Podcasting refers to audio files on the Internet that you can download to your MP3 player and listen to on the go. You can add files to your MP3 player the old fashioned way—by downloading the files and dragging them into your player. But you can also use podcatching applications such as Juice, iTunes, or FeedStation to automatically download your subscribed podcasts to your computer.
Podcasts are intended to be listened to while you're driving in your car, exercising, walking, or doing some other task. Podcasts are audio content from the Internet that you take with you, not that you listen to while staring at your computer (although you can certainly do this if it's your preference). You can listen in several ways:
To listen to you MP3 player in your car, you'll need a wireless FM transmitter. This is a little device you buy at any electronic store (e.g., Radio Shack, Best Buy). You plug your MP3 player into it, and then plays music over an FM radio station.
You can easily record your presenters with a digital recorder (Olympus, for example), and a lapel mic that plugs into the digital recorder. Make sure the recorder has a clip that you can use to attach to your presenter's belt or other pocket. Then use Audacity, a free program, to edit the audio. Ask the presenter to repeat the audience's questions.
Use Skype, Pamela for Skype, and Audacity. Skype is a digital Voip technology, Pamela for Skype records Skype calls, and Audacity is an audio editor. When you finish editing, FTP your files to your chapter's web host (using Filezilla, for example) or to a free host. You'll also need a headset with a microphone.
If you have a Web host, use Wordpress to launch your podcast. Route your feed through Feedburner to count your subscribers and Podtrac to gather download stats.
Download and install the iTunes player. Then see the tutorial here: http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcaststechspecs.html#_Toc526931673
See this site: http://www.how-to-podcast-tutorial.com/. You can also listen to the Podcasting for Dummies podcast by Tee Morris, the Podcasting Underground, or Podcast Tools by Paul Colligan.
See the following tutorials created by Jason Van Orden: http://www.how-to-podcast-tutorial.com/17-audacity-tutorial.htm. You can also read the online documentation here http://audacity.sourceforge.net/manual-1.2/. One small note to remember: record at a project rate of 44100 (see lower-left corner of Audacity); otherwise the Podpress player will make it sound like chipmunks.
Music you can freely play on your podcast is referred to as “podsafe music.” See http://music.podshow.com/ for podsafe music. All you have to do is give credit to the artist.
I recommend small, portable players. They should easily fit into your pocket and be compatible with the music services you want to use (e.g., iTunes, Yahoo Juke box). You should also be able to strap it onto your shoulder or fit it into your pocket. Remember, podcasts are meant to be portable.
I post new podcasts about once every two weeks.
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.