If you're looking to start podcasting to a live audience my first question is WHY? Yes you get immediate feedback, but in most cases it adds complexity that isn't worth the ego boost of having that one live listener. You also need to have a set schedule so people know when to come listen to you podcast. For me that's almost impossible. I know I create most of my podcasts on Saturday, but picking a time is like trying to catch a fart in a jar (its harder than it sounds).
I am aware of Spreaker, and they seem to be adding more and more features. You can now create a podcast with your smartphone, and they have an embed code that not only lists your last episodes, but will switch to your live stream when you go live (I found this to be cool). The nice thing about spreaker is they provide the mixer. You just need a microphone, and you can upload any music you're going to use ahead of time. You have two lists of music that you can play, your microphone, and sound effects (you have no control over the volume of the sound effects). If you are using their free service your show can only be 30 minutes long. Spreaker is completely web based (so you will need a good connection). Spreaker also has built in stats and a comment section.
Where the recording software you use on Spreaker is on their website, for Mixlr you download and install it locally (both Mac and PC). It is simply broadcasting whatever you choose as your input device. If you were to choose a mic input you would need to have a mixer plugged into with your music and such going into a mixer with your voice. If you are on a Windows machine, choosing what use to be called the ‘Wav out mix” is still an option (you have to dig for it), but when I try this, its usually a train wreck. Microsoft really screwed up their audio in my opinion. Consequently, when I use mixlr, I load my intro and outro on my iPod and run it into my mixer and send the mixer into my computer's input. Once I start broadcasting I can go as long as I want. No time limits. I'm streaming at 96 kbps (where spreaker is 128). If I upgrade to their premium service I can stream at a higher bit rate, and download my recordings.
Mixlr also has a widget that you can put on your site that engages when you go live. If you're not on, it just sits there (although people can go to your page on their site and hear past episodes).
Let me state again. I use neither of these as I believe one of the greatest benefits of podcasting is TIME SHIFTED material. You don't have to be there with me live to get my content. However if you are mesmerized by being an “Internet DJ” here are my final thoughts.
For me I like the features that Spreaker provides. I love that if I needed to I could podcast live from my phone. I like the stats, and their mixing console makes things easy to produce a podcast. I wish they had a way to save our layout once you get all the music setup. If your show never goes over 30 minutes, this is a great option. If you need more time you can purchase different options (45 minutes costs $4 a month).
If you need to hold longer sessions, mixlr is the better option I would go for. In the past mixlr had a better widget that played your live broadcast. When spreaker added this feature, it pretty much put them ahead of mixlr.com
I believe both can be configured to work with SAM Broadcaster software (a powerful mixing software live streaming).
In regards to blog talk radio, I hate their service and their audio quality and would only use them if a gun was put to my head. If you can keep a schedule, you should be bale to build up an audience.
- Spreaker Comes to Android (davidjackson.howtopodcast.com)