Digital Audio Curriculum

Podcasting, a word derived from the “iPod” and “broadcast,” is a form of audio broadcasting over the Internet. Although it is named after Apple’s iPod, any MP3-compatible media player or gadget can run podcasts, as long as you have subscribed to a particular podcasting show. Once you have downloaded the podcast, it becomes any other MP3.

Anyone can create a podcast on subjects as varied as politics, sports, movie reviews, technology and anything you please. You can share your knowledge about marketing, business, art and other specialization. As long as you have useful content to share, you’ll be surprised about how well people receive the information you produce. Since podcasts are free from radio, broadcasting or corporate regulations, anyone can produce virtually any type of podcast, even if you to go talk show style.

Podcasts were first created by ordinary netizens (net citizens), but now even big media outlets such as Rush Limbaugh and NPR are producing podcasts. The term podcast was credited to former MTV VJ Adam Curry and David Winer. Adam wanted a way for people to create audio content for listeners to receive automatically, while David had the feed technology to make it happen.

6 Things You Should Know about Podcasts

1) Automatic Delivery – Podcasts became popular because it providers listeners a way to download audio shows automatically to the computer and synced (or transferred) directly to your MP3 player. You only need to subscribe to a particular podcast once, and you can wake up each day with new shows to listen from you MP3 player.

2) Podcast/RSS feed – When want a show received by your MP3 player automatically, you subscribe to a podcast feed (or RSS feed). Blogs or websites use this feed to deliver new articles or audio content to subscribed readers/listeners. (You’ll know where to subscribe when you see a little orange icon).

3) No subscription – If you wish to check out a podcast show, but prefer not to receive podcasts automatically, you can download them as an MP3 file or view it on the web. Once you find the podcasts interesting, you can then subscribe to the show.

4) Podcast aggregator – For you to be able to subscribe to any podcasts, you’ll need a podcatcher or a podcast aggregator. It’s a software program used in subscribing and receiving podcasts. This program checks for new audio content and downloads them automatically. When you plug your MP3 to your computer, you’ll see the new podcasts already synced to your media player, such as QuickTime or iTunes. Need a podcast aggregator? See the list of available programs here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_podcatchers.

5) Podcast Price – Most podcasts don’t charge a cent and you can subscribe to as many podcasts as you can find. The only limitation you’ll face is the amount of time you have available for listening to the podcasts. However, podcasts are not equally made, so if you encounter a creative and engaging podcast, be prepared to listen to some crappy ones as well.

6) No Commercials or SPAM – The advantage of podcasts over online radios is that most podcasts survive even without commercials. The production of podcasting is low enough for podcasters to provide their audio content to listeners free. Another great thing about podcasts is that no podcast SPAM exist, so you don’t need to filter out junk podcasts. The only downloads you’ll receive are the ones you chose yourself.

Reasons to Launch Your Own Podcast Show

Podcasts serve a purpose for both personal and business use. If you’re looking for another medium to share your thoughts, music, products, services and other information, a podcast can be a good choice. Here are the top 5 reasons to launch your own podcast show:

  • Talk Show – Both individuals and companies can create a talk show that would focus on their industries. Podcasts can be used in promoting services or products, reviewing movies, or like a real talk show with guest speakers. You don’t have to be someone popular, but you can become famous if you provide useful, entertaining and engaging shows.
  • Reach a targeted Audience – Need to disseminate information within a specific audience? Podcasts can be your solution because those interested in your subject can simply subscribe to your podcast feed. With the right audio content, you’ll be able to get listeners quickly. Since listeners are the ones to subscribe to your podcast, they have already shown interest in what you’re providing. This means your content reaches a focused audience.
  • Earn Credibility – Whether you’re a singer who wish to share your music, or a marketing expert, you can provide information via podcasts and be recognized as an expert in your industry or even become famous as an artist. Once you’ve earned the trust of your listeners, more listeners will follow. It could also build a strong customer base for businesses.
  • Communicate with a Personal Touch – Most companies have a customer support because nothing says, “we care” than having a personal touch when dealing with clients. Podcasts provide you a way to grow your customer base since clients get to know the speaker, see his/her emotions and discover the speaker’s personality. This helps in developing a connection with the speaker.
  • Make Money – Not only is creating a podcast show inexpensive, you can also make money from your show since people voluntarily pay money for extremely useful and unique information. If you have a loyal following, this also helps in finding advertisers and sponsors of your show.

Need more reasons to start a podcast show? Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uses_of_podcasting) lists down plenty of industries that can take advantage of this technology.

Audacity Tutorial: How to Create a Podcast

To create a podcast, you’ll need a computer, a broadband internet connection, a microphone and a computer program for recording audio. One of the most-used and popular tools in making a podcast is the Open Source software Audacity. It is absolutely free and is available for Mac, Linux and Windows users. Since it offers a user-friendly interface, both beginners and professional podcasters can use Audacity. Once you download Audacity from SourceForge (audacity.sourceforge.net), you can now create your own podcast. Here is a quick guide to use the program:

1. Settings – The first thing to do when you open Audacity is to set your microphone and file formats. Go to the menu and click “Audacity,” then “Preferences.” Choose “Audio I/O” on the left panel and set the “Recording” options by choosing your microphone device. Under the device option is the “Channels” settings, choose either mono or stereo. If you’ll be recording on your own, mono will do, but if there are two or more people on the podcast show, stereo is recommended. Click “ok” when you’re done.

2. Recording – At the upper left of your Audacity interface, you’ll see a set of buttons for recording (pause, play, stop, rewind, fast forward and record). These buttons are self-explanatory, so once you’re ready, you can now click that red ‘record’ button and start talking. You’ll then see a blue set of waves going across your screen. Hit the stop button, then click “play” to hear your record. You can use the pause-record button to rest or gather your thoughts.

3. Exporting – Once you’re done with the recording, you have two choices. First, you can hit “Save Project As” on the “File” menu and add to your podcast files (but this will now be published to your listeners automatically). The second option is to “Export” the files as MP3s to iTunes or the libmp3lame library. This depends largely on what programs you use in sharing your recordings.

Podcasting is a powerful way to reach your audience. Thousands of people from around the world use it because it is an inexpensive way to share your voice, music, news, reviews, expertise and various types of information. If you’re not taking advantage of podcasting yet, it’s never too late to start now. Make your voice heard even without spending a cent. Create and share your podcast now!