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What About Podcasting?

I was having a discussion with Mike Ellis at Boston University and we got on the subject of podcasts. His question: what do you think about podcasting–is it worth it? Great question. Made me think.

When we re-did our website last year and were looking at options on the Sidearm menu, I wasn’t real excited about the podcast option. We had surveyed our fans about which options they wanted on the website and we didn’t get a rousing response about podcasting,  But, my boss said we should do it–he’s a podcast listener–so I said OK and agreed to facilitate it. Cost=minimal. What I didn’t know at the time was how easy they are to produce and put up.

In 2008, only 18% of the population had listened to a podcast. The active audience numbers were about 1/3 that number.  Our podcast numbers were slightly less than our YouTube numbers over the last six months, but they were surprisingly good. I think that’s because we pushed a lot of good content to the media and promoted it on all our social channels and website.

We had been using audio files for a while–emailing them out to media after Tuesday press lunches and post game. Now, we post them on a page we call a “podcast channel” on our Sidearm website.

Podcasts are surprisingly simple to produce. All you need is a digital recorder. I got a nice Olympus handheld at Radio Shack a couple years ago for about $80, but there are many less expensive ones starting at around $20. Mine has a pop-out USB similar to a Flip cam and is very easy to edit with. All the files pop up in a window as soon as you plug it into your computer. Mine records in .wma (Windows Media Audio) but there is plenty of free software out there that will change it to QuickTime or any other format you want plus let you edit the clips. I can store about 200 files in 5 different folders on mine and the battery power is about 20 hours. They pick sound up surprisingly well if you set the recorder close to the person talking. It also has an external mike jack to improve the quality.

Another way I produce podcasts is using my video software. I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio but most video software will produce audio files. After I edit and render interviews or press conferences in Vegas, I delete everything but the audio track and save that as a .wma. Voila! Instant podcast. This way, you get two media pieces for the price (time) of one.

Mike had a great idea: having your radio people do a special exclusive podcast after the game just for your fans. It could be an add-on, interview with a student-athlete that didn’t make the post-game presser, or preview upcoming games–anything. Radio people are always looking for air time. Our radio guy produces a daily chat he sends me via email during football and basketball seasons. They are very popular. You can even put your post game radio show up as a stand alone podcast. This goes up on the web quickly and will give fans something to listen to while you get those video highlights done and up on the website.

Do you do podcasts? How do you use them? I need some ideas!

2 Responses to “What About Podcasting?”

  1. Robert July 30, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    What's the value of a standalone podcast when you can just easily add video?

  2. Chris Syme July 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    We have a number of fans that listen to podcasts on media that they can't get video on, or they listen to them at work in the background, like music, when they are on their computers. Ours are also downloadable from ITunes and people can put them on an IPod and listen at their convenience. It's a niche audience, but one that is growing. Kind of the same vein as talk sports radio, I think.

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