I've been experimenting with a free conference call recording/podcasting service called FreeConferencing from LiveOffice — free if you don't mind calling long-distance to Minnesota, U.S.A., that is. Most people have free long-distance with their cell phone plans. Or even if you don't have free long distance, you can use Skype and get long distance for nearly free.
What's cool about this service is that it allows you to record the conversations. You just click a button that says "Start Recording," and then an hour after the phone call, you log in to a web interface, download the recorded call in MP3 format, and voila, you've got a conference call podcast. This could be very handy for podcasters who want to interview but lack equipment. Or more likely, for those virtual meetings where not everyone is present.
Last week, we had an STC chapter conference call with our student liaisons, but one couldn't attend because she was traveling. So I recorded the call, then posted it on our chapter blog under a password-protected page. When the liaison returned to town, she listened to the entire call and was completely up to speed with the issues discussed.
On Tech Writer Voices, I also recorded a podcast with several participants — Char, Brenda, and Kit — on their new book, Managing Virtual Teams: Getting the Most from Wikis, Blogs, and Other Collaborate Tools. The podcast went well except that I myself don't have a landline phone, so I used my cell and I sounded very cell-phoney. Oh well. Maybe next time I'll use Skype.
The audio levels of the participants weren't the same, so I had to levelate it. The Levelator tool does wonders to balance audio, but at times leaves a rushing waterfall sound. Still, that's better than having your audience constantly adjusting the audio levels. I hope you enjoy the podcast.
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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.