The Making and Life of a Blogger: The Story Continues: Chapter Twenty-Six–My Podcast

I started my Podcast Common Sense And Ramblings In America at the behest of my lovely wife, Connie who has served as my ever-suffering proofreader and editor for which she will have my undying love and gratitude. If you have spent any time perusing through my blog and looking at my postings, you might become a little daunted especially if you don’t enjoy reading. I will be the first one to admit that they can be quite lengthy. I do this for a reason, and that is I try to pack as much information as possible into each article. Which now brings us to the meat of this chapter, my Podcast. I have created it as a companion to my Blog. I take a lot of my articles and I basically synopsize them in my Podcasts. I even read my first book on a series of them a few months ago. I will also read this book when it is finished. So basically there will be two ebooks on my Podcast. I think that is pretty cool because I am doing this at no charge to my listeners. I also include an occasional rant podcast. At the writing of this book, I just posted my 57th podcast. I try to post at least once a week but I also have stated on multiple occasions that I make no promises on this. When I post them I put a notice on my Facebook site. They are not uniform in length and it varies depending on the topic. They range from just under ten minutes to close to an hour in length.

When I first considered doing a Podcast, I had to decide if I was going to do just an audio one or do a video one. The general consensus was to start first with the Audio podcast. It was by far the cheapest and easiest one to do. It also was the most versatile one to do because your followers could listen to it even while working on something at home or driving to work. When and where you can watch a video podcast is more limited. I am not sure about that, it seems that people have plenty of opportunities to watch a TikTok video, or a YouTube video, so I don’t know if this is a valid argument. Another argument is that people will listen to a longer audio podcast than they will to a video one because it requires more focus and concentration and a devotion of time. Maybe this is a valid argument. However, what was the determining factor was the ease of setting it up and the costs involved. What I needed was a podcast posting site like Buzzsprout and an audio or MP3 recording program. Windows comes with one but for a few dollars you can get one that is easier to use. The last thing I needed was a good USB microphone. Mine cost me around $100.00. My initial cost was $120.00 plus tax for the basic infrastructure and a small monthly fee for the posting site. The more time you need the more money it costs. I pay for three hours of upload time a month. That is plenty of time for me because I post about once a week and my recording time is usually no more than thirty minutes. The only other requirement for your audio podcast is a room that has fairly good acoustical properties. You don’t want to record in an echo chamber. In my case, the office is just fine. I simply close the door when I am recording and I ask my wife to keep the background noise down for the thirty or so minutes when I am recording an episode.

The video podcast requires more equipment and more sophisticated software. You also need a nicer location to record your show. This basically means some part of your house where you have a nice back drop, it can be a point of interest in your home or a book case with some books or knick knacks, some place that looks nice. Some people even have a photo backdrop of say, a cityscape that they put up temporarily when they record their show. The whole point is that you need to give more attention to your recording location. You also need some sort of video recording device. A fairly solid mid-level DSLR can do the job, you also need a tripod for the camera, and a separate microphone. The one that comes with the camera is not really good enough. Every video that I watched on setting up a video podcast recommended a two camera set-up recording simultaneously which now requires a second microphone and some sort of mixing and editing software. By having two cameras going, you can change back and forth the perspective that your viewers see, thereby keeping them interested longer. I am a photographer, so I already have all the camera equipment, however, I did not have the microphones and the software because I am not a video photographer, so my cost would be less but still more expensive than a straight audio podcast.

Frankly, I did not have the expertise or time to do all this editing to make a professional quality video podcast. I have a full-time job, and I already have a fairly sophisticated and time consuming blog that I publish articles on twice a week. I also am writing a two volume memoir of my life and of my family. So my time is quite limited. I am sure anybody out there considering doing a podcast also has similar time constraints and quite possibly financial restrictions as well. Another thing that I have not mentioned yet is what if you don’t like it or you just are not very good at it. I think it would make more sense to go the cheap route first to see how you like it and how you do. I took a while to feel comfortable talking to a microphone. I had a lot of pausing and it takes time to get the flow of things. I had to have the whole program scripted out word for word. Now I just have an outline of things I want to talk about. Since I am not good with names and dates, I have any facts that I am going to discuss by my side.

Will I progress to the video style, I don’t know? I frankly don’t know if I have what it takes to do videos. Don’t forget that you have to look nice for the video recording while for audio, you can look anyway you want and for the women, it means no make-up is necessary either. So, even though I have recorded over 50 Podcasts, I would not consider myself to be an expert on this form of media. I am sure that I could learn a lot if a true professional gave me a few lessons or helped me fine tune my set-up. Unfortunately, I don’t know such a person nor do I have the funds to pay for a professional to tutor me.

You also have to decide what you want from your Podcast. While my needs and goals are simple, yours may be much more sophisticated and demanding. My blog will always be the center of my media presentation. The Podcast is simply a way to help spread the word. I hope this chapter, in particular and this whole section of the book has been of some help to the reader.

This concludes my discussion on Me and the Internet and the third part of this book. The Fourth Part will be a wrap up of this book.