State of the Podcast Sphere Part 1

I look forward to writing this post each year, but I  have to admit some of the data results cannot be expressed properly on this blog. On one hand I want to applaud podcast host that get it, but for a great many others I wish I could simply scream and shake them by the shoulders and say wake the hell up.

The results make it apparent that the reason many of your shows are not growing, is because a percentage of have set yourselves up for failure. Many have failed to do the basics on their websites to make it easy for listeners to consume the content.

We examined Podcasters sites that received more than 10 nominations during the 2009 Podcast Awards Nomination Period. A total of 2381 sites were reviewed.

NOTE: The below information has nothing to do with how the podcast awards voting slate is derived. This is a seperate effort I undertake each year to get a sampling of what is happening in the podcasting space and on podcasters sites.

If you quote these numbers in your own blog post please provide a link back to the source data as I have went to considerable expense to provide these numbers free to the podcasting community. My personal company Podcast Connect paid for this.

Base Review consisted of 2381 Sites:

21% Had Invalid Podcast RSS Feeds.
59% Had Feeds with Errors but where Valid.
51% Had an RSS Icon on their default landing page that was a Blog Feed only.
21% Had an RSS Icon on their default landing page that was Podcast Ready.
23% Had a Podcast RSS Feeds Buried on a SubPage in their Website
44% Of Sites had a Podcast RSS feed we could subscribe to!
81% Had a Visible iTunes Subscription Icon on their default landing Page.
93% Had a Visible iTunes Subscription Icon someplace in their website.
6% Had a Visible Zune Marketplace Icon on their websites. (See Note Below)
43% Had a Visible e-mail contact address on their website.
14% Had a Newsletter sign-up page.
11% Had a call in number for listeners to comment on their shows.
88% of the sites had good unique website branding.
59% Had less than one paragraph of show notes for their past 5 podcast.
51% Had a physical download Link on their websites.
71% Were Creating Audio Only.
9% Were Creating Video Only.
20% Were Creating Audio and Video.
23% Number of Podcasters Blogging as well as Podcast content.
19% Where creating Audio, Video & Blog Posts
66% Of total Nominations were Shows creating Audio, Video and Blog Posts
3% of Sites where mobile phone ready (iPhone, Android, Palm Pre)
37% Did not have their show listed on
51% Did not have their show listed on
14% Did not have their show listed on
41% Had a Twitter Link on their website
53% Had a Facebook Link on their website

While I think the data points paint an obvious picture let me lay out a few of the obvious points.

Source RawVoice: Do podcasters realize the Zune has been responsible for 17% overall increase in unique podcast listeners over the past two years? I question why podcasters would ignore a huge segment of potential listeners by not carrying a Zune subscribe icon on their website.

There are 100’s of devices that cannot sync to iTunes, and by not having a Podcast RSS feed visible on the main page of their websites, that they are simply not reaching those listeners. This includes the millions of people who have smart phones.

Why do we continue to see such jacked up RSS feeds?

Five years into podcasting and podcasters still do not understand that RSS is the lifeblood of their podcasts. It blows me away that it is impossible to find Podcast RSS feeds on popular podcasters sites. I find it striking that I can find links to people’s Facebook pages, but have a hard time finding a link to subscribe to their shows.

Smartly some podcasters are learning that they cannot rely on Audio or Video alone that they have to a variety of media. Audio, Video, Blogging

Show Notes: Some Podcasters are finally waking up and finding out that Google can be their friend and that by writing comprehensive show notes results in more traffic to their websites.

I will let you do your own interpretation of Part 1 of my report, but I am convinced the success of my personal show is largely to do with content creators not doing the basics to be found, seen, heard and subscribed to.

Part 2 will be a comprehensive look at how podcast networks are playing a key role for podcasters.

I do want to extend a big thank you to the team in the Philippines that did this work.


No Podfade — Just Pulling the Plug on MYDL.ME

mydl_logof you’ve been around the Internet for any length of time, I’m sure you heard of Scott Bourne and Andy Ihnatko.  Both can be found at the MY Digital Life blog and podcast — at least until August 31, 2009.

Scott and Andy have been doing a podcast and blog helping listeners manage their digital life for the past six months. Everything from backups to storage and cool gadgets were discussed on their blog and three times a month on their podcast.

