Podcasting 103: Creating Audio Files Takes Audacity

This is part of the Podcasting curriculum at Social Media University, Global.

Instead of significant text, I’m doing a show and tell using Slideshare.net. I like how Slideshare let me synchonize slides with an mp3 file.

You can download Audacity here, and this is where you can get the LAME encoder that enables you to export Audacity files as mp3 files.

Homework Assignments:

  1. Download Audacity and the LAME encoder.
  2. Create an audio file using Audacity, in which you talk about your favorite Web site, blog or social networking site.
  3. Edit the file by trimming the beginning and end and any mistakes you’d rather not have published to the world.
  4. Export the recording as an mp3, and save it for future use in the SMUG student podcast.

Chancellor Conversations

That’s the name of the new podcast I’m creating as part of developing the podcasting curriculum for Social Media University, Global (SMUG).

Here’s the first episode. Which makes it web audio, not really a podcast yet. A podcast is a series of audio or video files to which you can subscribe. Within a couple of days this will be a full-fledged podcast, but for now, give this episode a listen. It’s a starting point…like the chubby guy in the “before and after” diet photos. Hopefully you’ll hear improvement that’s as dramatic as what you see here:

As we work through the podcasting curriculum, you’ll see that I use Audacity, iTunes and WordPress.com for recording, tagging and hosting podcasts. These are by no means the only ways to get these jobs done, but I’m using them to show SMUG students at least one free or ridiculously inexpensive method, and so that we have a common frame of reference.

Once our students know there’s one free and easy way to podcast, they can experiment with alternatives and perhaps upgrade some elements of the basic SMUG podcast plan to improve their presentation or delivery.

I would welcome any other suggestions for hardware or software products or hosting services that might be alternatives to the ones I’m using. If you have microphone recommendations, for example, those would be helpful. Please offer your suggestions in the comments. And maybe after we’re done working through the podcasting curriculum together, we can develop a set of options with three or four tiers of recommendations at varying price levels.

So please share your reactions and suggestions for improvement in the comments on these podcasting posts.

Podcasting 102: Becoming a Podcaster

podcast podcasting podcaster

Once you’ve gotten some familiarity with podcasting as a consumer (see Social Media 106/Podcasting 101: Introduction to Podcasting), you may want to explore producing a podcast of your own.

The great news is that for a couple hundred dollars you can get equipment and hosting services that will enable you to produce and distribute a high-quality podcast for your business or academic, non-profit or not-for-profit organization. You can do something that will reflect well on your organization and that will enable you to communicate with and engage your key stakeholders, employees, customers or prospects.

The even better news is that through Social Media University, Global you can get experience as a podcaster in a safe environment and learn how to do it without putting your organization’s reputation at risk. You can see just how easy it is to produce a podcast, so that you will know the steps involved. Then you can go back to your work colleagues and supervisors and/or your IT department and be well-armed for the discussion when they tell you it would be too technically difficult or expensive to produce a podcast.

I’m not going to cover the strategic considerations behind podcasting yet; I will get into those in the 300-level courses. For now let’s just say that you have an audience to reach or a public to engage, and you want to know:

  1. What steps are required to produce and distribute a podcast?
  2. Is it realistic for me or for my organization to have a podcast?

The answer to question #2 is definitely yes, and I will prove it to you by answering question #1 with the rest of the 100-level courses in the Podcasting curriculum.

The best news of all is that, in keeping with SMUG’s tuition-free policies, your cost for production and worldwide distribution of your podcast will be exactly:


That’s right. Assuming you have access to a computer (and the fact that you’re reading this suggests you probably have that part covered), as a SMUG student you will create a podcast for literally zero dollars. Not “three easy payments of $19.95.” Not “nothing down and no interest for 90 days.” Nothing. Ever.

And you’ll have a built-in focus group. Your fellow SMUG students will be able to subscribe to your podcast and comment on it, offering suggestions for improvement. And you can do likewise for theirs.

I’m going to use this course as an excuse to start my SMUG podcast, too. I’ll experiment with some different methods, and let you know how they work. You’ll be able to hear the results of each production choice. And as I create the distribution system for my podcast, as a SMUG student you’ll be able to add your podcast as a channel for free. I’ll walk you through step-by-step how I did it, and then you can take what you’ve learned back to your business or organization and maybe spend a little more for a dressed-up version.

Get ready for a hands-on learning adventure in podcasting!

If you haven’t enrolled in SMUG yet, you can do that here.

Photo credit: Frank Gruber

SMUG Extension Classes


Social Media University, Global (SMUG) is built on the distance-learning paradigm. And unlike traditional universities with on-line programs, we don’t have a requirement that some of the credits be taken on campus in a group setting.

Frankly, we don’t have room for all y’all. (I understand that’s the plural for the singular Texas “y’all.”)

Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to have you visit… one at a time. While you’re here in Austin, Minn. you can also see the world-famous SPAM museum. People have been known to come from as far as Hawaii and Guam to visit the birthplace of the canned meat that saved Western civilization during WW II.

So if they’ll travel that far for SPAM, maybe you’d want to do it for SMUG, right?

If not, and if you’d like to organize a group to have SMUG’s Extension Service bring an intensive session of classes to your community or company, let’s talk. Face-to-face dialogue is still the most effective way to learn.

We can do a Blogging Bootcamp. A Facebook Forum. A Wiki Workshop. A Twitter Tutorial. A Podcasting Program. Or we could tie it all together into a Social Media Summit.

Then you can continue your SMUG education through our on-line courses.

The map above, which is from my Facebook Cities I’ve Visited application, is useful in three respects:

  1. If you see a pin on the map for your city, I’ve been there before. Not for SMUG classes, but I know how to get there. I’d be glad to visit again.
  2. If you don’t see a pin for your city (or if your continent isn’t even shown!), it would be a new adventure for me. That would be fun, too.
  3. All blog posts should have a graphic or video of some kind to make them more interesting. Having the map accomplished that for this post.

If you’re interested in SMUG Extension, see the “Contact the Chancellor” box on this page.