Monday, June 20, 2005

Podcasting IS Ready for the Masses

Podcasting IS ready for the masses, contrary to the Wall Street Journal's first look into the subject by Mossberg (2005). Though misinformation about easy to use tools might appear to slow down development, new podcasts already arrive faster than the iTunes Podcast Directory team can screen and add them to this free online library. In fact there is no homogeneous mass of users, rather a very wide range of experience. There is a gradient from very easy to professional resources that provides a great set of stepping stones for all ranges of those interested making their own podcasts.

The most elemental approach is to let someone else do it. For those who never want to touch the technology but have something to say or share, entrepreneurs are opening businesses that provide drop-in services or bring a portable studio to your home or office. One example is Palegroove Studios, found at They will not only produce the podcast, but see to it that it appears online. Will we really see a proliferation of podcast stores and delivery cars that say Podcast on top instead of Pizza? Will radio stations which have all the necessary expertise and technology create their own operations to compete, perhaps expanding their audience by creating podcast shows that play some of what they help the community produce? Leave your thoughts at the comment link below.

Beginners willing to touch a computer just need what one might call blog simple. has a bullet-proof approach which requires but a cell phone, and the capacity to discover Blogger Help's add-on features which lead one to audio account set up at I have been using this service for over a year. Dial one number, enter the phone number selected as your password, and everything recorded up to five minutes or until the pound key is pressed on the phone automatically becomes an mp3 file. The designated blog site automatically creates a post, and shows a play icon in the posting to visitors. "Look Ma, no hands!" Presto an audio blog that any user of the Web can play. Without visiting your computer and running an application, the audio blog is available, though returning later to add comments, pictures or notations can add much to the message. For example, see my post with podcast, text and picture.

But its not quite a podcast, capable of RSS syndicating with blog news readers, and synchronizing to download with mobile mp3 players. To do this, change the blog site's feed to Feedburner (as is the case with this blog site), putting the Feedburner link in a column on the page. Then, turn on linking and copy the HTML address location of the audio file into the link field. That's it.

More advanced users of have additional options. For those with HTML editing experience, the code for the icon can be pointed to any audio file stored in a web account anywhere. That is, any podcast uploaded to a personal web account can be pointed to (linked) from your blog site.

More features add complexity but also add appeal and nuance. Professional standards for audio add music backgrounds, bumpers, and other devices to monologue or conversation or add lead-in dialog to music. Each layer of music can be thought of as a track. Software can be used to do what a radio or music studio can do, bring different layers together, merge them into one file, and post them online. This "studio" software can be found as desktop applications or web-based applications. Curiously, both of them are called GarageBand.

The web site called GarageBand offers the next easiest step to creating a podcast. It plans to provide phone call-in of audio as does but will go one step further and make the call toll-free. In the meantime, it currently provides features for uploading audio files created elsewhere directly to Podcast Studio, a Web-based tool used to record, mix with already created songs found at the site and publish a podcast. They currently also offer over 40,000 music podcasts for great listening and downloading. Watching a short movie of a podcast production (click the links under stream or download) in which microphones and desktop computer applications are used instead of cell phones may provide better understanding of the process and concept instead of just reading about it.

More outfits are waiting in the wings with podcast creation tools, such as Odeo, a new hot start-up, with co-founder Evan Williams who was also co-founder of Pyra, bought by Google and turned into They too are promising soon to be ready to record, mix and publish with phone-in and audio file upload services. Would you leave a comment if you know of more competitors in this area?

At a higher level of skills, the Sound Recorder application that comes from with the Windows operating system can provide basic recording but in a format that will still need conversion and compression for web play.The application shipping with the Macintosh computer called GarageBand also provides a rich set of desktop tools for composing music, recording and mixing tracks. (The name is unrelated to the GarageBand web site, creating some confusion in the marketplace.) GarageBand offers a rich set of tools and sound loops for actually creating a song itself. Their web site provides a walk-through of the steps involved for podcasting, whether a created song or dialog. An inexpensive cross-platform tool can be found in Quicktime 7.0 which provides audio recording and conversion to the necessary formats for web play. Competitors like ePodcast Creator and Producer will work cross-platform and simplify the process.

Higher quality audio requires more professional equipment and an even higher skill level. Information on podcast setups with real microphones and other tools are not hard to find, e.g.: $100 U.S. Roadhouse design; or $200 U.S. BSW's podcast packages. More sophisticated software for multi-track audio is readily available, including: SoundTrack Pro; Audacity; and ProTools among many. See a Google search for "podcast setup" to sift for more studio combinations.

The intense focus on podcasting may be overlooking an unintended but positive long term benefit, podcasting entrepreneurship. At the highest level are professional recording studios such as those long employed in the creation of records and music CDs by orchestras, bands and others. As quality counts, the expanding horde of podcasters will generate a growing number interested in paying for audio recording done at the highest level. As use of podcasts grows, advertisers will provide commercials and sponsorships to go with the podcasts. The very highest interest and quality podcasts will be able to require a subscription.

