|Tricks of the Podcasting Masters|
|author||Rob Walch and Mur Lafferty|
|summary||An inside look at the world of podcasting.|
The authors are both well known pioneers of the podcasting genre. Rob Walch is the host of the popular Podcast411 show, and during the year a half this show has run, he has interviewed over 150 podcasters, including Adam Curry and almost every other luminary in and around podcasting. Mur Lafferty is the host of the Geek Fu Action Grip podcast, famous in Science Fiction circles, and the I Should be Writing Podcast, for aspiring authors.
The book excels in offering detailed advice to podcasters on how to improve and market their shows. Many of the big names in podcasting are quoted at length giving their advice, and the authors give candid, sober counsel that is not sugar coated with what the aspiring podcaster wants to hear. The theme is that doing a great podcast is hard work, and if one is willing to invest the time and effort, the book has plenty of helpful hints. This advice is of a practical nature including time management, how to stay motivated, and how to talk in front of a microphone and not sound like a robot. Podcasters will appreciate the pragmatic advice on how to script and edit a show, and how to relate to an audience effectively.
There is a lot of material on how to market and promote a podcast, and some of this advice is surprising, including innovative ideas on how to reach out beyond the podcasting community to the wider society, local media and unrelated internet activities. For some podcasters, this will be the most valuable part of the book.
The authors have both succeeded in turning their podcasting into at least part time careers, but their advice on monetizing podcasts is among the most sober and straight shooting I have ever seen or heard. They very carefully share all the revenue generating methods and ideas they have come across, and how to best exploit them; but they nevertheless give the grim statistics about how few podcasts will ever actually turn a profit, much less allow a podcaster to quit his or her day job.
There is a large section of the book devoted to detailing sixteen different genres of podcasting, such as audioblogs, comedy casts, educational, gaming, religious and spiritual, interview casts, music, news, politics, radio dramas, Q-Podders (alternative lifestyles), science fiction, sex, tech, sports and the written word. Four to six podcasts of each genre are highlighted including quotes from the shows' hosts. There is also coverage of the legal and ethical issues involved in podcasting , such as music licensing and laws concerning wire tapping that might come into play when conducting interviews by phone.
Utilizing the authors actual experience as consultants, the book is also a good resource for corporate podcasters who are using podcasting to market, promote or enhance existing businesses or information media. This is material not found in any other podcasting book I have read.
Much of the allure of the book is in the feeling of being on the inside, seeing what it is really like to be a pioneer in a hot new internet phenomenon. As such, this book will not age as quickly as other podcasting books that focus mostly on how to pick and use specific software and hardware podcasting tools. On the other hand, if you need detailed help on using such tools, this book is not the one for you.
On balance, I really enjoyed this book. If you have an interest in podcasting, either as a listener or a podcaster, you probably will enjoy it also. If you are not already interested in podcasting, this book might or might not stimulate you to look into it further, but at least you will find out what all the fuss is about.
As an exercise in full disclosure, I should confess to hosting two podcast series of my own, the AwareTek philosophical podcast, and the Python411 podcast about the Python programming language."
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