Your Church Can Podcast – Part 1: Recording your audio

Posted by on January 12, 2007

Since I’m now a podcast veteran – yes, we’ve been podcasting for a month and a half – several people have asked how to do a podcast at their own churches. Well, I’m going to help you out!

Before you can create a podcast, you’ll need to know what one is. Lots of churches post audio of their weekly sermons on their websites. If you do this already, congratulations! You’re halfway there already. But a podcast is more than a bunch of links to sound files. A podcast is kind of like a radio show with different episodes. The most common format for a church podcast is a weekly sermon. Each week, the church produces a new “episode.” People with iPods or other mobile audio players can download the latest episode and listen to it anywhere. It’s very cool. We’ll cover how this works later. But for now, you just need to know that it works.

The first step to podcasting is recording the audio you’ll need. At Trinity, we make our podcast, Grace in the West, from the CDs we record each week. We have a CD recording deck in our sound system. Then we “rip” the CD into an audio file, edit it, and post it. (These will be covered in later posts.)

There are two other popular ways to do this. Some churches use an MP3 recorder. You plug this baby into the audio output form your sound system and just start and stop it at the right times to get the audio you need. You can do it with a separate microphone, but you’ll catch a lot more coughing. (Laughter is nice, though!) Check out the December 31st episode of Grace in the West and compare it to another episode to see the difference. (By the way, this would be an excellent time to subscribe to Grace in the West in Apple’s iTunes. :-))

A variation on this theme is to use a computer to record the audio. You still need to plug it into the sound system’s audio, but a computer may be available for free. Hardware MP3 recorders – not so much. The best free software I’m aware of for this is Audacity – available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It’ll record it for you, let you adjust the levels, and let you edit the show and save it as an MP3 (after you install the free lame MP3 encoder).

That’s it for this time. Note: I do these things much faster if I think anyone’s going to read it. Leave me a comment!

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