Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm getting a lot of questions about podcasting these days. So, I'm going to attempt to answer the basics about doing a podcast.

One really important thing from a listening standpoint - anyone can listen to a podcast. You don't need an iPod. You can listen on your computer.

Podcasts are sort of like TIVO or VCRs for audio.

Please realize I'm a novice at this, so if you're really interested in getting into the podcasting business, it might be wise to invest in a book that gives you some details. Todd Cochrane is the head of the network I podcast with now and he wrote one of the first books about this format.

Here's what you need to do a podcast:
*computer that has a place to hook up a microphone - anything produced in the last few years will have that
*software to record with - I use audacity - it's free - and it will convert to mp3 files, which you can use online
*somewhere to store your files - I used my own webspace until I started with the network, now they handle that - libsyn is a popular place for doing that - you upload your files just like you'd upload a photo or anything else
*if you want to take it a step further you'll need an rss feed - google for instructions on how to do that - I did it and I'm no technical whiz - but you don't have to have that

The other thing you need is a topic. There are lots of podcasts, and more every day, so spend some time listening to what's out there. Decide how much time you want to invest in this, and schedule yourself accordingly.

Art of Gracious Living is only five minutes long, but it certainly takes me more than five minutes to do it every week. I update every Friday but I think I'll move to Saturday because in my category on the network almost everyone updates on Friday and its too much content all at once in that category. So I'm going to move mine, I think.

There are lots of people who are doing this for "the fun." I am not. I'm doing this as part of my long term plan to make a living being me. The idea of doing it for fun is the same as people who get radio jobs because it's fun. It is fun, but I've never had any job that wasn't fun on some level. I've been paid for my voice work, producing and writing since I was in college - so more than half my life now - and I don't intend to start giving it away.

What many people who don't have a broadcasting background are going to find out a few weeks or months from now is that this is work. There are already podcasts that have mysteriously disappeared after a few episodes. So, be prepared that this is an extra job you're taking on. There's a reason people get paid to do radio - it's work - fun work, yes, but work.

I have a couple of other podcasts I'm considering, and bought the domains just today. But, at the moment, I have very exciting news about Art of Gracious Living. HBO has purchased some advertising on about 30 podcasts and Art of Gracious Living is one of them. I will be sharing more details in the near future, but it's for their new show, "Big Love." I could not publish this information until midnight EST on Feb. 27, but it's now officially public. Needless to say, I'm very excited about this development.