Potion Factory has released a $30 software product called “Podcast Maker” which is a podcast publisher for Macintosh OS X. For Windows users, Propaganda 1.0 by MixMeister Technology is a $50 commercial software program that provides both podcast production and publishing help. Like Podcast Maker, it offers a 30 day demo.

Everyone needs to understand that you DO NOT need any commercial software what-so-ever to create and publish a podcast. The software and web tools to do this are free. Podcasters just need a computer with a microphone and an Internet connection to podcast. Still, the podcasting process is intimidating for many, and relatively inexpensive software programs like this can fill a niche by helping make things easier.

Podcast Maker doesn’t actually help in the podcast PRODUCTION phase, but can help greatly in the PUBLICATION phase. For some clarification on podcasting steps, refer to my Podcasting 101 Flowchart (posted to Flickr).

Both Podcast Maker and Propaganda create an RSS feed for you, eliminating the need to use a service like Blogger to create the feed. One big disadvantage, however, is that these software tools do not integrate use of Feedburner. Feedburner is a free service that not only makes sure your RSS feed is formatted to play well (i.e. work) with iTunes, iPodder, and other podcatching software programs, but it also provides excellent data on your podcast subscribers and how many hits your podcast downloads have received.

The technical aspects of setting up a podcast feed, including a podcast graphic, etc ARE daunting. It appears that software programs like these may be a boon for that reason…. I am going to give Podcast Maker a try and will let you know what I find out. I still will use my feedburner publication feed addresses, however, because of the feed statistic information that Feedburner provides. It would be great if podcasting programs would integrate use of a Feedburner account into their products.

My podcasting software of choice remains the free, open source Audacity program— available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Simple, powerful and free. That combination is hard to beat. Audacity does not have built-in support for podcast publishing, however. Someone needs to write a cross-platform, open source version of Podcast Maker! For Mac users, Garageband is a popular platform for podcast production, but does not offer a direct export to MP3 option. You have to convert your podcast to MP3 format using iTunes, after exporting from Garageband to iTunes as an AIFF file. Not a real big deal, but I like Audacity’s direct export to MP3 feature.

More podcasting assistance and resources are available on my free Moodle curriculum Podcasting101 and my “Podcasting Help” page.

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