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Podcasting FAQs

by Tom Johnson on Oct 9, 2006
categories: podcasting

What is podcasting?

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.

How can I listen to these podcasts?

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:

  • Download the files by right-clicking the Download MP3 link and selecting Save Target As. Plug your MP3 player into your computer, double-click the My Computer icon, and then drag the audio files you downloaded onto the MP3 player.
  • Use the built-in player on each podcast post to listen to the audio on your computer.
  • To sync the podcasts to your iPod, open iTunes, go to Advanced and search for Tech Writer Voices. Subscribe to it. The store page isn't updating correctly, but the feed works fine.
  • Subscribe to the RSS feed using Google Reader, FeedDemon, Odeo, Juice, iPodder, or some other podcast catcher.

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.

How can I submit my own chapter's presentations?

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.

How can I record interviews over the phone?

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.

Who produces these podcasts?

I produce most of these podcasts, although some are recordings of chapter presentations. If you have an audio file you'd like to play here, you're welcome to do so. Just let me know.

How can I start up my own podcasting site for free?

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.

How do I submit my podcast to iTunes?

Download and install the iTunes player. Then see the tutorial here:

How can I learn more about podcasting?

See this site: You can also listen to the Podcasting for Dummies podcast by Tee Morris, the Podcasting Underground, or Podcast Tools by Paul Colligan.

Where can I learn how to use Audacity?

See the following tutorials created by Jason Van Orden: You can also read the online documentation here 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.

Where can I find intro music for my podcast?

Music you can freely play on your podcast is referred to as “podsafe music.” See for podsafe music. All you have to do is give credit to the artist.

What MP3 players do you recommend?

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.

How frequently will you post new podcasts?

I post new podcasts about once every two weeks.

Can I submit advertisements on the podcasts?

Yes, you can submit ads.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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