contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

blog

Filtering by Category: Podcasting

Mixlr Adds Support for SoundCloud, AudioBoo, MixCloud and Dropbox

John Federico

Mixlr, the company that brought the simplicity of web video streaming to audio, has just announced integration with the biggest audio sharing services on the web.

You'll now be able to export your captured live streams to SoundCloud, AudioBoo, MixCloud and Dropbox. (OK, Dropbox isn't just an audio sharing service, but being able to export to Dropbox makes for a nice, simple production workflow.)

Read More

New iOS Podcasting Workflow

John Federico

Since I began podcasting in 2006, I've been using a variety of methods to record audio, both in the studio and remotely.

I use Macs exclusively and my experiments have included full simultaneous multi-track recording in Garageband using a Firewire mixer, to simply using a conference phone and a pocket recorder to capture phone interviews.

I finally settled upon Audio HiJack Pro for both local and remote recording as the software enables me to capture both sides of a Skype conversation in a single audio file.

This setup worked great for years with only minor hiccups. Finally, a few weeks ago, I had some weirdness occur in this setup and I lost an entire 90-minute episode.

For whatever reason, the Skype connection dropped. We immediately reconnected and everything sounded fine during recording. However, when I played the file back, the audio coming from the studio mics from that point forward was completely garbled. (My caller sounded fine, which was even more strange.)

Sure, we had a good conversation - in fact, it would have been a great episode -  but I wasted everyone's time by not having a better solution for monitoring the audio.

Fixing It

To say that I have a few gadgets in my studio would be a gross understatement so I decided to take stock of my gear and pull together a simple, reliable method for capturing local and remote audio.

Here's the result.

Read More

Video Rig Updated to include FujiFilm Finepix HS10

John Federico

Click to EnlargeI love my Kodak Zi8 just a little bit more than my Zi6 for one simple reason: the audio input jack.

It helps create a simple, lightweight video rig for interviews that I like to get at conferences and events. Using my Zoom H4 portable audio recorder as an audio mixer, I can connect a couple of mics using the XLR jacks and connect them directly to the Zi8 using a standard 1/8" stereo jack.

Click to Enlarge 

The only downside to this setup is the width of the shot - in close quarters it's too tight, requiring me to occupy lots of precious space on exhibit hall floors.

I've tried to counter this with the addition of a wide-angle lens adapter. While it does indeed widen the shot, items on the outer edges can be blurred which makes your interview subject look terrible.

For example, check out this video of FanFeedr Chief Revenue Officer, Ben Lar Marca being interviewed by Craig Calder:

Read More

Event: Using Social Media to Promote Your Blog or Web Site, September 22

John Federico

I've been invited to participate in an upcoming event produced by Professionals in Media. If you can join us in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey please come! Information is below.

If you're unable to attend, fear not - I'll be streaming the event live. You'll be able to listen at the URL below beginning at (or around) 7 PM:

http://go.gadgetboy.org/kicn

Here's the official announcement from PIM:

You are planning on building a web site or blog. Maybe, you already have one. Either way, drawing traffic equals good business. Tuesday, September 22, at 7 p.m., Professionals In Media (PIM) presents a seminar Using Social Media to Promote Your Blog or Web Site. This event will be held at Summit Medical Group, 1 Diamond Hill Road, Berkeley Heights, Room C-100 in the Education Center of Lawrence Pavilion.

Allan Hoffman, Michael Shapiro, and John Federico are the panelists for an informative evening on using social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to promote your blog or web site.

Allan Hoffman is the CEO and founder of Web100.com. Hoffman is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Newsday, P.O.V., Rutgers Magazine, The MotherHood, Wired News, Worth, Yahoo Internet Life, and many other newspapers, magazines, and literary publications. He is the personal technology columnist for the Star-Ledger. Hoffman has been interviewed about technology topics on various television and radio programs, including NBC’s "Early Today," C-SPAN’s "Washington Journal," CNNfn, and NPR’s "All Things Considered."

Michael M. Shapiro, chief executive officer and editor of TheAlternativePress.com, the State of New Jersey’s all-online hyperlocal daily newspaper, is an attorney with degrees from Stanford Law School and Rutgers College, Rutgers University. He first made headlines as one of the youngest people to run for public office in New Jersey when at age 21, he ran for Mayor of New Brunswick.

