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The making of a podcast (part 1): Software Podcasts

Almost anyone can create a podcast simply by talking into an iPod or some other type of portable recording device and sharing it through iTunes. Producing a more professional sounding podcast, however, requires additional hardware and software. At University News, we chose an upgraded, but still modest, set-up that for now adequately serves our needs. Here’s how it all came together:

Last summer, I was issued a mandate to ‘make it happen.’ I’ve joked that Bob gave me a blank check. Truth be known, I was given the autonomy to research and buy what was needed. I hasten to add, however (lest I scare the institute’s bean counters), that Bob knew with whom he was dealing. I mean, I don’t buy a gallon of milk before first researching it. And, in fact, the great deals that I found have already returned dividends.

One of my first choices was software. From my radio days, I already had audio-editing experience. Nearly all the on-air imaging—including “bumpers,” jingles, montages, promos and “sweepers”—used during the six-year run of my request show, “The Jukebox” (on WKLX-FM/WBBF-FM), was created digitally on an Orban/AKG digital-audio editor. Oh, how I loved it. Skilled at editing audiotape with a razor blade (where you have only one chance to get it right), I quickly fell in love with digital editing—and especially with one button: “Undo.” But as helpful as it was having knowledge of digital-audio editing, equally important was the ability to spot certain shortcomings in some audio-editing software.

First, I experimented with Audacity—freeware that was recommended by a few people—but didn’t find it very user friendly (particularly after it caused my computer to crash on a few occasions). After exploring a few others (including VoxPro, which I was familiar with from radio, but was disappointed to learn is now made for PCs only), I settled on Apple’s GarageBand.

“Settled” is the operative word. Although GarageBand is fairly easy to use, I was far from enamored with it. For starters, it lacks some very basic audio-editing capabilities. Nonetheless, it seemed adequate for getting my gills wet. Plus, because University News is Mac-based, we already had GarageBand on our computers (although ultimately we opted to upgrade to iLife ’06, which includes GarageBand 3’s newer podcast creation features).

For additional audio prep work, I also occasionally use QuickTime 7 Pro and Final Vinyl—a neat little program that came bundled with my iMic (more on the iMic in part two).

Next time: Hardware

  1. Blazing a trail
    Nov 01

    [...] Coming up: The making of a podcast (hardware and software used) and a familiar voice (to me) in “The Coach’s Corner”  Ralph W. Oct20 I am not sure I entirely agree that podcasting is five years old. Dave Winer exteded the RSS specification to include embedded media files in the summer of 2004 and Adam Curry used the new standard as a way to deliver his shows automatically to people. Adam was clever enough to call his show The Daily Source Code to attrack developers to his show so he could convince them to develop an application that would pull in the audio files and and push them to your mp3 players and iPods hence where the term podcast was made. The application was named iPodder (which would certainly be nailed by legal whoas now-a-days) and development continued until Apple included a more streamlined version of pulling in podcasts into iTunes early last year. [...]

  2. Dateline: RIT &
    Dec 01

    [...] Dec01  Mike Dateline: RIT – December 2006 e-newsletter publishedA brief respite (for both of us) this week from “The making of a podcast” to let you know thatthe latest Dateline: RIT e-newsletter is available now at http://www.rit.edu/~930www/dateline/archive/dateline_dec06.html. The December newsletter includes links to “RIT in the news” stories previously highlighted on “Dateline: RIT – The Podcast,” along with other news-story placements (such as Dr. Ron Hira’s recent New York Times quote about visas), campus news highlights from News & Events, and details about upcoming campus events (including a symposium, co-sponsored by University News, on Advertising in the Digital Age, 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11). [...]

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