Podcasting Workshop – August 13th

a4 podcast workshop

When: Sat 13th Aug,  10-5pm (with 1 hour for lunch)
Where: A4 Sounds, St Joseph’s Parade, Off Upper Dorset St, Dublin 1
Cost: 60 Euro
Book here

I’m running a one day podcast workshop this August in A4 Sounds. This two part workshop will cover everything you need to create, upload and promote your own podcast. We’ll provide an overview of the history of podcasts, and the current state of the podcast market. You will learn about different podcast hosting and distribution options, how to track downloads and what it takes to get a podcast into iTunes ‘New & Noteworthy’ category.

This workshop is suitable for anyone wishing to create a podcast or improve how their podcasts are created or distributed, and requires no special technical expertise.  Whether you already have a podcast you’d like to improve, or are just a keen fan with an idea, this is the workshop for you.

What will the workshop cover

Part one of the day will be an overview of podcasting, covering different ways podcasts are made and distributed, and moving onto all the major monetisation routes – from advertising to Patreon, paid downloads, app purchases and more.

We’ll look at various hosting options and podcast creation pipelines, from self hosting with WordPress or Libsyn, to all in one services like Zencast, Soundcloud, ACast and audioBoom.

Part two will cover the process of creating a podcast, using free and low cost tools. Participants will work together to record, edit and distribute a podcast. They will learn through hands on practice, how to submit to the most popular podcast directories and apps.

The facilitator will be available after the workshop to answer further questions and technical issues that might pop up with your first attempts at making a show.

Materials Required:

Participants to bring along:

  • Previously recorded programmes they wish to podcast
    OR ideas for a show they’d like to create
  • Laptops to follow along with the practical portion of the class

A4 will supply all other necessary equipment & materials.
Continue reading “Podcasting Workshop – August 13th”

Podcasts You’re Missing

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So podcasts, they’re pretty cool right? With eh, the kids, on their shmart phones or some such? They’re yolks ya listen to, like netflix for the blind I right?

Yes it seems that finally, for reasons no one really understands, probably because phones just about now got cheap enough, and data plans just about now got broadbandish enough, podcasts are kewl. As a withered old sock puppet o’podcasting, I thought I’d take the time to throw up a few recommendations. I’ve been listening to (and spewing out) podcasts since the early naughties. Like a psychic who’s hit the weights, the medium has never been in finer fettle. There are a multitude of delectable ear candies available that far too few folks are noshing on. Presumably because when the RTE Guide or whatever make their ‘best of’ lists, they instruct Joffrey the thirty five year old intern to tell them ‘what the kids are up to’ and poor old Joff faxes them the itunes top ten. Forget what’s popular, what’s actually good? Whatz the illest deep cuts oh podcastin’ yo. Sorry, I’ve Straight out of Inglewood playing in another tab.

Latest & Greatest

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I’d never heard of crusty journo-hippy Scott Carrier [RSS] [iTunes], before his recent podcast. But the mans a legend. He’s been a globe trotting wrong writer for decades, and the medium affords him the chance to drip feed us beautifully sautéed slices of grass roots journalism carved from his honey roasted eleven hundred year old ass.

Another aging sweet heart Adam Buxton, [RSS] has just launched a new show, where he interviews fellow lovies, mostly outside. There’s not much there yet, but Buxton has a talent for finding creative ways to use a ‘new’ medium, so watch this space.

Speak cantonese? No? Doesn’t matter. You’ll love Young Love Play [RSS]. This Hong Kong based podcast is produced with such panache and presented with such a musically comedic touch, the language barrier only makes it easier to appreciate the production.

