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So you want to…try podcasting?

In the technological age there are so many ways to get the Good News of Jesus Christ out into the market place.  In this blog, Revd. Karl Carpani writes about using new media to do this and shares his experience of podcasting.

I don’t lay claim to any expertise in the area of podcasting. I’m just an Anglican Priest who thought he’d have a go. This blog is an opportunity to share what I’ve learned about podcasting and to encourage others to have a go.  It’s a great way to tell our stories and testimonies and to share God’s interaction with us and our world.

So why podcast? My journey into this realm of technology and media came out of frustration. I live and work in a parish where a large majority are busy people who daily commute. Their lifestyle means that they often feel “too busy” or “too tired” to engage with normal church activities.  Rather than berate them for their busyness, I wanted to find a way to engage them within it.

My frustration led me to prayer and that prayer brought a revelation of my failure to use a gift I had been given when I trained as a radio broadcaster at the National Broadcasting School in London. The words of Michael Barry, who was the Principal of the school, a former TV presenter on the Food and Drink program and Program Controller for Capitol Radio, came back to me during my prayer, it was as if I was back sitting opposite him looking across his desk. His words were, “Karl I want to see you in radio within a month”.

Well it didn’t happen in a month, it came later for me with LBC and some work with the BBC before becoming ordained in the Church of England.  Recalling Michael’s words to me challenged me deeply.  I had one of those light bulb moments when I realised that the beauty of radio is that it reaches into every place where there is the will to tune in and listen. This was an ideal and creative medium for reaching the “too busy” and “too tired”.   With radio, all they have to do is listen and they can do that anywhere at anytime.

Now clearly I wasn’t going to set up a radio station. I had been a keen listener of podcasts, and I thought to myself, how hard can it be? As I looked into it more I realised I had all I needed in my back pocket in the form of a smart phone.  There are a number of apps available for both iPhones and Androids and anyone wanting to start podcasting should do some research for what suits them and what works best with their system.  In my case I was working with an  iPhone 6. I researched the various apps and discovered great reviews for an app called ‘Opinion’. So I downloaded it and had a play.  I was really surprised at the quality of recording and the ease by which I could use it.

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I didn’t have an external microphone so I began to look into what I might need. Then it dawned on me that I might use the microphone that is integrated in my Apple iPhone headphones. After a few tests, I found it produced exceptional quality. It was now time to give it a go. I had the iPhone under my cassock in my back pocket ready to record and my earphone microphone secretly hidden in the fold of my cassock hood fixed with a paperclip so no one would see it and I went about recording my first live sermon.

When I got home and listened I found the recording to be of excellent sound quality with no mic noise. I now entirely use this method for recording in every instance.

One of the things the Opinion app gives you is your own podcasting website to upload your podacsts to. From there I link my podcasts to Facebook, Twitter, the Parish website and can even email to my parishoners if they wish. It is fast to upload and I pride myself on having my sermon live and accesible before my congregations have left the church building; it’s that quick.

Being a broadcaster I wanted to create introductory recordings that would remain the same for each podcast. I did this using an app on my iPhone called ‘n-Track’. This allows me to edit audio using more than one track and mix them so I have an introductory voice over suitable music. I haven’t perfected this yet and am soon to record a different voice rather than my own to introduce my podcasts.

The final thing I wanted was artwork for my podcast. For this I used an app on my phone called ‘Enlight.’ This allows me to blend images togther and overlay them with informative text.

I am still learning and becoming increasingly excited by the whole concept of podcasting. As my listener base increases I am overjoyed to find that where my podcasts are being heard is mostly among those who are “too busy” or “too tired”. Nearly every day someone comments to me that they have been listening to my podcast. I’m always interested to do my own market research and find out where they listen. I was pleased to discover that I had, for one couple, become the early morning choice of listening on a Saturday morning before they got out of bed.

Podcasting offers the flexibility that many people appreciate in today’s world.  It encourages people to listen to thoughts, stories and Christian teaching at a time that’s right for them.   It gives the opportunity to reach a wider audience and it’s not difficult.  So why not give it a try?  People want to listen.

If you want some help with podcasting Karl is available to help online at  vicar@smasch.org  

 

photo credit: microphone via photopin (license)

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