iPhone App for Making a Podcast

At some point, most podcasters want an iPhone app for making a podcast on the go. It’s the likely evolution as we desire to move from the desktop to the mobile phone.

Thankfully, I created Mobile Podcaster in response to this very same need. I wanted an process that would let me me record and publish podcast episodes from my phone directly to my WordPress site without needing to login to my site on my computer. Even more, I wanted the ability to have these podcasts on iTunes, again automatically and without having to touch my computer. Mobile Podcaster does all this and more.

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Episode 13: What Is A Podcast?

recording-studio-microphone

In this episode I thought it might be interesting to review the meaning and history of podcasting as described in Wikipedia.

A podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio, video, digital radio, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is a portmanteau of “(i)Pod” and “broadcast.”

The Merriam Webster Tenth International Collegiate defines “podcast” as: a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.

A podcast’s distributor maintains a list of audio or video files in a series on a server as a web feed, and the listener or viewer uses special client application software, known as a podcatcher, to access this web feed, check it for updates, and download any new files in the series. This process can be automated so that new files are downloaded automatically, which may seem to the user as if the content is being broadcast or “pushed” to them. Files are stored locally on the user’s computer or other device, ready for offline use. Podcasting contrasts with webcasting (Internet streaming), which generally isn’t designed for offline listening to user-selected content.

As discussed by Richard Berry, podcasting is both a converged medium bringing together audio, the web, and portable media player, and a disruptive technology that has caused some in the radio business to reconsider some of the established practices and preconceptions about audiences, consumption, production, and distribution. This idea of disruptiveness is largely because no one person owns the technology; it is free to listen and create content, which departs from the traditional model of “gate-kept” media and production tools. It is very much a horizontal media form: producers are consumers and consumers become producers and engage in conversations with each other.

The term “podcasting” was first mentioned by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2004 article, along with other proposed names for the new medium. It is a portmanteau of the words “pod” —from iPod— and “broadcast”. Despite the etymology, the content can be accessed using any computer that can play media files and not just portable music players. Use of the term “podcast” predates the addition of native support for podcasting to the iPod, or to Apple’s iTunes software.

Many people and groups, including Dawn and Drew of The Dawn and Drew Show, Kris and Betsy Smith of Croncast, and Dan Klass of The Bitterest Pill contributed to the early emergence and popularity of podcasts.[9] Former MTV VJ Adam Curry, in collaboration with Dave Winer, a developer of RSS feeds, is credited with coming up with the idea to automate the delivery and syncing of textual content to portable audio players.

From its humble beginnings to its rise as an instrumental agent of change, particularly in the broadcast arena, podcasting’s mainstream acceptance has been documented and preserved for generations to come.

Podcasting, once an obscure method of spreading information, has become a recognized medium for distributing audio content, whether for corporate or personal use. A podcast is similar to a radio program with key differences: listeners can tune into their favorite shows at their convenience and listen to podcasts directly on any device that can play audio files.

The first application to make this process feasible was iPodderX, developed by August Trometer and Ray Slakinski. By 2007, through the evolution of internet capabilities, along with cheaper hardware and software, audio podcasts were doing what was historically accomplished via radio broadcasts, which since the 1930s had been the sources of radio talk shows and news programs.

In August 2004, Adam Curry launched his show Daily Source Code. It was a show focused on chronicling his everyday life, delivering news and discussions about the development of podcasting, as well as promotion for new and emerging podcasts. Daily Source Code is believed to be the first podcast produced on a consistent basis. Curry published it in an attempt to gain traction in the development of what would come to be known as podcasting, and as a means of testing the software outside of a lab setting. The name Daily Source Code was chosen in the hope that it would attract an audience with an interest in technology.

Daily Source Code started at a grassroots level of production and was initially directed at podcast developers. As its audience became interested in the format, these developers were inspired to create and produce their own projects and, as a result, they improved the code used to create podcasts. As it became known how easy production was, a community of pioneer podcasters quickly appeared. Despite a lack of commonly accepted identifying name at the time of creation, Daily Source Code is commonly believed to be the first podcast to be published online.

