At its inception, I admittedly was not a fan of the podcast (more specifically, the once common practice of posting a couple of mp3s online and calling it a multimedia page). But now that multimedia journalism is diversifying, it’s time to take those podcasts to the next level.
An estimated 18.5 million people downloaded a podcast in 2007 and that number will jump 70 percent in 2008, according to a February eMarketer study. That’s a lot of potential listeners. For the uninitiated, Podcasting News has a great primer on what a podcast is and how it works. Newbies who don’t have access to podcasting equipment such as a microphone, headphones and software can purchase a podcasting kit from Urban Outfitters for $120 or from zZounds for $99.95.
Recording a podcast, doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of a computer or in a recording studio. Sites like BlogTalkRadio, Gabcast and Yodio make it simple to record podcasts from the field using a cell phone. This is ideal for conversing with subjects who can’t make it to the newsroom or podcasting from a live location such as a press conference or convention.
It’s also easy to record interviews or conversations over the phone for inclusion in the podcast. You can use a gadget that will record landline phone calls or, if you are a Skype user, use Call Graph to record and save calls as mp3s. The free software indexes calls in a user-friendly way that makes tracking them down later a breeze.
Podcasters with an existing listener base will appreciate the services of K7. The site lets users call in and leave voice messages which can then be included in future podcasts. It’s a unique way for integrating interactivity in what is often a one-way medium.
Odiogo is perfect for those who don’t want to bother recording audio or just want a new way to present content on the web. The online service will extract text from an existing RSS feed and convert it to audio, thus making it perfect for audio-inclined visitors.
Finally, if you’re looking to increase listenership for your podcast, consider publishing it on iTunes or including it in any of a number of online podcast directories, including Podcast Alley and Podcast.net.