Where to start? Even given their five minute limit per recording, I find's cell phone arrangement for podcasting to be current champion of lowest cost and least effort. There is no limit to the number of 5 minute postings that can be made. Whatever your choice, get busy and plan your podcasts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking Websites, Blogs and Auctions the New Internet Growing Trend

Remember what happened to silent movies. Well, it's now happening across the Internet. Silent websites are going the way of silent movies. Internet Audio services like,,,, and are popping up all over the Internet. There has been a growing trend of websites adding voiceovers and audio to their online presentations. Internet audio is filling in the gaps between text and static pictures.

Audio enhanced website owners are saying, audio on their websites is engaging their visitors on a personal level, and informing them and directing them to take an action. Website audio captures attention and generates interest, and can increase the time that visitors spend on a website. Audio adds a fresh new dimension to the traditional website presentation. Also, Internet audio leaves a lasting impression that increases the likelihood of visitors returning.

The New Internet Website Audio Services Providers

In the past, the technical task of setting up Internet audio on websites was tedious and complicated. These Internet audio services required special software, hardware and webmaster skills. As of today things have changed, most of the new Internet audio website service providers make this process fast and easy, requiring no software, no hardware and no technical skills. Subscription Internet audio services are available from online service providers for about $9.95 to $39.99 a month. A few of these service providers have special options for recording website audio over-the-phone.

A new company, V2P Communications recently announced its new 100% free Internet voice recording service for websites and auctions. This new service enables anyone to use a phone and record audio on websites, web pages, blogs, groups, auctions, online ads and Internet presentations. Voice2Page free Internet audio services accounts are limited to 15-seconds of audio recording and do not include many of the expanded features that are offered in their full-service subscription accounts. So, I gave it a test-run!

Recording by telephone was easy because I didn’t have to deal with connecting up microphone to my computer. Recording my initial voice message was a simple and fast process; I simply picked up my phone, called the recording hotline and entered my 6-digit access pin-code. Because the service was free, my recording time was limited to 15-seconds, which gave me ample time to say, "Hello!", and a few other things. It was just like recording a voice message on my cell phone.

The final setup step consisted of two things that I do regularly on a daily basis. I simply copied a section of text from a textbox and pasted it to my text description area on my website. So, I added my voice to my blog and on my profile. Afterwards, I went back to my website and my voice message was already playing on my page. I was very surprised with the sound quality of my voice recording. Needless to say, the service works great and it's absolutely 100% free!

The free voice2page service enables me to record and change my website voice messages whenever I want with my telephone. Newly recorded voice messages are automatically updated on my site in a matter of minutes. Now my friends hear my real voice when they visit my sites. does not require a credit card, because it’s free. Nevertheless, you will need a valid working email address in order to receive your membership login password. Voice2Page limits you to one free service account per email address; so, I had to register from two separate emails to get it setup on both of my sites.

Voice2Page has links to other monthly audio services like,,,, and Nevertheless, unlike the others sites, Voice2Page is free if you can deal with the limited 15-second audio recording restrictions and their occasional sponsorship audio advertisements.

After contacting a company representative by toll-free number, I was informed that I could upgrade my service to a non-ad supported 30-second voice recording account for $2.99, and that there are other full-featured subscription Internet audio services which include their MP3 audio uploading feature not included with the free service option. I'll probably setup another page or try it on one of my ebay auctions.

Research studies have consistently indicated that in the first minute a user is on site, that the decision is made either to explore, or click-away. Internet audio on a website captures, and holds, the attention of website visitors.

Using Internet Audio on Business Websites

Websites are using Internet audio to warmly welcome their prospects and to explain selling-points of their products and services with credibility. Some websites are even recording audio testimonial from satisfied past-client. Internet audio is being used to educate and inform, building trust in potential buyers. Beyond captivating potential buyers, you can prompt visitors to take an action and thus, increase your potential to close sales. Use your actual voice to invite someone to contact you, or to personally invite them back to visit. Beyond making your site a more memorable and pleasant experience, Internet website audio encourages visitors who are interested in your products and services to stay on your website longer, instead of clicking-away.

For every actual customer you have, there were probably many more who were interested in your products and services, but they didn't stay on your site long enough to convince themselves to buy. Website audio keep an interested buyer on your site, enabling them ample time to convince themselves to be your customer.

Beyond reading everything on your site, people have the tendency to remember what they have heard for a longer period of time. This leaves an open-door in their minds for a return visit and the potential for addition sales. Business website and Internet auction visitors are purchasing products and engaging in services based on what they are hearing.

You work hard to promote your sites. According to industry experts the average page view last less than 60 seconds. This means, you have only a few seconds to capture interest and motivate visitors to explore your website. Internet website audio bridges the click-away gap.

Conclusions: About Internet Website Audio

Traditional Internet marketing methods are losing their effectiveness: the click rates of banner ads have been on a steady decline, using pop-up windows is an unacceptable practice and offshore email servers are dishing up spam faster than we can eat it. Many website are adding audio and sound to their ads and sites, in an effort to maximize and capture the attention of website visitors that are no longer influenced by traditional Internet marketing methods. As it was in silent-movies, audio will be the next standard for websites across the Internet.

10/27/2005 10:59:00 AM  

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