Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Here's how to get a podcast onto iTunes

Here’s what happened over the last week which took me from starting to plan an entertainment podcast to having one up on iTunes within 7 days:

- During the week of March 19th-23rd, I discussed the idea of doing a podcast with one of our reporters, Andrew Beam, who is a big music fan and was very interested in getting something like this up and running.

- I gathered two Sennheiser microphones that we had around the office for our Sony HD camera and an M-Audio USB audio interface that I had ( and hooked the setup into my laptop to see if it worked.

- After only testing to make sure that Audacity recognized the input from the mics, I gave the equipment to Andrew with the plan that he would try it out for a few days and we would work up a plan while he started reaching out to some local bands and entertainment outlets to see if they’d want to sit down for an interview.

- Things ended up moving much faster than we had originally had anticipated when Andrew found a local musician who was excited to do the podcast but was heading out of the area after the weekend. We ended up forgoing much of our initial planning and scheduling the interview for that Sunday, which Andrew did a great job with, even though he didn’t have any mic stands at the time -

- After the interview, I went through the recorded audio and realized that, besides the fact we had a guest that moved away from the microphone a little too often, the audio didn’t sound as clear as I had hoped.

- While browsing the web trying to learn about podcasting, I found a program called “Levelator” - - which I used to save me a lot of time that would have been spent even out audio levels throughout the hour-long podcast.

- The end result was still not the best thing in the world (a lot of hissing and low volume as the program raised the low signal to as close to a consistent level as it could), but it was certainly better than the original.

- Before I went to record the second episode, I spent a night on Google trying to figure out why the input volume was so low and sound quality was so bad. After a while, I found out that everything sounded much, much better once I had the latest driver installed for the M-Audio interface. If you ever use the one above, I would recommend that you download this driver if using Windows -

- After that, Andrew and I sat down on March 29th and recorded an intro for the first episode, edited it with a song clip the musician provided and the audio he had recorded previously. (FYI, I learned that it’s best to make your audio tracks Mono in Audacity so that the file will take up less space.)

- Finally, I had to figure out how to get the final MP3 up as a podcast.

- I found this site – – which was very helpful in terms of how to’s (I skimmed the text on a lot of the pages, but would imagine the actual podcasts are even more informative).
For anyone who doesn’t know how to use Audacity for recording, there’s a podcast for that:

- After making the final MP3, I had to make sure it had all of the tags and snazzy cover art (I made ours with free microphone clip art and our paper’s logo in Photoshop) needed to translate into a podcast and be recognized on iTunes. I used a free program called MP3tag -

- For hosting the MP3, I uploaded it to a folder on a JRC server that I have access to. Then I made a blog on to run the RSS feed that would fuel the podcast. You basically need to write all of your description for an episode (called “Show Notes”) in a new post and link directly to your MP3 file at the end.

- I used to “burn” the RSS feed from that new blog and make it iTunes-friendly (here’s a how-to: and then tested it using the podcasting app (I use DownCast) on my iPhone.

- To get it listed on iTunes, I just had to load up the iTunes store, click on Podcasts, then “Submit a Podcast.” Once you submit, you have to wait for iTunes to approve your submission. It look less than a day for them to get ours listed on iTunes.

- That’s pretty much it! I’m still working out the best way to track the metrics of podcast downloads and am working on the best ways to promote our podcast now that it’s out there.

- By the way, you can do all of the above using just USB headsets plugged into your computer if you don't have access to external microphones.

- More updates to come!

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