5 Tips to Encourage Listener Interaction – PCN Show 017

number 5 by Andreas Cappel on FlickerIn this episode of Podcaster News, I give you five tips that will encourage your listeners to interact with your podcast. All of these tips are easy to do and can be very effective.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Image by Andreas Cappell on Flickr.

Glenn Beck announced as Speaker at Podcast Movement

Podcast Movement logoEarlier this week, Podcast Movement, the podcasting conference that’ll be held in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX from July 31st to August 2nd, announced that it has added Glenn Beck to its list of speakers. Beck is best known for his roles as a conservative talk radio and TV show host. But in recent years, he’s had notable success as a digital media producer, primarily thru The Blaze.

Podcast Movement gave no specifics as to why the conference chose to bring Beck on board. Presumably, it’s because of his growing profile in the new media space. Regardless, like him or hate him, Beck is a true “mainstream” media figure that’ll likely bring some extra notoriety to the event.

It’s worth noting that, along with Beck, Podcast Movement has also booked Sarah Koenig, creator of Serial, as a speaker. And while we can hope that the conference won’t be defined solely in terms of political left-right balance, it’s good to know that Podcast Movement has some diversity in its speaker lineup.

There’s no question that Glenn Beck is a polarizing figure. I’ve already seen multiple comments from people in various podcast-centric forums stating that they won’t attend Podcast Movement due to Beck’s involvement. It’s a somewhat risky move on behalf of the conference, which is only in its second year. Time will tell if this move pans out for Podcast Movement in terms of increased visibility and attendance.


Podcasts Officially Coming to Spotify

Spotify screenshotIt was rumored earlier this year that streaming-media service Spotify could be adding podcasts to its platform. Today, those rumors became truth as Spotify announced it will be enhancing its products with new offerings like podcasts and videos. Until now, Spotify has only provided music streaming with some limited ability to download songs for offline playback. This move brings Spotify more in line with competitors like Apple’s iTunes, which has offered multiple types of media for years.

There aren’t many public details as of yet about how podcasting will work within Spotify. The screenshot shown here was taken from a Spotify promotional video. In it, we see a mockup of the mobile app with familiar and predictable podcasts such as WTF, Nerdist and Startup. Spotify appears to be launching its podcast support with a closed, curated directory instead of a user-driven directory like iTunes.

Spotify will be working with a slate of new content partners to beef up the offerings of its platform. The only names on the list that are particularly interesting to podcasters will be TWiT, WNYC and Slate. The rest (such as ABC, Adult Swim and Comedy Central) will likely be bringing video to the service.

No information is available yet as to how content producers can become Spotify partners. But something tells me Spotify is in no hurry to work with smaller, independent creators. We’ll see what happens over time.

Con Before the Storm has a Kickstarter

Con Before the Storm logo Podcaster NewsThose of you who have attended Blizzcon in the past two years may have heard about World of Podcasts. The event was in its second year in 2014. It included panels of podcasters whose shows focused on one of the games made by Blizzard Entertainment. Since last year, World of Podcasts has gotten bigger and is now called Con Before the Storm.

World of Podcasts is not an official part of Blizzcon. In October of 2014, I interviewed Xia who is one of the people who helped create and organize World of Podcasts. I was able to attend their 2014 event, and it was a blast!

The World of Podcasts event was held the night before Blizzcon started and it featured panels of podcasters whose shows focused on video games made by Blizzard Entertainment. In 2014, there was a whole lot more going on including an art gallery, a Hearthstone tournament, and a fun photo area with backgrounds from Blizzard’s games.

This year, World of Podcasts has grown and become Con Before the Storm. Once again, it will feature podcasters whose shows focus on the video games made by Blizzard Entertainment. This year, in addition to the panels, the event will have a good way for people to chat with the podcasters after a talk has ended. In other words, people who want to connect with the featured podcasters will have an easier way to speak with them at the event.

There is a Kickstarter for Con Before the Storm. It has reached it’s original goal of $5,000 and is now working on funding some interesting stretch goals. For full details, I suggest you check out their Kickstarter. There is still time to get in on some of the rewards that connect to specific pledge amounts. At the time I am writing this blog, there are 25 days left before the Kickstarter ends.

The Con Before the Storm event/party will be held at the Hilton hotel that is near the Anaheim Convention center (where Blizzcon 2015 will take place). Having attending the first and second iteration of the event, I am certain that Con Before the Storm will be exciting and fun.

