So your company has decided it wants to start a podcast. Perhaps it hopes to cement its credentials in a particular field or maybe it hopes to speak to a new segment of the market. The content direction has been set and scripts are starting to be sketched out. Now, all you have to do is decide how to actually produce the thing.
Given podcasting’s popularity there are an array of solutions on the market for every niche — from the individual podcaster to the large corporate shops. To winnow through these offerings we turned to Steve Lubetkin, managing partner of the Lubetkin Media Cos. and author of the book The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional, for his take on the best of the best on the market. Following are his top picks for each segment of the market.
Audacity is a multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. It was developed by a group of volunteers as open source. A free program, it is considered very good for basic recording. The company has added bells and whistles over the years that have made the system very good in comparison to some of the more expensive commercial programs.
Audacity is popular with a lot of podcast producers because it is very simple to use and doesn’t have the complicated interface that a lot of the other programs have, Lubetkin said.
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GarageBand is a music creation studio application that is part of most Apple Macs. It sports, among other features, a sound library that includes instruments, presets for guitar and voice, and an selection of session drummers and percussionists. It also has a recording program that is specific to podcasting, Lubetkin said. For people who are already operating in the Apple ecosystem it is a smart choice. It, too, is free.
Audition comes with multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio content. This application is designed to support video production workflows and audio finishing. It is part of the Adobe family of software and is a paid system. The system basically mimics a comprehensive recording studio, said Lubetkin, who added that this is the platform he uses for his own podcasts. “It does everything you could possibly want to do including sophisticated multi-track recording.” More sophisticated podcasters who may be independent producers and not part of a large corporation tend to be the typical users. Some large corporations may use it too, especially if the podcast is seen as experimental or is part of a creative person’s larger portfolio within the company.
One con to the application that Lubetkin highlighted is that it can be surprisingly complex as it has a lot of bells and whistles that can be intimidating for someone who isn’t familiar with the interface.
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This application offers multi-user installations for radio stations and professional audio production facilities. Its feature set includes an audio editor that the company says has been tailored for radio journalism and podcasting. It also supports the production of audio books. Hindenburg products can be installed on both Apple and Windows. The company notes that users can exchange sessions from one operating system to the other if they want. Hindenburg made Lubetkin’s cut because it was designed for radio broadcasters and it sells several different versions including a low-end, stripped down version, he said. “It’s been tailored to the needs of radio recordings and newscasters so it works very nicely for podcasting.”
Produced by Avid, Pro Tools is a top music and audio platform that offers recording, MIDI, and score editing tools, studio-staple sound processors and full mixing automation. Avid is a company that makes high-end video production systems that many TV stations and some networks use, Lubetkin said. It is most commonly found in a commercial recording studio rather than in a podcaster’s studio. But some podcasters do use it, he said — such as large corporations that are producing podcasts, particularly if they’re in the media industry. “They will turn to Pro Tools because it’s an industry standard,” Lubetkin said. But, he added, like all high-end programs it can be extremely complex.