After being convinced of the general usefulness of podcasting through listening to Berkeley Groks and the Australian All In The Mind shows, and through Odeo‘s new service, we’ve taken the first few wobbly steps to setup cloudsoup’s very own podcast. We’re not finished yet but we think we’ve sorted out the technicalities.
There are plenty of sites that’ll advise you on content, writing, editing and speaking styles.
Our microphones seem a bit dodgy and pick up hiss so we might invest in something a little better with (perhaps) what I’ve learned is called a pop screen – the mesh that fixes between you and the microphone – and which dampens plosive labials (P and B sounds). This is voice, not music, so we don’t need a fantastic microphone just something a bit better than PC mikes.
On the software side we’ve plumped for Audacity, a free, cross-platform sound editor that’s easy to use.
We don’t want to be hosting the .mp3 files themselves in case the podcast becomes fantastically popular and our bandwidth usage rockets. We don’t expect it to be a problem but just in case, here’s the solution: the Internet Archive, www.archive.org. You might know the Archive from the Wayback Machine but it seems that they’ll archive your content for you. For free and forever.
We’ve already tried uploading a 5-minute test and everything went fine until it was reviewed by a human who declined to accept it because it was a test; once content has been accepted it’s there forever and sensibly, they don’t want to clutter up the place with test files. Looking at other content there, though, it seems that it will be a solution.
If you don’t want to hand-craft your podcast RSS you’re in luck if you use WordPress – just read the codex entry on Podcasting. You can even use blogger’s free service for your podcast – although it only serves up Atom you can burn the free Atom feed via Feedburner into RSS2. Easy.
Subscribing & Listening
We’re using iTunes with and without iPodder at the moment and haven’t settled down to a preferred subscription platform. There’s Odeo to consider, too. Helen has an iPod and I’m
going to have to buy some sort of mp3-player taking delivery of a beautiful iPod Nano shortly.
We’ll use Belkin casette adapters to play through the cars’ stereos- you could use iTrip, or something similar, which broadcasts an FM signal to your car radio, but I’ve hears mixed reviews.
The first few podcasts will be a bit experimental. I’m already thinking about Psychology podcasts for Helen, after listening to some of Stanford Uni’s free lectures (available through iTunes).
The break from Radio 4
Radio stations will become pure content providers, not schedulers. I’ve listened to BBC Radio 4 since I was about 5 years old but soon I won’t have to listen according to a programme scheduler’s decisions. With a world of pro and am radio available I’ll be listening to a lot less R4 by default. I thought the BBC was in the vanguard but it seems not; they’ll have to move quickly to keep their audience.