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How to start an audio podcast on the cheap

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Podcasting is a great way to create, syndicate and distribute your own audio/video content on the Web. We're just getting started with our own audio podcast at Lava Row, so I wanted to take a moment to explain how you can create your own show on the cheap.

Step One: Choose a recording device
Chances are your laptop or desktop computer came with a mic (corded and/or built-in). You can get by with this if you'll be the only one in the room talking and understand that it doesn't offer top-notch quality. Our podcast is always going to involve more than one person, so we chose the Snowball USB Mic from Blue Microphones (affordable and available for around $100 on Amazon.com).

Step Two: Figure out your content ahead of time
As with any digital initiative, the first thing you'll want to do is figure out how you're going to use the medium and determine what your content is going to be. Are you going to interview others? What will the topics be? What insight can you provide that other podcast programs can't?

Step Three: Record calls on Skype
Skype is a free VOIP application that you can download and install on your computer. If you're going to be interviewing guests who can't come to your "studio" in person, just call them with Skype and record the conversation with the Pamela Call Recorder add-on. The free version will let you record up to 15 minutes, and for $25 you can upgrade for unlimited recording times.

Step Four: Choose your editing software
At some point you're going to need to trim your audio file, add music, or edit parts together. For PC users we'd recommend Audacity (a free download) for these simple tasks. Mac users will already have the iLife suite installed on their machines, which is an amazing software package that contains sophisticated tools for audio editing/mixing.

Step Five: Distribution
Apple's iTunes is probably the most ubiquitous (and common) way to distribute your podcast. Here's an outline of guidelines and specifications about how to get your podcast feed synced up with iTunes.

Pretty simple, right? That's all you need to get going. If you've set up your own podcast, feel free to chime in below - how did you make yours a success?

Nathan T. Wright is the founder of Lava Row, a social media education, consulting and strategy firm based in Des Moines' East Village.
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Great overview -- thanks! I got the snowball mic for Christmas so I'm going to be experimenting with podcasts as well.

Your timing was perfect!


Great article. I would also recommend http://www.freeconferencecall.com/ for recorded calls from your phone.

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