John Federico is an accomplished marketing, communications and business development executive and founder of the web site newrules.com. He offers 15 years of experience in marketing communications and business development with passionate expertise in digital media.

Admission is a $10 donation per person. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; reservations are strongly suggested. Contact Jacqueline Herships at 973-763-7555 or Jacqueline@jacquelineherships.com or Michele C. Hollow at michelechollow@pipeline.com. For directions, please visit www.summitmedicalgroup.com.

Making Skype Comfortable

John Federico

I use Skype. A lot. Not only do I use it as my office phone, but I use it to record remote callers for podcasts, so the quality needs to be really good. The best way to accomplish this is usually with a good USB headset.

Usually.

I've gone through more USB headsets than I care to think about mostly due to the lack of comfort but also due to obsolescence - they just die out after awhile.

A year or so ago, I bought a pair of Shure SE110 headphones for my iPod and I love them.

When my current USB headset suddenly died, I had an immediate need for a headset for a series of conference calls. I've got half a dozen Griffin mics laying around so this is what I came up with.

Using the USB dongle from another pair of headphones, I plugged my SE110's into the headphone jack and the Griffin mic into the microphone jack and voila - great, portable setup.

Geek Note: the USB dongle acts as a analog-to-digital converter for the audio-into your computer and a digital-to-analog converter for the audio-out of your computer. Your computer probably has a sound card that can accomplish this but a USB dongle is basically a device dedicated to this purpose and usually provides better performance.

This setup sounds great and I can wear the headphones for hours in comfort. As for the microphone, Griffin stopped making them but you can find them on eBay, usually new and in their original packaging.

The Strategies and Tactics of Show Prep

John Federico

Unlike Kris and Betsy, for most of us, life isn't show prep. It's actually real work.

I have some basic concepts that I consider during show prep, production and post-production.

  • I want to minimize post-production. It's a time suck and some people can really get obsessive about it (ahem...). You want to produce the best media possible, but if it's only one of many things you do every day (like me) you want to have to do as little as possible.
  • It needs to be easy to collaborate with others. I have three co-hosts and a number of guests at any given time. People need to be able contribute topics that they feel are worth discussing while learning what others may want to talk about.
  • It needs to be easy for remote participants while maintaining sound quality. Chia-Lin now lives in the Bay Area, so she no longer participates in studio. I need to accommodate her as well as any guests we may have.

With that in mind, here's an overview of the process I use to produce the On Digital Media podcast. Yes, it goes beyond just show prep, but James Andrews asked my about me gear, etc. so I decided to post it all here.

Collection

We typically record on Thursday evenings. Since it's a topical, current events-based show, we have to collect stories that have occurred throughout the week. And, since there are four of us (with the occassional guest) we need a way to collaborate on the story list.

We used to use Delicious to collect stories but since Steve and I do so much of our reading on our iPhones, bookmarking in Delicious just wasn't practical. Nowadays we star items in Google Reader. I prefer to use Shared Items in Google Reader - if it's worth sharing, chances are it's worth discussing.

That process works great for things we find in RSS feeds, but that's not convenient when we find something on a web page. For that, I've recently started using Twine. I've created a Twine called "Digital Media" where I publish interesting stories using the Twine bookmarklet. I also get the added benefit of sharing the item via Twitter.

Organization

Once we've collected a group of stories that are worth discussing, we have to organize them. For this, we use a Google Docs. Usually Steve or I will create a Google Doc and share it with the episode participants.

I usually drop a short script in at the top so I remember to introduce the show, tell people where to subscribe, introduce my co-hosts and guests and allow each of them to get in their plugs.

Headlines, slugs and sometimes entire articles are copied into the Google Doc and loosely organized by topic. On the evening of the show, I will sort the stories for improved flow and better segues.

That said, we don't discuss every item - sometimes we go deep into a particular topic and run out of time. Other times, it's good to have extra items since you never know when it might be interesting to segue into something else in the story list.

