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 Podcasting Hacks review

I recently read this book and found it to not only be a good read but also a valuable resource to some other projects I am working on. Hope you enjoy the review.

"Podcasting Hacks is a great book for anyone who wants to create a podcast and a great book for anyone who is already recording but wants to improve their podcast. I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover but as all hacks are cross referenced I will also be using it as a reference book to improve my podcasting and audio skills. Without any reservations I would recommend this book to anyone involved with podcasting."

 (Submitted by Noel Mon Oct 31, 2005 )


Podcasting Hacks

By Jack Herrington

Reviewed by Noel Davis

A podcast is an audio show delivered over the Internet. Podcasts can be compared to a radio show in format and content and only significantly differ in the way the show is delivered to the end user.

Recently my wife and I started creating a weekly sailing podcast we named The FurledSails.com Sailing Podcast. We both host the show and I do the audio engineering end of things. This includes recording the show, editing the recordings, and then producing the files for distribution.

On the surface producing a twenty five minute audio program seems like a simple task and to some extent it is. However, there is a huge difference between producing twenty-five minutes of audio and twenty-five minutes of audio that sounds good.

That is where Podcasting Hacks comes in. This book is a collection of hacks in lots of different areas relating to podcasting. Hacks are clever tricks not a way to break into someone's computer which is more properly referred to by the term cracks.

The author of Podcasting Hacks is Jack Herrington who is a computer programmer / engineer with a primary focus is in the area of code generation. He is the creator of the Bound Cast book review podcast. It seemed a little strange to me that a person with his primary interests in other areas would create a book about podcasting hacks. However the fact that he was not a highly experience podcaster worked in his favor and helped him to fully explain concepts and ideas that otherwise might have been glossed over.

So with all that out of the way lets get down to the part where I tell you what is actually in this book:

  • Chapter 1. Tuning into Podcasts

    This chapter talks about how to find and listen to podcasts. It also includes Perl hacks to "rebroadcast" a list of podcasts using RSS (Real Simple Syndication) and convert a text blog into a podcast using a Mac. If your not currently listening to podcasts your missing out on a lot and this chapter will help you find, download, and listen to podcasts.

  • Chapter 2. Starting Out

    Starting with recording a basic podcast and then continuing with advice on how to create a more professional recording this chapter provides a starting place for anyone who would like to record a podcast.

  • Chapter 3. Quality Sound

    This section covers all sorts of information on how to make your podcast sound better. In the hardware topic it covers picking a microphone, mixer, and compressor. There are also hacks that talk about building a home studio and training your voice. This is a chapter that I found fascinating and find myself going back to again and again. There is a lot of information and each time I read through it I pick up something new.

  • Chapter 4. Formats

    What type of podcast are you planning to create? Is it a news podcast? Will you review music? How about politics or a radio play? This section of the book explores what a format is, how radio stations set up a show, and then talks extensively about what you should think about for each type of show.

  • Chapter 5. Interviewing

    When I was in school I never imagined that I would still be writing book reports when I had teenagers. One other thing I never expected to do prior to creating a podcast is to interview someone. (Well I have done a few interviews on RootPrompt.org if you count sending a list of questions by email an interview). This chapter provided a lot of great information on how to do a good interview. There is also information on interviewing someone over the telephone or the Internet with VoIP.

  • Chapter 6. Blogging

    If your already creating a blog you might find the information on how to get popular blogging software to work for podcasting helpful. If you are not blogging then this section will tell you more or less what you need to know. There is also an interesting hack that tells you how you can get your podcast syndicated onto regular radio stations.

  • Chapter 7. Publicity

    Unless your podcast is aimed only at other family members and personal friends then you will need to let your potential audience know about your show. You should read this chapter to learn about podcasting directories, marketing your podcast, monitizing your podcast, and more.

  • Chapter 8. Basic Editing

    If you listen to our first few podcasts, then listen to the latest ones you can hear the difference that spending some money on equipment and following some of the advice in this chapter can make. (I say some of the advice because this is another one of the chapters that each time I read it I pick up more information I can use to make our podcast better.

  • Chapter 9. Advanced Audio

    Chapter nine starts with a hack that shows how to pick even better tools and hardware, then describes building cedub studio. Reading this chapter made me want a studio of my own, and it is one that I will be going back to when the less advanced chapters have been mastered. The chapter also covers a diverse selection of topics including copyright, using music legally, and integrating email and voicemail into your podcast.

