GRAND RAPIDS — Technology firm Foxbright has launched a self-service podcasting studio adjacent to its headquarters in the Waters Building downtown.
“We see podcasting as a growing trend in the marketplace,” said Rob Huisingh, Foxbright vice president of sales and marketing. “People have been coming to us and asking what it is and what it means to their market, and as we started researching what was available, we realized that there wasn’t a resource like this available.”
Named for Apple’s industry-leading portable MP3 player, the iPod, podcasting refers to the publishing of audio broadcasts via the Internet. Although no longer used as a distinguishing characteristic, podcasts often have a subscription model, whereby updated content is automatically downloaded through a syndication protocol such as RSS or Atom.
In the business world, firms might use the technology in addition to or in place of company newsletters, while professionals are often using it to introduce their expertise through talk-radio-style programs.
The podcasts can be one-time productions or recurring programs, such as Foxbright’s own podcast, Inside Michigan Education (available for download at insidemichiganeducation.com), and Qonverge’s Inside Muskegon (insidemuskegon.com).
“We’re seeing it used effectively, especially in the educational arena,” said Huisingh. “It’s an opportunity for people to get to know you by listening to you and hearing what you have to say.”
Foxbright’s podcasting studio is an acoustically treated room with professional-quality microphones and a two-track recording system. It is designed for the private use of two individuals, likely in an interview format, but can also be used by a single individual and, with some effort, three or more. The recording software is simple and straightforward, basically set up as an “on” and “off” button.
When the recording is completed, Foxbright engineers can edit the tracks for an additional charge. For those desiring a more elaborate introduction or ending to the program, a professional voiceover and music package is available in partnership with local production company Video Digital Services. The general studio room rate is $100 per hour. Editing is an additional $95 per hour, and the one-time production package fee is $650.
While a podcast can be created with practically any computer and the most basic microphone, Huisingh believes the studio will be an asset to the downtown marketplace.
“Downtown Grand Rapids has a lot of high-service professionals — podcasting is a great way for them to communicate with their constituents,” Huisingh said. “This is an opportunity mostly for people right downtown, so they can just come down and record. … And if they’re giving up an hour of their time to do it, that’s probably more expensive than the studio.”
Foxbright is marketing the studio in partnership with the Waters Building and the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative. While the focus is currently on audio programming, Huisingh believes the service will eventually include video recording, as well.