I created my most recent enhanced podcast and audio-only podcast using Garageband ’08, part of the iLife 2008 software package available from Apple. One my complaints about past versions of Garageband was the LACK of an “export to file” and “export to mp3” function. With those past versions, users had to “SEND TO iTUNES” via the SHARE menu, and then use the ADVANCED menu of iTunes to convert the AAC formatted podcast into mp3 format. Then, users had to “drag” the file from iTunes to a folder on their hard drive in order to upload it to the web.
With the latest 2008 version of Garageband, this functionality is now included. From the SHARE menu, users can directly choose to save a podcast to disk:
Enhanced podcasts can be exported directly as mono podcasts with 32 kbps quality. That is my preferred bitrate for spoken podcasts, since it is a good balance of quality and smaller file size.
Wonderfully, a direct export to mp3 format is also available!
I have consistently found that less than fifty percent of the subscribers to my podcast (currently just 23%) access it via iTunes. Since enhanced podcasts, saved as QuickTime files with the “m4a” extension, can only be played within iTunes or QuickTime player, I’ve always felt it is important to publish an alternative audio-only, mp3 version of each podcast I make. This provides greater accessibility for the podcast and the ideas contained within it, since virtually all media players will play mp3 audio files.
I understood Apple’s desire in the past to encourage podcasters to support the m4a file format and AAC encoding format, and I think that is why they did NOT previously support a direct export to MP3 format option in Garageband. I am VERY glad to see they’ve included this option and functionality in the latest version of Garageband, however. I also like how Garageband (by default) normalizes the audio in an exported podcast to balance audio levels. In all, I am VERY pleased with the new version of Garageband for podcasting. It’s going to be fun to continue to work with this teacher-team in Mid-Del Schools just west of Oklahoma City this fall as they learn how to use Garageband for digital storytelling projects as well! 🙂
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