  • Chapter 10. On the Go

    Would you like (or need) to record audio in the field away from your home studio? This section will tell you how to put together a remote recording rig, how to podcast while driving a car (not sure about how good an idea this is, I am easily distracted with out trying something like this), how to record and event, and how to create a "sound seeing tour".

  • Chapter 11. Videoblogging

    Not a lot of information in this chapter. I am not pretty enough to do a video podcast, but if you are check out this chapter. There is an interesting hack on how to build your own teleprompter.

Podcasting Hacks is a great book for anyone who wants to create a podcast and a great book for anyone who is already recording but wants to improve their podcast. I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover but as all hacks are cross referenced I will also be using it as a reference book to improve my podcasting and audio skills. Without any reservations I would recommend this book to anyone involved with podcasting.

Table of Contents:




Chapter 1. Tuning into Podcasts  

       1. Listen to Podcasts on the Web   

       2. Rebroadcast Your Favorite Feeds   

       3. Build Your Own Podcatcher   

       4. Import Podcasts into iTunes   

       5. Tune into Videoblogs   

       6. Convert Text-Based Blogs into Podcasts   

       7. Install Perl Modules   

       8. Listen to Podcasts on Your PDA   

       9. Podcatching with Your PlayStation Portable   

Chapter 2. Starting Out  

       10. Make Your First Podcast   

       11. Professional-Quality Podcasting   

Chapter 3. Quality Sound  

       12. Set Up a Basic Home Studio   

       13. Pick the Right Microphone   

       14. Mix Your Podcast in Hardware   

       15. Reduce Noise   

       16. Podcast in Surround Sound   

       17. Control Your Recorder with Your Mobile Phone   

       18. Construct Your MP3s   

       19. Train Your Voice   

Chapter 4. Formats  

       20. Adopt a Format for Your Podcast   

       21. Build a Great News Podcast   

       22. Build a Great Story Show   

       23. Build a Great Personal Show   

       24. Build a Great Political Show   

       25. Make a Mystery Science Theater Podcast   

       26. Build a Great Music Podcast   

       27. Build a Great Review Podcast   

       28. Build a Great Sports Podcast   

       29. Build a Great Technology Podcast   

       30. Build a Beercast   

       31. Build an MP3zine   

       32. Produce Great Audio Theatre   

Chapter 5. Interviewing  

       33. Record Great Interviews   

       34. Record Telephone Interviews   

       35. Record Interviews on Skype   

       36. Edit Your Interviews   

Chapter 6. Blogging  

       37. Podcast Without a Blog   

       38. Blog Your Podcast   

       39. Manage Bandwidth   

       40. Tag Your MP3 Files   

       41. Feed Your MP3s to Movable Type   

       42. Podcast by Email   

       43. Syndicate Your Podcasts to the Radio   

Chapter 7. Publicity  

       44. Get Listed   

       45. Launch a New Category   

       46. Market Your Podcast   

       47. Make Money with Podcasts   

       48. Connect with the Community   

       49. Join or Build a Podcast Network   

Chapter 8. Basic Editing  

       50. Choose the Right Audio Tools   

       51. Juice Your Sound   

       52. Automate Audio Hijack Pro   

       53. Timestamp Your Show Notes   

       54. Build a Simple Sound Cart for Macintosh   

       55. Build a Simple Sound Cart for Windows   

       56. Maintain the Gain   

       57. Build a Sweet Sound   

       58. Add Special Effects   

       59. Fix Common Audio Problems   

       60. Mix Multiple Tracks   

Chapter 9. Advanced Audio  

       61. Set Up a Home Studio   

       62. Integrate Audio and Email Feedback   

       63. Add Top, Bottom, and Bumper Music   

       64. Record and Add Background Ambience   

       65. Speech Synthesize Your Podcast Introduction   

       66. Make a Mash-Up   

       67. Grab Audio Legally   

       68. Use Copyrighted Music Legally   

Chapter 10. On the Go  

       69. Assemble a Small Recording Rig   

       70. Podcast from Your Car   

       71. Podcast at an Event   

       72. Create a Soundseeing Tour   

Chapter 11. Videoblogging  

       73. Start a Videocast   

       74. Make a Quick-and-Dirty Prompter   

       75. Build a Teleprompter   



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