Grass-Roots Academic Podcasting

Liveblog of presentation by Jim Milles

He started podcasting for fun, but has also started one to get his faculty of law podcasting. Link from the front of his law school webpage to the podcast.

University at Buffalo Law School

The typical law school podcast is a recording of lectures, but tends to have a lot of extraneous recording (thanks to the faculty, sponsors, etc) until it gets to the meat of recording.

He is trying to get to the same information in another way. His law school has a strong public interest focus – they are involved in how law interacts with society; how society influences law?

Articles being written by faculty – a lot of the key ideas are buried deep in the articles. They are written for a very small audience, for colleagues in academia. Schools are starting to make this information available to the public, for example by uploading articles to or .

They are starting to interview people to get to the key ideas from their articles. Most faculty have now heard of podcasting.

Law school faculty tend to have interests in wide-ranging areas of law not covered elsewhere. E.g. visiting professor from Russia speaking on sustainable forestry; visiting professor from Rutgers University speaking on transracial adoption and gentrification. Very dense, scholarly articles but in conversation it brings out the messages in a stronger way.

He typically records over dinner in a quiet restaurant (preferably side room), try to have wine, coffee and dessert. Jim edits it, adds intro and music, and posts quickly.

They have a heavy, busy schedule of these events, especially through the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy – work on interdisciplinary areas of the law e.g. Children, Family and the Law; ClassCrits; Environmental Stewardship; Racial Justice; “Projecting Law” – the Law and New Media (including documentary film making for lawyers).

He is trying to bridge the gap between academic community and the local communities. He believes this is unique in law schools, and is an important way to bring the work that goes on to the public. It is a way to turn Buffalo into a thinktank to inform activist groups.

[blogger’s notes: The Q&A was excellent. I had it recorded but lost wifi connection briefly and lost those notes. If this subject is of interest to you, please check out the video recording from the wiki. Jim Milles will also be posting the audio to his podcast Check This Out! . Word to the wise: always back things up as you go along!!]


Trust Economies: What they are and how to be a part of them

Liveblog of session by Julien Smith and Chris Brogan

Note: audience comments intermixed with speaker comments below

This session is in response to those who are always talking about monetizing podcasts. They have profited from podcasting, but not the ways discussed in other sessions.

The key is building relationships and trust. They meet people and are themselves; they are not pushing any promotional schtick.

Scarcity versus abundance – scarcity is a way to drive people to you so you can make money; or your business model may be to get your word out to as many people as possible in as many channels as possible. Old media methods based on scarcity.

They have built personal audiences, people who are interested in anything they do. They were able to grow these relationships faster than in the past. They just put together the best they can do at the time. They have put themselves at the centre of a “network of trust”.

Branding – you are not going to feed your family on a podcast, but on the opportunities your podcast brings you. Now people are getting hired based on the blog more than on the CV. If you are not displaying your passion, you may not be able to work in this industry.

We should all be treasuring this Podcamp opportunity – talking to each other. Normally we would not be privy to marketing/PR schmooze events. However, Harlequin (for example) and mainstream press are here to learn from us.

How do you do this? You have to surrender the concept of control. Trust other people. Business cards mean nothing without relationships. What you need is people. Just in podcasting, the first people successfully able to do this are not that powerful, but the more people who can do this, the more powerful the network grows. You have a group of people who you trust; the more you give to them, the more you are on the right track. If people are buying you beer you are on the right track. If they are linking to you, you are on the right track. When they put a link on the internet, it stays there forever. They have put their trust “on paper” for you, so you have some accountability to them.

If you need to make a business, to make money – the magical thing is to become THE person people want to talk to. E.g. Michael Geoghegan – podcasts movie reviews, got hired by Disney to podcast a red carpet event. Suddenly he became the authority.

In a trust relationship, if you don’t give things away for free, people don’t already know you, when they go to hire somebody, they won’t be giving you the money.

We’re getting a million dollar marketing campaign for nothing.

