All posts by Jen Thorpe

Welcome to Night Vale Podcast is now a Novel



Welcome to Night Vale book coverThe Welcome to Night Vale podcast began in 2012. It gives listeners a glimpse into the creepy, fascinating, fictional town of Night Vale. It is presented as a radio show hosted by Cecil Baldwin, who reports on the strange happenings in the town.

Welcome to Night Vale has become extremely popular over the years. You can find a plethora of fan art, discussion about the podcast, and speculation about the fictional world it exists in, all across Tumblr. Follow @NightValeRadio on Twitter to see information about upcoming book tours and live shows, as well as some rather strange observations about life and the universe.

The creators of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast are Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The entire podcast is available for free (as most podcasts are). The creators do not allow advertising in their episodes. Instead, they make money via live performances, donations, and merchandise (such as mugs, posters, and t-shirts). They do allow people to make fan art – so long as they are not selling it.

Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel was released on October 20, 2015. It was published by Harper Perennial and, according to the New York Times, Harper Perennial has printed a little over 100,000 copies of the book. The 401-page novel expands on the bizarre, existential, themes that exist in the podcast.

You don’t need to have listened to the Welcome to Night Vale Podcast in order to enjoy the book.

The New York Times noted that if the novel succeeds, it could inspire more podcast-to-book projects in the future. Publishers could start listening to podcasts in the hopes of finding one that lends itself to novelization. I recommend that you read some of the reviews of the book on Amazon. Fans of the podcast are writing reviews that sound as though they were written by someone who lives in Night Vale.


You Can Participate in NaPodPoMo



NaPodPoMo logoGet ready, podcasters. NaPodPoMo is coming! It is an extremely fun podcasting challenge that takes place during November. I participated in the very first one, and in several of the years after that. Every year, I learned something new about podcasting.

NaPodPoMo is the abbreviation of National Podcast Post Month. It was created by Jennifer Navarrete in 2007. NaPodPoMo functions similarly to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Each one requires creative people to produce content during November.

You don’t have to be an expert podcaster in order to participate. When I joined the very first NaPodPoMo, I did it on a whim. I’d only done a little bit of podcasting at the time, in shows that I did with my husband, Shawn. I decided to use NaPodPoMo to learn how to record, edit, and post my very own podcast. I learned a lot about podcasting in a short span of time, and my confidence as a podcaster grew as a result. NaPodPoMo is a great time to start a new podcast – or your very first podcast.

NaPodPoMo is also a great way to get some more listeners to your current podcast. In previous years, I found that many of the people who participated in NaPodPoMo wanted to listen to the podcasts produced by other people who were participating. People left each other comments that got read and responded to. At times, this scenario became a time-shifted conversation.

There is one rule for NaPodPoMo: create and post 30 recorded shows between November 1, and November 30. If you manage to do that – you win! It doesn’t have to be one show every day. If you missed a day because you were too busy to podcast, or started participating after the November 1 start date, you can catch up. You can use any platform you like, and whatever gear you choose.

The NaPodPoMo experience is hectic, a bit stressful at times, as social as you want to make it, and incredibly rewarding. The key is to have fun.


Could Podcasting Influence the U.S. Election?



2016 image by Alan ORourke FlickrIt has been said that Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign changed politics. The use of social media, specifically to draw attention to a particular candidate and his views, had never been done quite that way before. Could podcasting have an influence on the upcoming 2016 United States Presidential election?

In 2008, Obama’s campaign used Web 2.0 tools to organize supporters, advertise to voters (with videos on YouTube), communicate with constituents, and defend against attacks made by opponents. I cannot help but wonder if podcasting is what will end up being the form of social media that has the most influence on the upcoming 2016 election.

The conversation between the podcaster and the politician brings a sense of humanity to politicians who are most frequently seen in staged photo opportunities, pre-written speeches, and debates where most stick to a few key talking points. They get to show a side of themselves that they might otherwise have to keep under wraps.

When Marc Maron had a conversation with President Barack Obama on Maron’s “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast, people took notice. That episode got an impressive number of downloads, as it should have. This was the first time a sitting United States President was interviewed on a well known podcast. The conversation got very serious, and personal, at times.

This week, the Another Round podcast, hosted by Heben Nigato and Tracy Clayton, interviewed former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Another Round is a Buzzfeed podcast.

While some parts of the interview focused on policy, there were also some amusing moments (including a funny story about a robot that you just have to hear). In the episode, Hillary Clinton came across as a fun person to hang around with. I’ve heard it said that people tend to vote for the candidate they’d most like to have a beer with. Could appearing on this episode of Another Round influence “undecideds” to vote for Hillary Clinton?

The Axe Files is hosted by David Axelrod, founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. In his first episode, he interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders, as the two shared a van that was on the way to a Chicago venue that Sanders was going to speak at.

The conversation between David Axlerod and Bernie Sanders was respectful, insightful, and direct. Bernie Sanders came across as a very likable guy. Being on a podcast could, potentially, make “undecided” voters want to find out more about what Bernie Sanders’ viewpoints are.

When a person listens in on a conversation between a podcast host (or hosts) and a guest, it can feel like an intimate setting. Listeners end up getting to know, and possibly feel somewhat more familiar with, the politician who was interviewed on a podcast. As a result, I think podcasting could end up swaying the outcome of the 2016 election.

Image by Alan O’Rourke on Flickr.


Spreaker Studio App Now Available For Windows and Mac OS X



Spreaker LogoSpreaker announced the release of the its Spreaker Studio app for Windows and Mac OS X. The app is available for free via the App Store and Google Play.