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This podcast was recorded and published using Mobile Podcaster. Mobile Podcaster is an iOS application for iPhone and iPad that lets you record podcast episodes and automatically publish new blog posts to your WordPress site, which are then automatically made available on iTunes for subscribers to listen. Learn more at MobilePodcaster.com.

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Episode 11: Podcast Production And Distribution Workflow

Welcome back to another episode of Mobile Podcaster. Today I want to talk about the process for podcasting and what is the right workflow for your podcast. There are many options and the right solution depends on many factors.

There are potentially a lot of steps involved in creating and distributing a podcast. Of course, as with anything, over time you’re going to get better at the process and discover what exactly works for your situation.

There are many things to consider when looking at the overall workflow for your podcast. It’s not as simple as just recording some audio. You need to consider planning, set up, recording, editing, publishing, and distribution of your podcast.

Episode 11: Podcast Production And Distribution Workflow

This podcast was recorded and published using Mobile Podcaster. Mobile Podcaster is an iOS application for iPhone and iPad that lets you record podcast episodes and automatically publish new blog posts to your WordPress site, which are then automatically made available on iTunes for subscribers to listen. Learn more at MobilePodcaster.com.

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How to FTP Upload Your Podcast Episode to Libsyn from Your iPhone with Mobile Podcaster

Podcasting with Mobile Podcaster is even better now with version 1.4, which allows you to upload your podcast episodes to Libsyn via FTP. You may also upload via FTP to any other FTP accounts you have access to, but in this post we’ll specifically address Libsyn.

Why Should I Host My Podcast Recordings on Libsyn?

Uploading your podcast episodes to Libsyn is a great choice for several reasons:

  • Since the audio files are hosting on Libsyn, you don’t have to worry about a surge in playback activity bogging down your server.
  • Libsyn is specifically dedicated to hosting and streaming podcast audio, so you can depend on them to provide the best listening experience to your listeners.
  • Libsyn is affordably priced, whereas hosting a podcast on your own web host may get very expensive rather quickly.

How Does Mobile Podcaster Upload to Libsyn Work?

With Mobile Podcaster, you may either upload your recordings to Libsyn and deal with them later, or you can choose to do an FTP / WordPress Combo and create a WordPress post that references your file on Libsyn at the same time. This is a huge timesaver and an extremely efficient way to immediately get your audio online and ready for distribution.

Every Libsyn account comes with FTP upload capability. You can read more about it on the Libsyn Help Desk.

The FTP account server address for uploading new episodes to Libsyn account is ftp://ftp-server.libsyn.com/SHOWNAME/public. The showname is the same as the show slug you chose for your show when setting up your show on Libsyn. For example, The Mobile Podcaster slug and show name is mobilepodcaster.

When you upload your recording to this FTP address, it is publicly available to reference, but does not create an actual podcast episode. Instead, you’ll want to reference it in a new blog post, such as with WordPress. The address for the new file is http://traffic.libsyn.com/SHOWNAME/FILENAME. For example, if I upload my-file.mp3 to the Mobile Podcaster Libsyn account, it can be referenced at http://traffic.libsyn.com/mobilepodcaster/my-file.mp3.

The Mobile Podcaster app takes all of this into consideration when uploading to Libsyn and/or creating your WordPress post to embed your recording hosted on Libsyn.

Steps to Upload Podcast Episode to Libsyn via FTP

To upload to Libsyn, you first need setup your FTP account in Mobile Podcaster. Go to Settings > FTP Accounts and click on the “+”  icon in the upper-right corner. You’ll need to provide:

  • FTP Account Name (this is just for your own records)
  • FTP Account Server Address
  • FTP Account Username
  • FTP Account Password
  • FTP Public URL Address (required for Libsyn)

Next, proceed to record your episode on Mobile Podcaster as usual. When you are ready to publish, click on the blue arrow to the right of the episode and then click on the share icon in the top-right corner to share.

