Podcast Solutions Book Review

Oct 21st, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Citizen Media, Corporate Podcasts, How to Podcast, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcast-Legal Music, Podcasting Hardware, Podcasting Software, Reviews

Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting (Solutions)Podcast Solutions, by Michael Geoghegan and Dan Klass, is a comprehensive introduction to podcasting. The book is bylined “The Complete Guide to Podcasting,” and does a good job of delivering on this promise.

A powerhouse of podcasting talent is behind the book. The authors, Geoghegan and Klass, are podcasters that pioneered the production of podcasts at a professional level. Geoghegan is the creator of several well-respected podcasts, including Reel Reviews and Grape Radio. He also helped create the first Fortune 100 podcast, The Disneyland Podcasts.

Klass has been involved in interactive entertainment for nearly 20 years, and hosts two podcasts, Old Wave Radio and The Bitterest Pill. The book’s technical reviewer was Doug Kaye, a podcasting pioneer himself, and the creator of the IT Conversations podcast network. The icing on the cake is Adam Curry, one of the creators of podcasting, who contributes the forward.

Podcast Solutions has eleven chapters, plus a glossary of podcast terminology and a collection of podcasting resources. In addition, the authors have put together a CD of podcasting software. The software is useful, but most of it is software that is freely available online.

The first two chapters of the book provide a brief history of podcasting, explain the significance of the emergence of podcasting and discuss how to find and use podcasts.

Starting with chapter 3, Geoghegan and Klass dig into the nitty-gritty of the book: how to create quality podcasts. Chapter 3 is a high-level look at the podcasting process. But it also introduces the book’s philosophy. The authors emphasize planning your podcast, using the best gear available, maintaining a professional approach and producing high-quality Internet audio.

The authors’ approach is not the only approach. Some podcasters place more emphasis on capturing the moment, creating podcasts in close to real-time, with minimal post-production. Other podcasters, like Dawn and Drew and others, take more of an anything goes approach, taking advantage of the freedom podcasting offers. Geoghegan and Klass acknowledge these approaches, but focus on what they do best: creating well-produced audio that can go head-to-head with traditional radio.

Chapter 4 explores planning your podcast. The authors discuss the benefits of defining a narrow concept for your podcast, structuring your podcast, the pros and cons of profanity in podcasts, the use of music and issues raised by incorporating other people into your podcast. Planning may not be the most exciting aspect of podcast, but reading this chapter and thinking through the issues it raises will probably save most podcasters time in the long run.

The next 5 chapters look at the logistics of podcasting, ranging from choosing a microphone, to optimizing recording levels, editing your audio, encoding the finished file as an MP3 and publishing your podcast. Geoghegan and Klass do a good job of tackling these topics. They let you know how to get started and they introduce most of the ideas that you need to be aware of if you want to create high-quality audio.

This brings up one of the few weaknesses of Podcast Solutions. In a few places, Geoghegan and Klass introduce technical issues that podcasters need to know if they want to create top-quality audio, but they don’t follow through and explain how to do it.

One example of this is their coverage of root-mean-square normalization. This sounds like a pretty technical topic, and it is. It’s technical enough that most podcasters will have never heard of it. The authors introduce it and suggest that you need to use it to get your sound levels right, but don’t follow through with an explanation of how to do this.

In this case and others, it seems that the authors wanted to introduced the concepts that you need to know in order to create a professional podcast, but not bog you down in details.

The last two chapters look at Getting Heard and Making Money with Podcasting. Getting Heard looks at getting listed in podcast directories, networking with other podcasters, using promos and even crafting press releases. The Making Money chapter discusses setting ad rates, merchandising, finding advertisers and other issues to consider.

Overall, Geoghegan and Klass’s book is an excellent introduction to podcasting, especially for people interested in creating the most professional podcast possible. Podcast Solutions is highly recommended as a great introduction to the planning, producing and promoting your podcast.

One Response to “Podcast Solutions Book Review”

  1. Murphy says:

    “Podcast Solutions” is indeed a good-to-great book on the subject of podcasting, with the pitfalls mentioned in the review … but …

    It’s now more than a year old, and in the podosphere, that’s a significant length of time, because “Podcast Solutions” doesn’t provide information or a critical examination of some of the newest aspects of podcasting, like Podshow and other similar podcasting networks.

    If for no other reason than an examination of the viability and usefulness of podcasting networks, Michael Geoghegan and Dan Klass should be working on a second edition of “Podcast Solutions.”

Leave a Reply