The last podcast, MYDL #15, was a much shorter show and Scott announced that they were pulling the plug on the podcast and blog at the end of the month. The site was sponsored by Data Robotics (Drobo) and everyone decided it was time to shut down and move on. I had the pleasure of generating the show notes for the podcast and learned a lot in the process. Scott and Andy had some great information and the show will be greatly missed. Scott and Andy will still be around but focusing on other things.

In Scott’s final comments to his listeners, he urged everyone to backup, backup, backup. Something Scott and Andy preached on every show and good advice for everyone.

In the Internet world we tend to think everything lives on forever. Podcaster fade and websites go dormant, but rarely go away. MYDL is an exception. If you haven’t been to MYDL.ME, head over there now before August 31, and check out the great content, before it’s gone forever. 73’s, Tom

GNC-2009-08-11 #501 Sick Host but show must go on!

I have been fighting a nasty bug for three days but had to get the show out tonight no matter what. Lots of great content and follow ups from show 500. Thanks to everyone once again for the continued words of encouragement. Also my 20% off Godaddy Hosting code is working again feel free to use the Todd20 code once more.

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Listener Links:
Note: I was about dying at the end of the show, will catch up on all emails next show..

Show Links:
1 Computer 4 weeks to Map Genome
How much work are you doing off the Clock?
Team Tenenbaum to continue to fight?
Facebook gets Twitter Like Search.
Buy your next new Chevy on ebay?
Windows 7 Windows Media Center Hacks.
Why Apple / Verizon deal may not be a good deal for all!
Facebook buys FriendFeed for 50 Million.
Apple working to fix Macbook Pro HD issues!
IE6 to be supported till 2014!
Is Bloglines on it’s death Bed?
NASA to invest Stimulus Money in Private Companies.
Saturn Rings to Disappear today!
Bank Deposits by iPhone?
Are you a Fanboy?
NASA reports on two planet smash up derby!
Net Connected Pacemaker goes Live!
Public Pressure changes UK ISP banning rule!
The AP wants to re-write journalism rules!
Piece of Audio gear on my Wish List!
Zune HD looking pretty sexy you going to buy one?
Mini USB Screen that is a Touch Screen!
Live in Ohio you need to go to this!
Microsoft at a Mall near you!
The Dumbest Facebook user on the Planet!
Your Blog will not abandon you!
Shorty URL’s and the risk with them!
Caffination Podcast host this weeks TPNW!
Apple needs to clean up there act now!
Blubrry was a Proud Sponsor of Podcamp Boston.

In The Land of iPhone, iTunes is Still King over All Others

This last week I gave up my older HTC 8125 for the Apple iPhone. It’s been an interesting experience so far and I really like how the phone works. I also like the apps – Especially the ones that keep me productive. I am not really a gamer or a fluff app person – I may download and try it, but those apps usually go to the wayside.

Two apps I was excited to try out were Stitcher: a Podcast aggregation site, and Pandora: for online radio stations. I’ve used both before getting the iPhone and couldn’t wait to install and try them.

Of course, I could just use the integrated iTunes program on the phone. It does music and aggregates podcasts. However, I like to try out all the options – make sure I have the easiest and best program.

So let’s take a look at each program and see what advantages there are to it.



If you haven’t tried this site out yet, you should. Stitcher is a Podcast aggregator. You can get many great podcasts, add them to your watch list and be alerted when new episodes are available. You can listen to your shows on your iPhone, Blackberry or on any PC.

In turn, iTunes also has an area to download podcasts. You can search the store and download episodes. However – As Todd noted in his last podcast – While the PC version lets you subscribe to the podcast, the iTunes store only allows you to add episodes. I have yet to find a way to “Subscribe” from the iPhone.




Pandora has just been in the news because of the agreement they have reached for Internet radio. You can join up with a radio station, listen to it and move on. The control of the music is not that great; which was a design of the new agreement.  You can skip songs, but only 6 per hour. All this, so you won’t have to pay for any music you want to hear.

Flipping over to iTunes, you can pay .99 cents a song, sync up with one computer to get your playlist of songs and go. You can customize your playlists and listen to new songs. They even give you some free ones.

