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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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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Mobile Podcaster version 1.4 for iPhone & iPad Now Available

iphone record podcastWe are pleased to announce the release of Mobile Podcaster version 1.4.

Mobile Podcaster lets you record podcast episodes from your iPhone or iPad and publish directly to WordPress.

This approach saves you significant time vs. traditional forms to podcasting because there is no need to manually edit and move audio files. Mobile Podcaster uploads the audio from your iOS device directly to your WordPress site or the FTP destination of your choice, eliminating the need to manually upload recordings and to your server and create new blog posts.

What’s New in Version 1.4

  • FTP upload to publish to Libsyn and other servers
  • FTP / WordPress combination publishing
  • add image to podcast and embed in WordPress post
  • include image in email sharing option
  • headphone/mic recording and playback support

iphone share podcast on wordpress or ftpadd new ftp account mobile podcast app iphone

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How to Enable XML-RPC in WordPress

In older versions of WordPress.org sites, XML-RPC is not enabled (XML-RPC is enabled by default on WordPress.com sites).

In order for your WordPress installation to be able to serve XML-RPC requests you have to enable this feature on you website. To enable this feature, login to your WordPress site and go to the admin section. There, under Settings -> Writing you will have to Enable the XML-RPC option as shown below. Put a check next to this option and you’re all set.

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