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Book Review: Podcasting Hacks

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This is one of those books that aren’t meant to be read cover to cover. Skim through it, though, because otherwise you might miss out on some great tips — especially if you think you know it all about podcasting.

The book starts out with some great basic information –how to listen to podcasts. I think a lot of people forget this part — they hear about podcasting, listen to a couple (usually Adam Curry), and jump right in. And you can tell, because their podcasts sound like it. You have to read before you can write, and you have to listen before you can podcast. Then you get some basic tips about your first show, and sounding professional. These first two sections should be read by everyone, especially those getting ready to start their first podcast.

After recording your first podcast, listen to it critically. Then take a look at the table of contents of this book, and find out what you can do to make it better. Chapter 3 tells how to set up a home studio (with little expense) and control noise. Chapter 4 talks about something that I hadn’t even thought of — establishing a format for your show. I spent a lot of time in college at the campus radio station (9-10 AM weekdays, 10-11 Friday nights), so I am familliar with formatting, so I did it almost subconsciously with my own podcast. It does make things go a lot smoother when you’re recording — you don’t have to sit thinking “What’s next?” all the time.

Chapter 7 is another one that everyone should read — Publicity. You podcast to be heard, so you should know what to do to be heard. I thought I had my bases covered here, but I got a few other ideas that I’m getting ready to try out on my own podcast.

The book is full of good advice for podcasters of all levels. They actually went out and talked to podcasters and technology folks to get some great ideas. That’s the real benefit of this book — they talked to these people so you don’t have to spend a lot of time researching. They’ve tested out the microphones and mixers. And they’re willing to tell you when an inespensive solution works as well (if not better) than spending a lot of money on better equipment. I’d love to have a Pro Tools setup for my podcast, but until I get a lot more money saved up (or someone decides to donate), I’ll be using the headset microphone and Audacity to do my own podcast. But this book has shown me a lot of things that can improve my podcast now, and has given me a few things to shoot for later.

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About Warren Kelly

  • This book is wonderful. It goes into much better technical detail than some of the others on the market at the moment, while remaining accessible.