A few days ago I finally posted my blog about getting ready to podcast and I thought I’d revisit it now that I’ve proceeded into the editing and posting portion of the activity. This is the stuff that happens before a podcast can be posted to a website or submitted to iTunes and its what most casual podcast listeners know the least about. Until very recently I was just like all those casual listeners. My background is oral history, I knew plenty about recording, transcribing, and storing interviews but absolutely nothing about putting them on the web.
So, I started where most people have started since early on in the decade. I opened up my Safari browser and typed “submitting podcasts to itunes” into the google search box. I got 1,790,000 results in 0.24 seconds. Conveniently the first one was Apple - iTunes - Podcasts - Making a Podcast. Unfortunately, as I scrolled down the page and started reading it got scary.
I started panicking at number 3. I knew what xml was (sort of) and I knew what an RSS was but I had no idea what they were talking about. Thankfully, most people don’t and so blogger and google have apparently made it easy. I have yet to actually use their tools, so I’ll get back to that in a little later.
The first thing, however, that any new podcaster should know is you are responsible for hosting your podcast. Thankfully, there are a few free options out there, but its important to recognize that they can be severely limited. For example, PodOmatic has a free service but it is limited to 500mb of storage and 15g of bandwidth per month. Keep in mind that 500mb is not that much data- roughly half a gig. In a world where we are rapidly filling the 160g + hard drives that come standard on our computers it just isn’t much. To better illustrate I clicked on a random mp3 in my iTunes library. A 4 minute and 17 second song with a bit rate of 192kbs and a sample rate of 44.100GHz is 5.9mb. Assuming my podcast is of a similar quality the longest episode is currently around 17minutes if I bring out my cross multiplication skills we get: 11.52mb. I know it doesn’t look like much but thats 2.3 percent of my total storage meaning I can only have approximately 43 podcasts of a similar size. Now lets consider bandwidth. If you only have one 11.52mb file on your 15g bandwidth account and 50 people download it thats 576mb of data, approximately 3.3% of your monthly allotment. Lets say however that you are an overnight star and suddenly you have thousands of downloads much as podcasts like Diggnation and Tekzilla do. I couldn’t find exact figures but lets say that 5000 people download it you’ve suddenly used 56.25 gb. Now lets say you have hosted your full 500mb - you’ll run out of bandwidth in almost no time at all. Obviously this is not a good solution if you plan on a) being extremely prolific, or b) extremely popular.
Thankfully, for those of us with no idea how popular or unpopular our podcasts will be and a vested interest in keeping what little money we have there is at least one free option with unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth. That is: archive.org. You can access this option either directly through archive.org or through ourmedia.org. Both options allow you to determine what copyright you’d like to have on your podcast when you upload. I honestly have yet to figure out what exactly the downside is to hosting with archive.org. There must be one or far fewer people would go with paid services like godaddy.com, hipcast, or PodOmatic Pro. For my purposes however, and despite the disturbing lack of a downside, using archive.org and creative commons licensing makes far more sense. In fact I recently discovered that one of my favourite podcasts Ladies of Leet is hosted on archive.org!
At this point, for my purposes I could be done. I could write blog posts, post the link to the served file and call it a day, but I got it into my head that I’d like to try submitting it to iTunes. This brings us back to my panic at the beginning of this blog in order to submit to iTunes your blog needs to be saved in RSS 2.0, a form of xml, and must contain some very specific iTunes tags. The issue: I wouldn’t know how to access the xml if my life depended on it and the best I could do if I managed is copying and pasting the tags conveniently provided to me by my copy of podcasting for dummies and hoping I’d placed them correctly. Sadly, the reality is I could probably figure it out but even after two semesters of just trying things my initial reaction is still to assume I can;t do it. Conveniently though, you can use FeedBurner and SmartCast to create iTunes ready podcasts.
In order to create a FeedBurner feed with your podcast, navigate to feedburner.google.com. I’ve already claimed my feed so I see this:
From there put the link to your blog in the field, click the I am a podcaster checkbox a box and click next. From there if you follow FeedBurner’s directions you’ll automatically get a FeedBurner feed and they’ll apply SmartCast to your feed. The last step is to go back into Blogger click the settings link under the appropriate blog. In my case I have two so I had to make sure I was changing the settings for my Interactive Exhibit Design Podcast Blog.
First go to the formatting tab. Under formatting scroll down to “Show Link Fields” use the drop down menu to select “Yes”
Next go to the “Site Feeds” tab. Under site feeds enter your FeedBurner feed in the field(you’re given this at the end of the FeedBurner process - if you forgot to note it you can see it by clicking on your feed on the main page then clicking the Edit Feed Details link). Give it about 24 hours after you do this and then check your rss feed. You can use feedvalidator.org or subscribe to it using an RSS reader like NetNewsWire. If you’re able to subscribe to the RSS and you see something resembling whats below. You’re golden.
So, when you see something like this, its time to submit your RSS to iTunes. To do this you’ll need to have an iTunes account. Open up your iTunes and go to the iTunes Store. Once you’ve loaded the iTunes store click the podcast tab at the top of the home screen. Once this page loads you’ll be looking at the main Podcast page, on the right side of the screen there will be a menu that reads Podcast Quick Links, the second last link is “Submit a Podcast.”
Click this link and you’ll see the following:
Enter the RSS feed link into the field and click continue. At this point if it worked you’ll see something like this:
If the details are correct then you’re good to go and you can click submit. The iTunes store will ask you to confirm your submission by logging onto your account and once you have you should receive a confirmation email. At that point all thats left to do is wait, your podcast is in iTunes digital hands and they’ll have to decide if your podcast is appropriate etc. Mine hasn’t been approved yet but since I just submitted it this morning thats to be expected. My research says it usually takes 48-72 hours. Hopefully in 48-72 hours I’ll be adding my iTunes Store link to this post!