Podcasting is another great way to engage fans. In addition to being a viable way to disseminate information on projects and upcoming performances, adding your voice to this communication can instill a personal connection that listeners will appreciate. As musicians using the Bandzoogle platform, you will likely already have access to all of the tools you need to record, produce, and distribute the podcast. Here is a checklist to help you get started:
Image © Graham Stanley (cc).
1. Structure When planning your first podcast, it is important to consider the format itself and its conventions. While anything goes, you may want to structure your early episodes like a classic radio show. This will entail producing a simple three part structure. In the opening few minutes, you can introduce the show, the episode number, the day’s topics, and the panel on the show if you have one. If fans have written in with comments, this is also great time to address them. You can then use the middle of the show to expand on the topics outlined in the introduction as well as present regular segments if you have planned them. Naturally, the conclusion will follow. Having wrapped up the conversation, this is a good time to mention your website, contact information, and provide a brief preview of what is to come in the next episode.
2. Transitions Musically speaking, you can set the tone of the show with a theme song that both opens and closes the show. Many podcasters even add a comedic segment at the beginning of the show that segues into the main theme. You might also compose a few interludes to connect the various segments and topics.
3. Equipment and Software You can actually achieve a lot with just a few free basic tools. In terms of software, both the included Garageband on the Mac and the open source software Audacity on the PC, provide easy options for recording. If you want to have a multi-city panel on the show, you can also use Skype’s conference call feature. While the internal microphone on most computers will function well for recording your voice, you might consider looking into a simple USB microphone. Blue microphones provides a reasonable yet solid option with its Snowflake microphone.
4. Style On the subject of style, your podcast does not need to be too formal. The expectations for radio broadcasting are not as strict when it comes to podcasting. A conversational style with a few bloopers can be quite endearing and will induce a real sense in the listener that they are there with you. If you do want to make a scripted announcement though, you might try rehearsing it once or twice before hand, marking in pauses, points of emphasis, and phrasing.
5. Distribution Bandzoogle offers the easy incorporation of a podcast via the blog feature. For this you can consult the step-by-step help article here: http://bandzoogle.com/controlpanel/help.cfm?action=article&articleId=319
Subsequently, you can also expand the podcast’s reach by adding it to the iTunes catalog and by using Feedburner. Both Apple and Google offer great instructions:
Examples If you are looking for further inspiration you may want to check out some of the more popular podcasts in the iTunes catalog. The top slots in the music category are largely dominated by DJs like Tiesto who use the platform to broadcast their latest club mixes. A few radio formatted shows rank highly as well:
Tiesto’s Club Life
NPR’s All Songs Considered
Music Business Radio
Two of my personal favorites are Operanow, a regular show documenting news in the operatic field, and the always stimulating This American Life.
Do you have any podcast favorites or segment ideas? How about favorite podcasting equipment & software? Let us know in the comments!
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