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The basics of church podcasting

It is important to become familiar with the basics of podcasting before you jump in. Once you get a handle on the do's and don'ts, you can be on your way in no time. Photo by Convertkit courtesy of Unsplash.
It is important to become familiar with the basics of podcasting before you jump in. Once you get a handle on the do's and don'ts, you can be on your way in no time. Photo by Convertkit courtesy of Unsplash.

A podcast is a program that is available in digital format for download over the internet. Podcasts are similar to radio programs but exist as audio files that can be played on demand.

The word "podcast," which is a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast,” goes back to 2004, nearly 20 years ago. It didn't take long for podcasts to gain traction. Today, there are nearly 3 million podcasts with more than 135 million episodes.

A key element of podcasting is that you can distribute your audio and/or video files to people who wish to subscribe to them. In this way, each new file is automatically delivered to a subscriber’s reader or aggregator (called a podcatcher, such as iTunes) as soon as you post it. It then becomes available for them to view or listen to on their smartphone, computer or MP3 player at their convenience.

CREATING A PODCAST

To get started with podcasting, you need to determine the theme or topic for your regular podcast. It’s much like a radio show or blog in which you focus on a specific subject in each issue or installment. For example, you might want to create a weekly podcast of the pastor’s sermon. Prepare your audio or video file just as you would normally for web distribution.

Next, you will need to create an RSS feed on your webpage or upload the audio or video file to a podcasting site. To create an RSS feed and to validate the feed, you can use the services at Feed For All or Feedburner.

For a step-by-step tutorial to create and publish your podcast, visit the Feed For All website. Once your podcast is launched, you will want to tell people about your podcast so they can subscribe. You will also want to submit your podcast to various directories and sites

Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts are among the most popular. SermonCast is one that specifically serves Christian churches and ministries.

As with any copyrighted content (music, video, audio, etc.), be sure to obtain permission to use it online with your podcast. Remember, music or video you use under the CCLI or CVLI licenses for live worship or events at your church do not cover online use. You will need to obtain additional licensing permissions when using copyrighted material in your podcast.

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