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Monthly Archives: March 2015

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PodkickerARTBeen a little while since I have done a review of a podcasting app for the Android OS and I will be starting up iOS reviews here soon but I will continue to focus on Android because they are so under used when it comes to podcasting, and I want the android users to know that they can listen to podcasts and they can do so easily with the right app. But this Android app has been around for a while.

Podkicker is a fairly well balanced app that is has many of the needed features for new podcasters to be able to subscribe and listen to shows. There is the great setting that allows to a file to be deleted after playing, and settings like downloading only when connected to a wi-fi access point. There are other features that are great for the dedicated listener. Like all auto play from cars and resume playing when an audio jack is reinserted. One of my favorite features. Unplug for what ever reason and the moment I plug it back in the app starts back up where I left off. Very handy.

Now I will preface this with I have gone to an iOS device here recently and so my mindset on where to find things are little different now. Like closing subwindows in the app tripped me up for a short while because I forgot about the back button. which actually surprised me because for the longest time I was always hitting the non-existent back button on the iPhone 6 but with the readjusting of my mind around how the old GS3 works I was able to find out how to unsubscribe to the shows that are already installed. Yes when you first install the app Podkicker on your Android device you will have about 8 shows that you are already subscribed to. You can unsubscribe to them if you want. They are some good shows quality and production is not bad so if you are new to listening to podcast you might find your first show in this list. Then again if none of these shows interest you then just long press on the show and choose unsubscribe and they are gone. No muss no fuss.

If you want to have the new episodes download automatically you need to go into each episode and choose the option for that particular show. I would actually like to see that set to auto from the start. Yet they do have Chromecast support if like listening from the Television.

I find podkicker to

The Good

  • Starts with a show of some good starter podcast casts about GLobal news, history and the like
  • Recognises rss feeds and will redirect an rss feed from the Browser to the app.
  • Uses the iTunes directory so you have a large supply of shows to search through.
  • Can import and export your subscriptions using OPML
  • Chromecast

The Not so Good

  • Starts with a show of some good starter podcast casts about GLobal news, history and the like you are subscribed to the podcasts so you quickly have to learn how
  • The navigation is not as intuitive as it could be. most everything you are going to need is found by long pressing the particular show.
  • Would like to see an easier way to search for new podcasts
  • Be nice of the downloads were set to automatic.

Price: Free

ad free $1.99

Download the Podkicker app

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MP3ClampFirst OOPS! If you are looking for episode 30 that I was calling episode 31 just follow the link, and again sorry for the mix up.

There is a lot of discussion in the podcasting space about MP3’s and should they be encoded at 64 bps or 128bps while some people think 96 bits is what you need to use. Why are people talking about Stitchers audio quality being so bad? Why does Stitcher have such a low quality of sound? There are reasons for this. The debate is a good one to have because there are so many different variable that go into sound quality and size. There is the saying that you can not get something for nothing. The same goes for MP3s you have quality and you have file size. Both are important to the podcaster.

Quality

But we want the best quality of sound! You are correct. As a podcaster we all want to have the best sound we can possibly produce to make it to our fans ears. We don’t want to assault them with horrible audio. We want to show our listeners that we care about our show and at the same time about their delicate senses. What messes with the audio faster than a bad pre-amp? Compression, and getting that Frying Bacon Underwater sound gets more and more prevalent as you mash your audio file smaller. The Compression is done by the changing the different bit rates. The higher the bit rate the better the sound. When you have better sound you get listeners to stick with you longer and gather more value from your show.

File size

There are many parts as to why file size is important to you the podcaster. Main one is your hosting service. Many if not all have a limit of one type or another on the size of your file. With Blubrry podcast hosting and Libsyn they both limit how much you can upload in a month. If you upload a 100MB file each week you would have to use Libsyn’s $20 plan to have enough space and hope that you didn’t go over that 100 MB in that month because you would not be able to upload that last file. Because of the limit.

If you have an account with a service like Spreaker then you are limited by the amount of  space on the servers. So, after a while you have to start removing your back catalog to make room for new podcast episodes. So your audience misses out on the great content of your back catalog. So, you as a podcaster have to worry about your file size.

