Women in Podcasting: Interview with Meagan from Warcraft Trolls

Warcraft Trolls Podcast Logo Podcaster NewsMeagan is the co-host of the Warcraft Trolls Podcast. She does the show with her husband, Ward. Their podcast is focused on the World of Warcraft video game (which is made by Blizzard Entertainment). No, the show isn’t about how to be a “troll” online!

When did you start podcasting? What’s your experience in podcasting from then to now?

I first got into podcasting when I met Dustin, who runs Trollcasts.com. about three years ago. We were both in the same World of Warcraft guild, and quickly became friends. Back then he and another gentleman had several podcasts going on on what they called “The Trollcasts Network”. There was “Media Trolls” and “Political Trolls”, and yes, they did mean THAT kind of troll. Mostly they just argued about random topics, but it interested me. So I started making a brief little pop culture podcast called Thinking Too Hard. Just me and my onboard laptop mic, talking about anything that interested me that week for about 15 minutes. I covered subjects ranging from the new Diablo game to the original Twilight Zone series. I didn’t want to pin myself down to any one topic.

What inspired you to become a podcaster?

Dustin invited me to become a regular co-host on the “Media Trolls” show. I had a great time at first, but I soon butted heads with the other co-host. In the beginning, things were friendly. A little ribbing here and there. But the one sticking point between us was that he hated feminism, “femnazis”, and anything that progressively promoted the rights of women. I won’t get into it too much, but the old shows are still up for listening. Although the “Media Trolls” eventually fell apart, it really forced me to crystalize my own feminism. To get more involved in women’s rights and learn more about the portrayal of women in media. I had to argue my points weekly. Eventually, the other host quit to pursue other ventures, and Media Trolls died.

How did you come up with the name “Warcraft Trolls”? What topics does your podcast cover?

I wanted to do a new show with my husband, Ward. He wasn’t a regular on Media Trolls, but I always thought he was great when he joined us. So I decided to do a show about the subject we share the most in common: World of Warcraft. Since the site was Trollcasts.com, and the other shows all had Trolls in the name, and Trolls are also a playable race in World of Warcraft, we named the show “Warcraft Trolls.” Warcraft and Blizzard podcasts were and still remain very popular, with new ones springing up all the time. We flourished in the community, made friends with other podcasters and World of Warcraft players, and generally have a great time doing the show. In the beginning, we tried to keep things organized. We would write outlines, take notes, try to keep on track. But we slowly realized that our charm was in our rambling disorganized style. That while most Warcraft Podcasts acted like a radio program, with news stories, interviews, debates and discussions, our show was more like being invited to dinner with us. To sit and talk about the game and whatever was going on in our lives. It was our way to stand out among the many, many other Warcraft Podcasts. It’s served us well.

What words of wisdom do you have for women who are thinking of starting their own podcast?

Going back to the beginning, back when I was first starting out, I was nervous about being a woman in a public space. Never mind a feminist in a nerdy/gamer space. I’d seen the fall out and the abuse other women suffered for speaking up about their feminist leanings and critiques of spaces that are often still treated as a boys’ club. And in the beginning, I tempered myself. I knew my own feelings and beliefs, but I thought, “This doesn’t have anything to do with the subject at hand. Even if someone is being sexist/homophobic/racist, I’ll just smile and keep my mouth shut.” I did that for my own protection, and I regret it. Eventually I reached a breaking point. My own line in the sand, I guess. I still remember it. We were discussing the extended Star Wars universe on Media Trolls, and the other host was talking about this “hot” alien race of female sex slaves. He said that it was okay because they “chose” to be sex slaves. And I just snapped. “They didn’t choose, they were created by men. They are a creation. The choice was made by men to make their objectification seem more okay.”

Once I spoke up, I couldn’t go back. And although I’ve gotten some pushback, I’ve also met amazing feminists, amazing women, amazing people that understand and support me. Whenever another woman comes to me saying she wants to start a podcast, but she’s nervous about how she’ll be received, I tell her to go for it! Your voice matters. Speak your mind. Learn, debate, speak out and always be true to yourself. Whether you want to discuss knitting or video games or cooking or movies or anything else. There is no harm in trying. In expressing your thoughts. The internet can be a very scary place for women. But we are half the world, and half the internet. And there will always be other women out there to get your back.

