Creating An Online Radio Show Is Easy & Free!
Browsing through go2web20.net for emerging technology was like being in a candy store. I digested information from countless video tutorials and sampled so many different web-based tools that I became woozy from all the great educational possibilities. Finally, I arrived at a page filled with audio applications where I discovered Spreaker. The announcement at the top of Spreaker’s homepage immediately grabbed my attention and interest.
“Talk to the world. Create your live podcast with Spreaker. It’s fun, simple, and free.“
Fun, simple, and free. These are three very important words to read when choosing a new application for my students. I am always looking for new and exciting ways to engage my students and enhance their learning experiences, so the idea of producing live, online radio broadcasts from anywhere was highly appealing. The attractive graphics and program features listed on the homepage sealed the deal for me. I decided to explore Spreaker and find out if it could really allow me to do what it claimed it could do for me and my students.
Plenty of Features
As with many new web-based applications, Spreaker offers a free service as well as premium plans with additional features for a monthly or annual fee, ranging from $39 a year to $119 a month. After researching the various plans, it was clear that the free version offered more than enough broadcast time, storage space, and collaborative features for my needs.
Spreaker’s Free Speech Plan notable features:
- Unlimited bandwidth and unlimited listeners
- 20 hours of audio storage
- 30 minutes of live broadcast duration per show (no limit to the number of shows that be broadcast per day)
- Social network integration
- Web mixing console
- Broadcast and listen form mobile app – Apple or Android
Creating a user account is easy. Installing the web mixing console and supporting programs takes a little bit of know-how, but Spreaker provides users with plenty of tutorials to make the process tolerable. The two additional programs – Soundflower and LineIn – facilitate the integration of Skype into Spreaker broadcasts, allowing listeners to call into a show and co-hosts to participate in broadcasts from remote locations. Imagine the possibilities!
Spreaker web mixing console
The web mixing console, which works on both PC and Apple platforms, is designed for ease-of-use with well-organized controls and content windows that store music playlists and sound effects. Spreaker provides hundreds of songs, loops, and sound effects through their integrated Creative Commons library. I easily created my first broadcast at my local Starbucks, including live coffee shop ambience, music, sound effects, and narration captured by the internal microphone of my MacBook Pro. I spent the length of time it took me to drink my grande coffee experimenting with audio levels, recording and playback quality, and the genreal broadcast experience. The Spreaker interface worked seamlessly with Skype and my computer, and did not crash or freeze once. The playback quality of my broadcast tests was excellent and, if I had wanted to, I could have shared my recorded broadcast on Facebook, embedded it on my website, or invited friends via email to listen to the archived recording on my Spreaker website channel.
Plenty of Support!
Spreaker has included several video and graphic-heavy tutorials on the website that will be helpful to everyone from EdTech novices to experts. In fact, Spreaker has one video tutorial that claims it will have you “on air in 60 seconds.” Additionally, Spreaker has its own YouTube channel filled with tutorials that guide viewers through specific features.
Broadcast From Anywhere on Any Device!
Another fantastic Spreaker feature is the ability of creating live broadcasts anywhere on Apple or Android devices using their mobile apps. I can imagine my students broadcasting live reports from concerts, festivals, family events, sporting events, and other locations, sharpening their communication skills and engaging in meaningful, real-world experiences. Spreaker could even allow my students to conduct on-air interviews with classmates, reflecting on their experiences while in my class and discussing course content in their own words.
There is one concern regarding the content students may access on their own. Spreaker users have created shows on a wide range of topics, from “The Irish Psychic Show” to “For The Love of Poetry and The Spoken Word” and much more. There are, however, several shows labelled as ” Adult Content, 18+ Only” that include inappropriate content for middle school students. This is going to be a tricky area to navigate, but hopefully not an impossible one. I see great potential for Spreaker as a powerful resource for my music and media students. My first thought is to limit student use to Skype only, having them call in to broadcasts that I mix on my end and act as co-hosts or reporters. I’m sure with further consideration and research I will find a way to include Spreaker in my EdTech tool kit.
I had no problem installing Spreaker and its supporting programs, and had an easy time creating live and recorded broadcasts. I found the interface to be clean and easy to navigate, and expect less experienced users to have little or no problems with the program. Video tutorials within the website and on Spreaker’sYouTube channel provided me with all of the help I needed to create my account and create my first broadcast. Spreaker’s easy-to-use interface makes simple broadcasting a breeze for anyone, with the potential for more sophisticated, professional sounding broadcasts well within reach. The free version includes plenty of features to allow mobile broadcasting, show archiving, Skype call-ins, and multiple show hosts. The biggest concern I have with Spreaker is the inappropriate content that students could very easily access. This is a concern that may make parental and administrative buy-in a difficult (if not impossible) proposition. Overall, Spreaker has the potential to be a powerful web-based media tool for students and educators that can easily and immediately enhance any learning environment.