Cinchcast.com service that is now something completely new.We have written about Cinch in the past -- the company offers a variety of podcasting tools to enable individuals and companies to more easily create and manage audio broadcasts. The company has rebranded its
Putting aside the brand confusion, what Cinchcast is a SaaS-based tool that allows you to create a series of live radio programs, with much of the power of a in-house production studio. Before Cinchcast came along, you needed to purchase your own audio equipment or put together a boat-load of audio software to handle the end-to-end production and promotion of your programming.
Cinchcast puts everything together: There are tools galore to set up shows, provide toll-free call-in numbers, add audio clips and sound effects to your control room "board" (which you see in just a Web browser, naturally), be able to screen callers in a private room before putting them "on the air" and you can even call someone's phone number to add them to an in-progress podcast. Trying doing that with Skype plus a recording program and Audacity a few times and you can see the power of what they are offering. There is even an iPhone app to create new podcasts and recordings. Here you can see the main control board screen.
So what's the rub? The pricing model is totally broken. There is no announced pricing on their Web site, and when I pressed the company for at least an example, they gave me a starting place of $5,000 a month for a typical use case. That is a lot of audio engineering and production that you need to have to really take advantage of the power of their tools. Granted, it is a price that includes as much broadcasting and as many podcasts as you wish, but still.
Yes, you can promote your programming to your Twitter and Facebook channels, add pre- and post-roll advertising around your podcast, track mentions across the Web, and have text sidebar chats while your show is in progress (again, think back to the Skype-band-aid model - those of you who have used Skype to record podcasts know that you can't do chats because they interfere with the audio quality of the recording), and more. But $5k/mo is absurdly high, and will only interest a few companies who are basically media moguls or who want to become one.
Cinch.fm and BlogTalkRadio are lower-end versions with a small subset of the features that are found in Cinchcast - BlogTalkRadio has plans from $40 to $250/month, and Cinch.fm is free for just recording podcasts. Both don't allow you to own and host your own content like Cinchcast does.
Maybe at some point in the future the company will realize the error of their ways and provide an easy entry point to companies that want to host their own podcasts and audio conferences but don't want to pony up as much cash as a new BMW. Until then, we'll have to stick with the band-aid mixed bag of tools that we currently use for our podcasts.