You have several options when sharing, but the two you want in this case are either Upload via FTP only or FTP / WordPress Combo.

1. Upload via FTP only

To upload your audio via FTP only, select this option. This assumes you have already setup an FTP account in the FTP Account settings section of the main Settings options. Choosing this option just uploads your recording to an FTP destination and nothing else. In our example, it will upload your file to your Libsyn account public folder.

Congratulations, your recording is now on Libsyn. To see your recording, login to your Libsyn account and browse Previous Posts. If you click to view the details of the most recent post, you’ll see the Direct Download Link, which you’re free to reference as you wish, such as in a blog post on your website.

2. FTP / WordPress Combo

To upload your audio via FTP and create a new blog post on your WordPress site at the same time, chose this option. This assumes you have already setup an FTP account in the FTP Account settings section of the main Settings options. Once you choose this option, select a WordPress site in which you would like to create your blog post. If your site is not listed, return to the main Settings page and add your site.

Next, select the FTP Account. Click Upload and wait for the progress indicator to stop. You will receive a popup confirmation that the upload was successfully completed.

Congratulations, your recording is now on Libsyn and you should see your new blog post in your WordPress dashboard referencing the recording on Libsyn.

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Fix iPad or iPhone App Stuck on Waiting During Download & Install

This is not a common problem, but if you’re trying to install an iOS app and it gets stuck “Waiting…” without any of the progress bars moving, downloading, or installing, you can fix this fairly easily.

Here are a few options to fix this problem …

  1. Tap the app icon so that it says “Paused” and then tap that app icon again to see if it starts downloading.
  2. Reestablish your Internet connection. Go to Settings and turn Airplane mode on and then off.
  3. Do you have enough space on your device to install the new app? You’ll typically get a warning if this is the case, but it’s worth checking. Go to Settings > General > About to see how much space you have left. To free up space, delete some unused apps or remove some pictures or videos from your Photo Library.
  4. You may also try to reboot the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch by holding down the power button for 3 seconds and then swiping to turn off your device. Most of us don’t power down very often, so a reboot might do the trick.
  5. Try deleting the app by holding your finger on the icon for a couple seconds and click the “x”. Then try to install again from the App Store.
  6. It could be that Apple’s servers are just overloaded with downloads from the App Store. Wait a few hours and hopefully the app will actually install.

Personally, I’ve never had an app fail to install altogether, so have some patience and hopefully one of the options above helped resolve your issue.

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How to Create a Podcast on Your iPad with Mobile Podcaster

There are several ways to podcast on your iPad but only one that let’s you actually upload your recording to your website in a format that is suitable for submission to iTunes. Mobile Podcaster is that app.

In this video I show you how to record and publish your podcast episode to your WordPress site. WordPress is so important because it serves as the home for your podcast on the Internet. You see, a podcast is nothing more than a collection of audio files on the Internet and WordPress is the perfect place to host those files.

WordPress is one of the most widely used blogging platofrms and content management systems used today. It is extremely popular. Not only does is allow you to blog, but with the right plugins you can do amazing things, like host and play podcast audio files. In this examples I’m demonstrating the use of the Blubrry Powerpress plugin.

Here are some helpful resources:

  • WordPress.com – setup your own free blog to host your podcast. If you choose this route, you’ll need to purchase the WordPress Space Updgrade for an annual fee of $20. It’s a no brainer if you ask me and Mobile Podcaster supports this approach 100%
  • WordPress.org – you may also download WordPress and install it on your own domain hosting platform. For example, you could register a domain and get hosting at Bluehost (~$150 total for 2 years) and then install WordPress. Bluehost makes it even easier becuase they have a 1-click install option.
  • BluBrry PowerPress Podcasting Plugin – if you use WordPress.org, you’ll need this plugin to display your podcast media player and manage the podcast feed to iTunes. It’s a fantastic, very well supported podcasting plugin (I’m using it on this site).
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iOS Podcast Publishing with Mobile Podcaster v1.1

The latest version of Mobile Podcaster is now available in the iTunes App Store. This version includes a mix of user interface and functionality enhancements to make it easier to record you podcast on your iPhone or iPad and publish directly to WordPress.

