Prime Yourself For Radio Broadcast Jobs With Podcasting

In the past, after attending broadcasting school, a radio professional who dreamed of radio broadcast jobs would have to put in years of hard work behind the scenes, learning about the industry and developing skills, before they got a crack at one of the radio broadcast jobs where they actually got to sit behind the mic and host a radio show. And today it's pretty much the same. But while paying dues is as important to landing that great radio job as it ever was, these days those who dream of radio broadcast jobs now have more options than ever to develop their on-air personalities, thanks to the Internet.

The easiest way for someone to practice for radio broadcast jobs is through podcasting. Podcasting is simply creating a digital audio file that can be downloaded on the Internet and listened to at any time. The host of a podcast show is known as a podcaster. Although the name suggests otherwise, you don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts. Any computer and most portable digital media players can handle them. And with appropriate software, you can easily subscribe to a podcast, which means listeners can automatically download the latest podcast episode and listen to it at their convenience.

While there are podcasts of university courses and podcast tutorials on how to do things like brew beer or tune up a motorcycle, podcasting's most popular use is to allow people the chance to easily broadcast their own radio-style shows. Developing a podcast is an excellent way for someone to work on developing skills needed for high-level radio broadcast jobs.

There's no one way to record a podcast. Depending on your skill level with computers, you may want to do everything yourself or you may want to join a site or service that sets up a lot of the technical stuff for you. If the idea of creating and packaging a radio show that will help you secure radio broadcast jobs in the future sounds intimidating, then we'd recommend BlogTalkRadio. A promising service, BlogTalkRadio is a Website that makes it easy for anyone to create their own radio show. The service lets you host your own live call-ininterview radio show for free. It's as simple as calling the site's phone number. Everything you say will be recorded and made available online.

But of course that format raises a few questions. First, it's long distance, so unless you have VoIP, unlimited or cheap long distance (or you live in New York City, where the service is based), you might end up spending a pretty penny. VoIP can be a great service for anyone practicing for future radio broadcast jobs. We'll talk more about it later.

The second issue raised is that you'll be hosting a show over the phone - and holding a receiver to your ear for an hour can get tiring. The solution to this would be to buy a simple telephone headset, the kind that's available in just about any electronics store. You can grab a decent headset for about $25.

If you have a headset and a cheap long distance solution, then you're set to start practicing for great radio broadcast jobs by starting your own online radio show. After registering with BlogTalkRadio and signing in, you'll come to an online switchboard page. This will allow you to set whether you want to have callers contact you during your show. That's right - you can have callers and all the wonderful interactive possibilities that come with chatting with the public. Your show will be assigned a unique phone number that listeners can call if you want them to. You can talk to up to five separate callers at a time. BlogTalkRadio also lets you upload music that can be used for background effects and intros and outros - perfect for practicing your production skills.

But BlogTalkRadio is hardly the only way to record podcasts and prepare for radio broadcast jobs. If you have a computer, an internet connection, and a headset with an attached microphone, you can craft a podcast without having to use your phone. Headsets can be plugged into your PCs microphone jack. If you find that you lack a microphone jack, you can get an external one, like Griffin's Lapel Mic or the iMic, for about $15.

Most PCs don't come with recording software, but fortunately there are several free programs that are both easy to use and powerful. The recording software called Audacity is the most popular. It's free and should do everything you need it to do for preparing for radio broadcast jobs. It's pretty simple to record your own voice, and still easy enough that in no time you may even feel comfortable to start experimenting with editing your recordings.

Most serious podcasters like to have people other than themselves on their shows. This could be solved as easily as getting another headphone and mic set and having guests right next to you. Or you could call them through a method known as Voice-over IP, or VoIP for short. There are several services, most cheap, some free, which will let you transmit your voice through the Internet. In other words, you can call someone using the Internet. The most popular VoIP service is Skype. Signing up for Skype lets you talk with other Skype users for free, and calling long-distance landlines is usually much cheaper than the average long distance prices and a great tool for anyone who dreams of one day landing a radio broadcast job.

Podcasting is a powerful new method where you can sculpt your radio voice, try out new talk show ideas, and get critical feedback. It's a great opportunity for people to get ready for future radio broadcast jobs.

Tim White is the director of admissions for the Ohio and Illinois Centers for Broadcasting, among top radio broadcasting schools, and a manager of several national bands and artists. He has been FCC licensed since being a college radio DJ.