Podcasting : Making your first podcast

Creating and producing a podcast can be a fun and great way to get your voice heard. The possibilities are endless in what you can feature on your podcast, what you can talk about, and what you can promote. Making your first podcast can seem like a challenge, but with the right software, hardware, and knowledge you can create professional quality podcasts.

Hardware – Without a microphone, you won’t have much of a podcast. Many computers, especially laptops, come with built in microphones. Their quality may vary, but if you have a built in mic, you are almost ready to go. Otherwise you can purchase a microphone to suit your needs. They come in a wide range of prices so they won’t break your budget, some microphone makers have started making mics and mic kits just for podcasters.

If you do decide to purchase a microphone outside of your built in mic, focus on finding one that is designed for talking and speaking. Some mics are designed with more focus on picking up sounds.

You’ll also need your computer which you’ll record and produce your podcast on. Any computer will do although many musicians and podcasters use Apple computers also known as Macs.

Software – You’ll need recording software for your podcast. There are literally hundreds of podcast recording software programs on the market, some are even free. Some good programs for beginning podcasters include Apple’s Garageband, Podcast Station, ePodcast Creator, and Propaganda. Often the podcast web-host you use will offer basic free podcast software as well, such as the popular podcast host site Podomatic.com.

Host – Speaking of host sites, you’ll need an online place to upload your freshly recorded podcasts on. Many sites offer free or low cost options, allowing a generous amount of bandwidth and storage space perfect for those just starting out. These websites also allow you to have your podcast ‘caught’ by podcatchers which then rely the links to your podcast to things such as Apple’s iTunes music store where people can download your podcast free. Podcatchers also place links (both streaming audio and downloads) on various podcast sites such as PodcastDirectory.

If you choose the right podcast host for your podcast you might also get access to a podcast blog that allows you to post text and photos with each podcast upload. You can also get podcast players to embed on your MySpace page and other websites you might have. It can be inexpensive and easy to spread the word about your podcast and allow people easy access to it.

Depending on your budget you can also sign up to use live call in features to have your podcast record live in real time for live listeners. Many podcasters choose to do this to get a more ‘radio on air’ feel to their shows, but prerecorded podcasts are still quite popular.
So basically all you need to make your first podcast is a computer, a microphone, a podcast website to host your files, some basic recording software, and yourself.