More listeners does not necessarily mean better trust relationships. You have to build the trust.

Large PR firms may not be able to work at the speed of the Internet.

bum rush the charts

  • take the mass power we have and make an impact
  • the power of the network – continue to develop relationships, deepen relationships, create new relationships

Who can’t believe where they are in their careers because of podcasting/blogging? (a number of hands go up). It is incredible where this can take your career, but you do have to give it away.

Open source model – give it away – bringing a whole community behind you to a situation, job opportunity.

Day Two! Getting Started to Podcast

The theme thus, for newbies at least, is just to get started.  As my friend Jim Milles says, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”  People (such as myself) get too hung up on preparing to do things right, to get things perfect.  Being perfectionistic can really prevent you from getting started.  Just jump in, whether it is audio or video, and get recording!  Get a microphone, Audacity software, and start audio recording!  Or take your digital camera and start recording video.   You can build the technology you are using as you go further along.

So, as the shoe people say “Just do it!”.

Let’s MAKE Something

Liveblog of session presented by Chris Brogan from Boston, one of the originators of Podcamp

Who could use $25,000 US (first prize)?

Contest his company is running – to give money back to people in the podcasting space to help make people aware that there is more than YouTube. If you should a video on how to watch Internet TV but if you mention Network2 you could win a prize.

In this session, he gave us the option of shooting that type of video OR just shooting something for fun.

Zefrank -the show with zefrank

– all user-submitted and you can submit video to be on the show

– we recorded a promo for this show – we recorded a clip to submit to the show.

Tip: For people using a mac, audio gets put into MPG files – use VisualHub

He learned from Steven Garfield, godfather of videoblogging, that an inexpensive camera with video – just press record and get started. You don’t need $9,000 of equipment to get started.

Plan a Killer Podcast

Liveblog of session presented by Leesa Barnes

Run as a brainstorming session.

Why does she like the planning process?

  • ensures success
  • anything is possible
  • low investment

Why to plan:

  • use your podcast as breadcrumbs to lead people to your other offerings e.g. your product, services, email list
  • people make the mistake of throwing everything into their podcasts – you are giving everything away for free, and they have no reason to follow up with you

How to plan:

  • 7 step process in podcasting strategy:
    • Assess
    • Plan
    • Produce
    • Build
    • Promote
    • Profit
    • Measure (ROI)
  • today we are focussing on Assess and Plan

What to assess:

  • technical savvy of target audience
  • do you have the commitment?
  • why am I doing this?
  • do I have the resources?
  • do I have something to say?
  • who cares?
  • are you saying something unique/new?
  • frequency

Why did people start podcasting?

  • build community
  • educate
  • give people a sense of your personality
  • because he could
  • ego – I have something to say

How do you research the issues in your assessment?

  • do 2 hours of research a week – if you can’t do 2 hours of research then you won’t have 2 hours to commit to the podcast


  • run a vanity search on Google to see how your name comes up.
  • getting a podcast out there helps move your name up in the Google ranking.

Planning stage:

  • what problem am I good at solving, and for whom?
  • from the list of problems, you can draw a list of solutions
  • from the list of solutions, you have a list of episodes

Problems that people in the audience are good at solving:

  • space and time
  • how to entertain (with audio)
  • application process
  • better poker playing

E.g. Susan from York University – helping students with the application process. Episode topics:

  • what grade do I need; prerequisites
  • what should I put in my portfolio
  • what makes a good research statement for grad studies
  • reference letters
  • OSAP/money/funding
  • residence
  • is there Kosher food on campus
  • can my boyfriend stay in residence overnight?
  • seasonal, so can have other topics in off-season e.g. how to rent out my room during the summer; can repeat topics/reuse content – can serialize feed in such a way so that no matter when they join they will get the first episode

Clustering – circle in the middle and each of the issues branch off from the circle

Survey Monkey – ask people what their top 3 issues are to find additional

How do you prioritize what you are going to talk about?

