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Tips from the Pros: Getting Started with Podcasts

Teaching Strategies and Techniques Teaching with Technology

Tips from the Pros: Getting Started with Podcasts

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Getting Started with Podcasts
Last month we laid out what podcasting is and why you might want to explore it for use in your classes and with your colleagues. Now let’s talk about some of the practical considerations of making a podcast. First, a caveat: we assume in this article that you want to produce an audio-only podcast, because audio requires simpler equipment.

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Last month we laid out what podcasting is and why you might want to explore it for use in your classes and with your colleagues. Now let’s talk about some of the practical considerations of making a podcast. First, a caveat: we assume in this article that you want to produce an audio-only podcast, because audio requires simpler equipment. Brandon Ballentine and I started out sitting in front of his Blue Snowball microphone using QuickTime to record on his MacBook Pro. If he had not already owned a microphone, we would have used the computer’s built-in microphone. The only “fancy” production was a public domain music clip he used in the show opening. If that terminology immediately confuses you, then let me just put it this way: you almost certainly already have everything you need to get started. As you gain experience and learn more information, you can add equipment and software—if you want. Or you can just keep doing what you’re doing starting out. The microphone The microphone will make the biggest difference in sound of anything you invest in, so if you have any money to spend, this is the place to spend it. Even if you have to start with your computer’s built-in microphone, it’s better to experiment than to let it be a block. Recording: If you have a PC . . . Recording: If you have a Mac . . .  Editing and hosting We recently created “bumpers”—intros and outros consistent across episodes incorporating royalty-free music and standard information about the podcast. These add a nice flourish to your podcasts. Digccmixter (http://dig.ccmixter.org) has thousands of Creative Commons licensed songs that can be searched by genre, instrument, and style. Freeplay Music (https://freeplaymusic.com) claims to have over 50,000 free songs for your multimedia projects. Finally, Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.com/music) has expanded well beyond images to royalty free videos and music. Don’t get hung up on the technology, though. Peruse the podcast listings in iTunes and you will find a huge range of quality from the slickest to the most amateur. Do the best you can, but audiences relate to people, not tech. Your podcast can serve students and colleagues regardless of the sophistication of your production. Give it a try and make the world a better place. Donnell King is an associate professor of communication studies at Pellissippi State Community College.