A Public Service Announcement From iTunes

iTunes logoFor the last few years, Apple’s iTunes Store has taken a moratorium on new podcast submissions during the holidays. This year is no different. Earlier this week, podcasters who already have shows listed on iTunes received this e-mail:

Dear Podcast Provider,

From Monday, December 22, through Monday, January 5, 2015, new podcast submissions will require additional time for review and processing.

During this period, you will be able to submit new podcasts. You also will be able to publish new episodes to existing podcasts. New episodes may require additional time to appear on iTunes Store.

If you have any questions, contact us.


The iTunes Podcast team

It’s nice that the iTunes team is proactive in reaching out to the community to let us know that new podcast submissions will take an extra long period of time to be approved for its directory.  But I’m sure there will still be some who’ll submit new shows during this time and then, after receiving no approval e-mail right away, will head to their favorite podcast-centric forum and ask the inevitable question,“Is it taking longer than normal for shows to appear in iTunes?”

This is actually a pretty standard topic of discussion in podcasting groups, regardless of whether or not it’s the holiday season. The best advice in most matters that involve iTunes is usually to just wait a few days and if the problem persists, send an e-mail to Apple’s podcasts(at)apple(dot)com support address. But during this holiday break, that waiting period could be almost two weeks as opposed to the typical several days.

Podcasts that are already listed in the iTunes Store should update and behave normally during the moratorium. Regardless, if you are having an issue with your iTunes podcast listing BESIDES “it’s taking a long time for a new show to get approved,” you can still send an e-mail to the iTunes support address. Just realize it may take longer than normal to get a response.

Podcasting Plugin PowerPress 6.0 Is Here

Blubrry LogoPowerPress, the popular WordPress podcasting plugin from Blubrry, has been updated to version 6.0. The new PowerPress comes with some changes to established functions as well as some new features. First among these are the new subscriber tools. From the PowerPress blog:

PowerPress 6.0 includes three new subscribe tools to help you convert your Web visitors into podcast subscribers.

Subscribe Page and Shortcode Embed: With the new subscribe page and shortcode, you can create a static page using an embed that displays a box, which provides subscribe options for the most common devices. You can create the page with one click that inserts a subscribe page template. The shortcode embed is responsive and features mobile device friendly buttons designed for high resolution “Retina” displays. Learn more about the PowerPress Subscribe Page and Subscribe Shortcode Embed.

Subscribe Sidebar Widget: We now include a “subscribe to podcast” sidebar widget. The widget features mobile device friendly buttons and includes a “More Subscribe Options” button that links to your subscribe page.

Subscribe Links: Below each player we now include subscribe link options that include iTunes, RSS and a “More Subscribe Options” that link to your subscribe page.

Continue reading

Joyride Is An Audio Discovery App With Built-In Crowdfunding Support

CrowdfundingJoyride logo services are making a lot of podcasting news as of late. I learned today that a company called Joyride has been reaching out to podcasters to offer its services. I hadn’t heard of Joyride before, so I decided to look it up.

On its website, Joyride breaks its service down into two sides. One for listeners, the other for creators. The side for listeners is pretty straightforward. It showcases the Joyride Android app (iOS coming soon), stating that listeners can easily find over 100,000 shows. From there, it shows a collage of podcast artwork, featuring many popular shows like Serial, WTF and StarTalk Radio.

For creators, Joyride touts that it can help a podcaster to, “Engage with your audience of passionate listeners
to build a sustainable income and grow your business.” The website explains how Joyride works:

Continue reading

Women in Podcasting: Interview with Myself – PCN Show 009

blue2-200-e1401055782419 In episode nine of the Podcaster News Show, I decided to turn things around a little bit. Usually, I interview a woman who is a podcaster. This time, I have enlisted the help of Shawn Thorpe (a fellow Podcaster News contributor) to help me interview … well… myself.

It dawned on me that I’ve been asking women who podcast a series of questions that I hadn’t specifically answered myself. So, for this episode, Shawn takes my place and asks me the questions about podcasting that I usually ask other women. The other option would have been for me to electronically alter my voice and do a self-interview, but that would have been too weird!

Links mentioned in this episode:
Hyper Nonsense
Shattered Soulstone
Halfway Around the World

Women in Podcasting: Interview with Kylie Sturgess

Token Skeptic podcast logo Podcaster NewsKylie Sturgess is the host and producer of the Token Skeptic podcast. It is a bi-weekly podcast that brings you a skeptical look at stories in the news, science, pseudoscience, and more. She has conducted over 100 interviews with artists, scientists, politicians, and activists.

When did you first start podcasting? What’s your experience been from then until today?

