Are you looking to get the word out about something near and dear to your heart? Maybe you want to add another facet to your online presence. Ever just dreamed of being a talk show host? If you’ve answered “maybe” to any of those questions, TalkShoe.com is the place for you. TalkShoe.com is a web application and community-driven site that gives you almost all the tools you need to produce your own podcast – FREE. Yeah, that’s my favourite word too.
The only thing I found TalkShoe lacking on was adequate instructions on getting your podcast going. After rolling up my sleeves, whining like a child to my wife, and many glasses of cherry kool-aid, I got it figured out. Now, I’m going to share my new found wisdom with you. There may be other ways, even better ways, to do this but this is the way I did it.
Step 1: Get the Gear
Go and buy yourself a headset that has earphones and an attached boom-style microphone. I prefer the kind with just one earphone so I can hear the dulcet tones of my sweetie’s voice as she tells me to get off the computer and finish my laundry. Gives me goosebumps.
The headset doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought a $12 pair from Wally World and the sound is good. The podcast sounds as good as any other that I’ve heard.
Step 2: Download and Install a VoIP Client
For the neophyte, VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. For the newbies, neophyte means newbie. TalkShoe does have its own VoIP client called TalkShoe Phone, but it doesn’t really work well at all. I went with something called SJPhone from SJLabs. They have clients for Windows, Linux and Mac. I’m a PC, so I’ll stick to that.
You also want to ensure that you have a broadband connection. VoIP requires a minimum of 96kbps upload and download speed. If you aren’t sure whether your connection is capable of supporting a good VoIP connection, head on over to MySpeed’s VoIP Speed Test to check on it.
Setting up SJPhone may seem a little complex, but you only have to do it once. Here’s what worked for me.
Open up SJPhone and click on the Menu button near the bottom of the phone, and click on Options…
In the Options window that opens, first take a look at the Profiles tab. We need to make a new one so, click on the New… button. Yet another window will open.
In the Create New Profile window, you need to type a name for the new profile. Why not type TalkShoe? Then it’s easy to remember what profile you need for calling TalkShoe. Change the Profile Type to Direct SIP Calls. Now, you can click on OK.
When you click on OK, you’ll be back at the Profile Options window. Let’s go into the STUN tab, shall we? Here, we simply want to make sure there is a checkmark in the Use discovered addresses in SIP checkbox. Let’s get out of here by clicking OK.
Now we are looking at the Options window again. Make sure that TalkShoe is noted as being in use.
Why was all that convoluted stuff necessary? Well, it makes SJPhone play nicely with TalkShoe. Since TalkShoe’s built in VoIP phone doesn’t work well, this is the necessary work around. There are other workarounds, but this is the one I’m familiar with.
Now that that hurdle is hurdled, we can move on.
Step 3: Go Sign Up at TalkShoe
Signing up for an account at TalkShoe is very straight forward. Once you are on the TalkShoe website, click on the button near the top-left corner that reads Sign-Up.
You’ll be required to enter your information in a form like this one:
A few notes here – the Phone/PIN number is to help you identify yourself automatically to the system when you call in. If you are going to be using a VoIP client, like I am in this tutorial, just use your home phone number. Oh, and that’s obviously not my real PIN number.
Click on Create User and you are on your way to your podcast.
Step 3: Create the Test Podcast
I suggest setting up a Test Podcast that isn’t listed publicly, so that you can work out the kinks before going live. Simply click on the Create button near the top-left of the screen.
You’ll go to a new page, where you should click on the Or Create a new Call Series… link.
Once you do that, you’ll see this:
I suggest that you use the word TEST somewhere in the title. That will help you later, if you have to manage more than one podcast. Change the Type to Unlisted – doing so prevents people from popping into your podcast test. Change the Recording option to Automatic. What that does is set up TalkShoe to start recording your podcast as soon as you start it. This is important because you want to be able to play it back to yourself later to review your own show.
Go ahead and click on the Start Now button. It’s a bit misnamed as it really doesn’t start the show right now. Instead it brings you to a new page. On the new page, you’ll see a green box near the middle of the screen like this one:
Doing this opens up a new window that looks like a chat client. The reason it looks like a chat client is, well, because it is! Hang on, because this is where things get a little tricky….
Step 4: Calling In to Your Show
In the chat client, near the bottom, you’ll see some different numbers. The one we’re concerned with is the Enter Call ID.
Go ahead and open up SJPhone. Now the next part is REALLY important. You want to enter the following as the number to call:
CALL_ID is the number of your show. Let’s say it is 53082. PIN is your pin number that you chose when you signed up. Let’s say it is 123456789. So you would enter the string firstname.lastname@example.org. Why does that work? I don’t know, honestly, it just does.
Now click on the blue telephone icon to make the call. If it is working you should get a confirmation message that you are connected. Start talking!!!
While you are talking away on your test show, play around with some of the controls in the chat client. Get to know how they work. Now is the time to do it when no one else can hear you mess up. It seems like a lot of work to set this up, but it really isn’t much more than a half an hour. Plus once it’s done, it is done. You shouldn’t have to monkey with it anymore.
If you are still having difficulties calling into your show and getting your VoIP working, I suggest heading over to TalkShoe’s show, Get TalkShoe working, do you need HELP? They’re very helpful.
Be sure to also check out other MakeUseOf articles regarding podcasts:
- Easily Create & Manage a Podcast Blog with Podcast Generator
- 7 More Fantastic Podcasts for Geeks
- From WordPress to iTunes: How To Podcast With WordPress
Do you have a show on TalkShoe or a podcast? What do you use to create your podcast? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.