More Good Reasons To Use A Musical Floor

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I’m sure you remember in the not too distant past we’ve talked about using a musical floor in the main body of your podcast. Well, I have a very good reason for bringing it up again and there are more than a few good reasons to use a musical floor.

(For those of you that may just be joining in, that’s background music, or for some of you out there, a musical underlay. Others may even call it an underscore. They all pretty much mean the same thing)

Some good reasons for using one are:

  • Setting the mood for what you are presenting or talking about.
  • Enhancing or reinforcing the mood you want to set for the podcast or subject.
  • Using it with video often adds mental excitement of some sort to the visual footage.
  • It can also be used to add a calming effect after some sort of intensity.

Now, I want you to know those are just some of the reasons.

Here, I would like to tell you two of the main reasons I use a musical floor:

  • The first is to add life or set the mood for the podcast.
  • Second is to cover over a little bit of background sound that I have no way of getting rid of, (at least, not easily at the moment.)

You see, I don’t have the quietest of places to record my podcast, I just have a place that is fairly quiet. Because of this particular reason, I decided, rather than let it bother me too much, I would just, basically, make it sound as if those background sounds weren’t there or at least cover them over as best I could. Now I know that sounds as if I am cheating a bit, but trust me when I tell you, I’m not alone in choosing that method of covering some small imperfections.

Remember, this is just one good reason to use a musical floor. It gives you a bit more room for covering things that might be a distraction to you or some of your listeners.

Now, I understand there will be some that will disagree with me on this, but when the proper music is chosen for this purpose, it can do more than just cover background noise. It can cause your listeners to be more responsive to your message.

I can tell you with certainty that the music you choose for your musical floor can make a world of difference in what people take away from your presentation (what ever it may be) and what they will think of it in general. It has to do with a thing called the brain. In fact it has to do with speaking to the left side and the right side of the human brain at the same time.

Now, I am not a psychologist but I do know that this works for several reasons and just about anyone in marketing will tell you that if you can effectively relate, or link, left brain-right brain activity, the more effective and better are the chances of your message being responded to and remembered.

If you think I’m wrong, let me remind you once again, you are entitled to your opinion. I can, however, make a good argument for my case. I would merely point out to you that music can, and probably has, helped you remember twenty six somewhat unrelated items (at least if you’re from the USA). This is a classic example that many have already experienced. Yes, you’ve guessed it; It is the a-b-c’s. Surely you know the musical melody and the letters of the alphbet by now.

For another example, I’m sure you’ve already noticed, if you watch much TV or many movies, there is usually some sort of music in the background. It isn’t necessarily the same music all the time and there are times when music just doesn’t fit, but, music can make or break a message or a scene. I’m also guessing you’ve noticed most commercials, whether on TV, radio or anywhere else, have music of some sort playing in the background. (That’s right; it seems inescapable, doesn’t it?) And here’s the important thing about it. All of that music is chosen because it does what it is supposed to do. It makes the message either more memorable, or more effective.

Now, we won’t be getting into all of the nuances of music and sound effects right now, but suffice it to say, music … the right music … can make a world of difference in what you are trying to get across to your listener and what they take away from what you are saying. Music in the background … the right music in the background … can help make your message more acceptable to those listening to it. Yes, I know not all people’s taste in music is the same and I know, also, that music is not needed in every situation. Used properly, though, it can possibly make your podcast more interesting and even more exciting than it may have been without it.

Now, admittedly, the wrong music can totally distract your listener and cause them to completely miss what you want them to take away with them. It could even possibly cause them to turn off your podcast before they ever get your message. This is why you need to put a little forethought into the audience you are trying to reach. By taking the time to think about your audience — who they are what their interests are — could quite possibly make the difference in how they respond to you and your message. Not only could that make your podcast more popular, but it could possibly make it more valuable in more ways than one.

Simply choosing music you like is not the best reason for what you choose to use as a musical floor. You need to think bigger. You need to think wider or broader. You need to think about your audience and what you are trying to get across to them. Experimenting with different types will not be a waste of your time, but wise use of it. By taking the time to think about these things, you’re taking the time to make your podcast a level above the rest and, in my thinking, that is a good thing.

I’ll see you next time …

Back on the Podcasting Track

Russ

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Well … I guess you’ve noticed I haven’t been around lately. That’s because I have been extremely busy and also re-visiting my purpose for being here.

Now, I am not totally changing what I am doing but I do have some great things to tell you about over the next few days, weeks and months. I do sincerely think that my taking time to re-evaluate is going to be a definite benefit for both you and me. I know for me it was time well spent.

I am excited about the new track I am on and I hope you will be too.

I will be going in a little bit of a different direction and probably covering some old ground with some new input as well. I don’t intend to just focus on audio podcasting anymore. I want to cover a more broad spectrum in ways of communication. You will still be able to learn a lot about audio recording, editing and podcasting, but let’s face it, that is only a small part of what is happening in the near and distant future.

Some of the things I intend to focus on follow: Continue reading Back on the Podcasting Track

Simple Things — continued — (alternate version)

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I don’t intend to make a habit of this, but, I just couldn’t talk myself out of it. You can call me crazy if you want, but, I just wanted to put this thing out with a musical floor and so that’s what I did.

If you listened to episode #0037, then please, listen to this version (#0037a) and leave me your comments concerning your preference of the version without the musical floor under the main talk (#0037) or the version with a musical floor (#0037a).

Since a future article will talk about more reasons for using a musical floor I thought it might be fun to get some outside input from ya’ll.

Please listen to both if you have the time and let me know what you think. You don’t have to write me book and, please, don’t be too harsh, but do be honest. Maybe you don’t care one way or the other, (that’s okay, too). Whatever your thoughts are please take the time to comment.

I look forward to hearing from you.

See ya next time …

What Does Podcasting Mean To You?

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Podcasting is very popular and a very interesting form of communication. On the one hand, some think it is a way for them to say what ever they want and not have to worry about what others think. On the other hand, some think it is a complete waste of time and they would rather not have to be exposed to such an obtrusive distraction. In reality, the truth lay somewhere in between.

Somewhere in that mixture of thought processes is the question of what Podcasting means to you and before we move on too much further, you need to answer these questions for your self:

  • Have you actually considered just how powerful of a means of communication it can be?
  • Is it something you want to use as a form of communicating your viewpoint to others?
  • Is it something you simply use to become informed on subjects of interest to you?
  • Is it something you desire to use to teach, preach or reach others with subjects of interest to you or important information you think the world needs to know?
  • Do you consider the quality of the productions (podcasts) to be important or do you just like the subject matter enough to not care how good or bad it may sound or look?
  • Does your idea for a podcast include thinking about the cost it may take to accomplish your desired “end result?”
  • Do you really think you can do it?

All of these thoughts are good points of interest to consider and all of them need to be considered before you invest a large sum of money pursuing your dream. In fact, I am here to help you get started, “On The Cheap”, and I know you can do it inexpensively if you want. I also know you can start inexpensively and build from that point and only invest the amount you need to accomplish your goals for your podcast.

I understand and have to admit, it is easy to get all excited and spend more money than you need to just to get started.

What if I told you you could get started for next to nothing? Continue reading What Does Podcasting Mean To You?

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.)

Having Laugh Or Two With My Podcast Out-Takes

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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

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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

Getting Started With Your Podcast Productions

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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

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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 . . .

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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 . . .