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.
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.