Podcasting For Beginners

You Can Do It!

STEP 2:  Export to an mp3 file

Arguably, the most most annoying dimension of the whole podcasting process is the various different types of audio files you may end up working with.   mp3 files are the web standard for podcasts and song downloads, but software like Audacity (or even Apple’s GarageBand) doesn’t record audio directly into the mp3 format, so you have to “export” and/or “convert” to an mp3 after you’re finished recording. In order for Audacity to be able to export to mp3, you must go through a one-time installation procedure that will not have to be repeated for future editing sessions.  Download the LAME encoder (don’t ask!) from the internet by clicking here.  When the installer asks you where you want to put it, navigate to the “Audacity” folder in the Applications Folder (“Program Files” directory in Windows).

Once that’s installed, go to Preferences.  Under the “File Formats” tab, at the bottom under “MP3 Export,” click “find Library.” Navigate to the LAME encoder you just downloaded, click on the file called “LameLib” and it should be happy.  Then, in that same preferences dialogue box, from the “bit rate” drop-down menu, choose 96. Finally, “OK” the preferences. (You onlly have to go through this process once.)

Now you are ready to export your Audacity project as an mp3 file. Under the “File” menu, choose “Export as MP3” (not “Export Selection as MP3”).  You will then be presented with the dialogue box you see below.  This is to embed certain information into your mp3 file that will let people search for and find it, and so it will display properly on an iPod screen or other audio playing device.

In the Title field, put in the title of this episode, maybe the date.  The Artist should be you (or whoever you’re dong this for).  Under Album (these were designed for songs), you can put whatever you call your podcast, like “”St. Agnes Young Adult Podcast.”  When you click “OK” it may take a few minutes to make the conversion.

If you were using Apple’s GarageBand, you would need to “export to iTunes”, and then do the conversion to mp3 in iTunes (instructions here).

Now there is a way to save a few of these steps. There are some recently-available software applications that can record directly to an mp3 file. A few caveats, though: most cost around $25-$30; some are less than intuitive for a beginner to adjust the settings and locate the finished file; some don’t let you enter the “Title/Artist/Album” info for each file, which may make things more complicated for you in the next step and your podcasts may not be as easy for people to search for on the internet; I have not had personal experience with the Windows applications, so I could not speak to their reliability; the free/cheap ones don’t let you edit the sound file after you’ve recorded it, so it’s “one take” or bust. Having said that, I have stumbled upon this free option for Windows called Free Hi-Q Recorder software (shown at left). Download it here, and try it out. If you can figure it out and it saves you the step of converting to mp3, then great! Also, I have a very tech-savvy priest friend who uses Audio Recorder 3.1 for Mac for creating his weekly podcast and says it works well. Both of these programs let you set the “bit rate” for your mp3 recording. 96 kbps is about right for most spoken-word podcasts.

Once you have a finished mp3 file, you are ready for TO PUBLISH YOUR PODCAST TO THE INTERNET on the next page.