There are other apps, like Audio books. Audible lets you read books right from your iPhone. iTunes also has an Audiobook option. I have not tested that feature yet, so we will leave it as a footnote.



The Advantage

The biggest advantage iTunes has is that if you have to use another application; like checking your email, whatever you are listening to will continue to play. If you try the same for Pandora or Stitcher, the program will close. Once the application is re-opened, you will be able to continue listening. However- in the case of Pandora – it will not continue where it left off.

iTunes will also do video – TV shows and even Video Podcasts. While there is no Hulu application (yet), you do have the option of YouTube – which also comes with the native OS.

I don’t want to make it sound like you shouldn’t download Pandora or Stitcher. They are great programs in their own right. The applications are free and can be an addition to any iPhone. That is why they are on my iPhone to stay.

Podcast Publishing refined with PowerPress and Blubrry Hosting

I want to break down just how much time the PowerPress Podcast Plugin and Blubrry Hosting has saved me when I publish my podcast. Most of us are so busy today anytime we can get some time back through new tools and more efficient ways that it is worth sharing.

Disclaimer my company RawVoice  is the company behind and the PowerPress plugin, everyone’s publishing process will be slightly different but from my perspective this was well worth sharing.

I have had a set routine for publishing my podcast over the past 5 years that I have followed for over 480 shows after with little variation. That routine has changed since we rolled out our new tools let me give you a comparison so you can see where the deltas are. first let’s look at old way I did the show.

  • Show Material Preparation 1Hour
  • Tricaster, Ustream, Adobe Audition, Show Intro prep 10 Minutes
  • Announcing Live Event on Twitter and Facebook 5 Minutes
  • Podcast Recording 75 Minutes
  • Saving Recorded Audio 5 Minutes
  • Filling in ID3 Tags 5 Minutes
  • Uploading Podcast to Server and Creating Show Notes 30 Minutes
  • Announcing Show on Twitter and FaceBook 5 Minutes
  • Sending NewsLetter to Audience Members 5 Minutes

Total Time for Show Production 3:20 Minutes

Here is the comparison using WP, PowerPress, Blubrry Uploader, Blubrry Hosting and our publishing Tools.

  • Show Material Preparation 1Hour
  • Tricaster, Ustream, Adobe Audition, Show Intro prep 10 Minutes
  • Announcing Live Event on Twitter and Facebook 5 Minutes
  • Podcast Recording 75 Minutes
  • Saving Recorded Audio 5 Minutes
  • No longer fill in ID3 Tags Blubrry Hosting Does that for me automatically! 0 Minutes
  • Publish Media 3 Step Publishing 20 Minutes
  • Announcing new Show available Twitter 0 Minutes (Automatically Done by Blubrry)
  • Announcing new Show available on Facebook 2-3 Minutes
  • Sending NewsLetter to Audience Members 0 Minutes (Automatically Done by Blubrry)

Total time for new show production 2:58

I would have never thought that I could shave that much off my Podcast Publishing Time. Some people may say what’s the big deal, well when you are recording a show twice a week saving 20 minutes or more is huge when you look at the time savings over a year or more. But honestly here is the bottom line, as I walked out of the Studio over the past couple of weeks my wife has been saying wow your finished already!This was motivation enough to do some in-depth comparisons.

Geek News Central Portable Podcast Rig

Portable Podcast Rig

While I highlighted my home studio already I have numerous request to talk about my portable recording rig. As you all know I travel as much as 1-2 weeks a month. I am usually stuck in Hotels with less than desirable bandwidth which requires I bring extra connectivity along more on that later.

I pack for three contingencies, audio only, audio and video combined, video interview only.  A separate pack-out is used for conventions.  Let me talk about the gear and then I will talk about the setup.

