A Podcasting To-Do List

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2006-10-01 Print this article Print

All you need for corporate podcasting is an $80 USB microphone, a PC and some free software.

Getting started with podcasting is so inexpensive, it hardly makes a dent in most companies capital budgets. That could change as corporations dip their toes in the water of the more costly video podcasting, but, for now, all you need is an $80 USB microphone, a PC and some free software.

Want to get fancy? Buy a couple of good-quality microphones, a phone hookup, commercial software and a soundboard to blend the different voices. Your tab will still be under $1,000, excluding the cost of the PC.

Many users start with Audacity, a free open-source application. There are other free tools as well, including VOIP (voice over IP) software such as X-Lite from CounterPath Solutions and Gizmo, a free, open-source application from Gizmo Project that can record phone conversations digitally.

Corporate podcasting has worked its way into the technology fabric of businesses. Click here to read more. But for a reasonable retail price, you can purchase any one of a plethora of applications. For example, ePodcast Creator, an application that lets you record, edit, create an RSS feed and upload your podcast, is priced at $90 from Industrial Audio Software. Experienced and ambitious podcasters might want to go upscale, where SoundForge 8 from Sony Media Software lists for $300. For a list of some packages, check out www.podcastingnews.com.

Since many organizations keep an archive of their podcasts, it makes sense to look for products that include metadata to support searches, said eWEEK Labs Technical Analyst Michael Caton. Caton also suggested that IT managers keep an eye on network and PC storage resources, along with enterprise bandwidth to accommodate podcast traffic.

At A.M. Best, a publishing company using podcasts as an adjunct to its print and online endeavors, CIO Paul Tinnirello has spent less than $10,000 on a well-equipped studio. Tinnirello is looking at spending tens of thousands of dollars more as he builds out his podcast studio to handle video. That includes the purchase of lights and good-quality "prosumer" video cameras.

It may help to find someone at your company with a background in broadcasting who can lend a professional flair to your productions. But one of podcastings attractions for many companies is its unpolished "amateur" quality. Ben Edwards, manager for new-media communications at IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., said he likes to keep things from sounding too slick. "I dont want it overproduced. Part of the power of the medium is its homemade quality," Edwards said.

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Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on Zcast.tv. He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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