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The process of creating a ColeyCast is divided into four stages:  preproduction, recording, postproduction, and publishing.


Before any recording takes place, students first plan and write out what they are going to say.  For some broadcasts, students pair up or form small groups.  Working together, each pair or group writes a script for its segment (one section of a broadcast) and selects a broadcaster (the person who will do the actual talking during the recording phase).  For other broadcasts, students work individually to write their scripts and later on record their segments.  Depending on what the broadcast covers, students sometimes use these planning sheets to help organize their thoughts. 

We try to keep the length of each ColeyCast under 10 minutes.  That way, listeners won't lose interest before the broadcast is completed.  We do our best to stick to this, but occasionally the 10-minute mark is exceeded due to large amounts of material, as was the case in ColeyCast #36 - "Amazing America."

Although some broadcasts contain a limited number of speakers, the goal is to have every student involved in preproduction.  While every student may not lend his or her voice to a broadcast, everyone does have a hand in contributing content to ColeyCasts.  Students are assured that if they don't get the chance to be the broadcaster on a current production, they will definitely get the chance to speak in a future broadcast.

 


Once students have finished writing their scripts, they move on to the recording phase of creating a ColeyCast.  But before students record, they practice reading their scripts out loud, paying special attention to speaking loudly, clearly, and slowly (it's common for students to speak quickly when they get nervous).

Using a Logitech headset microphone and audio recording software, Mr. Coley records students as they read their segments.  Mr. Coley occasionally uses the voice recorder on his iPhone when needing to record multiple students at the same time.  For the first three broadcasts, Mr. Coley used the free audio mixing software Audacity to record the students (Audacity is available for both Windows and Mac).  He has since switched to a Mac for his podcasting needs and uses GarageBand to record broadcasts. 

Both Audacity and GarageBand are very easy to use and don't require extensive time to learn.  To help you get started, Mr. Coley has created a collection of tutorial videos for both Audacity and GarageBand.  If you're a PC user and haven't yet installed Audacity on your computer, here's a list of steps you'll need to take to get everything up and running.

 


After all the students have recorded their segments, Mr. Coley edits the audio.  This involves putting the segments in the proper order (as we don't always record them sequentially), adjusting the volume, eliminating background noise, and adding music.

The nice thing about using GarageBand is that the software has hundreds of music samples and loops built right into the program.  So instead of having to go to the Internet to look for music, it's all right at your fingertips.  Music from outside sources can be uploaded to GarageBand as well.  Occasionally, we use additional music for our broadcasts that we acquire from these three sources: 

  • incompetech.com -- a fantastic collection of royalty-free music by Kevin MacLeod
  • SoundSnap -- a great website offering free music loops and sound effects
  • Partners in Rhyme -- another site offering free music loops and sound effects. 
  • JewelBeat -- more royalty-free music & sound effects

The great thing about the musical pieces obtained from these sites is that they are "podsafe."   This means podcasters can freely use them in their podcasts without having to pay any royalty fees or worry about breaking any copyright laws.

For the first 13 ColeyCasts, Mr. Coley took the finished product and used iTunes to convert the sound file to .mp3 format (files created with Audacity can be converted to .mp3 format within the program itself).  Using Apple's GarageBand, we now create what are called enhanced podcasts (in .m4a format).  An enhanced podcast contains chapter markers and artwork.  Enhanced podcasts are similar to DVD's, in that listeners can skip to the next chapter of the broadcast, instead of having to fast forward, guessing where to stop.

 


The final step has Mr. Coley publish the ColeyCast to mrcoley.com for the world to hear.  Listeners can then visit our website and listen to broadcasts right in their web browsers, or if they prefer, subscribe in iTunes and have broadcasts automatically downloaded to their computers.  Subscribing is a great idea because it eliminates the need to check the website to see if new broadcasts have been posted (although we love it when people frequently visit our site).  Plus, once broadcasts have been downloaded, they can then be transferred to your iPod and listened to while you're on the go!

If you don't have a website and need a place to host your podcast, there are several free or inexpensive options out there.  Check out this podcast hosting chart for some ideas.

Already have an Internet broadcast?  Want to create an RSS feed so listeners can subscribe to it?  Click here to find out how!
 


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