Unitarian Universalist Podcasters



This is a guide for people who don't have a clue where
to begin. 

Podcasting is very UU, there are many ways to podcast, and lots of help is available from the members of our
UUPodcasters Group


How it Works-
  If you are new to podcasting, have a look at QUICK START GUIDE TO PODCAST LISTENING first.
Basic Steps -
  1. Capturing your audio

2. Editing and converting your audio to mp3

3. Uploading your mp3 files to a server and creating an RSSfeed

Capturing your Audio -

Let's assume that you have no audio recording experience, or your fellowship doesn't have a sound system. High quality Portable .mp3 recorders do a great job at a "right" price.  iriver's line of portable mp3 recorders can be had for less than $100. (check ebay) They record with remarkable sound quality even with the built-in microphone.  There are a number of other ways you can capture your audio, but the key is to capture it in a digital format or have a way to convert it to a digital format.

If you do have a PA system you can record directly from it using the iRiver line audio input.

Editing and Processing -
  Ok so you've recorded a digital audio file, ie. wav, .mp3, vox, aif, au etc.  If it's not, convert it to mp3.  There are several ways to do it.  You'll need some sort of .mp3 encoder.  Many audio editors have them or can use them.  Check out RazorLame.

Next you will want to edit your mp3 file.  You can download a free and easy to use (though high performance) audio editor like Audacity.  Trim and edit your content as needed.  There is lots of discussion about how to save and compress your mp3.  The goal is to make the file small but of good quality. There are several factors involved in maintaining sound quality and reducing your file size.  These are general tips: mono is smaller than stereo, which is fine for speakers and some music; your sampling rate should be 44100Hz which is the rate for CD audio, if you select the wrong rate, the sound will play too slow or too fast; the current de facto standard is to encode MP3 at 128 kbps bitrate, but depending on the quality of your audio, bitrates of 64 kbps or lower might be acceptable.

You also want to make sure to edit and include all your relevant information in the ID3 tag of the mp3 file.  Some audio editors can edit the ID3 tag or you can download the free AudioShell ID3 tag editor.

Uploading your Podcast -
  You'll need a place to save your .mp3 files and make them available to the internet.  Web hosting is inexpensive, check out places like uuism.net,  SpectralHost.com, or other hosting services available in your area.  Be sure to discuss any limits on bandwidth or costs associated with exceeding your bandwidth allocation.

You also need to create an RSSfeed.  There are several resources available.  FeedforAll is a program that will write your feed for you. Podcast411 has tips on writing your own feed.

The holy grail of podcasting?  One service to consider for hosting and maintaining your podcast and RSSfeed is www.libsyn.com. They will host and create and maintain your RSSfeed for as little as $5 per month. 

Want to Learn More?
  There are so many sites available to expand your understanding of podcasting.  Podcast411 has been around from the beginning and is a great place to start.
What's Next?
  This a very brief guide (by a non-computer professional) to a world of podcasting that is changing by the day.  We hope this helps you get going  in a whole new and exciting media world!  Check back once in a while for updates and please email your questions to info@uupodcasters.org

Thanks to founding member Alex Gacic for this column.
Podcasting's growth is based on growth and penetration of MP3/iPod devices, which tends to be more pronounced among younger Americans. MP3/iPod ownership tends to be higher among 18-28 year olds at 19% ownership, while 14% of 29-40 year olds have such a device. The ownership numbers continue to decline among the older age groups with only 11%  of younger Baby Boomers (41-50 years old) and 6% of older Baby Boomers (51-59 years old) owning an MP3/iPod player.




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Anne Ward & Bob Sandidge
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