All Time Classics

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The Tobolowsky Files [iTunes] [RSS] just keeps getting better. ‘Veteran character actor’ (read old coot who plays mostly bit parts), Stephen ‘Tobo’ Tobolowsky, has worked with just about everyone in Hollywood. In between staring in almost 240 movies (which sounds like a lot until you heart that Oliver Hardy made over 400), Tobo took to diarising his life. Mixed in with the show business anecdotes are the insights gleaned from the Torah, quantum physics, classical music and of course liiiiiiiiiiiife, that make Tobolowsky’s stories so unique. Listening to Stephen Tobolowsky is like falling asleep on a train and being woken up to the voice of the most interesting man in the world, then opening your eyes to find yourself alone, because it’s a podcast and he’s not your friend. He’s a famous.

It’s been one hell of a year for ‘Nicholas V.D. Kolk’. Since joining the Radiotopia stable, long running radio oddment Love & Radio [RSS] has quintupled its listenership. Each episode is unique, but tied together by a refusal to adopt the didactic ‘tell it – show it – explain it – learn from it’ formula tittied out by American public radio, and an unmatched ability to dig up weirdo stories from around the globe. Love & Radio remains both excitingly experimental and stunningly well produced. Seriously, the Joanna Newsom episode is some of the cleverest Jorge Luis Borges shit in podcasting.

Robert Ashley [RSS] is one of those perpetually stoned people who thanks to some freak mutation, don’t actually need drugs to stay in a groovy stupor. Having graduated from two of the greatest and much lamented videogame podcasts of all time [1][2], Ashley moved on to laconically spoon out a show ‘about videogames and the people who love them’. That no sells ‘A Life Well Wasted’s impeccable research, production values and above all music, like superman shower wrestling Andy Dufresne. Ashley creates a wholly original soundtrack for each episode – composed of dreamy acid folk blip pop, and coaxes interviews into meandering sound springs that drip feed a forest of… Fuck that sentence, right in the tutter.

If you’re not listening to 99% invisible [RSS] you’re wasting your ossicles. What started as dry shite show about design, quickly became one of the the most gloriously inventive explorations of history, science, art and culture online.

Epic Listens

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The Partially Examined Life is a dense, erudite, an often irredeemably smug discussion of some of the thorniest issues in philosophy. I don’t actually listen to it, but I wanted to look clever by including it on this list.

Hardcore History [iTunes] is the 800lb gorilla of history podcasts. Irregularly released and sardonically narrated by libertarian curmudgeon Dan Carlin, HH (wait whuuuuut) is a love it or hate it tautology in earworm form. For my money, podcasts don’t get much more entertaining than these multi-hour forays into World War 1, The Mongol Hordes, or quirky historic oddities like the Anabaptist rebellion.

The Secret History of Hollywood [iTunes] is my new jam, and boy is it sticky. The show’s so long it makes hardcore history look bite sized (one episodes clocks in at over seven hours). What makes TSHOH so unique is it’s thrilling storytelling. Whether he’s recounting the childhood horrors that made Alfred Hitchcock such a bewitching filmmaker and such a paradoxically wonderful and terrible person; or walking you though the clammy basement of Universal Studios’ genre defining early 20th Century Horrors, host Adam Roche brings unparalleled erudition and charm to his topic. The research, suspenseful storytelling and expert narration are unparallellogrammed. Listen to this, it’s brill.

Interview Shows

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Have you heard the one about the comedian who alienates everyone he’s ever known, blows through a couple of marriages, retreats to his garage and makes the worlds most popular podcast? WTF? [RSS] Yeah, OK, it’s over exposed (he just interviewed Obama AND Keith Richards), and the show lacks the teeth it once did, but Maron is still good for a well researched deep dive into the life and career of a ludicrously wide variety of entertainers.

Pete Holmes [RSS] [itunes] is smug, laughs at his own jokes and wishes he was Marc Maron, but his self effacing zen narcissist routine hits it out of the park when it comes to getting guests to open up. If you miss the kind of interviews Maron used to do – where unhealthy personal revelations from the host would prompt the same in his guests, look no further.

Sex man Dr. Christopher Ryan [RSS] isn’t a real doctor, or even a real academic (they don’t usually put PHD in their URLS). What he is is an outspoken freethinker with a young Dick Cavett like rolodex of writers, scientists and countercultural oddballs. If you wondered where all the champagne socialist American intellectuals who use Europe as an improper verb went, it was to this guys nekkid cocktail parties.

