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The B&H Guide to Publishing a Podcast

By Sam Mallery

If youíve already created a video or an audio recording that youíd like to publish as a podcast, this article will show you how to do it. If you want to learn about the equipment needed to create a podcast, be sure to read these other B&H Pro Audio Update articles:

An Introduction to Podcasting Equipment
A Guide to Audio Interfaces for Video and Audio Podcasting

 

So, how do you share your podcast with the rest of the world? The first step is to make sure the show youíve created is exactly the way you would like it to be presented (no dead air at the beginning, etc.).

For an audio podcast, you must make sure the show has been compressed to the MP3 file format. This makes your podcast file easier for your listeners to download.

For video podcasts, youíre going to need to compress your files as well. The most common files used are .M4V or .MP4, but itís important to note that video iPods require an .M4V file containing H.264 video and AAC audio. How the heck do you turn your file into that, you ask? Appleís Quicktime 7 Pro is all you need, and itís Windows-compatible.

Technical Audio Note:

Itís a good idea to create and record an audio podcast using the .WAV format, and then later compress it down to the .MP3 format when itís finished and ready for publication. If that sounds too technical for you, hang in there! The audio program you use to record your podcast is most likely already set up to record everything in the .WAV format. The .WAV format is the type of audio file that gets burned onto a CD, which can then be played back in a standard CD player.

There is plenty of software available to compress your audio podcast to MP3. Appleís iTunes software is a popular solution for this, and itís available as a free download for Mac and Windows. .MP3 conversion can also be done with inexpensive software products, like Pyro 5 (Windows only) and Bias Peak LE 5 (Mac only).

 

 

 

There are a few ways to go about the next step of publishing a podcast, and some are easier than others:

 

1)

Create .XML files and RSS feeds, and host on your own server.

2)

Seek out an alternative free podcast-hosting solution.

3)

Pay a monthly fee for a podcast-hosting company.

 

The first method requires a great deal of knowledge about maintaining a website and a server, and a solid familiarity with code.

The second method will require you to research and experiment to find a system that works for you. Some podcasters utilize file-sharing software that is reconfigured to allow the distribution of podcast episodes. Obviously, this method also requires some degree of confidence in working with web technology.

The third method, using the services of a podcast-hosting company, is by far the most user-friendly of the three.

There is a lot of information on the internet about how to make a podcast and create your own RSS feed. The writers of these articles often boast about how easy it all is. I feel like Iím going out on a limb here, but let me be the first to say that perhaps it really isnít that easy.

To make the statement that “RSS feeds are easy to implement” assumes that everyone on the planet is comfortable with scripting and embedding code into a directory on a server. A lot of us don’t know how to do this stuff, nor should we. What's easy is writing an article and just jumping to the conclusion that something is “easy” without actually explaining how to do it.

If you’re not technically savvy, and not intrigued by the idea of dabbling into code that looks like this

<title>PoodleCast</title>
    <description>The latest happenings in the custom poodle scene</description>
    <link>http://www.poodlezone.com</link>
    <language>en-us</language>
    <copyright>Copyright 2007</copyright>
    <lastBuildDate>Wed, 14 Apr 2007 09:24:00 -0499</lastBuildDate>
    <pubDate>Wed, 14 Apr 2007 09:24:00 -0499</pubDate>
  <docs>http://dogs.gnaw.poodletown.net/arf/rss</docs>
    <webMaster>wolf@poodlezone.com</webMaster>

You may be better off enlisting the service of a podcast-hosting company. If you’re going it alone, using a product like FeedForAll can really simplify the RSS creation process, as well as make your feeds more feature-laden and dynamic.


Not everyone has a server with powerful bandwidth at their disposal. That’s why many podcasters subscribe to a web-hosting service. These are companies that provide you with space on their servers to host your podcast and tools to manage your content. Often, their service includes easy-to-use software to add an RSS feed, upload, and distribute your shows. Many of these companies foster communities among their users and feature tools to help you spread the word about your project. There are many services like this available, and the initial monthly prices are quite reasonable.

Another plus is that no matter how large your audience grows, the service will provide you with the necessary bandwidth to feed your audience the shows via streaming or downloading. Some services allow you to monitor all of the activity of your podcasts, so you know exactly how many people are listening. Some feature real-time stats, so you can see how many people are listening to you at any given moment.

If you’re not familiar with the process of subscribing to a podcast, I highly recommend giving it a try before you proceed. Then you’ll have a better understanding of what an RSS feed does. In the end, the nuts and bolts behind .XML files and RSS feeds really isn’t something you have to worry about.

What you should really concentrate on is making your show as interesting as possible - and have some fun while you’re at it. If you’re feeling a little daunted right now, don’t worry. Just forge ahead and jump right in. You’ll be a podcasting pro in no time.

Feel free to speak to one of our Pro Audio experts at 1-800-416-5090!

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