Cheat Sheet

Podcasting For Dummies

From Podcasting For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Tee Morris, Chuck Tomasi, Evo Terra, Kreg Steppe (Foreword by)

Ensure that your podcasts are well received by adhering to technical standards for artwork and audio. Many Web sites offer podcasting and blogging platforms; audio recording and editing software and tips are available online, as well. If you're doing a podcast interview, a little prep time can save a lot of embarrassment. Then, all you need to do is to find podcasts you want to listen to.

How to Find a Podcast

When you're in the mood to listen to a podcast, you can visit any number of Web sites to help you find a podcast that suits your mood. The following links connect you to Web sites with information on thousands of podcasts:

Artwork Parameters for iTunes Podcasts

If you're including images as well as audio in your iTunes podcast, you need to know how to format images. Podcast artwork must conform to specific parameters so that iTunes can read and recognize them.

  • 600 x 600 pixels, both in width and height

  • 8-bit channel, RGB Mode

  • JPEG (.jpg) format

MP3 Compression for Podcasting

In order to broadcast your podcast, you may need to compress audio files. For MP3 files, use the suggested settings to make sure that your podcast gets transmitted loud and clear:

  • Bit rate: 128 Kbps (best quality for both voice and music)

  • Sample rate: 44.100 kHz / 44,100 Hz

  • Joint Stereo

ID3 Tags for Podcasting

Use ID3 tags to store information in your podcasting file — after all, it only makes sense to provide information about your podcast and yourself. The following list shows the information asked for in an ID3 tag. You can furnish some information or no information, but the more you share, the easier your fans can find you.

  • Name: The name or number of this particular podcasting episode. For example, Technorama Ep 204: The Data Compost Heap.

  • Artist: Your name or the name of your podcasting team. For example, Grant Baciocco and Doug Price, Grammar Girl, Scott Sigler.

  • Album: The name of your show or your show's Web site. For example, ChuckChat.com, Vobes, Gmail Podcast.

  • Track Number (optional): The sequential order of the podcast. For J.C. Hutchin's 7th Son and Tee's MOREVI podcast, the track numbers are chapters.

  • Year: The year the episode was produced.

  • Composer (optional): Your engineer's name or the originators of the material. For example, MOREVI's artist is listed as Tee Morris, but the composers are Tee Morris and Lisa Lee because the original work was cowritten.

  • Genre: Generally, a podcast is classified as Podcast, but be consistent whatever you choose.

  • Comments: A quick two or three lines of show notes for your podcasts. This is similar to comments you leave in your XML. It's a good idea to include your contact information here also.

Audio-Editing and Recording Software for Podcasting

As a podcaster, you record and edit audio all the time — it's what creating a podcast is all about, right? Useful audio recording and editing programs for Macs and PCs are readily available; here's a look at a few:

Program Mac or PC
Audacity PC, Mac
Ambrosia Mac
Audition PC
GarageBand Mac
Pyro PC

Popular Blogging Software for Podcasters

Podcasts are often blogs on audio. Several blog hosting sites can also help disseminate your podcast. Check the following list for names and links to popular blogging Web sites:

Tips for Preparing for a Podcast Interview

If you're interviewing someone for your podcast, take some time beforehand to prepare. Knowing a bit about your interviewee and having an idea of the questions you want to ask can stave off uncomfortable — and uninteresting — silences. Use the tips in the following list to help get ready for your interview:

  • Know who you're talking to and what you want to talk about. It's a good idea to visit guests' Web sites and do research. You don't have to be an expert on their subject matter, but you should be familiar with it.

  • Have your questions follow a logical progression.

  • Prepare twice the number of questions that you think you'll need. Then if your guest gives brief answers, you have a stockpile of questions to call upon.

  • Never worry about asking a stupid question. Chances are, your audience has never heard it answered before.

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