Keep in mind - Google Docs allows multiple simultaneous editors. That means we can edit the show notes and every participant can see them in real-time. It works beautifully.

Gear

After doing this for nearly three years, I've pretty much got the gear set up for our weekly(-ish) use without having to touch much.

Studio 1A

Studio 1A is my home office, in the attic (hence, the "A"). On my desk I have an Alesis Multimix Firewire 8, though rarely use the Firewire interface these days. I keep things simple and jack-in to my MacBook using a USB capture card running from the analog I/O ports on the mixer. (It's the USB encoder/decoder that came with my Logitech Premium Notebook Headset.

For microphones, I have a few mic stands and a variety of condenser mics: a couple of MXL 990's, a Kel-Audio HM-1, an AKF Perception 100 along with a few others. Ken needs a pop filter as he has a difficult time remembering to keep a safe distance from the mic. ;)

Headphones are available to everyone. I bought some inexpensive over-the-ear headphones at Radio Shack which are collapsible and can be transported easily. Since over-the-ear headphones can get really hot really fast, I like to use my Shure SE110's in the summer months. (I'm going to upgrade to the SE310K's soon as they have improved bass response.)

Remote Participants

For Chia-Lin and other remote participants I use Skype on my MacBook. Chia-Lin connects to the Studio using a Skype-to-Skype connection. If you have a suitable amount of bandwidth, you can't beat the sound quality of Skype. If I have other guests calling in who do not have Skype, I will call them at a number they specify using SkypeOut. The quality isn't as good as good as a Skype-to-Skype connection, but it doesn't require me to purchase a digital hybrid coupler, which can be expensive.

Recording Live

Right now we use TalkShoe for our live shows. Downloading TalkShow Pro allows me to control my chat room, mute listeners and take questions live from the audience. For this, I also use SkypeOut to call the TalkShoe phone number. There's a VOIP interface that is intended to offer better voice quality, but I haven't had the opportunity to try it.

I still record the shows locally on my Mac even though TalkShoe is recording everything on their central servers. (I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy when it come to recording: you never know when something can go wrong so it's good to have multiple recorders rolling.)

I'm expermimenting with a Shoutcast server for better live sound quality. Will post something on that soon.

Post Production

I run everything through the Levelator, edit in Fission, lay it out with music, intros and outros in GarageBand and edit ID3 metadata using iTunes. I currently publish to a Wordpress blog using PodPress, but that will change. More on my workflow here.

Any questions? Comments? Tips? Post them in the comments.

How to Create Great Media at Conferences and Events

John Federico

Conferences and other events can be great opportunities to connect with thought leaders in your industry and create buzz around your attendance while you're there.

One way to do this is to capture audio and video interviews with influentials while you're there and post them in your blog, web site, podcast or on YouTube and other sites that share and distribute digital media. However, you shouldn't just show up with a microphone or camera and hope that people will stop by to be interviewed.


After producing dozens of events like this, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my successes and failures. This guide just scratches the surface, but I hope you find it a good primer. 

Get a Booth

A "booth" or exhibit space is typically 10' x 10' but if you're just planning to record interviews, it doesn't have to be that large - just enough for two tall chairs ("bar stool" height) and your microphones and cameras. In fact, you don't even have to get a standalone exhibit space. Many conferences will offer small, "pre-built" conference booths that are comingled with other small companies - all you have to do is show up.

With that said, be clear about your goals: If you are using the interviews as a means to generate interest in your booth so that you can engage prospects for your product or service, be sure to spring for the 10' x 10' space (or larger, if you can afford it).

Why take any space at all? Simple: Presence. You want people to see your brand and what you're discussing while there and hopefully attract audience, potential interview candidates and prospects for your business (if applicable).

Regardless of the size of your space, spend the money to produce some good graphics that you can use consistently. A "banner stand" is a good tool for this. They are cheap and can function as a good backdrop for photos and video. If you need larger graphics, you can purchase multiple banner stands that, when next to each other, create the illusion of a large, nearly seamless background.

I've used Skyline's "Exalt" system to great effect.

From Skyline.com:

"Exalt is the ultimate banner stand. It features a slender base, bold fabric graphics and converts from linear to curved with the simple flick of levers. A single unit with soft case weighs only about 12 lbs. (6 kg)."


