The one key to a successful podcast
is regularity of episodes. The general
rule of thumb should be one new episode
released each week. But with this ongoing
responsibility, how can you - the passionate
and serious Podcast Host, keep up with
Well the secret is really simple. Make
the process of creating your podcasts something
that you can easily do on your terms. Its
one thing to have a room full of recording
goodies, great microphones, headphones,
all the right software, etc. But if you
spend 50+ hours a week outside of home,
when you eventually get home from work,
you are probably too exhausted to record
a decent show. And if you have family as
well, its all the more difficult to meet
the needs of your adoring fans.
How about using some of your lunch hour
at work to record the show in your car?
Or maybe while you are waiting for your
daughter to finish ballet practice, or
your son to finish his soccer practice.
The key is to look at how your time is
used and find ways to record the show in
One thing I found that was incredibly
helpful is to use portable handheld MP3
devices for recording. I started this whole
adventure when someone told me that I could
hack my old 3rd generation iPod to run
Linux on it, and record with it through
a small microphone. Well off I went to
buy any form of microphone attachment I
could find for it, and installed all the
software only to find that the quality
of the recordings I was able to make were
sub-standard. I needed something that could
produce a good quality 44.1khz sample rate
recording and had the storage capacity
to handle it.
|I ended up purchasing
an Edirol R-09 unit. This is sold through
and although its not the cheapest unit
on the block, it does an awesome job
of 'in field' recording. This unit
comfortably fits in your hand, and
runs off AA batteries. Now it does
have a habit of burning through the
batteries so using rechargeable batteries
is a good way to keep what is left
of your bank balance intact after you
throw down the $400 or so to buy the
unit. But the recording quality is
incredible. It has dual microphones
on the top that really do a terrific
job of recording high quality audio.
It has an excellent and easy to read
display and stores its content onto
regular SDRAM (which is super cheap
to get these days). One 512mb SDRAM
stick will comfortably store hours
of high quality audio.
To get the audio from the unit to your
computer, you simply plug in the standard
USB cable into the unit. My computer immediately
recognized the unit as 'external storage'
and I simply dragged over the MP3 files
that it automatically created for me. There
are options to store the audio as WAV files
(uncompressed) to get the maximum audio
fidelity, but since I was going to conver
the audio into MP3 anyway, I didn't see
much of a difference in taking the MP3
compressed audio and inserting it into
the overall Podcast show.
Now the one thing to keep in mind here
is that a portable recording device such
as the Edirol is really only good to capture
source content. There isn't any editing
facilities provided so you still need some
digital audio editing program like Audacity
or some other (I use Logic Audio from Apple
on a Mac, but that's a pretty expensive
piece of kit for the average Podcaster).
Audacity is free, open source software
and will do the trick.
By inserting the audio that you record
in the field into your overall show, its
quick and easy to produce a complete podcast.
By taking advantage of the time that you
have in lunch hours and recording all or
part of the show in the car, or some other
convenient place doing a weekly podcast
shouldn't be a chore.
And the other advantage is that portability
allows you to go to events, interview people,
etc. in THEIR environment rather than yours.
So if you have that opportunity to go somewhere
and record an interview in the field, you
will have the advantage of being able to
bring back a high quality audio recording
with you, and then simply insert it into
your show before you produce the final
MP3 file of your podcast.
There is definitely a difference in a
field recording vs. sitting in a studio
or office and recording your show. You
have to be very disciplined to take it
easy and try and maintain a level of calmness
and professionalism in the recording even
though the temptation is to be as free
form as you can since you are free to roam.
But with practice, you will find that the
field recordings can be incredibly entertaining
for the audience. A sense of 'humanity'
really does come through which allows the
listener to 'connect' with the host a bit
better than in the clinical enviornment
of a studio. I noticed this while following
a real estate podcast that was done a few
years ago. The host would routinely walk
around and record his thoughts much in
the format of an audio blog. It was not
only really interesting, but you really
connected with him as a person - warts
So give it a try. Portable recording is
not only a way to help maintain your release
schedules but its also a great way to get
others involved and show a bit more of
your human side in your show.