Whoops, I didn't hit post yesterday. Sorry.. I was busy selecting a Podcast hosting service. This morning I've got some time while my recording studio (the basement) is busy - the washing machine is on!
Selecting a Podcast Hosting Service
I could do this myself. I could extend my AWS developer account, host the media on their servers, setup a WordPress website from scratch, add a podcast plugin, create the correct XML feed, manually list it with the aggregators, and link the whole lot together with some handwritten scripts to collect metrics. I mean I could do it. But with 4 days remaining to launch my podcast that's not going to happen. I need a solution, so I will pay for one.
Show Structure and Anticipated Demand (or lack of)
The podcast I'm putting together will be a mini-series, about 6 episodes in total. Each one about 30 - 45 minutes long. I'm still experimenting with the length of the audio so this could very well change, I may do 15-20-minute-long episodes and 12 of them. Either which way I'm expecting them to be launched and then hosted for a long time. The podcast isn't going to be of universal appeal, it is specific to what I do. So, I'm not expecting a huge up take.
Each of the shows will be accompanied with a blog post, some graphics and some real details of what I've been trying to explain.
I've grown really worried about when other companies host my content. Why? - Well you lose control over it, and occasionally the companies themselves go bust or vanish from the internet and when they do, they take your content with you.
I'd like the blog posts and content on my own website. But the audio hosting, RSS feed, and registration with the myriad of aggregates, that I'll pay for. Now the question is which service, and for how much.
I'm not looking to earn an income from this mini-series, at least not directly, but if it helps bring in some job offers, or associated consulting in the future then that would be awesome. May of the podcast hosts I've found offer an extra ability to earn cash for paying them an extra fee to "enable" that feature. These I think I can skip.
Libsyn looks great, and has been around for a long time, but they limit the amount of content you can upload in a month. Since my show is going to be front loaded for the first year, with loads of uploads (I hope) at the start, and then an archiving of past content, I don't think their plans are best suited for me. If my show was more topical and ran for years / many months as an ongoing show, then yes Libsyn would be a great fit. This looks like $15-$17 a month.
Buzzsprout also looks great. I don't like the free plan with the forced advertisements. I'd like this show to talk about how we conduct research, not force listeners to be subjected to adverts, particularly when I have no control over what those ads may be. So, I'm happy to pay, but again this service has a cap on content produced per month. This looks like $12 - $18 a month.
Audioboom This looks like a better match, unlimited episodes per month, 10k plays per month, all the XML and analytics done for you. You have to pay extra to earn a fee from the service. But that is something I can skip. This looks like $99 per year.
Podbean This looks like it would be a $9 per month option. With unlimited episodes per month, and includes the ability to use my own domain, that might be handy if I'd like to map it to my own website for the blog posts.
The more established providers like Libsyn, Buzzsprout seem to be geared toward a professional constantly publishing podcast content creator. That isn't mean. Heck check out my publishing history for my blog, it's sporadic at best. This mini-series will be just that, a mini-series. I am happy to pay for the first year, get the show up and running this week, then look to move to another, cheaper option for archiving going forward.
With all of this in mind I'm going to go with Podbean.
That was weird, entering the credit card information gave me stage fright. Now I've paid for it, I'm committed to getting my voice out there. Yikes.
Setting up the Podcast
"Apple Podcasts Requirement: Artwork must be a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels, in JPEG or PNG format. "
I saw several sites tell me I needed the graphic, but I didn't realize it was because of an Apple restriction.
I selected "Business" and "Technology" as the core categories under which "Industrial Research" should be listed. Now for my brief description (1000 characters or less).
Static Site Generation
So, I have to admit, I let my geekiness get to me and indulged in creating a static markdown-based site for the podcast. You can find the very first version of it up and available here on mcwoods.online. I have normally used WordPress, but I found that it was such a pain to move the content. At one point I had three or four different WordPress sites on the go, and I wanted to merge the posts and content. That was such a pain, it took weeks and even now some of the content / images don't work. This particularly affects some of the older posts here on withbighiar.com.
I've been considering alternative blogging technologies and website creation tools for a while. A security researcher friend of mine suggested using a static site generator. Along with the issues of moving content between WordPress hosts, there is the constant battle to install and upgrade your WordPress installation. A static site generator would take care of a lot of these.
I decided to try out Jekyll. You'll spot that I'm just using that original minima theme. I would love to do more work on customising the site, but I indulged on the geekiness of static site generation for long enough. It will have to do for now.
Correcting some mistakes
I've noticed that my pilot episode incorrectly attributes the music I've used as the ident, so time to fix that... then I can get the pilot up on Podbean!