A few weeks ago, we featured the Armed With Science podcast as the GovLoop Project of the Week. Since I am located in Durham, NC, and the team was based in our nation's capitol, I conducted the interview using Talkshoe, a web-based tool like BlogTalkRadio (the preferred podcast tool of ArmedWithScience and Gov 2.0 Radio). Talkshoe enables the producer to host and record a podcast similar to the way that you'd conduct a conference call by phone. It's simple, free and makes your content immediately available to an audience. Even the digital immigrant who travels a mighty distance to meet you on social media will be comfortable with the format...and it mitigates the barrier of real, physical distance that could hinder the recording of a live podcast.
Now I could have embedded the full, 25-minute podcast and its associated player into my blog on GovLoop, but my hunch is that podcast listeners prefer shorter content. Here are a few reasons:
- You can cut to the content that's relevant to you.
- You can listen to some now and some later (how often have you been in the middle of a podcast and got pulled in another direction?).
- You can return to get a quick hit of inspiration and information.
- You can more readily share that content with someone else in real-time (rather than trying to mark or return to the key point(s).
Unfortunately, Talkshoe does not allow for this kind of content editing and since I wanted to create everything for free, I ended up using two other open source applications: Audacity and Podbean. Being an educator at heart, I'd like to share the production process with you. Mostly, I would like to see if you know of a quicker, low-resource way to accomplish the same goal: to cut and post a podcast in bite-size pieces.
Below is the play-by-play with pictures:
1. Create and send the podcast interview questions in advance. I developed a list of 9-10 questions for review by the Armed With Science team. Since my primary contact, John Ohab, was the main producer of his own podcast, he edited the questions and placed beside them the names of the people who would be most appropriate to provide a response. These couple of changes were immensely helpful to me as it provided a road map for the interview and ensured that everyone had ample air time.
2. Schedule the interview using Talkshoe. I used Talkshoe to host and record the podcast.* You'll need to sign up for an account, but it's free and easy - akin to creating an email account. It's a great tool for geographically disbursed teams and people who are new to social media because it works just like a conference call. All participants receive a call-in number and a code. However, the difference from a typical conference call is that the host can record it. Minutes after the call's conclusion, the recording becomes a downloadable podcast. Note from the image below that you can schedule a call to happen right now or at a future date and time, and pre-determine the length of the episode.
3. Conduct the call. Talkshoe makes it easy to convene your call on the designated date and time, per the big purple button aptly labeled "Start My Call."
Check out the "Invite Guests" feature in the upper right that enables the host to send out invitations to potential participants in advance. Once you start the call, a separate window will open (shown below). I've added a red box to outline where you start and stop your recording. The blue box highlights your ability to allow or block the chat feature and the green boxes are your control center for viewing and allowing participants to join the episode or talk during the call. If you're going to use Talkshoe to host a regular podcast show, the chat and mute functions become more relevant.
4. Download the podcast and save it on your computer. Check out the screen shot below. Once your call is completed, it becomes audio content that brims with possibilities. You can download and save it. You can listen to it on the site. Or you can manipulate it a bit using another tool (more about that in a minute) and re-upload it to Talkshoe. For our purposes, you'll want to right click where it says Download and select "Save Target as", using an mp3 sound format.
5. Download Audacity. You can find Audacity and many other helpful, open source tools at SourceForge.net. In a nutshell, "Audacity® is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds."
6. Import the mp3 file into Audacity. Once you've downloaded Audacity, launch it. Once it's open, go to Project and "Import Audio". Browse your computer and select the saved mp3 file. It will look like the image below:
7. Cut up the audio file into bite size-chunks. Audacity is a fairly intuitive software. A brief examination of the image above reveals the stops and starts of conversation. From here, you're basically engaging in a copy and paste job:
a. Select the portion of the audio content you'd like to truncate.
b. Go to Edit, then hit "Copy."
c. Go to File and select "New."
d. When the new screen opens, go to Edit and "Paste".
e. From there, go to File and hit "Export as WAV" or "Export as MP3."
f. Repeat process for each of the sections you'd like to break into chunks.
8. Upload the individual MP3 files into Podbean. I know, I know, this process is starting to seem long and convoluted. If you know of a better one, let me know. But here's the second to last step. Sign up for a Podbean account. Again, it's free and asks for minimal information to get started. From the screenshot below. You'll notice it's suspiciously similar to WordPress. Go to Publish a new show.
After you hit "Publish a new show," you'll see the following:
In the lower right, use the "Choose File" feature and find a single mp3 file on your computer, then hit Publish (not visible on image above, but it's located just below "Choose File"). Enter your title and a description. If you're anticipating traffic to your Podbean site, you'll probably want to add some tags as well. After you've uploaded the file, it will appear on the page as in the image below. Note that I have circled the area where you can find the embed code. (Extra Credit: You will also note that we have not done much to brand GovLoop's Podbean presence. If you want to volunteer to help with this project, let me know!)
You can even pick the kind of player you want to use (per the image below). If Peter picked a podcast player on Podbean, how many podcast players does Peter need to pick? Okay, okay, couldn't resist.
9. Post the embed code into your blog on GovLoop (or anywhere else!). Heading into the home stretch now - if you've copied the embed code from above, then all you need to do is paste it into your blog post. Since I had several smaller pieces of podcast, I had to paste several chunks of code...it doesn't look pretty on the HTML view...
...but oh the beauty once you're all done!
Do you agree?
By now, you're thinking....wow, that took a lot of work. Yes it did. So if you have a better way, let us know how you do it! Create your own "How-To" or direct us to a video or simulation on the Web.
One last thing: we are hoping to build out an entire series of "How-Tos" on GovLoop. If you have an idea for this series, please let me know and we'll be sure to tag it and add it to the vast repository that is our vision.
* Talkshoe does not support these browsers: Internet Explorer below version 6, Firefox below version 2, Opera version 8, or Safari below version 3, or Google Chrome)