  • one strategy: put less popular topics between the very popular topics – space them ou, have people keep coming back.
  • start with topics you have the most interest/expertise in since you will do best with those
  • sustain interest by having a main message, and come back to that message after you go off on related tangents

What else to think about

  • budget
  • length of time
  • frequency
  • how you will deal with negative feedback (means you have some level of success)
  • hosts, who are you going to interview
  • competitive analysis – what are others in the same market doing? – it does not mean you have to do it the same way

Why do you podcast regularly?

  • consistency builds trust
  • if you say you are every Monday, you need to put it out Monday
  • if you don’t supply a rhythm when people expect it, you are going to lose it
  • if you don’t tell your audience that it is going to be sporadic, they are going to delete it or for big fans, they are going to be worried about you
  • let people know in advance that you are not going to be there
  • pre-record episodes to fill gaps, have someone else post for you

A person who belongs is a person who buys.  If a person feels like part of your community, if you are making an income from your podcast, you will have a ready-made audience.

Let’s Get Dirty: Advanced Traffic and Audience Building

Liveblog of presentation by Christopher Penn, one of the originators of Podcamp (from Boston)

Slides are on the wiki.

Some key considerations:

  • make sure your podcast name can be heard and understood on an auditory basis (you can hear it clearly)
  • SEO
  • promote your podcast on your MySpace page
  • need multiple channels and deliveries
  • RSS, iTunes, Flash, MP3, WinAmp, email (30% of his audience receives it via email)
  • no more than one click to listen to the show

Turn listeners into subscribers

  • good show content
  • calls to action during the show
  • iTunes – itpc (like http) puts it directly into iTunes – pcast is older version of itpc link
  • itpc shows up as text in email; he will show us how to create a direct link from the wiki later
  • give people a reason to promote you – e.g. he uses podsafe music, leaves comments on the bands’ website so people can find him – they can link back to him
  • ID3 tags – fill them in – lyrics tab – put the show notes. It is metadata that gets indexed


  • friend adder on MySpace – costs money – – you can do demographic searches and add people. Can request up to 400 people.
  • make sure our MySpace profile is robust – Feedplayer – put MP3s right on your page
  • Technorati and Google Blog search
  • think about what words that you use in your vertical that nobody else uses – search and you may find those with MySpace blogs who would be able to add you as a friend. Google Blog search puts the friend ID from MySpace right in the search results. He has a script to pull all the friend IDs and load them into MySpace which he will be giving away.
  • Facebook is not indexed by Google. Turn everyone on LinkedIn automatically into friends on Facebook [blogger notes: sorry, I missed how he did this].
  • Google Analytics – “website statistics on crack”
  • Crazy Egg – makes a heat map to show you where on your site people are clicking – MP3 link inside a blog post is very hot. If you have a WordPress blog, for example, you can put it into a footer. 14 day free trial available.

Evangelists count the most – people who are promoting you

Make your show easy to promote.

Tags for and stumbleupon – make sure you choose as many keywords as possible. Do a keyword density search e.g. the one at then copy the whole list into . Stumbleupon – peer to peer random stumbling – does not index the whole web; if you tag things people will find them faster.

iTunes can lose episodes – can take 5 days to appear

Mybloglog – Yahoo just bought them a month ago.

Podshowplus – you can script it so that everyone becomes your friend – you can add every single person as your friend – there are no restrictions on this

LastFM – a music recommendation service – start a label and pages get created automatically – if you keep your name consistent your material will keep getting added to the same name

Editing Techniques and Decisions – “Blevisian editing”

Liveblogging of presentation by Mark Blevis

Using Cubase for sound editing.

Editing out words: He showed us how to cut out a few words. Make sure you leave the breath space in, so it sounds more natural. Most people leave the breath out.