As you can see, the panels can be used together as a backdrop for a 10' x 10' booth or individually, if you design them with that in mind.

Broadcast Live

Delivering the interview as a podcast or as an embedded on-demand video is great, but people respond well to the concept of "real-time." It creates a sense of urgency to your interview request and presents the interview to the "real-time web". There are a number of services that enable you to do this cheaply or for free. For video, you can use Ustream.tv, Kyte, Qik and others. For audio, you can use TalkShoe or a Shoutcast server.

Keep in mind, you've just increased your costs dramatically. An ethernet connection at a conference can cost thousands of dollars. Even a standard telephone line can cost a few hundred dollars (and that may not even include toll charges). However, it can be well worth the expense if you plan ahead and secure good guests.

When you're done broadcasting, you can package everything up for podcast delivery at a later time. Be sure that you are able to download the audio or video from the broadcasting service that you're using as you may want to syndicate it using your existing podcast feed, if you have one. Also stay away from services that may make ridiculous claims of ownership to your content. It's your hard work, don't give up ownership to anyone unless it's advantageous to both parties.

Schedule Interviews in Advance

See if you can find out in advance who will be attending the conference or event. Reach out to everyone in your network using email and all your social media tools (twitter, facebook, friendfeed, etc.).

Another way is to contact the event organizer and ask for an attendee list. Many will be reluctant to share this list, but it will help your cause if you explain to the organizer what you'll be doing and ask ONLY for names and titles - not contact information. This diminishes any appearance of impropriety on your part and you can always find a way to reach these folks once you have the list. Of course, it will really help if you get a booth or exhibit space. (see above)

Next, prepare your target guest list. Who would make an all-star line-up for your series of interviews? Reach out to every potential guest in your network and on the attendee list, but also see who might be in their respective networks. Reaching out by telephone is the most personal method but if you're pressed for time, email will work.

Prepare an email to be sent to potential guests but be sure to address each one individually and personalize it before you send it. Nothing says "I'm trawling for guests," like an impersonal mass email.

NOTE: Keep egos in mind here.There may be people whom you may use as a conduit to reach your ultimate interview target that may be insulted that you didn't ask them to participate. Tread lightly.

Rights

Let your guests know upfront that you'll be asking them to sign a release to allow you to use the content as you see fit. Unless you're a media company, you won't likely be generating revenue directly from these recordings but you should still be sure that you have the right to use them in a reasonable manner. You can find a release online, but you may want to have your attorney review it before using it.

Post Your Schedule Online

As soon as you secure your first couple of guests, post your interview schedule online - ideally, on your blog. (You are blogging, right?) Post the link to the schedule on twitter, bookmark it in delicious.com, digg it, etc. Re-post it to twitter each time you make a change to the schedule. When you add or reschedule a guest, be sure to mention the guests name in your tweet - your guest will enjoy the exposure and it will be a good attractor for you and your efforts. If you have a booth #, be sure to include wherever you can as it will likely be listed in the program guide that attendees receive when they arrive at the event.

I like to post these types of things in the FaceBook Events application and invite everyone in my network to attend. Even if they don't RSVP, you will have at least had an opportunity to expose them to what you're doing. If it's a professional event, you can do the same thing in LinkedIn.

For an added lift in exposure, list each guest interview as a separate event. People might not be interested in every guest that you've scheduled, but one of your guests may entice them to tune in to your live broadcast from their desks or stop by your booth to hear them speak. The only challenge with this is that guests reschedule or sometimes cancel and you'll have to update your FaceBook Events. Only you can decide if you want to do this or if you have the capacity to coordinate all of it.

This is a good time to touch on the subject of logistics: Regardless of your goals for the event, don't ever work alone. At a minimum, you should have someone ensuring that your gear is functioning properly and that guests are arriving on time. It also doesn't hurt to have a third person walking the show floor and grab guests for open slots or invite attendees to come listen.