Note:  The gear below is the minimum I travel with. I never travel with less equipment

Portable Audio and Video Podcast Studio:
StormCase Water Tight Case
Mixer: Mackie 802-VLZ3
Headset: BeyerDynamic DT-290 (Primary)
Router: Netgear Wireless Router
Sony: Wireless Receivers URX-P1 x2
Sony: Wireless Transmitter UTX-B1 x1
Sony: Microphone Wireless Transmitter UTX-P1
Lavalier Mics x1
Canopus ADVC-300 Analog to Digital Converter
Mic: Electrovoice RE50B (Interviews)
Camera: Sony HDR-SR11
Hard Drive: eSata 1 tb External Drive (HD Video Storage)
Cables: Way to Many!
Connectors: Way To Many
Laptops:  Windows Vista x2

Some will say this is overkill and it actually is. But the reason I travel with so much gear is based on 4 years of travel experience. I have been places where I needed to have wireless microphone capability and others where wired mics are required, sometimes I need to do a video interview so I have to have the ability to go from Audio mode to Video mode from this kit.  If I am planning on doing exclusive Video I will add a Sony HVR-Z1U to the pack out along with supporting tri-pods or mono-pods.

Laptop pack out also depends on what I will be doing.  If I am doing my regular show only 2 Windows Vista based Laptops are needed. One to handle the live video stream and the other to handle separate audio recording and the show work flow. If I am doing any pro-video recording I add a Mac Book Pro to the pack out for editing in Final Cut.

Doing conventions or other big events requires a whole different level of pack out and my Fedex bill goes vertical.

Portable Podcast Gear Packed

My regular travel kit above weighs in at 38 pounds. I check it as checked luggage. The laptops and any high value items go with me in carry on luggage.

Some will ask why I do not switch to a Firewire device or standalone recording device.  Two answers Quality and Reliability. I did use a Focusrite Saffire 2 channel Firewire mixer for about 6 months. It was the biggest piece of crap I have ever used. I spent more time getting it to work then I did recording on it. I have also used some portable audio recorders and the quality level is not where I need it to be.

For network connectivity.  I travel with 1-2  Sprint EVDO cards, I usually rely on the hotel to provide me enough bandwidth for getting the show material ready but hotel connectivity has been getting worse of late. Usually I have to use the EVDO connection to push the video stream. I average 350 kpbs up stream and my 75 minute show uses 300 megs per show of my 5 gig monthly limit. I have tested with Verizon EVDO and I will be honest they may have a big network but their wireless speeds suck!

If you notice I pack a Netgear Wireless router, this is for the wired hotels that want to charge me $20.00 a day per computer for a wired connection.

The A/D converter is currently used with the Sony Camera, the small HD camera I currently own does not have a Firewire connection.  I convert the analog out of the camera to digital which gets routed into the laptop as a digital video Firewire connection.  I am currently on the hunt for a HD non pro Camera that will connect to a laptop via Firewire.

To be able to achieve a 3 camera shot as I did on the last trip. I use the built in Webcam in the Video processing laptop as camera one, and then use a second USB based Webcam as camera 2, the Sony HD camera is camera 3 which is usually the primary camera.

Video Feed: VidBlaster Studio (Windows)
Audio Recording: Adobe Audition 3.0 (Windows)

While I am sure I will work on efficiency of the portable studio, my quality level is where I want it and the kit is always packed and ready to go. It gets checked as luggage and so far nothing bad has happened to the gear.

Geek News Central Podcast Recording Gear

Geek News Central Studio

I often get asked what gear do I use to record my Podcast. Well there are two answers to that question. Today I will cover the gear that I use while I am here in Hawaii. As you know I travel a great deal and have a separate rig for when I travel.

Here is the List in the Exact Food Chain from when I speak till it is recorded on the Computer.

Power Conditioner: Furman PL-8 Series II
Microphone: Mouse from Blue Mic
Mic Boom: OC White
Microphone Tube Amplifier: SOLO 610 Classic Vacuum Tube
Mixer: Mackie ONYX 1220
Equalizer : DBX 215
Compressor / Gate: DBX 266XL
Aural Enhancer: APHEX 204
TelePhone Interviews: Telos Hybrid X2
Recording PC Standard Windows XP PC fed by Analog Audio from Mixer
Audigy Sound Card
Adobe Audition Recording Software

Tricaster Studio
Live Control LC-11
Sony Cameras x 4 (Models Various)
Stream directly from Tricaster to Ustream.TV

Standard Studio Configuration
1 PC Recording Audio
1 Laptop Monitoring Video Stream controlling Ustream
1 PC that I use to Produce show
2 Network Connections

Geek News Central Podcast Studio 2

Everything is recorded in one straight shot. I do not stop the show under any circumstances. When I finish I only group waveform normalize the audio and then I save it to MP3. I then use the publishing tools at Blubrry to write the ID3 tags, publish the media, send the newsletter and post the podcast on this blog.

