Podcast Basics

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It used to be that creating a podcast was for professionals only, or at least someone who knew a lot about programming, but no more.
Creating a good quality podcast is rather simple if one has the right tools and information.
By the time this article is done, anyone reading it should have a firm grasp of what is needed when creating a podcast.
Before we get started let us go over a few basics as to what a podcast is.
Podcasting started in 2004 and is a binary file which can be either audio or video for which an RSS feed has been created that anyone can subscribe to using a RSS reader.
RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication' and was the brain child of Dave Wiener who developed the specifications for RSS feed.
He decided that a RSS feed could not only contain text but it could link to a binary file.
Once a new binary file has been emitted or released by the publisher, the RSS reader automatically gets it.
The RSS reader is normally called a pod catcher or podcast client like iTunes which is the most popular one.
The binary file could be audio, video, a picture, or anything other than text and could even be an application better known as apps.
So a podcast is a way of distributing media video or audio using a RSS feed.
Now that we know a little history, the first thing to do in creating a podcast is getting an audio editor and recorder program.
Audacity is a good one to get and you can download it at audacity.
sourceforge.
net.
It is a free cross platform audio editor and recorder which means it works with PC, Mac, and Linux.
Once this is done use the microphone on your computer to start recording your podcast.
To get better sound use a standalone microphone like the Plantronics.
audio 655 USB multimedia headset for about $30 on Amazon.
Using an usb connection instead of an analog headset is better to get a cleaner sound but analog can work as well.
Be careful when buying professional microphones as they are not designed to work with computers so you would have to get an usb interface connector if you wanted an usb connection with a professional microphone.
Having a good microphone is important in order to ensure that you get a clean and crisp sound.
Shure makes some really good microphones that have the ability to dampen ambient noise or surrounding noise.
This is also important so your listeners hear you and not what's going on around you like car noises outside, children playing in the background etc.
Having a website is also good to have when starting a podcast.
It allows people listening to you the ability to find you and get more information about you.
Many companies like Squarespace or HostGator offer great website building templates as well as hosting.
Once you are done recording your podcast, you want to make sure all the audio levels are good and clean.
You can do this by transferring the audio file from audacity to levelator which is also a free cross platform normalization application that will automatically improve and normalize your audio.
Always remember to listen to your podcast before you publish it to make sure everything sounds correct.
Once that is done you want to export the file as an mp3 file because it is a small compressed file which makes transfer a lot easier.
To do this you will need to download something called lamecodec which is an open source mp3 codec that turns your file into an mp3 file.
When you are exporting the file out you want to add metadata to your Mp3 file that way when someone downloads it they will see a title and artist track.
Things you would normally see when downloading any audio track.
All of these things you would have in audacity.
When everything is done you will be asked about the size of your MP3 file as to how big you want it.
If your podcast consists of talking only use mono.
However, if music is involved you can still use mono instead of stereo however always keep your audience in mind and chose the size you think is best to listen to if you were them, but as a rule you can use mono 64kbits/sec mp3.
The reason is that mono is half the size of stereo so it makes a smaller file.
Now that your audio is ready to go, you need to host it somewhere.
A good place is Archive.
org.
You can upload for free with no bandwidth cost to you.
It might be a bit slow for download but for the beginner it might be worth it.
Sign up for an account fill out all the pertinent data and click share.
The next page will say your page is ready.
You can then embed the code into a blog if you want and people who go to your blog will see it and have the option to download.
All that is left now is to convert it into a RSS feed.
FeedBurner at feedburner.
com is a good place to go to get podcast turned into an RSS feed.
Once you have done this you are done.
Now that you know how to create your own podcast, start sharing your wealth of information with the world.
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