Podcasting Resources

Mark Gavagan
Feb 10, 2017 · 9 min read

I am NOT an expert on podcasting, and I’m not making suggestions of what is or isn’t good to buy or use, but I found these resources helpful in my efforts to learn for my own podcast — http://insidethelaw.co — and I hope you do too.

None of these are affiliate links — I don’t make any money from them.

Update: I am developing & testing AudioDime.com, a new audio-to-text service that creates text transcripts out of uploaded audio files for 10¢ a minute.

2nd Update (important): It turns out “90% accurate transcripts” in the service above I’m testing sounds good, but most test users who’ve seen 100 errors in 1,000 words say those results just aren’t good enough to be very useful. Stay tuned — better tech will be here before we know it.

General Guides to Podcasting

General Training on Storytelling, Producing, etc

NPR Training Hub “Hone your craft”

Transom.org (part of non-profit, Atlantic Public Media)

  • Tools “In-depth reviews of digital recorders, microphones, editing software and more”
  • HowSound “bi-weekly podcast on radio storytelling”
  • Techniques “practical posts and how-to’s on the craft”

Poynter Institute’s Tips/Training Hub

Short-form audio storytelling: 10 format ideas by Damian Radcliffe

Fact Checking Info & Resources

Miscellaneous Articles, etc.

Companies that connect podcasters with advertisers

AdWeek article: “Things You Should Know About Podcast Advertising, According to the Pros”

RSS Feed Info & Validation

Note: this discussion on an Apple support page indicates some warnings on the validator above are not in fact problems with iTunes, such as “Undefined item elements” like itunes:title, itunes:author, itunes:season and itunes:episode.

Also, SSL links (https instead of http) are apparently fine, even though they may get flagged as invalid (the RSS 2.0 standard is silent on https, specifying only http). For example, my https link to an image on Cloudfront.net was flagged, but I’ve read it’s apparently fine to submit, as is.

WordPress PlugIns

While I don’t know whether or not it makes sense to host podcast audio files on Wordpress.com (they have free and paid plans) and generate the RSS feed from there, here’s a link to their step-by-step instructions. The next section has some podcast hosting service providers that do this.

Podcast Hosting Service Providers

Why not just use a regular website hosting service or WordPress.com? I don’t know — I’m unsure whether it’s just marketing, or there are in fact important benefits that outweigh the costs of using these services to host podcast files.

One of the reasons ordinary website hosting may not work well for even moderately popular podcasts is that number of active streaming listeners at the same moment (also known as “concurrent” listeners). More on this at https://youtu.be/Hh7BX9Me6A8?t=7m19s

School of Podcasting’s podcast hosting criteria is helpful (taken form their incomplete and slightly dated article evaluating SoundCloud as a hosting option):

1. Don’t mess with my file. What I upload is what I want people to download.
2. Give me the ability to have an unlimited back catalog (unlimited storage)
3. Don’t limit my audience size (unlimited bandwidth)
4. Don’t control my feed, and make it easy to leave if I choose to do so. I need to be able to put in an iTunes redirect script.
5. Give me support.
6. Charge me for your service so you can stay in business
7. Give me stats so I can see what’s working. It would be nice if they were accurate.

Honorable mention: If I use your RSS feed, I need to be able to insert a redirect if I decide to leave your service.

Another helpful (June 2017) article that details many of the services below: The Best Podcast Hosting Services: Where to Host your Podcast

Also check out Apple’s Podcast Partner Search page for iTunes, since iTunes is a big gorilla in podcast distribution.

In no particular order:

  • Podiant plans start at $13 per month (disclaimer — they host my Inside the Law podcast)
  • SimpleCast.com starts at $12 per month
  • PodBean here’s an article that addresses some past issues some users have had with them, and how they’ve dealt with them. Also, it’s not shown on the “plans” page, but their basic free plan allows a total of 50 MB of storage space (can only upload a single file of up to 30MB). Paid plans start at $3/mo.
  • Libsyn.com starts at $5/mo
  • Blubrry.com

Article: Libsyn Vs Blubrry | Where Should I Host My Podcast?

Note: I haven’t read terms of service for all the other podcasters, but the excerpt below from Podiant’s terms (2017 — may have changed) caught my attention because of what they could do with my content:

By posting Content to the Service, you grant us the right and license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content on and through the Service. You retain any and all of your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Service and you are responsible for protecting those rights. You agree that this license includes the right for us to make your Content available to other users of the Service, who may also use your Content subject to these Terms.

I wrote to Podiant’s founder, Mark Steadman: “I don’t want you to be able to re-broadcast my content with ads or to let others slice-and-dice for whatever commercial or nefarious uses they can imagine.”

Podiant’s founder, Mark Steadman kindly responded: “The terms are largely boilerplate, granting us the right to distribute your content — that you own — to others, ie via RSS, and potentially to list in the directory and on the “You may also like” section of your podcast’s site, provided you’ve opted in to this (by default you’re opted out). It doesn’t grant anyone the right to make money from or to change your content without your explicit permission.”

The contract terms on their website are unchanged at the moment (July 2017), but he wrote “I’ll obviously take your comments into consideration and if other people raise similar objections, will put a plan in place to update the terms.” I’m not a lawyer and can’t advise anyone what to do, but I hope they change the terms on the site ASAP.

Other / Miscellaneous

  • All the Tools, Services and Apps I Use As Host of Podcast Junkies by Harry Duran
  • Auphonic “We analyze your audio and do whatever is necessary to achieve a professional quality” 2 hours of free audio per month, then paid options.
  • I don’t know if this advice is correct, but Charles Wiltge’s advice on Reddit is “Control the podcast feed URL on a domain that you own, and redirect it (HTTP 302) to actual feed URL. That way you can change it at anytime without losing subscribers … It matters if you move (or are forced to move) your feed for any reason. The official feed URL of your show should be a URL that you control, IMO.”
  • “The basic difference between a 301 and 302 redirect is that a 301 redirect indicates a permanent change and a 302 redirect indicates a temporary one.” source: Squarespace
  • “One podcaster’s (fruitless) quest to replace Skype” mentions Cast and ZenCaster. Also, here’s a review of Zencastr by an Australian newspaper.
  • Podcaster’s Roundtable — Ray Ortega’s audio/video blog featuring discussions about the issues that face podcast producers and podcasting.

I’ll expand this in the future. Good luck!

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