By Jason Harmon, TWRA
Tennessee WildCast started in 2007 as a short form audio podcast with a few photographs and quickly transformed into a video podcast with various topics about Tennessee fish, wildlife and outreach programs.
Recently the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency took it to a new level and made it a weekly radio-style podcast delivered in audio and video formats through multiple social media outlets.
Former outdoors radio show host and TWRA Information Specialist Doug Markham took a new role at our agency headquarters and had the vision to develop a podcast that would keep Tennessee sportsmen up to date on what TWRA is doing to enhance hunting, fishing and wildlife watching. We kept the name Tennessee WildCast and set off in new direction.
We hope our podcast will attract attention to TWRA’s social networks and help us become less dependent on traditional media to deliver agency messages.
Costs to get started with a basic audio podcast is reasonable. You basically need a few mics, an audio interface, recording software, and a place to host your show. We already had a HD video switcher so shooting a video version with multiple cameras was an easy addition for us.
Our studio is set up for three on-air personalities. The following is a list of audio gear we purchased:
- Rode Podcaster mics $229 each; boom arm $99 each; shock mounts $39 each.
- Presonus Audio Box 44VSL $249 – includes version of software.
- Shure SRH440 Headphones $99 each.
- ART 4 channel headphone amp $65.
- Don’t forget your cables.
We host the show using Soundcloud, an inexpensive audio-file hosting platform. It has different plans so price will vary depending on space needed. Using this host gives us the options to easily embed audio tracks in our site (tnwildcast.com) and it creates our RSS feed for iTunes. It’s really easy, but keep in mind there are other hosts out there. The video version of our show airs on the recently created TWRA.tv network, but also on YouTube.
We do have our own studio. For several months we used one of our older studios and even recorded some of our podcasts at various outdoors sites. We still plan to travel some, but having a permanent studio is a great convenience. While most of our guests are agency employees, we had famous fishing personality Bill Dance on air and plan to have more outside guests in the future.
We have recently started shooting video shorts called WildCast Xtra. Our goal is to keep these videos under five minutes and post them primarily to Facebook and Twitter. We have had some radio stations express interest in our show and eventually may air on stations across the state.
So far we are pleased with viewership and support from our guests. We are doing all we can to promote through social media and our website. We hope one day our agency programming will be a place for Tennesseans to stay connected and informed on what their fish and wildlife agency is doing to improve everything outdoors.