The key to success of any podcast or Internet radio show is being included on iTunes.
The link to our iTunes page is Dog Works Radio on iTunes
After you have hosted a few shows you can request to be included on iTunes. There is a step by step tutorial on the BlogTalk Radio page under Support.
I would say that most of our download traffic comes from iTunes. Probably in the range of 900 or so a week.
Skype is a key component to our radio shows. We could not do the show without it. First it is the method that is used to call in and host the show but also allows us to accept callers and guests. You should note that Skype is only as good as your Internet connection and speed and this has been our biggest obstacle for our shows.
When I found my home in Alaska a deal breaker would have been if we did not have a fast Internet connection. I can remember asking my realtor this and saying that if Internet was not available, that I could not move forward on this property. While the Internet up here is broadband, it is far from speedy. You have to remember that quite a few homes up here are still without electricity and running water and have to use outhouses. This is Alaska!
For our shows we use the unlimited calling features which costs $8.99 a month. As you can see the costs to produce and host a quality show add up quickly.
Skype and BlogTalk Radio and a Hotspot connection are a perfect marriage. I have hosted shows being stuck in traffic using my iPhone as well as from events and an on-location sites and quite a few hotel rooms all over North America. The cost for a typical hotspot is $39.00-$100.00 a month from myriad providers (Sprint, AT&T, Cricket, etc.) I currently use the new hot spot feature on my iPhone for an extra $25.00 a month on my data plan.
We use Audio Technica microphones(approximately $250.00 each–2009 price). There are the perfect double carotid mic’s that work very well for podcasts/radio shows as well as vocals for music. While these aren’t the most expensive microphones by any means, they are very rugged and hold up well to abuse. You need that when you are doing on-location remotes as well as the daily grind in a dog training center.
The pop filter ($12.00 each) for your microphones are necessary equipment for your podcast/radio show. The pop filter is a foam screen that covers the microphone so your listeners don’t hear that familiar popping sound on their end when you say words that, well, pop…
A shock mount ($45.00-$100.00 each) is a necessary piece of equipment for your microphone. The shock mount will alleviate the vibrations and jolts that your microphone will be subjected to as you move it around. Think of a shock mount as a cradle for your mic.
A boom ($99.00 each) for your microphone is what all the professionals use. If you use a microphone on your desk and you are prone to smack down with your fists or move things around, the sensitive microphones will pick it up.
I use Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones ($350.00) for my radio work at home and Bose in-ear head-phones ($99.00) for the show when I am away. Some will say that Bose’s noise canceling feature does not work well for audio recordings such as a podcast/radio show, I have found it works to my benefit because I suffer from some deafness in my left ear from my rock band days.
A regular pair of headphones will work but it is up to you on what you want to hear as you host your show.
For our radio shows we use an Alesis 8 channel multi-mix USB mixing board ($180.00). This rock solid board is a must have for a professional podcast/radio show. It allows for 8 different inputs (microphones and other devices). I did find that it takes quite a bit of technical know-how to get it to work properly on a Mac system as it could not find the appropriate drivers.
There are various cords that will need to be used depending on the configuration that you use. There are at least eight different types in my set up.
In December 2009 I bought a MacBook Pro for the purposes of producing the best show that I could. I got a heck of a deal at Micro Center on my 15” MacBook Pro with a savings of over $900.00 because it was a return and did not have any operating system or software installed. I paid just over $600.00 for this laptop. A new one will set you back at least $1500.00. When I am at my home studio I use my Mac Mini. The Mac Mini is the greatest computer that the folks at Apple ever released. Not only are they a cheap $599.00 but they pack a punch. Note that the 599 price tag does not include a monitor, keyboard or mouse. These will set you back a pretty penny if you want to use Apple hardware.
My MacBook and Mac Mini are set up with the exact same configurations in terms of hosting my show. It makes for seamless integration for switching equipment on the go.
I will admit it. I am a Mac guy. I have sipped the Apple Juice enough where I doubt I will ever go back to a PC.
The software that we use for the production of our show is Garage Band 11 (approximately $99.00 from Apple). This is about as good as you can get for a guy that used to play in a rock band and have goals of a multi-year world tour.
Garage Band allows you to record on multiple tracks. Has superior editing tools. You can add sound bites, recordings and other items that will make your podcast/radio show top notch.
A podcast/radio show is only as good as its editing. While there are ways to host a show live using Skype and the BlogTalk Radio platform, there currently is not an easy way to do this using Garage Band. In order to do so you have to record the show then cut and past each ‘voice’ into Garage Band. I have found that we just record the show live on BlogTalk Radio and then download it into Garageband to edit it and then re-load the show to the platform. These steps are very time consuming but with the nature of the Internet you will have to do this from time to time.
We have hired one of the best voice talents that we could find to record dynamic show introductions and commercial spots. This makes the show more professional than the nerdy kid in the basement using pirated songs from his iTunes library. Not only is that illegal but most platforms will shut the podcast down if they find out about it.
Our commercial spots are from our sponsors. While it does not cost 1000s of dollars to host our show, costs do add up. We spend a lot of time and energy on the production of our shows and we are thankful for the sponsors.
If you would like to find out more about sponsorship for either one of our shows and reach 1000s of listeners a week, let me know.
Cost: about $30.00-$45.00 per minute of voice work plus other costs vary for production to include music, effects, etc.
Tomorrow: Secrets of Dog Works Radio Part 3