Podcasts

Using audio and video to record, edit and share your ideas can be a powerful tool for campaigners. The revolution will be televised!

What are podcasts and vodcasts?

Podcasts are audio or video recordings available on the internet. They're like radio shows, except that rather than being broadcast live, they're stored and distributed over the internet. A key feature of podcasts is the ability for listeners or viewers to 'subscribe' and have the recordings delivered directly to their computers. Video podcasts are sometimes called vodcasts.

One of the best things about podcasting is practically anyone with an internet connection can do it. Some of the most popular podcasts are created by people who have no background in mainstream media.

How can I do it?

It's relatively easy to create your own podcast, and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Check out editing software such as Audacity (for PCs) or Soundflower (for MAC) - they're free and should have all the functions you need. Try visiting the useful forums on Podcast Alley for more in-depth information about software. For step-by-step tips on getting your first podcast made, try these guides:

Creating video podcasts can be more complicated, but with a bit of research even beginners can get involved. Check out these guides to filming, editing and promoting your videos online:

How can I use a podcast to promote my message?

Interviews - Find someone connected with either side of your debate and interview them, either together or separately. Make sure you give each position an equal amount of time and avoid leading questions. After the interviews you can draw your own conclusions and perhaps set up a discussion page or forum so that listeners/viewers can add to the debate.

Document - Use your video or sound recording to document the situation. For example, if you're an environmental campaigner, show viewers the area you are campaigning about and explain why it's so special.

Reportage - Report on an event, such as a protest or meeting. You could film or record speeches and interview participants.

Are there any downsides?

Remember to think about copyright. If you're planning to use any music in your production, you need to either obtain a music licence, use royalty free music or create and perform your own original music. Copyright also extends to material from published sources (such as books) and you should seek permission from the author or publisher to use the material in your podcast.

If you're finding it difficult getting to grips with the recording and editing process, start simple. You can get more creative as you master the software and learn from your mistakes. Try and find a friend or colleague who can help you get started, or join a forum so you can ask specific questions about the bits you're struggling with.

Examples of successful podcasts

Audio

  • Ouch! - disability chat show from the BBC.
  • TheSite.org's audio section - there is a selection of interviews, vox pops and audio guides which are a good example of communicating through audio content.
  • UNICEF Radio is a new global radio service from UNICEF focusing on the health, education, equality and protection of children.

Video

These aren't all strictly podcasts (sometimes they are called vodcasts), but are great examples of promoting your message through video content

  • The Big Ask campaign - Friends of the Earth campaign; upload a video to pledge your support.
  • True Tube - video debate by young people - upload a video or respond to other videos already posted to the site.
  • One minute juniors - young people from all over the world create videos of one minute on any topic they like. Some are political, some social, some artistic.
  • YouTube/Beatbullying - Partnership between Beatbullying and YouTube to try and combat bullying. Offer your advice, experience or support in a video and upload it to the site.

Article produced by the Choose Action Alliance.

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