“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”
(Groucho Marx)



What is a podcast?

In four words: radio for your iPod. A podcast is an audio file that you download to your computer or MP3
player, generally consisting of some kind of talk-based radio-type material. If it’s a video file, then it’s a
video podcast. You might ask: what makes these things ‘podcasts’ as opposed to ‘MP3 files’ or ‘video
clips’... and it’s a very good question. 

So, by way of an example:
Click here to download an MP3 (a recent episode of Gareth Jones On Speed)
Click here to subscribe to a podcast (you will now have Gareth Jones On Speed downloaded to your computer every
time we release a new episode)

Some podcasts I like:

Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American
In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg
Mark Kermode’s film reviews
MacBreak Tech
Tiki Bar TV (video)
VOD Cars (video)

How to Produce a Podcast in 6 Easy Steps

  1. 1.Get your ideas straight - ie. define what your podcast is about, and what style you will adopt.

  2. 2.Record your podcast. You can do this with a cheap USB mic, an expensive USB mic, in a proper studio, or with a portable MP3 recorder. It doesn’t have to be fantastic quality, but try to keep background noise to a minimum (record somewhere quiet).

  3. 3.Edit your show. You can use free software such as Audacity, or full-blown professional editing suites such as Logic Pro or Pro Tools. At a minimum, you’ll want to remove the inevitable small mistakes, coughs and hesitations; if you’re more ambitious, you might create stings and title sequences, and mix in music and effects. Export the result as an MP3 file (mono, 56kbps is fine, and keeps your bandwidth down.)

  4. 4.Upload to your server. In principle you can host your podcast files anywhere, but in practice if you are expecting anything more than a very few downloads you’ll probably want to use a dedicated podcast/media hosting service that can handle plenty of bandwidth with ease. If in doubt, use www.libsyn.com.

  5. 5.Create an RSS feed, and post it to your website. An RSS feed, which takes the form of an XML (eXtensible Markup Language) file, is rather like a blog page that’s intended to be read by news feed and podcast reader software. It includes a series of titles, descriptions and file locations that describe the content and location of your podcast episodes. There’s plenty of cheap or free RSS feed creation software, and if you’re just a little brave or geeky, you can dive in and edit the file yourself.

  6. 6.Publicise your feed. Once you have created your first episode(s) and your RSS feed, you can now tell the world about it. Go to the iTunes Music Store and other podcast directories, and submit your feed for inclusion - within a few days it should be listed along with thousands of other podcasts, and be available to millions of potential listeners. You are now a podcaster!



PokerDiagram. The original, best, and indeed only London-based online poker podcast by pedants for poker players. www.pokerdiagram.com...

Gareth Jones On Speed

Now the top automotive podcast on iTunes thanks to the combined talents of Gareth Jones, Richard ‘Sniff Petrol’ Porter and me. Lots of talking, joking and singing about cars. www.garethjones.tv

It’s Your Problem

I produce this popular sex advice podcast for best-selling author Suzanne Portnoy. Not for the prudish, but if you like straight, funny talk about sex, you’ll love it. You might even learn a thing or two. www.suzanneportnoy.com...

Some of my podcasts

Firstly, they’re downloaded rather than streamed, so you can listen to them ‘off-line’ on your iPod (on the bus or train, perhaps). More importantly, they’re updated or published at regular intervals, rather than being one-offs, and they are delivered to their listeners via an infrastructure of RSS feeds, installed feed readers (eg. iTunes), and media players that allows these regular episodes to be downloaded
automatically... that’s pretty much what defines a podcast, and what makes it a great medium for distributing all kinds of audio content. (There are, however, copyright issues around licensing music for podcasts, so there aren’t as many music based shows as you might expect.)

Podcast applications

A quick glance at the iTunes podcast directory tells you that major broadcasters are fond of using podcasts as an alternative distribution medium for existing material - and for listeners it means that you never have to miss your favourite shows. But podcasting began as essentially an enthusiast’s medium - a kind of internet citizen’s radio - and plenty more podcasts showcase all manner of special interests that no radio station would ever find time for. Subjects that are too obscure or too controversial for mainstream media are perfect for podcasts.

Many businesses have found the medium to be a valuable one, as it provides a platform to deliver all kinds of marketing and training material - in a sense, a dedicated radio or TV station for customers or staff. More imaginative applications include the insurance company which provides travel insurance notes and advice as a podcast - so long as you remember your iPod, you don’t have to remember all that paperwork.

The Sheppard Moscow Podcast

A series of video podcasts that looks at how Sheppard Moscow helps its clients develop leadership and manage change in business. www.sheppardmoscow.com...