Blended audio: All speakers wear lapel mics so there are two channels. They do not do a straight splice since there will be too much ambient noise. They have to blend/cross-fade the two. Angled lines represent fade outs/fade ins. The fade in occurs just before the fade out. He uses a cross-fade so you have two-thirds of a fade out while the full audio is on. You end up with four tracks of audio to edit. The more audio, the more difficult to edit.

Buried edit: splice mid-word or mid-sound to remove stuttering, etc.

Staggered edit: two audio tracks, has audio from one track start to interrupt the other track. One technique to edit out words.

Ninja: for 30 minutes of audio she does 4 hours of editing.

Cubase meant for multi-track recording for musicians; overkill for podcasting. It is about $800 newly purchased. Available for both Mac and PC. Also: Audacity, Garage Band. All work on same principle.

Breath will save you. If you cut out an entire line of speech. The breath gives you permission to change in dynamic. Leave those spaces. “Let your interviews breathe” (quote from Tod Maffin).

You can run an atmosphere track to fill in the gaps. Mark recommends something listenable, not looping of sound. E.g. he taped a coffee shop sound and thought they could use parts of the sound. Then they decided to record live in the cafe, so they asked them to turn down music but they turned it off. Instead he took Uncle Seth tunes and filtered them to sound like they were coming from across the room and mixed them in. Noise reduction can degrade the sound. Don’t use noisegates – when the ambient noise below a certain threshold, the recording stops – bad because when nobody is talking, it is dead silent.

Shotgun mics for interviews – don’t have to hold it up to someone so less conspicuous. Becomes more like a conversation. It is expensive. Entry level $330, $350. They are not as directional. But the better the microphone, the better the quality.

Usually records wav usually 16 bit wav, even 24 bit wav.

M Audio recorder can record directly to MP3 (and wav). How restricted are you for editing with MP3? Wav gives him more flexibility in editing with Cubase.

Tutorial: SX – SXEd (pronounced sex ed)

Wav versus AIFF – he doesn’t know a lot about AIFF.

Using Levelator – has not yet tried it. He would like to try it on something he has already produced. It is a tool by . Export your audio file into wav format, and drag into the application. It goes through your audio file and finds areas that need boosting, compressing – it uses an algorithm to bring levels up and back down so it is not as shocking to the audience. It sometimes brings background noise up so it does not sound like it is in the background.

Adobe Audition 2.0 – can remove the sound of a phone ringing in the background, for example.

He does not use a lot of compression – he uses limiting because he does not want to expand the noise floor. He runs it through a maximizer to bring up the frequency.

At home for Skype calls he uses a PC with a Delta 1010 card. He mutes the monitor mix so it doesn’t play out (mutes the monitor output), then uses Skype as a line in, brings it as a line in. [This got a bit technical so hopefully Mark will blog about this for us!!]

Podcasting Adds Personality to Employee Communications

Liveblogging of session presented by Sabita Singh of ALTANA Pharma

introduced monthly series of podcasts from their V.P. of Sales, called “Ron’s Cast”:

  • 10 to 15 minutes in length
  • originally scripted it, but once he go comfortable they just prepared questions
  • audio recorded in his office
  • he has a great voice and personality for this
  • writes his own blog posting
  • indexed so people can skip to the part they are interested in
  • archived
  • flash player
  • English only currently, but they incorporate French clips where they can
  • promoted by sending email to all staff; gave out iPods to all employees; staff can subscribe through iTunes; word of mouth has been important
  • early adoption; 80% of employees listen

I like that Sabita incorporated audio into her presentation, including clips from Ron’s Cast and comments from employees about the podcast.

This is one of the first companies to use podcasting internally; has been profiled 3 times by the Globe and Mail.

Also be useful for:

  • employee events, promotional (interview speakers as “teazers”)

Things to consider:

  • do you have enough content
  • are you willing to develop a blog (podcasts are usually hosted on a blog to allow comments)
  • do you have a suitable show host?


Security since this is internal?

