability to use what you know and learn from this and others

Okay, now that you know what you need, do you know where to get started?

If not, let’s talk for a moment about the technique to use to make an audio template. The purpose we want to accomplish is to make production much easier and less time consuming, especially when you do something repetitive.)

I’ll to be right up front with you. I am not going to go into a long winded discussion right now of how to use Audacity to make a template. I am going to tell you why and how I do it.  On another day, I will offer a screen capture video tutorial (on using Audacity and making a template) available for simply leaving me your first name and email address or joining my soon to come membership site. (As I said, that is coming soon, so if you don’t want to leave me your info at that time, I will also be making it available for a small donation.)

So … let’s talk about this. In fact, just take a quick listen to the audio below. It was made with the same template I use for my “Just A Fan’s View” Nascar podcast. I made this short one to tell people I had moved from one website to another. (Just click the play button below)

“Just a Fan’s View” HAS MOVED TO ITS NEW SITE at

I actually use that template to make my podcast over at “Just A Fan’s View” and used it to slightly doctor that little audio file for the old site. I can tell you I can make my completed podcasts in one quarter the time now, (that is not counting the time it takes to write them. That has always taken more time time than I like to admit.)

Okay, now quick overview of why you should use a template.

If you think about making a podcast in a type of format, (or a planned form), then there is every reason why you should consider making a template for it. If you have heard some of my other discussions on this matter, you already know that I like a certain type of format. You don’t have to use that type format, but, you may want to have something similar.

Here is my simplified format:

  1. I use a statement of copyright for my programs because, although I don’t mind sharing information, I don’t particularly relish the thought of someone profiting from my hard work unless I want them to. In other words, I want them to ask permission
  2. I start off with music of some sort just because I like it. It can either fade out after 10-15 seconds or it can play as a musical floor beneath my podcast. (I have done both.) It adds so much to the presentation and besides, most people like to have either a musical beginning or some sort of multi-track concoction to either get the attention of their listener or give a signature, (so they know it is you.) If you don’t believe me, just listen to some other podcasts, radio programs and television shows.
  3. I use “Royalty Free” music for the same reason I make a statement of copyright. This is because I believe that the people that make the music deserve what they ask for it because they work hard to make it happen. There is no reason to steal from a person and there is a lot of  “Royalty Free” music available. (At the end of this article I will tell you of a great source for some very affordable “Royalty Free” music.)
  4. I have a canned close that I can insert at the end of my talk or show. This is because I want people to remember who I am and where they can find me in the future. It is also where I can make verbal disclaimers of the material contained in my podcasts. (This protects me and the listener.)
  5. After a template is put together, all that remains is to add the latest talk or interview. If you have planned your template properly, this is merely adding the edited version of the file you want to use to a track in the template. Now, you may be moving a few items around so they fit better with the new track and the close, but that’s very easy, too.

That sounds simple … doesn’t it? Believe me, it is with a properly planned and constructed template. You will be amazed at how easily you can turn out your podcasts on a continuing basis.

There is no reason why you cannot learn how to make templates and use this process quickly and easily.  Who knows, you may find you actually have more time to do other things.

Well, I’ll talk more about it next time, but, I mentioned I would tell you a great source for “Royalty Free” music.  Click on this link,

Royalty Free Music Membership Websites

and it will take you to the most affordable sources on the planet.  Not only that but some other great things, too.

See ya next time …

©March 2009 – all rights reserved and Rusty Norman

Beginner Podcasters – The Next Three Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Starting A Podcast

Click the play button below for a message from podcastnorm – Rusty Norman

Click link to go to #0044 at

Wouldn’t it be great if there were just three “magic” questions you could ask yourself and then immediately progress to producing your first podcast?

Well … yes … in a way that would be nice, but, it seems as though there are many questions on getting started and then you work through to the normal nuts and bolts questions so you can make your podcast as good as it can be technically.

Why can’t you just sit down and start talking into your microphone or recording device?

Well … the truth is … you can, but, I personally believe, if you are really serious about being a podcaster and turning out a podcast with regularity, you need to consider several things before you jump in with both feet. You need to fully consider what I call ‘the broader picture’ in this adventure called podcasting. Before you go to the all the trouble and possible expense, why not think about your full, long range, plan and intentions.

Does that mean you can’t have any fun and that everything has to be set in stone, serious and perfect from the beginning?? Of course not, it merely means that you should think further down the road than next week, (unless one more week is all you intend your podcast to be around for.)

A couple of weeks ago, I presented you with three questions you needed to ask yourself before starting a podcast. Now that you’ve had a chance to think about your real reasons for producing a podcast, here are the next three questions that would be good to consider before you actually invest your time and hard earned cash in equipment or software to make it happen.

Question one – Uniqueness

  • What makes your podcast unique?  Just what is it that separates yours from others and what is it that will keep you and your listeners coming back over and over again? Is it your personality? Is it the subject matter? or is it just because it is so much fun?

Question two – Niche Knowledge

  • How well do you know your chosen niche subject or subjects? This goes back to the question of, “just because you know a lot doesn’t mean you  know it all.”  If you are an expert in your field and have lots of shortcuts, tips and general, as well as specific, knowledge then you can probably be the authority on the chosen subject.  If not, you may want to consider …

Question three -Type of format

  • What type of format will your podcast be? Will it be an interview type? Or possibly a monologue type? Perhaps you will just depend on your ability to express yourself with your gift of gab.  Maybe you will choose a disc-jockey style with all the bells and  whistles as well as with playlists. May be you will simply talk about your subject with mood setting musical underlays or adding commercials and any number of technical complexities.

Look, I’m not trying to hold you back by asking a bunch of senseless questions or beat the preparation thing into the ground.  I just want to see you turn out the best podcast you can.  These questions don’t in any way cramp your creativity.  If anything, they will enhance your ability to accomplish your end results.

You see, I want you to accomplish your goals and not be disillusioned by the pressing demands over the long run by your continued involvement in this exciting way of communicating. I hope it is your intention to always be learning and striving for excellence with your production while at the same time having a great time and thoroughly enjoying creatively expressing yourself or your subject.

You can have a lot of fun podcasting and you can teach or inform others about your subject and also learn and hone your craft at the same time.  The sky really is the limit and the only thing that can hold you back is lack of preparation and planning.  Sure, there will be times when it is difficult and there will be times you may be disappointed, but, if you “take the time it takes to think it through” before you run across those times, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

See ya next time …