In our last post, Getting Your Church An Online Presence Part 4, we discussed some live broadcasting and video archiving services that you might want to consider using. In this post, we will look at Internet Radio, Live Audio Podcasting and podcasting in general.
Let’s start with podcasting. Podcasting is simply putting your sermons or worship services on your web site as an MP3 format audio file. MP3 is a standard format that most anybody can download or listen to from your web site. Depending on how your site is programmed, it is generally easy to allow your visitors to listen to your MP3 files direct from your site. You may choose to host these files yourself on your own server space or use an audio file hosting service online to do this for you. Check with your webmaster to see what they think your best bet is here. Since I have plenty of storage space with my hosting service, I host my own MP3 files. This is easier for me, but your situation may be different.
PodBean.com is a decent place to start for hosting your audio podcasts. They offer a lot for podcasters and have a free service too. There are other services available too, some free, others have free and premium services. Just Google podcasting services for more information.
Internet Radio is becoming bigger nowadays. iHeart Radio and TuneIn Radio are two of the biggest stations to come around in a long time. Both have iPhone and Android apps and there are ways you can approach each of these services to air your audio podcasts on your own Internet Radio station. I have a stream that runs 24 hours a day on TuneIn Radio. Internet Radio is just another way of reaching your audience and congregation, especially those who are home bound (each of these stations can be heard through an Internet browser) and those on the go!
Then there is Live Podcasting or Live Audio Streaming. There are a few services doing this today. Talkshoe.com and BlogTalkRadio.com as well as Live365.com all do live podcasting and streaming. Again, some of these services are free, while others have free and premium services. Talkshoe has been around for a while now, followed closely by BlogTalkRadio and Live365. Talkshoe doesn’t seem to do many updates to their service, so things stay pretty much status quo. They have some good training and support too, and this is important when choosing a service…in case you need them! BlogTalkRadio and Live365 keep updated frequently and seem to be always offering something new in their services. It’s important to check out the live streaming service thoroughly to insure that it will do everything you are wanting it or needing it to do!
Bottom line is that putting your church online in any way, shape or form, will cost you something. It may not be much or it could be very costly! Make sure you don’t break the budget by trying to do everything at one time. Take it one step at a time and go slowly. Check everything every step of the way to make sure it is working correctly. And, go live, ONLY when you are ready! There is nothing worse than telling your congregation that you will have a live broadcast and then for some unforeseen reason, nothing works right! Check, double check and re-check again and then, once you are ready…Go for it!
This is the last post in this series. I might, at a later date, go back and revisit this series and expand on the content to offer you more!
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will assist you in any way that I can!
Be a Blessing and Be Blessed!
Rev. Dr. Robert White, Senior Pastor