Why Do You Podcast?

Question MarksPodcasting takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment. Every episode requires setting up microphones and recording software, a plan for what topics will be covered, and some editing after the episode is done. More time is spent putting together show notes and posting links to your brand new episode on social media.

Have you ever asked yourself why you go through all this effort? Why do you podcast?

Podcasters tend to spend time talking with other podcasters. This is to be expected, considering that it is natural for people to seek out those whom they have a common interest with. Podcasters, as a group, all “get” why a person wants to start a podcast and why they continue to put in the effort it takes to continue it. Few feel the need to talk about it.

As such, discussion among podcasters can often lead into comparisons of microphones, debates about which audio recording software is the best, and questions about whether or not anyone has used a new podcasting service. At times, a podcaster might ask for advice about how to get their podcast to make money. Each of those topics can be useful, informative, and, in some cases “eye-opening”.

I think it is important for podcasters to question, from time to time, why they are podcasting. This is especially true for those who have been podcasting for years. Why do you continue to put in the time and effort to regularly make new episodes?

For the Money
There are some podcasters who have managed to turn their show into something that generates an income. The amount can vary from a few extra bucks to enough money to pay one’s bills. I suspect that only a small percentage of podcasters are able to “quit their day job” and live off of the money their podcasts earn. It makes sense to keep doing something that is paying your bills (especially if that something is enjoyable to do).

For the Fun
The majority of podcasters don’t make any money at all from their shows. Why do they podcast? It is probably for the fun of it. Those who are doing a podcast with a friend, or a group of friends, can end up having a lot of fun just “hanging out” together and talking about a shared interest. Often, podcasts that are done just for the fun of it have a main subject they stick to. Overall, though, it becomes a fun way for a group of friends to get together.

For a Cause
There are podcasts that were started in an effort to bring awareness to a specific cause. Some of them relate to a certain health condition, disease, or disorder. Others are primarily political. Those who do these kinds of podcasts have something that they feel is extremely important to share with the world. The commitment to the cause drives the podcaster to make more episodes.

There will be times, with every podcast, when things just aren’t working out as well as they used to. A change to a job schedule, a severe illness, or an addition to the family can make it more difficult for a person to put effort into podcasting. When this happens, it is helpful to take a moment and consider why you decided to start podcasting in the first place. That reason could provide you with the motivation to make things work, or to step away from or end a podcast.

One Click – Subscribe on Android Update

The team at RawVoice / Blubrry are making progress headway in their One Click – Subscribe on Android brand agnostic initiative to fix the challenges with subscribing to a podcast on Android.

PowerPress – Implementing
Podcast Addict Ver 3.0- Implementing
Beyond Pod – Implementing
Podcast Republic – Implemented and Released
Podkicker Pro – Implementing
Podcatcher Deluxe – Implemented and Released
PlayerFM – Implementing
Spreaker – Implementing
Blubrry – Implelmenting

If your Android Podcatcher or site you work with is not on the list, you should ask  them to review the developers page on the SubscribeOnAndroid.com website and support the initiative.

SoundCloud Podcasting Platform comes out of Beta

SoundCloud LogoThey say patience is a virtue. That platitude has definitely applied to all of those who’ve been waiting for SoundCloud to finally end its years-long beta program for podcasters. Well, the wait is over. As of this week, SoundCloud has opened its podcasting platform to anyone who’d like to use it.

At its core, the services provided by SoundCloud are the same as they’ve ever been. But it’s no longer required for podcasters to request an invite to the podcasting platform. Instead, anyone can sign up and begin using SoundCloud’s podcasting features right away. Users can begin with a free account that supplies three hours of audio playback time per month and limited SoundCloud stats and control options. Users can also buy into one of two SoundCloud Pro offerings. The first tier costs $6/month (or $55/year) for six hours of monthly upload time with access to some of SoundCloud’s extended stats and control tools. The second tier costs $15/month (or $135/year) and comes with the full complement of SoundCloud stats and control tools.

Based strictly on pricing, SoundCloud is definitely a solid competitor to most of the established companies in the podcast hosting space. SoundCloud even offers integration with third-party stat services like Podtrac and Blubrry so users can use those services to track most of their episode downloads and plays (due to limitations in the SoundCloud system, plays initiated on the SoundCloud website or SoundCloud’s embeddable player won’t be tracked by third-party stats systems).