1. Stop and Pause Button with Recording and Playback

The audio recording and playback control panel has been improved.You can now stop or pause while recording and playback. This is great should you get interrupted or lose your train of thought while recording.

stop and pause while recording and playing audio

2. Playback Scrollbar

The scrollbar intuitively appears when playing back a recording and disappears otherwise. You can use your finger to scrub the audio or move the slider to a specific location.

new audio playback scrollbar for mobile podcaster

3. WordPress.com Audio Enclosure

The enclosure options now include the standard enclosure required to playback audio on a WordPress.com site. Reminder: You still need to purchase the WordPress.com Space Upgrade to upload audio to your WordPress.com site.

wordpress audio enclosure default option

4. Post Status

Two addition options for post status are now available: Private and Pending. This is useful if you have several users contributing to a single site or would like to keep your podcasts private until you’re ready to make public.

Wordpress post status with private and pending

5. Share via Email

The option to Send your recording via email is now an available in addition to the ability to Upload to WordPress.

Share audio podcast podcast via email on iPhone

We’re already working on the next update, including Mobile Podcaster for iPad. What other features would you like to see in Mobile Podcaster?

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Demo: How to Podcast on your iPhone to WordPress.com

Today I want to show you how easy it is to upload audio to WordPress.com from your iPhone with Mobile Podcaster. WordPress.com is a bit unique in that by default you cannot upload audio to the media library. The trick is to purchase a Space Upgrade for $20 a year and you’ll be off and running.

Here’s a video showing your the step-by step process of recording with Mobile Podcaster and uploading to your site. The enclosure codes I’m using in the example are “ and “. This is how WordPress identifies your uploaded audio file as audio. Mobile Podcaster v1.1 will includes these enclosure codes as standard options, so you won’t have to remember them.

This podcast was recorded and published using Mobile Podcaster. Mobile Podcaster is an iPhone application that lets you record podcast episodes and automatically publish new blog posts to your WordPress site.

Get Mobile Podcaster . . .

Recording Podcasts with iPhone using Mobile Podcaster App

Mobile Podcaster lets you record & publish podcast episodes directly from your iPad or iPhone to your WordPress site. No need to manually upload audio files or write new blog posts.

You can download a copy of Mobile Podcaster from the Apple iTunes App Store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mobile-podcaster/id553754359.

Mobile Podcaster works with both WordPress.org sites and WordPress.com. If you are publishing to a WordPress.com site, you must purchase a Space Upgrade on WordPress.com to accommodate the uploading of audio files. This starts at $20 per year.

Record Your Podcast
Simply press the Record button and speak into your iPhone or iPad to record. When you are finished hit Stop and your recording is saved. Save as many recordings as you wish and delete those you no longer need. Choose from three sound quality options to suit your recording needs.

Connect Your Website
You can connect Mobile Podcaster to one or many of your WordPress sites. First, enable XLM-RPC publishing on your site and then enter your login credentials in Mobile Podcaster. When you publish a new episode you can choose which site to publish to. Mobile Podcaster does not support WordPress.com sites.

Customize Episode
Customize the name & description of your recording which will correspond to the title & content of your WordPress post when published. Choose if you want the audio to embed before or after the description and customize the embed shortcode you would like to use in conjunction with your WordPress audio player.

Prepare for Upload
Add one or multiple Categories to your recordings so they are categorized correctly in WordPress. Save time by creating a default paragraph that goes before and/or after every audio file that’s uploaded to your new blog posts.

Publish to Your Site
Choose if you want new podcast episodes to upload with a Draft or Published status. Click Publish and your podcast episode will upload to your site and a new post will be added including all the options you have selected. If you are using one of the popular, free podcasting plugins on your site, your podcast episode will feed to iTunes as normal.

For more information visit http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mobile-podcaster/id553754359.

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