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Putting Your Voice on the Internet: Should I Podcast or Stream Internet Radio?

Podcasting Can be Just as Effective - and Cheaper

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WildVoice Studio is freeware for recording Podcasts and radio programs.

WildVoice Studio is freeware for recording Podcasts and radio programs.

Screenshot by Corey Deitz © WildVoice
I'm often asked by visitors to this site how to start an Internet radio station. But, often they are over-thinking it. Offering audio on the Internet can be done in many ways and it just keeps getting easier.

I received an email from Mike, site visitor, who said in part:

"[I'm]...getting serious now about starting my own 24-7 internet broadcast...I won't be playing music or doing any advertising per se, but it will be 'talk' and 'interviews', mostly if not all 'pre-recorded and edited', on health, wealth, and current events."

Given Mike's mission, I think he could start a lot smaller and achieve the same goals. Mike's description of the audio he wants to offer screams out to be in the form of Podcasts.

Podcasts are easy to do whether you DIY with an audio editor and your own website or use a third-party to create it and host it. A Podcast allows you to create a "chunk" of programming which can be accessed on-demand. Even the original idea of subscribing to Podcasts has been diluted. Now, just placing an audio file online at your website and informing users to click to listen to your "Podcast on-demand" is sufficient.

Thanks to broadband, the minute your audio file begins playing uninterrupted through the end-users player, you have achieved the same effect as Internet Radio.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it's a duck.

You can create audio files and call them "Podcasts" or "radio shows" and in the end nobody will question you. People care less about the technical end and more about the content offered. In Mike's case he wants to offer content on "health, wealth, and current events". Concentrate on the quality of your content and you will build a loyal following.

The Building Blocks of an Internet Radio Station

Starting with Podcasts has so many advantages:

  1. You can create and produce shorter chunks of programming which will probably be more comfortable, especially for beginners.
  2. The cost is extremely low or almost non-existent to voice and/or produce audio files. You can use your home computer and free software or third-party providers who provide free tools.
  3. Once you've created enough Podcasts, there's nothing stopping you from offering them as one constant stream on an Internet Radio station. A service like Live365.com allows you to upload files and have them automatically cycled. In other words: you can eventually turn your individual Podcasts into an automated Internet radio station.

What Next?

If you think creating Podcasts is for you, next decided what level of complexity do you wish to deal with: your own website and domain with files you create, tweak, and upload? Or, do you want to have less nuts and bolts to worry about?

For tips on using a free audio editor called Audacity, see:
Recording Your Audio and Creating Your MP3 File

For easy solutions to Podcasts, see:
How to Create Your Own Podcast With No Technical Knowledge

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