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Project Radio Superstar

For bathroom delays harbouring dreams of becoming the next DJ, podcasting must seem like the answer. Because it is a convenient and affordable way to play host on your own radio show, reaching an audience limited only by how good you are. Getting started is easy, with all the audio recording and editing software, as well as other necessary services like file hosting, available for free. The only must-buy is a good microphone.

Connect the microphone to your computer, close the door so your kid brother does not barge in while you are recording, and you are on your way to creating your first podcast. Once you have completed your podcast, store it. Sites like Yahoo or Blogger all offer hosting facilities. So just upload the file and create a link to it from your main webpage. To distribute your podcast, you can simply spam contacts with the link to the site where they can download the podcast file.

Or submit the link to podcast aggregator sites like Podcast.Net. If you are doing this for the long term, consider learning how to write some simple XML code to create a basic RSS (really simple syndication) tag, which your loyal fans can download. The RSS tag, which includes details like show title, author, length and other relevant data, will automatically search your site for new podcasts, so fans can download them into their PCs. 

Professional Podcasting

Those looking to make an impression will need to invest a bit more,. Additional hardware will include a better microphone, a mixer with at least two input channels and equalisers, and a pair of good speakers to preview the podcast. All in, expect to set aside anything from a few hundred dollars to a four-figure sum, depending on the quality of equipment you get. 

Mixers are devices that let you adjust recording levels and add effects like fades. For better quality recording in crowded, noisy place, unless you have access to a recording studio and intend to soundproof a room at home - both costly propositions - a cheaper alternative is hanging up thick fabrics like curtains, or prop up comforters or pillows around room for a better podcast.

All Kinds Of Podcasting

Besides the thousands of amateur podcasters, established organisations have embraced podcasting. A check on podcast directories reveals programming from regligious groups like the Tibetan Buddhist Internet Radio, adult-content business like industry heavyweight Vivid Entertainment, and even commentary by acclaimed sci-fi series BattleStar Galactica's director, Mr Ronald Moore.

Internet Phones

Using the Internet to make phone calls, known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is the latest rage. All you need is an Internet connection, a set of speakers or headphones and a microphone. Connections to other computer users are usually free, while those seeking to connect to a fixed or mobile phone pay as low as US$0.01 a minute. US$1 is equivalent to S$1.60. Lycos Phone and Jajah are the latest to jump on the bandwagon first popularised by Skype, a leading VoIP service provider.

Offering the flexibility of making calls anywhere around the world without the need to incur high connection charges between various telephone operators or auto-roaming functions from mobile phone operators, search engine Lycos has introduced the latest contender, Lycos Phone (www.lycos.globe7.com). Lycos also throws in the ability to listen to music and stream video content with their downloadable application.

Meanwhile, the new service by Jajah (www.jajah.com) is more of a phone rerouting service that connects your phone number to any other number in the world. Jajah first calls your number before dialling the other party for you and connecting both lines.  Just imagine if both parties get free incoming calls on their mobile phones. You simply pay the low rates direct to Jajah and not have to worry about exceeding the free minutes your mobile plan offers.

 

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