Monday, April 20, 2009

Gabcast Makes Podcasting Easy

Wish you could start your own radio station? For most of you (and for me, too), the answer is, "Dream on."

However, podcasting offers the next best thing. In fact, there are some ways in which podcasting is superior to broadcasting. For instance, you can record and upload your podcast episodes whenever you like, and listeners can listen whenever they like, without having to worry about missing any episodes of your show. And of course, they can store those episodes on digital media and/or portable MP3 players (including an iPod, of course) and listen to them again and again.

Also, podcasts can be easily integrated into blogs such as this one. They can also be sent in the form of attachments with e-mail messages.

Think you need a professional audio studio in order to go into podcasting? Well, maybe not. It depends on what your needs are.

I just discovered a service, at, which allows one to create podcasts from any telephone, including a VoIP telephone. (When one uses a VoIP telephone, it's free to record one's podcast. Telephone access for recording podcasts with a regular phone is 10 cents per minute.)

Gabcast includes some pretty cool features, such as the ability to restrict access to specific podcast channels or episodes. (This would be a great way to communicate with the members of a large organization or the employees of a large company, with confidential information which shouldn't be made available to everyone.)

They also offer the ability to turn conference calls into podcasts, which would be very useful as a means of interviewing people remotely for one's podcast show. And they help to promote your podcast via a page which offers public access to all publicly accessible channels and episodes.

It isn't a total solution for podcasting. If one prefers to be able to record one's podcast with home studio equipment, and then upload the audio recording and turn it into a podcast, one would be better off looking for another hosting solution. But there's no reason one can't use both types of hosting programs.

Having said that, there is a way to use Gabcast for making previous audio recordings into podcasts. Get a professional telephone interface. For that purpose, I recommend products from JK Audio. In particular, their THAT-2 interface seems to be a good choice as a means of sending audio from a professional audio source with an XLR output or an RCA line output. This is much, much better than holding the telephone receiver in front of the speaker from your audio recording/playback system and trying to record your Gabcast episode that way! It's also useful for playing recordings over the phone when conversing with your friends. The THAT-2 is equally good for recording your phone conversations when you don't have Gabcast, or when you want more versatility than you'll get with Gabcast.

JK Audio also makes a variety of other interfaces, such as a unit which allows you to easily record conversations you have with a cell phone (or, in the case of another unit, with a Bluetooth cell phone).

The aforementioned Wikipedia is atypically brief with regard to information about podcasting. Fortunately, it also includes a link to a web page with what appears to be a wealth of information. 76 pages worth, in fact. Here's a link to some additional how-to information.

Back in the 70's, when I worked as KSOZ at the College of the Ozarks (then known as the School of the Ozarks), I got a substantial amount of experience sitting behind a mic. KSOZ was a 20,000 watt FM station affiliated with National Public Radio (NPR). So I think that it's safe to say that I have what it takes to put on a professional-sounding podcast, although setting things up for the affiliated feed would be a new experience for me.

I have a number of ideas with regard to specific podcasts I hope to create in the future. For more information, stay tuned, as they used to say in the broadcasting biz!

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