Spreaker Studio is an audio recording and live streaming app. The new application allows users to mix high-quality inputs from up to four audio sources like USB microphones, touch-activated sound effects, intro and exit music, and Skype callers into a live or pre-recorded podcast. This four audio source input support eliminates the need for an expensive audio mixer to record more than one microphone at a time for easy mobile recordings.

In Spreaker Studio, new podcasters will find a simple console where audio files, sound effects, voice, music and more can be mixed in one place during a live or recorded episode and then be encoded and pushed to the podcasters feed automatically. Podcasting pros will find improved integration with external equipment and software, including Skype.

The Spreaker Studio app has a pre-installed set of sound effects. It allows users to create a live show or a podcast and have it published on Spreaker’s platform in a matter of minutes.


Cards Against Humanity Sponsors Podcast Network



Chicago Podcast Cooperative logoCards Against Humanity is known for their creation of, as their website describes it, “a party game for horrible people”. It’s the game where players fill in the blanks on one card, with a word or phrase on another card, in order to make the most offensive sentence they can. The company recently launched its own podcast network.

Cards Against Humanity has a large headquarters that is located in Chicago. It includes a podcasting studio that has been operating below capacity. So, they opened up their doors to let others use the podcasting studio. This situation led to the Chicago Podcast Cooperative.

The Chicago Podcast Cooperative (CPC) connects local Chicago companies to podcasts that are produced in Chicago. Right now, they are only interested in Chicago based podcasts and sponsors. The CPC website says: “If you don’t live in Chicago and you’d like to participate, Craigslist is a great resource to find an apartment here.”

Sponsors pay into the cooperative each month to form a fund. Podcasts sign up to read a 140-character pre-roll ad. The CPC pays podcasts a flat $50 per episode.


General Electric has a Sci-Fi Podcast



The Message podcast logoGeneral Electric has created a science-fiction podcast called The Message. The first episode was released on October 4, 2015, and more episodes will follow. The podcast tells the story of Nicole Tomalin, as she tries to decode a 70-year old message from outer space. She works for an encryption think tank called Cypher, and has just started working there.

The Message podcast is science fiction. However, it is presented in a way that could easily cause people to immerse themselves in the story and suspend their disbelief for a while. The first episode begins with “I’m Nicole Tomalin, and you’re listening to Cyphercast”.

Yes, that means The Message podcast (which is from General Electric) is presented from as Cyphercast, which is the fictional podcast of the fictional main character. Reuters reports that the cryptologist characters in The Message podcast use real ultrasound technology, that has actually been developed by General Electric, to decode the messages.

Reuters reports that the reason why General Electric wanted to do this podcast was in the hopes that it would raise its profile among a younger, tech-savvy, audience. The Message podcast is being produced by General Electric and in partnership with The Slate Group’s podcast network Panoply. Each episode will be between 40 and 60 minutes long and advertisement free. It is available through The Message website, and on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Overcast, and TuneIn.


Libsyn Launches Private Premium Service



Libsyn logoLibsyn has launched a new service offering that is called Private Premium. It was announced at Content Marketing World earlier this month.

Private Premium is for businesses and other organizations who require secure distribution of the content that they want to distribute to their mobile workforce. The content could be in the form of audio, video, blog posts, or PDFs. The Private Premium service provides businesses with a simple method to safely and quickly send critical information and alerts directly to their employees via custom apps for iOS and Android devices.

Private Premium securely delivers content to end users who are specifically authorized by the company. Businesses have immediate access via the LibsynPro interface to make additions, modifications and deletions to the approved user list. Content can instantly be published to the secure smartphone apps with corresponding push notifications to alert users of new information. LibsynPro provides administrator and publisher rights’ management to maintain security and user management.

The smartphone apps make the consumption of the content easy and convenient for end users. The apps include a car play mode for audio content playback and downloads to the app for playback in airplane mode.

The addition of Private Premium to Libsyn Pro allows companies to strengthen their content marketing for both external customers and internal teams. The same technology solution can distribute sales, marketing and educational content publicly or through restricted access.


Periscope Introduces Landscape



Periscope app logoPeriscope has added landscape! When they first launched, the Periscope app only supported portrait broadcasting. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having to broadcast in portrait, but it can be limiting.

Landscape has now been added in response to many people’s requests for it. Periscope held off on adding landscape until they could “ensure a seamless experience across all of our platforms (iOS, Android, and Web).”

Shawn and I have made a couple of attempts to use Periscope as a way to do a live broadcast while we recorded our podcast. We found impossible to fit both of us on camera and on screen while using Periscope in portrait mode.

While some of this problem could have something to do with the layout of our studio, it was obvious that having access to a landscape option would have made things easier. It will be interesting to see how things work out next time we attempt to use Periscope to broadcast a live show (and use the newly added landscape instead of portrait).

Periscope has also made changes that improve accessibility for visually impaired Periscopers. There isn’t a lot of details about what they have specifically done, other than that the newest version of Periscope will support iOS accessibility features.


Women in Podcasting: Interview with Angela Misri – PCN Show 021



Adas Sisters Podcast logoIn this episode of the Podcaster News Show, I bring you more news about women in podcasting.

This episode features Angela Misri, who is one of the hosts of the Ada’s Sisters podcast. (She hosts the show with Eden Spodek.) The show is a weekly podcast about technology and digital culture.

Links mentioned in this episode:
Ada’s Sisters
Angela’s Twitter is: @karmicangel
My Twitter is: @queenofhaiku