With SoundCloud finally taking its podcasting service out of beta, I’m a little less skeptical about it than I used to be. And while I’m sure many podcasters will flock to the service, I still think it’s wise to approach SoundCloud with a little bit of caution. Remember that SoundCloud began as a service devoted to music and musicians, and SoundCloud is still facing challenges in terms of keeping the major record labels happy. The company is also operating on a late round of venture capital funding. Potentially increasing revenues from the podcasting platform could help SoundCloud gain some real financial stability. But the typical exit strategy for these types of companies is to get bought out by a bigger entity. Until SoundCloud truly becomes a profitable, self-sustaining enterprise, its future is still very much up in the air.

audioBoom Comes to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

audioBoom logoaudioBoom, the spoken-word focused podcast creation and consumption app formerly known as audioBoo, now works with both Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto systems. This will allow audioBoom users to interact with the service using their car’s built-in controls, accessing the app thru a dashboard touch screen or buttons on the car’s steering wheel. This makes audioBoom one of the first podcasting apps to become fully integrated with the modern automobile.

And while audioBoom will obviously be able to browse and playback podcasts that are hosted with the service, it’s unclear as to whether the app’s car integration will also allow it to record new podcasts. This could be extremely useful for mobile podcasters who are already using the service and would like to be able to create new content while being (mostly) hands free.

audioBoom also made podcasting news this week by announcing it had set a new record for new user signups, adding more than 200,000 new users during the month of March. This growth is attributed to audioBoom’s partnership with different content partners, including the BBC and multiple professional sports franchises. In addition, audioBoom recently launched a podcast hosted by celebrity actor/comedian Russell Brand. That show’s success has also brought new users to the audioBoom platform.

My Podcast is at Podcasts.com – Without My Permission

Podcasts.com logoYou might be among the many podcasters who are wondering what Podcasts.com is all about. Maybe you noticed other podcasters asking questions about it online. Or, you could be among the podcasters who received an email from Podcasts.com that asked you to “get started today”.

When I visited their website, I discovered they had posted episodes of my podcast even though they never had permission to do so. Is your podcast there, too? You might want to check on that.

For me, this started when I got an email from Podcasts.com. Immediately, I was skeptical. The email address they sent it to is one I used for a podcast called Halfway Around the World, which is no longer in production. The final episode is titled “This is Goodbye”, and the show notes clearly state that we have decided to end the podcast, forever. It was very obvious that the show is over and done with.

Oddly enough, the email sent to me from Podcasts.com said “Hello Dawnforge Productions”. The Halfway Around the World podcast was one of many podcasts that are part of Dawnforge Productions. It seemed strange to me that the email didn’t specifically mention Halfway Around the World. The only way I knew that was the show they were referring to was by deducing what I’d connected that particular email address to.

I started taking a close look at Podcasts.com to see what this was all about. The email, and the website, both state that Podcasts.com offers 100% free podcast hosting. They also offer unlimited bandwith, unlimited storage space, and unlimited podcasts. Why on earth would they be offering this to what is, in reality, a “dead” podcast?

I was talking to my husband, Shawn, about this. (He is also a contributor here at Podcaster News). He discovered that Podcasts.com had the podcast that he and I do together on their website. Our show was originally called Hyper Nonsense, and it started in 2006. The show changed names a few times (to Gemini Dragon, and No Market Radio) before returning to its original name.

Podcasts.com stole my content

Podcasts.com has our show listed as “GeminiDragon.tv (formerly Hyper Nonsense)”. They stole the image from the Gemini Dragon website and posted it on their website. (Amusingly, the image is a screenshot from World of Warcraft.) Podcasts.com has our most recent episodes and episodes that go back to 2012.

The thing is, neither myself, nor Shawn, ever gave Podcasts.com permission to post our content there. Neither one of us has ever signed up to their website. Podcasts.com grabbed the content anyway. Their website does not link back to our website, either.

Obviously, I was irate. I had to do some digging, but it turns out that Podcasts.com is owned by Emerge Media. At the very bottom of the Podcasts.com website, there is a tiny link that says “Press”. Click it, and you can find an email address for Antonio Bumanglag, the Director of Marketing. (It’s Antonio at emergemedia.com).

I sent them an email and have very clearly stated that I want Podcasts.com to remove all of the content they have taken from our podcast. I pointed out that they never had permission to post our content on their website. It remains to be seen how soon I get a response from anyone at Emerge Media or Podcasts.com.

Is your podcast’s content at Podcasts.com? You might want to check and see.