Podcamp Pittsburgh X: A Recap

Podcamp Pittsburgh X: A Recap

Yay Podcamp!

There are a few cities out there still running Podcamps, and one of the longest running Podcamps happens to be right in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This past weekend was Podcamp Pittsburgh X.

In case you didn’t know, X stands for 10. That’s 10 Podcamps, over 10 years. I think that’s really amazing. Keeping communities going for any period of time is tough, but for these local groups, to stay together for years takes an amount of dedication not only from the leaders of that community, but from the community itself.

There were a number of awesome sessions, including the keynote by Podcamp Pittsburgh co-founder Justin Kownacki (@justinkownacki) and a great Sunday morning session by the amazing Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan). Now that one, I took tons of notes at.

There were sessions on getting started podcasting, and sessions on social media, and even a session about how to help your jaw and mouth so that the sound you put forth into your mic is better which ultimately leads to less editing time. I, for one, am all about less editing time!

My co-worker, Greg Buretz, did a session on how NOT to break your feed. This session is so good, I think we’re going to turn it into a webinar. It was a bit more technical, but it discussed some of the every day things that producers do that can break their RSS feed. It’s information any podcaster should at least be aware of, even if they have a great host that generates their feed for them.

My session discussed WordPress and podcasting. I focused on the basics of setting up a WordPress site geared specifically to media creators. Interested? Go check it out here. I had a good group and some good questions. I just might have to turn that into a webinar also. 🙂

Some friends from Ohio came into town, Dave Jackson from The School of Podcasting and Nick Seuberling from Inside the Jungle both came PCPGHX. It was great to see some out of town friendly faces.

If you are a podcaster, do check your area to see if there any podcamps running. If not, check for podcasting meetups. Many cities have meetups that have been running for a very long time and are a great way to get face to face with the podcast community.
Hope to see you next year for Podcamp Pittsburgh 11!!

WordPress + Podcasts

WordPress + Podcasts

I spent a long time working in the web hosting world. I worked with e-commerce, I worked with bloggers, I worked with custom built websites, dedicated servers, I worked with a lot of things during my stay at pair Networks.

During that time, I also spent a lot of time working with website owners who had used other (ahem GoDaddy, ahem Hostgater, ahem…) web hosts.

Let me tell you, I’ve seen it all with regards to domain registration and website hosting.

That is also around the same time that I built Krystal Clear Technologies, LLC. My own side business that focused on everything web from web servers and co-location to putting together teams to build out custom sites using content management systems. I specialized in WordPress and Joomla sites (though I’d work with Drupal as well).

I have a love hate relationship with CMS’s, but they are beyond useful for building beautiful sites on or off budget full of functionality when done right.

Moving into the podcast industry five years ago, it didn’t surprise me to learn that WordPress was the CMS of choice for building websites for podcasters. And why not? With thousands of free and paid for themes available and plugins galore to expand your site… why WOULDN’T you want to use WordPress?

Well, I don’t want this post to get to long so I won’t tell you why you wouldn’t. There are plenty of reasons. But even past all that, I would still recommend it for the average podcaster because of it’s flexibility.

But just like with podcast hosting, web hosting is a key to the functionality of your website. If your site loads to slow, you loose the visitor. If your site is insecure and you are hacked, well, I don’t think I need to elaborate on the ramifications of that one. You can run out of storage, you can run out of bandwidth, you can get rate limited, your site functionality can get restricted, so many things depend on the web host. Picking a good one is paramount.

That is why I am proud to have helped facilitate the relationship between pair Networks and Libsyn. Because of this partnership, Libsyn customers can get GREAT prices on GREAT, world class web hosting through pair Networks. This is a win – win. pair Networks benefits from partnering with a great and well known podcast host, Libsyn benefits from having a fantastic web host that supports WordPress for their producers to use, and producers benefit from having two of the best in the industry working together in a collaboration that will hopefully only grow in capability and functionality.

Having worked for both companies, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of both. I’ve also spent time using other hosts (both web hosts and podcasting hosts). I even resold Hostgater at one point. At the end of the day, I STILL recommend pair Networks and Libsyn.

I will be speaking at Podcamp Pittsburgh on August 15th at 3:00pm in room B about leveraging WordPress for your Podcast website. If you are in the Pittsburgh region, you should come! If you aren’t, check out the Podcamp Pittsburgh YouTube channel as they live stream most if not all of the sessions.

If you decide podcasting with Libsyn is the way you want to go and you want to leverage WordPress for your site and have any questions, reach out. I’m happy to assist you and point you in the right direction. In the meantime, if you want to signup with pair Networks for hosting with big discounts, just do it!

pair Networks


I’m Going to Podcast Movement!

I’m Going to Podcast Movement!

Woot woot! I’m going to Podcast Movement. Are you?

Podcast Movement is a new weekend long conference (this is it’s second year) JUST for podcasters. It’s a place to get some great full day workshops, breakout sessions, amazing speakers, and of course networking with all your podcasting friends.

The event happens in Fort Worth, Texas from July 31 through August 2nd. I am flying in Thursday evening and heading out Sunday evening.

I’ll be hanging out at the Libsyn booth so be sure to stop by. Keep an eye on @kocotech on Twitter, or @libsyn for updates and fun stuff.