Then there is another aspect of the size you need to take into account, and that is your audience. The larger the file size the longer it takes to download. Now It may not be as big of a deal as it was back in 1998. When we used dial-up modems to get online and if you had a 5 meg file you were downloading it could take almost 30 minutes to download. That is if you had a good connection. Yet, Your listener who is downloading your file has limited space on their phone or other listening device. Also many people do not use Sprint and their unlimited plan. Most people in America have a tiered data plan so they are limited to a certain number of Gigs they can download. And if that person is on a shared data plan then even though they have 15 GB of data they can download through a billing period, there is the other members of the family who are also eating through the data. So, in the short form many people who are likely your listeners are going want to download your show and if you make your files too big then they will shy away from downloading your latest episode.

This also applies to those who are doing progressive downloading of your show. So if someone is listening to your podcast through the browser on their phone then they are downloading the show as they listen. This also eats up their data. So, you want to help your audience be able to consume your content.

This is one of the reasons why Stitcher has such a low compression for the shows it adds to their directory. Stitcher is sacrificing quality for size, but they do so in thought of most people will not be listening on studio cans.

Samples

64 bit Mono

96 Bit Mono

128 bit Mono

256 bit Mono

Updates!

PowerPress got an update to 6.0.2

6.0.2

  • Fixed bug where specific global podcast settings are not applied when podcast channel settings iTunes new feed URL or feed maximizer option were configured then deleted afterward. This only effected settings if you deleted the default podcast feed.
  • Added wp-config define optionPOWERPRESS_DISABLE_ITUNES_UTF8, when set to true PowerPress will not convert iTunes values to UTF-8. This is for the very small number of folks who are not using UTF-8 in their website.
  • The subscribe shortcode embed attributes are now strictly enforced. If you enter a category or a podcast channel and it does not exist, the shortcode will be empty and will no longer fall-back to the main podcast settings.
  • The subscribe shortcode embed specifying a category not displaying category fixed (thanks elembemedia for bringing to our attention)
  • Subscribe links below player for category podcasts now works but only if you select 1 category. 2 or more categories complicates things.
  • Added logic to fix situation with JetPack and automatic excerpts. Manual excerpts or regular content pages are not affected. (Thanks grahamharper for the details!)
  • Added new “Having Issues?” option “Yes, excluding excerpts”, will apply player and links fix logic except when the_excerpt filter is called first.
  • AudioObject and VideoObject descriptions are now set using the blog post if no itunes subtitle is set.
  • Fixed Episode Titles bug, if you did not set a custom episode title the program title was not appended.
  • Fixed “Feature Episode” bug, unchecking the option will now properly save.
  • Fixed playlist player date attribute not applying when set to false (thanks trb310 for pointing out the issue!)
  • Danish translation updated, thanks Team Blogos!
  • Added new subscribe embed attribute “heading”, you can now customize the “Subscribe to” label, e.g. add “the” to the Subscribe to label [powerpress_subscribe heading="Subscribe to the"
  • Added new define POWERPRESS_DEBUG for PowerPress debugging.

Tool of the week!

Square Cash is a new tool for being able to allow your audience to donate money to your podcasting fund. The service is brought to you by the same people who brought you square. It will cost you 1.5% of the money that is transferred great way to send and receive money for services rendered or just for the coffee fund.

To sign up you have to have either an iOS device or Android powered phone.

iOS

Android

You can see my page at cash.me/$podcastdojo and yes you have to have the Dollar sign($)

Links

Ghost in the MP3

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One of the most common questions new podcasters ask is

What Microphone should I use?

cardioid pickup patternOften times podcasters will jump in to big long soliloquy of why this microphone is far superior to that microphone or you will have some old Radio personality or internet marketer who has spent the last 5 hours researching how to podcast and talks about the Blue snowball. There are several different types of microphones out on the market. There are Carbon mics, Electret Microphone, Ribbon Microphones, and Crystal Microphones the the most common microphones for podcasters are Dynamic, and Condensers.

What is the difference in microphones?

Condenser microphones are designed so that the diaphragm acts as a capacitor and changes the electrical frequencies sent to the mic. Because of how the microphone is set up it is very sensitive to a wide range of frequencies, and this is great for picking up the warm natural tones of a humans voice. Many ill informed Podcast Gurus, or Internet marketeers who have just quickly read up on podcasting, will suggest a condenser microphone due to this fact without taking into consideration the environment of MOST podcasters, and the environment of the podcast listeners. The common podcaster is recording at best in a closet and at worst in a bedroom with the kiddos playing in the next room. The podcaster will have 1 – 3 electronic devices around them and these will have hard drive noises, fan noises. Throw in the squeaky chairs and the family pet walking on hard wood floors. This environment is not conducive to quite recording using condenser microphones. Because they are sensitive. I often joke that they can pick up a mouse farting down the hall. Granted they are not as sensitive as a laser microphone, but in the realms of podcasting it is not far off. Condenser microphones, also typically have to have some sort of external power often called phantom power to be able to work. This will come in the means of having to have a mixer or from your USB plug. So it can be a challenge to have condensor microphones in a mobile setup.

