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Podcasting Hacks by Jack D. Herrington

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Speech Synthesize Your Podcast Introduction

Placing a small introductory segment with the name of your podcast and the episode number or date at the beginning of the show is becoming standard. Learn how to use free or cheap speech synthesis tools to do this.

Playback devices such as the iPod Shuffle, which have no screen, make it difficult to recognize what podcast you are listening to. Songs have different introductions that you can clue in on immediately; but a podcast has the same introductory material at the beginning of every show. This leaves listeners having to fast forward through the introduction to get to the show so that they can see if they have listened to it already.

One solution is to place a few seconds of identifying material at the front of the show, with the name of your show and the episode number or date. To do that, podcasters have used both their voice and speech synthesis to record the segment. This hack shows how to get synthesized speech on demand on Macintosh, Windows, and the Web.

Speech Synthesis on Macintosh

Mac OS X has had speech synthesis built in from the start. The easiest way to invoke it is to select a piece of text in a document and then select the Start Speaking Text command from the Speech item in the Services menu (shown in Figure 9-7). The Services menu is that strange section of the application menu that nobody ever seems to use.

In this case, I used TextEdit, the text editor that comes with the system, to write my introduction. Then I selected ...

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