Post Your Schedule at the Event

Posting your schedule isn't just show prep - it's an ongoing effort throughout the event, especially as your guests reschedule or don't show (see below). At a minimum, have a dry-erase board with your interview schedule for all to see. If you can, create a self-running, looping presentation using Apple Keynote or Microsoft PowerPoint with your schedule. In addition to the schedule, you can post pictures of your guests, their bios and their affiliation.

A word on scheduling:

Guess what? You're going to have guests that don't show up. They may have forgotten, they may have had business to attend to or they may have been snagged for an interview with a major media outlet. Don't take it personally. It happens to everyone.

However, here are some tips to ensure that your guests show up:

  • Have their email addresses handy
    Most business people carry BlackBerries or iPhones and will be checking their email at the event. Send them an email one hour before their scheduled appearance.
  • Get their cell phone numbers
    I like to text my guests and hour before their scheduled appearance, then again fifteen minutes before. If they aren't there five minutes before they're scheduled, call them.  At that point, you've done all you can. If they don't show, take a break and get a snack.

Be Loud

Your interviews will only be interesting to passers by if they can hear them. Bring a small PA system with you so that you and your guests can be heard across the aisle of the exhibit hall floor. Any louder than that and you might raise the ire of the adjacent exhibitors.

I've used the Califone PresentationPro 300 PLUS with great success. Placing it on the floor and in front of you helps prevent feeding back or echoes in your recording.

Go for Groups

If one guest is good, three may be better - especially if some of them are known to be opinionated and vocal. If you have the space and appropriate gear, invite three guests to participate in a panel discussion with you as the host/moderator.

Again, this increases costs dramatically. You'll need to have headsets and microphones for each of them and if you're shooting video, you may need to widen your shot or even add a second camera. That said, three experts discussing a subject which they find themselves passionate about can make for a great draw of crowds - and great media to distribute later.

Allow Questions

If you're able, reserve a microphone at the event for the audience to ask questions. It makes it much more engaging to passers-by knowing that they can initiate a dialogue with your experts and can help keep the conversation flowing. If you're using a live streaming application, be sure to activate the chat room so that people tuning in can ask questions from afar.

Encourage inquisitors to state their name, title and affiliation. A little self-promotion always greases the proverbial wheels.

Give Away Something Cool

Yeah, drawings and giveaways are standard fare at conferences and events but you can use them in conjunction with your media creation efforts to really increase visits to your booth and your live stream. Selection of the giveaway is dependent on your budget and what your company produces in its core business. Since you're producing digital media, you can give away something digital media-related - an iPod or iPhone is always a great gadget to get people excited. Regardless of what you select, the process should be the same:

 

  • Tell everyone that you're going to give it away during one of the live broadcasts/recordings and that one of your guests will perform the deed.
  • Give away two of them - one for the folks participating in your live stream and one for the folks at the event.
  • Provide a mechanism for people to enter the drawing. Email works for the online participants and of course, a good ol' business card will work for the folks at the event. You can also get a badge scanner that has the ability to select a random winner designed for just these sorts of things.
  • Produce a large sign announcing the giveaway and have it perpetually visible at your booth.
  • Post a similar message in all your online event listings.
  • Always give it away on the last day of the conference. Do it randomly so that people have an incentive to stop by the booth or listen online throughout the last day.

 

Do you have any other tips? Post them in the comments.

"What's wrong with Vinnie from Lawn Gyland!?"

John Federico

These guys have forgotten more about the game of football than I'll ever even understand. You can listen to them on the BlogTalkRadio Fantasy Sports Channel.

(Yes, I work for BlogTalkRadio and no, I really don't follow football - but it's still pretty cool to have a video like this on WSJ.com. I'm impressed with the quality of the video that the Wall Street Journal is producing.)

On Digital Media #74 - LIVE - Thursday, October 16th at 9 PM

John Federico

 

Join the ODM crew for a LIVE episode of On Digital Media this Thursday evening at 9 PM on BlogTalkRadio.

Our guests this week are:

Kip Voytek, SVP, IconNicholson

http://kipbot.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/a85/28
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575811971
http://twitter.com/kipbot

...and James Andrews, VP, Director of Interactive, Ketchum

http://www.thekeyinfluencer.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/keyinfluencer
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706665238
http://twitter.com/keyinfluencer

The call-in number is (347) 633-9501 or you can send in questions ahead of time to comments AT odmcast DOT com.

