Notes: Tod Maffin - Introduction to Audio Blogging and Podcasting

by Suw

Note: feel free to add to these notes, tidy up, etc.

Problem is with bandwidth.

kHz: Sample Rate
- Number of samples per second
- 44,100 khz is standard mp3
- 48,000 or even 96,ooo used professionally
- Phone lines: 8kHz (on a good day)
- Remote broadcasts: 15 Khz
cuts off the top and the bottom and sounds a bit muddy

So if you're podcasting on the phone then you don't need to sample at 44,1000, because you're only producing 8 khz

Plays some samples to illustrate the difference between sampling rates. When you encode MP3 files, experiment, don't go with the standard because it's too generous.

The Process
Starts with you, creating the content, recording, posting, promoting, feedback.

Content
Just like a blog - what are you passionate about. What interests you? What's your passion? have a clear show topic/focus.
At the beginning podcasts were about podcasts, now they should be about fishing or whatever. Don't have a show about nothing - it worked for Seinfeld but they had NBC behind them.

Adam Curry is one of the first podcasters, and it's a technology show about podcasting (fair enough he invented it). One thing that was interesting and helped him gain audience share is that he moved from the Netherlands to England and he talked about the problems he had getting high speed internet access.

Radio is a powerful medium for that. Radio is the most visual medium out there because there is no limits to what you see in your head. let us know about your life, if you're having problems moving house, say, then say so. There are far too many DJs (puts on DJ voice), but you don't know anything about who they are.

The most interesting people are the ones that let you into their personality and life.

There is no 'everybody' in radio. People say 'hey everybody' but there isn't an everybody, there is one person who is listening to you. You are speaking to one person, so talk in terms of that, and have that in your mindset.

People say in public speaking 'imagine everyone in their underwear'. Don't! Imagine someone out jogging, one person. He wants to get into people's daily jogging playlist or commute to work. there is a finite amount of time so make sure your show is really good and really targetted.

Mix it up a bit - don't just drone on for 45 mins. In professional radio there are 'audio on-ramps' - moments that allow you to tune back into the show if your mind wanders. Most podcasters don't doo that - it's a big stream of consciousness. Use music stings, or verbally pause and say 'here's a new topic' or something. They are 'audio headers'. You can produce your own 'sweepers' - little sounds to catch people's attention. community site - radiodaddy.com, for finding sweepers etc.

Be brief - an 8 to 10 minute show.

Peopel tend to ramble. Try not to.

Mike's manic minute - removes all deadair, even between words.

Microphones
- meant to be near mouths! yes, you can increase the volume of low talking but you make every bit of ambient noise (room tone) louder too. So, two inches away, at an angle. Straight ahead gives you pops and it's too intense. Sounds like crap. The splosive is going right into the diaphragm.

Myths
The fuzzy bit on a mic is not a pop-screen, it's a wind screen, it will not prevent pops. A pop screen is a sort of like a screen - embroidery hoop with nylon tights stretched over it.

Mic pattern is important but not really for podcasting. Omnidirectional, shotgun, toroidal, parabolic. If you can get one that is slightly directional, but omnidirectional is fine.

headsets are not so good - a lot have USB mics which sometimes have latency issues. Plugging it into the USB it has to go through processing before it gets to where it needs to go. Line-In is best, or mic-in is best. One way to get over the problem with laptops of not having the right in is to use a small mixing desk.

Avoid verbal listening. There are lots of clues we can pick up off Tv, such as people nodding their head, but on radio, 'ahuh, ahah, oh, right'... is very distracting. Don't do it. It feels perfectly natural in conversation but when you play it back it's really hard to listen to.

Radio secret - double ender. If you want good quality, you're not going to do it over the phone because it sounds like crap. So use the phone, and both record on minidisc or computer, and then cut the two together in an audio mixer. So you have the conversation on the phone but you're not recording the phone convo. TV does this all the time.

Voip is not good, Skype is better than Vonage, for e.g. but it's hard to record. On the mac, audio hijack pro - whatever it hears on the soundcard it records. Mac only records one channel. Wiretap. Audience member says that he can't find anything that works. Line-In?

Room tone.
Ambient noise. If you want to move stuff around, if you don't have audio of what was underneath you, you will hear the cut. So wherever you are, record 30 seconds of recording room tone and collect whatever the sound of the room is. Even if you think you are in a completely silent room, you are not.

You can get away with cheap equipment - mics, you get what you pay for.

Mics on laptops are fine - Mac ones are better than PC ones. Don't worry about mics, worry about the sounds around you.

Get as close to the mic as poss, if you can find an upholstered area with carpeting then that's great.

iloveradio.org.

Tod uses his bedroom closet, because the clothing mops up stray sound.

Legal issues - In Canada, it is legal to record a phone conversation without asking permission, so long as one person knows that it is recorded. but you might not be allowed to broadcast it, so ask permission from your interviewee. Get a verbal release - is it ok to record this and use this on air.

Capture tools
- audacity
- samplitude

Posting
- any blog software
- ID3 tags so that people can get info about it.
- show notes that show what the times are of individual bits
- Feedburner automatically encloses MP3s. Gives you stats too. Problem w. the fact that they are hosting your stuff in case they go offline or whatever.
- don't need to have RSS, but frankly that's too manual

Promote
- regular schedule
- put in sig

Feedback
- ask!
- blog coments
- free voicemail to email (k7.net)

Myths about music
- if i lay a bit it's legal - not true
- if i talk over the intro it's legal - not true
- if i own the CD it's legal - not true
- if the artist agrees, it's legal - not always true, not usually true, artist may not have own rights.

Licencing
- you can get a licence
- easy if independent band
- ASCAP.com - weblicence, but are not allowed to have show notes listing song titles, no ability for listeners to chose songs online
- some artists are in BMI, or SOCAN so need to make sure you have the right licence

Recommendations
Daily Source Code
Doug's Applescript