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Before You Buy

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Know How... 23

Podcast 101

December 13 2012

Find out everything you need to know to start your own podcast in today's episode.

The first thing you need is a topic for a show (and you don't always need that). After you do or don't have a topic, you should record it.

Recording
You'll need to record your audio with something. Most laptops these days have microphones built-in. You could just record audio with your smartphone.

Recording by yourself on a computer? Audacity is a free, cross-platform audio recorder and editor. For microphone options: Leo suggests the Plantronics .Audio 655 as a headset. Alternatively, you can use an XLR to USB adapter from Shure: Shure X2u. The adapter will allow you to use a wider variety of microphones with your computer.

If you want to use a computer and have others on the show, Skype is always useful. The tool Iyaz uses most is Call Recorder from ecamm for Mac OS X. It costs $20, but it records both video and audio, comes with a load of useful tools and is constantly updated (almost as fast as Skype is). Leo likes Pamela Call Recorder, which offers free Skype recording for up to 15 minutes. There are paid options available as well.

Editing
Before editing, we recommend using Levelator to even out your audio. Even if you're by yourself on your podcast, your volume could vary. You just have to drag and drop an AIFF or WAV file to Levelator and the program automatically brings quiet speech up to an audible level without you having to do anything. It's free and is cross-platform as well.

Once you've got your output file from Levelator Audacity is great editor for trimming your podcast or adding music or sound effects. Audacity can also be used to compress your file to something more manageable. If you want to make mp3s out of your audio file, you will have to download the LAME MP3 encoder, which is available for free. Instructions are available here.

Once your podcast is exported, give it a listen. If you don't want to listen to it, why should others?

Publishing
Where are you going to host your podcast? A number of blog services allow you to upload files up to a certain size for free. Iyaz is a fan of Posterous for setting up a blog that can act as your podcast home. Alternatively, you can upload your podcast to Archive.org, which will host your files forever for free.

From there, get the RSS URL from your blog and feed that into FeedBurner. FeedBurner has great tools for podcasting. We use FeedBurner because it acts as an intermediary between your podcast and podcast directories. We suggest submitting your FeedBurner feed to places like iTunes so if you ever change where you host your podcast, you can simply tell FeedBurner and it will do all the redirection for you.

And there you have it. You've got the know how to start a podcast.

People: Leo Laporte