Time Line:
I start show Prep at 7pm HST
1 hour of show prep
75 minutes of recording
30 minutes of post show production.

Note: If your a new podcaster remember I started with a $7.00 headset from Walmart and spent less than $150.00 on gear until I reached show #50. My philosophy is have a high quality recording to start with to eliminate post show editing. But even with this gear a child simply twisting a knob can ruin a evening. :)

Major PowerPress Podcast Plugin Update!

We punched out the PowerPress update this evening, and as I promised last night I told you we would have some video for you to watch. I am going to send you over to a page that has two videos linked that will get you up to speed with what we released.

Before I send you over there let me run you through the update.

  1. We added a podcast statistics summary to the WordPress dashboard.
  2. Blubrry Podcast hosting customers can have their ID3 Tags written automatically.
  3. We added Category Cast, podcasters can now setup categories as independent podcast feeds.
  4. The final update which is the most important is our new 3 Step Podcast Publishing Process

Check out the New Feature in Action and watch the Video as a picture is worth a 1000 words!

Come back after the jump and let me know what you think!

The PowerPress Podcast Plugin is free and available at

Apple iTunes Podcast Directory is a Piece of Crap!


I am Sorry but Apple has lost it’s way big time! Today when I tried to find some podcast in the iTunes directory, it was nearly impossible to find the shows that I was looking for.

I am very serious when I say that the iTunes team really blew it big time with this latest iTunes release. I have been hearing nothing but complaint after complaint from podcasters and even more from listeners.

Those that I talk to that are in the featured and top picks list are seeing record growths in their show audiences. Its pretty easy to see why. No one else is getting exposure within iTunes it’s because it is very hard to find anything but featured shows.

At this point in the game Apple is hurting podcasting more than they are helping it! Most new and even seasoned podcasters are all screwed because some design team at Apple decided to make it very hard to find the full listing of podcast within the iTunes application itself.

Apple has become a walled fortress at this point. They have an undeniable strangle-hold on the community. It’s no wonder the number of people listening to podcast are increasingly using a computer to tune in, versus a media device. It’s because the #1 seller of MP3 players has sold us down the river!

Hate to say it. but the podcasting community let them do it. Today there are only a few podcast software catcher application alternatives to the iTunes application.

The first alternative is Juice but the primary directory it is connected to has been abandoned, thats another story for another day AC.  The Juice team appear to have no inclination to work with others to fix the issue and or work with people that have actively maintained directories.

The second is myPodder by the Podcast Ready folks, we all know Apple is trying to put the screws to them but at least they have a viable up to date directory within the application and site interface. The rest of the podcatcher applications are so far below the radar that they might as well not exist.

The podcasting community at large is totally responsible we blew it, we drank the Apple koolaid and now it’s like Jonestown all over again there are podcasts dying, because one of the primary ways people were finding shows has been essentially hidden in iTunes. Plus Apple continues to let Podcasters play games with the listings.

It pisses me off to no end, and yet most podcasters don’t care, for the most part many have not been with the community long enough to understand all of the dynamics of what has happened, and were things are headed.  I will get off my Soap box now but the problem lay in three directions

Podcasters Let it Happen, Podcasters did not React, Podcasters have not Spoken out!

The Community has largely let the Listeners Down!

Zune Overview


If your looking for a preview of what the Zune is going to offer and how the interface functions take a look at this presentation by The mystery of whether of not Microsoft is going to join the party in getting podcasting integrated is looking pretty bleak at this point.

I really do not understand how they could be that stupid as to not include the integrated functionality. With VideoCast and Podcast all the rage if support for downloading content from RSS feeds is left out some product manager at Microsoft should no longer have a job.

The big question that people at Podcast Expo kept asking is when they were going to join the party. The rumor mill runs wild but at this point actions speak louder than words and we will see if someone over their wakes up and smells the coffee. [ON10.NET]