I was there too [RSS] has a simple premise: Bit part players spill the behind the scenes beans. The interviews tend toward the sycophantic, but there’s a fascinating voyeuristic aspect to the bitchy revelations.

Me too shows

It would be wildly modest and pathologically secure of me not to mention my own podcasts. There are over a dozen of them, all pictured on the right, overly varied and infrequently updated. But if I were to recommend just a couple, they’d be Reading Plays [RSS], a dense but irreverent book club for the theatre and The Gareth Stack Show Live, Featuring Gareth Stack [RSS], on which it’s been my infrequent pleasure to chat up the most infuriatingly creative and successful shits of my acquaintance. There’s nothing quite so painful after all, as the success of ones friends.

On Podcasting & Irishness

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I was a guest on the Irish Times Off Topic podcast yesterday. We chatted about what separates podcasting from broadcast radio, and the future of podcasting as an industry. It was one of those classic situations which emerge in interviews, whether for a job or in the media, where what you’ve prepared doesn’t quite match up to what you’re expected to talk about. Alas, although I’ve been making podcasts for almost a decade, as I don’t actually listen to any Irish shows I was a particularly poor spokesperson for the medium here. There are many many great short Irish radio series available in podcast or streaming format – the latest being Alan Meaney’s ‘Sound Conversations‘ series. There are also some high quality Irish broadcast radio programmes that make themselves available as podcasts. For example Culture File, the RTE Lyric FM show I’ve been lucky enough to contribute to over the last few months. However when it comes to really great, podcast native, Irish shows, I’m in the dark. If you know of any great ones, please mention them in the comments and I’ll do what I can to promote them in future.

Let me race to point out, this isn’t a failure of Irish podcasting – I’m sure great shows are out there. It’s in part to do with the nature of the medium, which although bound to language is fundamentally international. My own tastes are diverse and eccentric enough that the shows I enjoy tend to be geographically and topically electric. It’s also a natural outcome of my own conflicted relationship to Irishness. I’m from here clearly, but it’s an identity that emerges for me only emerges in contrasts – in moments of unbritishness or unamericaness – rather than as a sense of national pride or felt identity. I don’t watch Irish television, enjoy Irish (or indeed any) sports, speak the Irish language or feel a connection to the myths and legends celebrated by the celtic revival. I don’t read Irish newspapers or (despite working in the industry) listen to broadcast radio here. I’m not passing judgement on these things, or replacing them with the shibboleths of another preferred culture. It’s simply that nationalism, whether it be a felt pride of nationhood or the iconography and ritual accompanying it, have never held an interest for me. Perhaps it’s alienation, or merely a poor cultural fit. Either way, don’t take it personally Ireland, it’s not you, it’s me.

I know what you’re thinking – who does this poltroon think he is going on the radio to talk about Irish podcasting? I’d be the first to agree I’m in no position to talk about it. Alas there was a bit of a misunderstanding all round. Irish Times writer Declan Conlan had seen me speak about podcasting earlier this year at the NUJ freelance forum. That event included a matched pair of talks. I spoke about the history and future of podcasting, while Colm Coyne – whose in depth knowledge of Irish radio and media is unimpeachable – spoke about the podcast scene over here. I’m fascinated by podcasting as a medium, and as a variety of forms of spoken word art and entertainment. But given that there was another guest on Off Topic to talk about podcasting in general – Jason Phipps, head of audio with The Guardian – Colm would doubtless have been more able to answer ‘the Irish question’.

Here’s my talk from earlier this year, at the National Union of Journalist’s ‘Freelance Forum’, where I spoke about the commercial viability and future of podcasting.

Here’s Colm Coyne speaking about the Irish side of the well, coin.

The Cheap and Easy Guide to making and releasing a Podcast, 2014 edition

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Podcasts are internet radio shows. Anyone with a computer can make one and publish it to a potentially enormous audience, for less than 100 dollars / euros a year.