Music Royalties and the Future of Online Webcasting

John Federico

Edison Media Research and BlogTalkRadio are throwing a little party.

Well, OK. It's not a party, but a gathering of the finest minds of our time on the subject of music royalties and their effect on online radio, webcasting and podcasting.

Entitled "Music Royalties and the Future of Online Webcasting: What the Webcaster Settlement Act means to Online Radio," this live, interactive webcast will take place on Monday, October 6th @ 12 Noon EDT (9a PDT).

Head on over to the FaceBook event listing and RSVP (not necessary, but it would be nice to know who plans to listen in) or just visit either of these URL's at the appropriate time:

http://www.edisonresearch.com/webcasts.php

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edisonresearch

You'll be able to listen and call-in with questions at either URL, but the page at blogtalkradio.com will have live text chat during the event allowing you to interact with other listeners. (Or, for you shy types, you'll be able ask questions of the panelists without calling-in.)

Here's the full description of the event:

The Webcaster Settlement Act was introduced to allow webcasters to continue to negotiate new royalty agreements with copyright owners for the years 2006-2015. Written and submitted to the House and Senate for approval, it passed and now goes on to President Bush for ratification.

What do industry leaders and analysts have to say on the issue?

Join us on October 6th at 12 Noon EDT (9AM PDT) for an interactive panel discussion where you'll hear perspectives on the issue from:

- Tim Westergren, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder of Pandora

- Kurt Hanson, CEO of AccuRadio

- Alan Levy, CEO, BlogTalkRadio

- David Oxenford, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP

The discussion will be moderated by Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Edison Media Research.

Listeners can call in LIVE during the event at (347) 205-9090, or submit questions before the event to Tom Webster via email (twebster@edisonresearch.com).

On Digital Media LIVE tonight on BlogTalkRadio

John Federico


We're doing our first LIVE episode of On Digital Media tonight! Regular listeners will get to experience all the foibles in real-time. (Those of you who download the podcast will probably get an edited version...) ;)


Tune in here on BlogTalkRadio at 9 PM Eastern time.


[tags]On Digital Media, Podcasts, Podcasting, BlogTalkRadio[/tags]

Hear This: On Digital Media, Episode #64: Where does the box go?

John Federico

The latest episode of On Digital Media has been posted. Show notes and audio can be found here.

Subscribe in iTunes here.

[tags]John Federico, Ken Gellman, Chia-Lin Simmons, Steve Hatch, Wine, Digital Media, On Digital Media, Downloads, Audio, Music, iTunes, Retail, eCommerce, NewsCorp, Microsoft, Circuit City, Blockbuster, Vudu, Home Theater, Twitter, Pownce, AlertThingy, FriendFeed, SocialThing, Advertising, Business Models, Amazon Tax, Sales Tax, Mail Order, Catalogs, AOL, Apple TV, TiVo, Cable TV, Platform A, Mike Troiano, Conversational Marketing Conference, John Battelle, Venture Capital, Investments, Twinkle, Location based services, Mobile, Wireless, twitterific, Google, Podcamp NYC, Podcast, Yahoo, MatchMine, Apple, iPhone, Media, Acquisitions, Alexander Blu, Jobs, Careers, Career Development, Events[/tags]

Hear This: On Digital Media, Episode #63: We Told You So

John Federico

The latest episode of On Digital Media has been posted. Show notes and audio can be found here.

Subscribe in iTunes here.

[tags]John Federico, Ken Gellman, Chia-Lin Simmons, Steve Hatch, Eric Rochow, Real World Green, Gardenfork.tv, Wine, Digital Media, On Digital Media, For Your Imagination, Elvis Costello, Downloads, Audio, Music, Wal-Mart, iTunes, Retail, eCommerce, EMI, EMI Digital, Google, Podcamp NYC, Podcast, Yahoo, MatchMine, SXSW, Google, Android, Apple, iPhone, Media, Adobe Flash, Silverlight, Acquisitions, Alexander Blu, Jobs, Careers, Career Development, Jeff Pulver, SoMBAA, Events[/tags]