I first started podcasting around 2006; the experience of interviewing people has always been enjoyable. I was able to use my contacts and extensive reading of science, psychology and philosophy books to be enthusiastic about the chance to talk to authors, artists and activists further about their work.

As a result of podcasting, I took a year off to study broadcast radio and now my pre-recorded audio is aired on two different local stations and I often do interviews live (live!!) as a host for a mid-morning show on arts and issues. I sometimes do the graveyard shift, spinning CDs of the funky-geek-math-rock kind, as music-podcasting isn’t my forte and the experience is a great technical challenge.

Due to my studies, I podcast fairly irregularly now (the original podcast is on two USA stations as a part of their public broadcasting), but as soon as the holidays and the new year gets underway (and my second book of podcast work is out!), I’ll be putting lots of previously-done-audio online.

What inspired you to become a podcaster?

I was often dismayed to hear interviewers who didn’t “do their homework” about a topic and so I thought that I’d see just how much of a challenge it could be! The experience has been a good one, although it’s surprising how even a little (and I do mean little!) success can get noses pointlessly out of joint; the important thing is to tap into what made you enjoy it in the first place and use that to drive you.

Podcasting audiences are surprisingly kind and supportive and it’s often a silent, listening majority who keep me on my toes and going back for another tighter edit or tougher question.

I used to follow podcasting lectures from the USA with tips and tricks and now use my site to occasionally post advice for other podcasters on what I’ve learned. The more the merrier is my opinion!

Could you explain a bit about what skeptic means, for those who are unfamiliar with that concept? What kinds of topics do you cover in your podcast?

Skepticism involves favouring conclusions that are valid and consistently reliable, rather than for convenience’s sake. All empirical claims are up for rigorous testing using the methods of science (the scientific method) – especially their own claims. An acceptance of a claim is proportional and depends upon valid logic and a fair assessment of what evidence is available. In addition, the study of reason and psychology underpinning belief in claims is vital. Skepticism values method over conclusion.

As a skeptic, I’m interested in paranormal, pseudoscientific claims and consumer rights. I’m also an atheist (albeit one who has taught in many religious schools, as an out-atheist, including teaching introductory philosophy courses and high school critical thinking) and I’m very interested in how people with and without faith can support science and critical thinking in numerous ways.

What advice do you have for women who are thinking about starting their own podcast?

Do some research and find what’s out there that works and you think you would be comfortable trying too!

There’s never “too many X topic podcasters”, there’s never enough minority voices – give it a try, you never know what it might lead to.

It’s surprising how the experience of stretching your communication skills can lead to great confidence, especially with technology, and we can never have enough women who take back the spaces that should be available to all. Even if there’s only a handful of listeners, it’s a buzz if you make it so.

ProCast Player Brings Premium Features To Your Podcast Website

ProCast Player LogoProCast Player is a new WordPress plugin that creates a feature-rich media player for your podcast website. From The ProCast website:

…ProCast Player is a podcast player that plays the most current episode or audio file from your feed. It can be fully customized to match your websites branding, fits perfectly into your WordPress sidebar so that it displays on every page of your site, and includes an innovative rating feature that builds both social proof and your email list at the same time, and even integrates with popular email marketing service providers like Aweber and Mailchimp.
Once you have it set up, there is literally nothing more you need to do – it will automatically pull your latest podcast and play it for your website visitors!

ProCast Player uses an inline five-star ratings system for each episode of your podcast, along with e-mail collection, podcast subscription and social media sharing options. The look of the player can be customized to match your website’s current design and branding, and you also have control over which subscription and sharing options you’d like to include. For example, you can add direct links to your podcast RSS feed, iTunes and Stitcher so listeners can easily subscribe to your show, right there from the ProCast Player.

Continue reading

Women in Podcasting: Interview with Rachel Dewell

Preveting HG Podcast logo Podcaster NewsRachel Dewell is the host of the Preventing HG podcast. Her podcast is a great resource for pregnant women who have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a serious illness that is much more debilitating than the typical “morning sickness”. The Preventing HG Podcast is also a good resource for women who want to learn about the illness and for people whose loved ones are currently coping with it.

When did you first start podcasting? What’s your experience in podcasting from then until today?

