So you want to be a podcaster?

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Well, if you don’t care about growing a regular audience, don’t worry about publishing regular webisodes, and don’t have to worry about your Web hosting bandwidth, it can be. If any of those matter to you, however, it’s going to be serious work, no just fun and games.

To make it a lot less painful, let me recommend the single most important tool in a podcaster’s arsenal: the freeware audio editor called “Audacity.”

Audacity is an open-source multi-platform audio editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Development is supported by donations, and by purchases from the Audacity Store (and after all, who doesn’t have a use for another coffee mug, or a nice polo shirt?).

Some of the most important Audacity features for podcasters are:

  • Live recording from any source (mic, Skype, line in, etc.) that your computer supports.
  • Automated “noise removal.” I record in a room that has a lot of ventilator fan noise. Audacity removes all that noise with just a couple of clicks.
  • Clipping, splicing, and mixing of audio tracks.
  • Pitch and speed changes.
  • Special effects, such as flanging and phasing.

And if you’re smart enough to “save early and save often,” you can try things out and if you don’t like them, revert to the prior version almost instantly.

Finally, Audacity can export in a number of different file formats; MP3 is probably the most important for podcasters, of course.

Try it! If you don’t like it – well, it was free.

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