If you are coming in with time to attend any of the Friday workshops, check out the She Podcasts workshop. Jess and Elsie will be kicking butt all day teaching about empowerment and women podcasting STUFF. I’ll probably be hanging out there myself and if I know Elsie, it’ll be AWESOME.

If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, go get it! Tickets and accommodations are going fast!

The NEW Spotify

The NEW Spotify

On May 20th, 2015, Spotify announced a whole slew of new beta features including NowRunning, Video, and…. podcasts.

I had subscribed to Spotify more than a year ago and to be honest I hated it. I felt the syncing of my owned library into their system and down to my mobile devices was cumbersome at best (it still is), and while I fully understand that listeners are moving in droves to streaming platforms, not every platform has every song. When it’s a song they don’t have rights to stream, I still would love to hit a buy button.

But I digress.

Libsyn, my employer, and a partner with Spotify. We have many podcasts that were added to the podcast directory for the beta launch. I’ve seen the beta, and I have some thoughts.

Spotify Running

Spotify RunningI love the running feature. I’ve heard some out there call it a gimmick. Be that as it may, it’s still awesome. It doesn’t pick up my steps per minute at a walking pace, and I usually start with a few minutes of walking before I pick up a jog. But, no matter how long I walk, when I eventually start running, it knows… instantly… and calculates my pace. It tells me my pace, and then kicks up a playlist.

I’m extremely picky about my running playlists. When I say I run, it’s more like I jog… barely… and thanks to winter and some other unforeseen events I hadn’t run since last fall, so I’m using a walk-run program called Couch to 5K. That means I’m out of shape, I get tired fast, and I really need that music to keep me pumped up! Hence, I didn’t think this new Spotify feature would do me any justice.

WRONG! I’ve never kept such a steady pace while running, ever. And, I’ve yet to hear anything I really didn’t like. Even when that happens, the double tap on my headphones button works like a charm, moving onto the next song without a hitch. The playlist automatically fades one song into theSpotify Running next, and does a pretty good job of keeping the beat in the same place while doing so. All in all, I’m very impressed, and have continued to use Spotify Running for my runs… exclusively… since the announcement.

Spotify Now

The Spotify Now feature is kinda neat, it tries to figure out what time of day it is, what day of the week it is, and what I’m likely doing at that time (like, I’m at work in the middle of an afternoon lull and in need of a pick me up, or I’m on my commute into the office, etc). It’s, well, neat. I’m not honestly as enthralled with it as I am with Spotify Running, and I certainly haven’t used it as much.

Spotify + Podcasts

Will this really be worth it for podcasters? In my opinion, we will have to really wait and see what the stats end up showing. I do see this as a growth opportunity for podcasters, any platform of Spotify’s size that opens up to podcasters has the potential to be great for podcasters.

Let’s look at what’s in the podcast directory.

The Spotify Podcast Directory

As with most podcast directories, there is a list of featured shows, and a breakdown of audio or video. Browsing the directory is pretty simple, and standard. You can browse by featured, audio or video, and by genre breakdown.

A show's episode list in SpotifyEach show contains it’s list of episodes, you can add a show to your library so that new episodes are automatically included in your local device’s library, and show notes are visible for those who provide them.

Here is where my biggest annoyances are. First, show notes are not picking upLooking at a Podcast Episode in Spotify
formatting. Producers often spend a lot of time and put a lot of effort into formatting their show notes with source links, phone numbers (handy when listening on mobile devices), and even just paragraphs and spaces to make it easier to read. Spotify currently isn’t showing any of that formatting. Bummer.

Onto my next pet peeve, Spotify doesn’t provide any functionality for controlling download behavior. I can’t, for example, tell Spotify to always download and only keep the newest 3 episodes, or the newest 5 episodes, and so forth. This is a pretty standard feature nearly every podcatcher offers. Keep in mind that they are totally new to the podcasting world, and they do seem quite dedicated to the cause (they have a team dedicated to the cause). Also remember that they are not a podcatcher first, and that this is all still very beta. I can only imagine these are things that they plan to fix or implement down the road.

Another note worth making, they pull show artwork, but they do not pull episode artwork. If you use custom artwork for each individual episode, don’t expect that to appear in Spotify… yet (at the time of writing this, anyway).

Here’s the good. It works, well! I have several shows I’ve subscribed exclusively through Spotify to, and I’ve made it a point to listen using Spotify in my car, in my headphones, and I’ve had zero problems. It always picks up where I’ve left off, I always have access to new content from shows I’ve ‘followed’ (subscribed to), it just works. I think if they continue to improve on the app and grow the directory (which they obviously have plans to do), then I see no reason why listeners wouldn’t listen to podcasts in Spotify, and it will be nice to have everything in one place.

Final Thoughts

I am now again a subscriber to Spotify and happily participating in their beta. I’m excited about where the inclusion of podcasts (audio and video) is headed, I LOVE the running feature, curation has gotten much better.

If you want to learn more, Elsie Escobar and I talk it up on the topic and show off the BETA version of the app:

It’s currently only available for iOS, but it will make it to additional users and additional platforms over time.

Have you tried it yet? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on the new Spotify.