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
- A master audio storyteller on how to create a powerful podcast
- The Complete Podcast Launch Guide — 2018
- Podcasting Manual by Blubrry
- WpBeginner’s “How to Start Your Own Podcast (Step by Step)
- “Learn How to Podcast” by Podcast Answerman
- “An In-Depth Guide To Launching Your Own Podcast” by Smashing Magazine (July 2015)
- How to Start a Podcast — Complete Step-By-Step Podcasting Tutorial
- How to Start a Podcast Ultimate Guide for Beginners by Robert Menning
- How to Make a Podcast (don’t let the questionable design and formatting of the article’s page stop you from reading this very clearly written guidance)
- How To Start Your Own Podcast Guide 2018
- Podcasting Gear Guide by Feedpress
General Training on Storytelling, Producing, etc
NPR Training Hub “Hone your craft”
- The ear training guide for audio producers (understand and fix sound problems)
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”
Fact Checking Info & Resources
- Poynter Institute’s Fact Checking Article Hub
- FactCheck.org a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. It is a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center
- PolitiFact.com an independent fact-checking website created by the Tampa Bay Times newspaper
Miscellaneous Articles, etc.
- Starting a Podcast: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Published My First Episode advice from buying a pop filter to SEO for iTunes
- Advice for Writing Your “About Us” Page
- What You Should Know about Podcast Hosting
- What Bitrate Should I Use For a Podcast? (the short answer that’s right for 90% of cases is 96kbps mono)
- What is RSS? And why you MUST own yours by Daniel J. Lewis via The Audacity to Podcast (I’m not sure about this topic, but there’s another article on owning your RSS feed in “Other / Miscellaneous” below).
- From Airwaves to Earbuds: Lessons From Knight Investments In Digital Audio And Podcasting
- 10 Places to Submit Your Podcast (scroll down)
- The file name and URL you use for your podcast media is important
- What makes a good pitch? NPR editors weigh in (Poynter Institute)
- Article by Economics Detective on three services that offer the option to record all (local or remote) speakers’ audio locally and upload it to the cloud. They are Cast, Ringr, and Zencastr.
- Getting started with podcasting (on SoundCloud) and their “Creator Guide” for podcasters.
- Pitch Your Story to NPR‘s StoryLab
- Apple’s Podcasts Connect Hub, which on iTunes Connect allows users with iTunes Store accounts to validate, submit, and manage podcasts on the iTunes Store.
- “How to submit your podcast to iTunes using iTunes Connect”
- Apple’s “Create Your Podcast” step by step guide (a section of the previous item)
- Apple’s Podcasting iTunes FAQ for the above resources
- “So You Wanna Podcast? Part IV: iTunes Launch & Promotion” by No Film School
- PodFly.net provides premium ($$) professional production services. I have no experience with them, but they also have some thoughts on gear to consider.
- Wayne Davis from Sweetwater has a boatload of knowledge and has been helpful every time I called or emailed for advice. Their prices are comparable to B&H (worth the trip if you’re ever in NYC) and Amazon, but you can also pick up the phone and call him at (800) 222–4700 ext 1351 if you have a question. Wow — an actual, live human being!
- “How to Create a Killer Podcast” Tim Ferriss interviews Alex Blumberg
- The (Surprisingly Profitable) Rise Of Podcast Networks Fast Company
- “Podcast-media hosting recommendations” by The Audacity to Podcast. Scroll down to mid-page, which says “This is where you should host your podcast media, so that you’re not overloading your website server (or violating terms of service).”
- Ringr’s blog has many helpful articles
- “Best Podcast Software and Tools for A Great Podcast” by RazorSocial
- “Our favorite podcast client for iOS — Overcast” by The Sweet Setup
- “Podcast Equipment” suggestions by Podcast Answerman
- “WNYC is open sourcing its tool for generating “audiograms,” shareable audio clips for social media” by NeimanLabs
- “How to make NPR-quality podcasts at home” it’s from 2013, so equipment suggestions may be dated
- “Will people pay for podcasts?”
- Radiotopia’s Kickstarter page (raised $600,000)
- Overcast.fm which they describe as “a powerful yet simple podcast player for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch”
- “Apple Podcasts — What’s New in iOS 11 (June 2017)” PDF
Companies that connect podcasters with advertisers
RSS Feed Info & Validation
- RSS Feed Validator by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
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
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.
- PodBase podcast feed validator to check and optimize your RSS feed
- gPodder Podcast Feed Best Practice (March 2015)
- Changing your podcast RSS feed address (URL)
- Keep It Simple: Why Multiple RSS Feeds Are A Bad Prospect For Most Podcasters
- Pros and Cons of Google’s FeedBurner Feed Management Tool
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.
- PowerPress Plugin by bluvrry.com
- Simple Podcast Press
- Seriously Simple Podcasting
- and 100+ more plugins on WordPress.org
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
- Omni Studio starts at $9 per month. Here’s a review by someone with their own affiliate links.
- SoundCloud seems to be free, but Pro plans start at $7/mo. Their “Creator Guide” walk through the setup process. I don’t know all the facts or implications, but be aware that a July 2017 TechCrunch article suggests urgent financial problems at SoundCloud.
- Cast starts at $10/mo
- Downcast podcast player (not sure whether or not they actually host podcast files, or are just an interface for playing them)
- FireSide.fm looks new, but promising (starts at $19/mo)
- Spreaker.com’s paid plans start at $5.99/mo
- BuzzSprout and a short article about them
- ZenCast.fm’s plans start at $14/mo
- Pinecast seems simple and has a friendly free forever demo plan, in addition to paid $5 and $50 plans. On customers “owning” their RSS feeds.On episode file size limits (starting at 48mb per).
- Podomatic has a free forever plan. Paid plans start at $9.99/mo
- Website builder and host, Squarespace, starts at $12/mo and has a page dedicated to their podcast hosting strengths and weaknesses. Here are Squarespace’s detailed podcast instructions. and steps for transferring a podcast to/from Squarespace.
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.
- “Best Free Podcast Hosting Services Available Today” article by Joe Fylan, published July 2017.
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!