After a decade releasing podcasts, here’s the simplest, cheapest and most flexible way I’ve found to distribute one. It’s not free but it’s inexpensive. Podcasting can certainly be done for free, but you’ll pay in time and effort later on, especially if your show takes off.

The beauty of this method is that you can actually host multiple podcasts and an essentially unlimited audience from the same website (without any additional cost). You don’t need to worry about bandwidth or additional fees. This is my current workflow, and once it’s all set up, it only takes about five minutes to put out a new podcast episode.

Note: The following guide assumes you’re using a Mac. It’s just as easy on Windows / Linux, but the software for recording, tagging etc is different. If you’re using windows, just use the substitute software MP3 Tag for Tagr, and CDEX for MAX.

The Guide

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1) Record and edit your first episode

You can do this directly through your laptop in Garageband (free), or on Reaper (reasonable), or Adobe Audition / Logic (expensive). Or you can use an external recorder, or even in a pinch a smartphone. For more details about a decent recording setup see here. Export your final show as a WAV.

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2) Convert your episode to MP3

I’d suggest using the free OSX conversion programme MAX. It’ll make smaller higher quality MP3’s than say Audition, Garageband or Reaper. In MAX, go to preferences -> formats -> MP3/ and set encoder quality to portable.
Now click on File -> Convert files and find your episode. Encode your WAV file to MP3.

3) Create a graphic for the podcast.

There are any number of ways to design a logo. Probably the simplest is to use a logo design app like Logo Design Studio Lite (3 dollars on the OSX app store). You’ll need a 1400 * 1400 pixel JPG graphic to use for itunes etc. You can upscale one from a smaller resolution, provided it’s the right aspect ratio (i.e.: provided it’s square). You can do this with Preview in OSX. Save a smaller version for your website and episode art (say 500 * 500 pixels).

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4) Tag your MP3

I’d suggest using the OSX tagging programme TAGR. It’s 10 euro from the iTunes app store. You can drag your episode art into the box on the bottom left of TAGR (marked ‘artwork’, see image above). This will be the art that appears on smartphones and MP3 players when listeners play the programme. Enter the name of the episode and programme and all other relevant details. Save the file.

5) Set up an account at wordpress.com

Lots of people will suggest buying your own webspace and installing wordpress from wordpress.org, or some other blog software. You can do this, but I’d recommend against it unless you’re a professional web developer. WordPress.org is easy to install, but difficult to keep secure from hackers, and time consuming to maintain. WordPress.com is cheaper and more than good enough for podcast hosting.

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6) Purchase a domain name & space upgrade

Go to the wordpress store – your link will be something like https://YOURACCOUNT.wordpress.com/wp-admin/paid-upgrades.php

It’s 15 euro for registration and mapping.

It’s 40 euro for a 25 gig upgrade, enough for well over three hundred, two hour long podcasts.

7) Make your first WordPress post

Make your first post with an audio file attached. To do this, upload the audio file in wordpress’s media uploader, and then paste it into the body of the post.

Don’t forget to name your post. E.g.: ‘Great Podcast – Episode 1 – The Beginning’. Now create a tag in WordPress for your podcast, which you can add in the Tags box, on the bottom right. This tag can be anything, usually the name of your programme: But make sure it’s all one word.

Now when you go to https://YOURACCOUNT.wordpress.com/tag/YOURTAG – you’ll see all the episodes of the podcast.

Copy the link to the tag RSS feed, which should be – https://YOURACCOUNT.wordpress.com/tag/YOURTAG/feed

9) Make a Feedburner Feed

Go to Feedburner.com and ‘burn’ a new feed, using the RSS feed you copied from your wordpress tag above. Give the new feed the name of your podcast and go through all the set up on the feedburner site. The resulting feedburner feed is the feed you’ll submit to itunes etc.

14) Create a graphic for your podcast

You’ll need a 1400 * 1400 pixel graphic to use for iTunes, which you again upload directly to WordPress, and link via your feedburner settings. If you don’t have one big enough, just expand an existing image, no ones looking at it in that definition on itunes away. Check the feed is working by viewing it on feedburner.

