Who would have imagined the oldest way to communicate—with our voice—would be the latest, greatest thing in communications?
Even more, who would have imagined that one of the oldest technologies—radio—would be the basis for it?
But here we are with podcasts, a booming area of communications that literally anyone can do.
Effective Church Communications and podcasts
If you've been part of Effective Church Communications for some time, you know I've done a number of podcasts. I did a moderate amount of radio in the past, love the format and have done a lot of teaching and speaking so it seemed like a natural tool.
As with many things, the technology of it was very scary and that put me off for some time until I realized how simple it could be (this is an EXTREME simplification and I hope to do some videos to explain it more) with free Audacity and Lame software, plus an inexpensive headset microphone from Target (that's how I create mine).
Creating them was easy, what to do next was hard. I've tried various systems, all time-consuming and though the storage and distribution systems didn't cost a lot, it is a monthly cost. But the biggest challenge was HOW to distribute them? Yes, there are all sorts of ways to do that, but my brain was stretched enough just getting the podcast done and available.
Anchor changed everything
Recently I found a new system, http://anchor.fm and it's one of those almost too good to be true resources. It is totally free and super easy to use, but for me the best thing of all was that Anchor will automatically distribute your podcasts to all the major podcast outlets including iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and many others.
Will it last? I have no idea, so I save all my recordings. Their revenue model is that they encourage podcasters to put a link on their shows to allow listeners to donate to the podcast (which is important to the podcasters also). They have 3 donation levels: .99, 4.99, and 9.99 a month and a system that is super-simple to set up with Stripe to collect them.
Anchor takes a percentage of the donations. I really like this as all the other systems I've looked at are either all or nothing—listen for free or use an app that charges. I wanted to make my podcasts free to anyone who might find them useful, but I also wanted to have a way for them to generate income as there is significant time and work that goes into creating the podcasts and I pray that if they are useful, people will donate.
What I do and future plans
I'm extremely excited about this and honestly not quite sure the direction it will go.
Currently, I do my podcasts by recording them and then uploading them, but Anchor also has a system where you can record a simple podcast without editing it directly from your phone. I have an idea to try that in a week or so with short devotions, but currently, I have two podcasts with them. Click on either one below to go to a description of it and links to listen.
Please check them out!
As to the future of podcasting, it seems it is already going in the same direction as desktop publishing. It started as a difficult thing to do and now anyone can put something together very quickly and easily with free online programs. There are still many very complex systems for podcasting and courses, software and hosting companies that cost lots of money. But now you can also pick up your phone, go to http://anchor.fm and share your faith with the world.
I'll be doing more on this, but now it's simply interesting and exciting the new way the Lord has given us to communicate. Let's pray we use it as he wants us to for his glory and the spreading of the good news about Jesus.