About Podcasting and a Book Review – Podcasting Hacks, Jack Herrington

Even excluding my failure at making enough time in my schedule to actually DO Podcasts every week, I’ve found podcasting as a whole a bit tough to wrap myself around.


First, it’s one thing to just sit down at the PC and talk into the microphone, it’s a completely different thing to actually learn enough about audio technology to do a SHOW.


Carl Franklin at .NET Rocks makes it look easy. But he’s CHEATING. In addition to his IT Geekdom he is also a life-love accomplished musician with by default has made him an expert in sound and recording technology. Were it not for Carl’s patience and gracious tutelage I would have sold all my audio stuff on eBay 6th months ago. (It’s a particular tribute to Carl’s philanthropic nature that we would teach me how to get started doing a Podcasting show that some people might have though was of a competitive nature. Carl has always been more passionate about teaching other than he has about getting rich J )


This thing about audio technology is that the culture is much like computers.


  • EVERYONE is an expert.
  • EVERYONE has a distinct opinion about everything.
  • Ask 100 people the same question and get 100 different answers.
  • Most people know a lot about what they like but not so much about WHY they like it better than the other options.


Picking out hardware and software was a nightmare for me. Partly because I always over-engineer for future needs, and partly because I wanted to do it “right’ and I had no discretionary budget so I was paying for almost everything from my own pocket.


Example… Do you know how many different KINDS of Mics there are and that they have different uses.


Do you know what tracks are and why to use them. (I thought I knew, but what I knew from my time in the Music industry was all wrong for PC production.)


What about Mixers, Gates, Compressors, DA Bridges (for real quality phone interviews), what about the difference between studio/office and On-Location technology, live transmissions, compression, distribution, RSS, formats, sampling rates, ARRRRGH……


My buddy Michael J. Murphy, who is an IT Pro Evangelist here at Microsoft, took the pragmatic approach. He has a friend at a radio station to produce his shows. (If I had friends I would do the same thing.)


So……   I’m plodding on. I recently purchased some formal CBT training.


In the mean time I read “Podcasting Hacks”.


This book is basically 75 “Tips”.


While I recommend the book because it gives you a diverse exposure, I disliked that the book seems to try to be all things to all people.


The Tips go back and forth between Podcasting on Windows, on the Mac, and On Linux and contains little dialog on the advantages of one over the other except for the generic open source PR.


Still – this book will stay in my library. There is good info on both the business of Podcasting as well as the technology.


The Advanced Audio section will be great when I graduate from the basics and the book even includes plans for a real “home” based audio studio which I’d love to build in my back yard.


Get it here.


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