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15) Submit your podcast feed to iTunes

You can do this here. You’ll need iTunes installed for this to work, and you’ll need at least one episode already in the feed to have it approved. Approval usually takes a couple of days to a week. Make sure not to include profanity in the podcast name or description as this will get your feed rejected. If your show is explicit, tag it as explicit at this stage (and in Feedburner).

16) Making Additional Episodes

Be sure to include the relevant tag every time you make a new post. Each new post, correctly tagged and with an audio file attached, will become a podcast episode. The name of the post will be the name of the episode in iTunes and in the podcast RSS feed on Feedburner.

17) Publicise

Submit your Feedburner RSS feed to Stitcher and any other third party podcast lists you’d like. Stick your show up on Facebook etc.

Men Becoming Animals – Episode 4 – The Gareth Stack Show Live

Your monthly dose of lowbrow comedy and middlebrow culture with Gareth Stack, hosted by Andrew Booth. May’s guests are three of the most flabbergasting Irish musicians at work today. Myles Manley has been described variously as Mick Jagger meets Alan Partridge, and as ‘whitesploitation’. Chanteur Dr David Turpin is an expert in mid-twentieth century American poetry (although his botany leaves much to be desired). Gamepak’s Andrew Edgar creates a melange of child noise from his beastly machines live in the Radiomade studio. Join the ‘lads’ as they discuss the arrest of top tweeter Gerry Adams, Richard Ayoade’s Dostoevsky derived ‘The Double’, and why super producer Ronnie recently saw fit to swim around Ireland. This month’s murderer is Sid Vicious.


Download: Episode 4 – Men Becoming Animals




What is The Invisible Tourguide?

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The Invisible Tour Guide is a podcast from world famous art historian and clever clogs, Professor Byron Frump. This ten part series will take you on an unofficial tour of some of Ireland’s finest museums, gallerias and historic monuments. Let Professor Frump be your free and discrete guide to the unseen Ireland, as you explore together our great nations epic and distinguished history.

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The Invisible Tourguide – Episode 6 – Dublin’s Tower of Dublin

This week Byron explores that dark heart of crime and punishment, touring one of the Irish capital’s best loved historic buildings, Dublin’s Tower of Dublin.

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Download: Episode 6 – Dublin’s Tower of Dublin

Continue reading “The Invisible Tourguide – Episode 6 – Dublin’s Tower of Dublin”

What is The Emerald Arts?

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The Emerald Arts is a free podcast comedy series from Dead Medium Productions. The show was originally broadcast on 90.3 Near FM in 2011. Check out a trailer below.

[audio https://garethstack.com/content/audio/emeraldarts/Promo.mp3]

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Magic Racist – a mascot for a simpler time.

The Emerald Arts is the oldest running arts show in Ireland and indeed the world. For over 220 years the programme – initially released as sheet music, then later on telegraph, wax disk, player piano, and finally the wireless (on Dublin’s own Nero FM) has brought Ireland news from the worlds of art and entertainment.

It’s main presenters – Hawthorn White, an ancient and mysterious figure. Bellicose as a bear and aristocratic as a Tudor. Lenny T, gaeltori, scholar of Irish history, staunch defender of the traditional arts. Sally Gob, a sprightly young woman of 60, dead set on having her generations voice added to the show’s conservative coverage.

For six brief episodes the producers have agreed to experiment with the podcast format.

The Invisible Tourguide – Episode 5 – Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Part 2

This week Byron returns to Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, at Collins Barracks.

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Download: Episode 5 – Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Part 2

Continue reading “The Invisible Tourguide – Episode 5 – Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Part 2”

The Invisible Tourguide – Episode 4 – Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Part 1

This week Byron introduces you to Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, at Collins Barracks.

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Download: Episode 4 – Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Part 1

Continue reading “The Invisible Tourguide – Episode 4 – Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History, Part 1”