Dynamic microphones are set in a little different style in that there is a type electromagnet in use. Basically when you speak into a dynamic microphone your voice or other sound creates the electrical current that is sent to the recording equipment. This type of microphone isn’t AS sensitive to outside noises like the Condenser microphone, and is a little more forgiving to the noises that a typical family house makes. Yes, there is a loss of frequency that are picked up but when you throw in where most people listen to podcasts, for instance in their car, on a walk or while mowing the lawn, then only the true hard core audiophiles will notice.

One part of microphone discussions that I don’t hear very much about is, the Pickup pattern or Polar Pattern. From what I see there are about 4 to 6 different Polar patters in microphones. These influence also what is picked up on your microphone. A Polar pattern is also known as directionality as in Omni directional or Shotgun.

The omnidirectional microphone pickup

Omnidirectional pickup

Omnidirectional

As the name suggests this is all around pickup. You can be infront of the mic and it will pick up your voice. you can be beside the mic and it will still pickup your voice. You can even be behind the microphone and it will pick up your voice. Not the best solution for a podcaster. Due to the fact aht many podcasters podcast in a room that has walls. The walls and other flat objects reflect the sound back and the microphone will pick it up. So you will get this reverb or in other words you will sound like you are recording in a well. Many omnidirectional microphones are condensers

Polar_pattern_figure_eight

Bidirectional Pickup

Bi directional

You have two areas that will pick up sound equally that is in front and in back. Ribbon Microphones will often have this Polar pattern. Great if you have two hosts and only one mic. Just make sure you have a breath mint.

Polar_pattern_cardioid

See the heart shape of the Cardioid Microphone

Cardioid

As the name sounds this polar pattern is heart shaped, and is one of the best patterns for a microphone to pick up a person talking into it without having the rest of the outside world working in to the recording. Great example of a cardioid dynamic microphone is the Audio Technica ATR-2100 and ATR-2005

With Super and Hyper sub sets

These are some subset of the polar pattern that have a little more pickup behind the microphone. So super and even hyper is not that cool in the world of podcasting.

Polar_pattern_directional

picks up most from the front with a Shotgun mic

Shotgun

Almost all of the pickup is in front of the microphone while there are little zones that are at the sides this is normaly used by television and movies to pick up a mic that is over head. So if you have a video podcast this could be a good solution.

So what type of Microphone?

The one you like the most. Yeah I might cringe a bit when I hear someone bought a Blue Snowball but if they like the sound it produces then my opinion doesn’t matter. If you are able to test out different microphones then I would suggest you do so. Each microphone brand has its own particular brand of sound. Heil PR-40 does a better job of picking up the higher frequencies than a Shure Microphone. So test and listen.

Links mentioned

SnoopDoggs GGN podcast RSS feed and his Libsyn Page

If you ever come across a podcast that has an iTunes page but you can find the RSS feed use this site. Feed Flipper

Did you like the show? Please Rate us on iTunes and Stitcher.
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Funding your site is not easy but is can be doneOne of the big questions that podcasters want to know is how to support their habit. How do I make money with my show? Making money can be a challenge. It is usually the biggest challenge podcasters face. How to make the ever elusive cash.

This is where some very smart people decided to take the crowdfunding craze and apply it to media creators and you have what was 4 sites that are down to 3 but these three sites

  • Podfund – Very close to Kickstarter but… They are closed. This funding site opened their doors about the same time as Patreon
  1. Use WePay and very confusing as to how to set it up.
  2. Setups Donations or Goals
  3. Support page is broken
  4. at the end there were only 14 people that had used podfund
  5. After talking to the guys at podfund through twitter I found out that there is a new group that has taken over the site and are working on getting it back up and operational again
  • Castbacker – new guy centered around only podcasting
  1. Uses Stripe – so you will need to set up that first
  2. For Podcasters
  3. Pretty straight forward for your fans to back your podcast.
  • Patreon – currently the old guard for this field
  1. Most popular and has had the most success in helping fund podcasts.
  2. Tom Merritt brought most attention to the platform and is currently bringing in $14,444 dollars a month.
  3. You can set up Per episode or per month
  1. Invite only
  2. they have some pretty big claims in being able to help bring money into your show.
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