  • housed on ALTANA’s intranet, inside the firewall
  • podcast link available through iTunes, but it is still secure inside the firewall

How does this fit into other internal communications?

  • quarterly staff meeting
  • newsletter
  • podcast

Is it just Ron talking?

  • no, they incorporate interviews

What percentage of employees download versus listen from the intranet?

  • sales force are listening to it via iTunes, the rest are using Flashplayer

Is this making people feel more connected to the company; is it motivating the sales force to sell more?

  • used the podcast to get people excited and engaged about a new product – the key function of the podcast
  • they have not quantified it yet

Does he respond to comments on the blog himself?

  • Yes, he does not have a communications team handle it for him

Is Sabita an employee of ALTANA?

  • Sabita is from an agency working for ALTANA Pharma. They do not have enough people in the IT or corporate communications team to produce their own.

Would they consider video?

  • they have considered it; more expensive.
  • they hope to down the road

How would you adopt this for non-profit agency?

  • speak to your community
  • promote your events
  • does not matter if it is a small organization; easy way to promote yourself inexpensively, make yourself stand out and look innovative

80% listenership is amazing compared to other internal corporate communications.

How often do they record?

  • released once a month; they sometimes record two at one time for efficiency
  • recording one hour, editing one hour
  • most difficulty is co-ordinating everyone’s schedules to get together to put the recording together.

ALTANA is going to be bought; how is that going to affect Ron’s podcast?

  • she doesn’t anticipate it changing
  • it will help tell employees what is happening with the changes, will help explain how it is going to impact everyone.

What equipment do they use?

  • Digidesign, Audacity, Garage Band
  • they mic the individuals being recorded

Have they thought of repurposing it for the clients the sales team are visiting?

  • not really recorded for that purpose, but good idea

Second Life and Podcasting

Liveblog of presentation by Jay Moonah and Bryan Person.

Second Life is a virtual world, not a game.

4 million people have registered, but that does not mean that 4 million people are using it. This is a promotional number.

It takes time to get started. Linden Labs says if you can get past the hurdle of getting set up, they tend to stay in.

Real business that have set up a presence in Second Life: American Apparel and Telus. American Apparel allows you to buy customized clothes for your avatar. They put up their presence last year but haven’t done much since then. Same with Telus: they have put up their store but it is largely abandoned. They got the PR to extend their brand, but are not building a presence to engage the community.

Yankee Stadium – they have recreated the stadium, but it is empty. You can get to it, but you can’t go inside. A lot of Second Life is experimental.

Jay Moonah: This world is what you want to make of it. You can see it all as just sex and shopping for shoes; if you look at the city of Toronto, you can see it just as sex and shopping for shoes.

The real strength of this is interactivity, for example:

  • meetups – e.g. coffee with crayon – 40 or 50 avatars talking about business (crayon is a marketing agency) – people from all different locations
  • CaseCamp SL – four to six case studies about marketing – CaseCamp has been held in Toronto, Vancouver, etc. – Bryan Person has taken this concept and put it into Second Life – they had streaming audio, each presenter had up to four slides, text-based Q & A
  • thriving music community – streaming audio e.g. Uncle Seth show – there are 3-5 shows in Second Life every night – people can do this as a fantasy/hobby when they are not real performers, build a real fanbase, get tips in Linden dollars
  • PodCamp SL – podcamp in Second Life – last time it was 55 registrants, 5 hours, 2 days, sign-ups through the wiki as well, people had audio stream through Skype – people from all over the world presenting

Enterprise presence

  • buy land or buy your own Island approx. $2,000 CDN.
  • get in and walk around – a lot of empty spaces – start with holding events
  • get in, learn the scripting language, build something simple first

Potential for marketing your podcast:

  • T-shirts
  • podcaster meetups on Podcast Island every Tuesday night
  • go out and meet people
  • meet community groups related to the content of your podcast – search under Groups

If you haven’t used it, give it a try. Have someone guide you, take you around to get you started. You have to find a couple of your real life friends.