I first started podcasting on May 15, 2014. It was called the HyperG Pregnancy Podcast. I published 12 weekly episodes and then took a break late summer to re-brand and re-focus on what I really wanted to do with the podcast. It seemed like the more I got into podcasting, the further I strayed away from what I really set out to do. I restarted the podcast again in September and it’s been much more relaxed over all. It’s now the Preventing HG podcast, because I’m concentrating on bringing alternative treatment options for HG prevention, or at least to lessen the severity of the illness. I also see a great need to help women recover after the birth from the damage HG has done on the body. I’m really excited about what’s coming up.

Podcasting has been more fun than I expected, but more work too. I’m kind of shy and introverted; I don’t like to be the center of attention. Yet, a one-on-one conversation is just the sort of thing that fascinates me. I’ve always been curious about people. I love finding out more about their story and life, and what they think. I love it so much that I have been thinking about starting 4 other podcasts. Maybe, some day …

What inspired you to become a podcaster?

My husband started a long commute for a new job back in 2008. I had just had my fourth baby, and was recovering from my worst pregnancy. He started to listen to podcasts to pass his time driving. Every day he was telling me, “You’ve got to listen to this!” I finally checked it out and it was all downhill from there. For awhile there I treated it like my full time job to listen to podcasts. I loved them so much. And I learned so much. Then, in my research about Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I came across a Facebook group about preventing HG. That’s when my two passions came together. I saw how podcasting could reach people in a different way than a blogpost or a Facebook group could. There is something so personal about hearing someone’s voice. I wanted to get something as misunderstood as HG, out to a wider audience.

Can you explain more about what Hyperemesis Gravidarum is? How do you cover this topic in your podcast?

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a debilitating illness during pregnancy that is characterized by extreme levels of nausea and vomiting that at best, causes dehydration, malnutrition, and a state of starvation. At worst it can cause death to the baby, or even the mother. Those of us who have gone through it have a hard time explaining how relentless the nausea feels and how impossible it is to eat and drink, knowing that we will vomit anyway. Many of us are made to feel like we’re not trying hard enough to control it or that we must not want our babies. The discouragement is overwhelming. On top of that, it messes with your mind and you start to think that you will never again be able to eat normally, or enjoy a simple pleasure like drinking a cup of tea.

I describe my own experience as feeling like I was in a dark muddy pit. I would try to climb out and then it would rain and I would slide back down. I felt isolated and lonely and misunderstood. Thankfully, my illness does not last the full 9 months, but for many women it does. Just finding people who really understand what it’s like to go through that has been a lifesaver. And I want to help other women avoid that desperation.

When I started, I was just interviewing women about their experience with HG. While I enjoyed it, I felt like I wasn’t providing as much value as I could, so I’ve shifted to bringing the alternative health world to HG. That’s really where my passions have all culminated.

What advice do you have for women who are thinking about starting their own podcast?

Do it! What’s the worst thing that can happen? That’s exactly what my mentor, Meron Bareket told me, over and over again. I dislike the advice that everything has to be perfect, or that you even have to be good to get started. You’ll get better as you go. How will you know what you’re good at until you try it? Just starting is a valuable education too. I have no regrets about any of it.

My second piece of advice is to find a mentor, or a podcasting group, or a mastermind, or tiny little cheerleaders to sit on your shoulders. Or all four! I would not be where I am without Meron and his group. End of story. It helps so much to be able to tell someone you just submitted to iTunes and are now officially freaking out. They will understand. And tell you that you’re awesome anyway.

Castbacker Is A New Crowdfunding Platform For Podcasts

Castbacker logoThere are multiple ways to monetize a podcast and one of those methods growing in popularity is crowdfunding. Earning an income directly from an audience is nothing new to podcasting. Podcasters have been receiving donations thru systems like PayPal since the early days of the medium. Over the years, new concepts and services have emerged to help make crowdfunding a viable way to earn anything from some extra side money to a full-time living by pooling the collective contributions of an audience.

The latest entrant to the crowd funding space is Castbacker. The Castbacker website says the service is, “Like Kickstarter for podcasts,” and it promises that, “In five minutes, you’ll be ready to receive sweet, sweet recurring income from your listeners.” In its overview video, Castbacker demonstrates that creating a podcaster account is easy, and that when listeners decide to become podcast backers, all they need to do is fill out a simple form and provide their credit card information. Even tho Castbacker uses Stripe to handle its payments, and it will be necessary for podcasters to have Stripe accounts in order to get paid, listeners who’d like to support a podcast thru Castbacker will not need Stripe accounts of their own. (Stripe accounts are free to create but the service does have transaction fees.)

Castbacker gives your podcast a unique page on the Castbacker website where backers can sign up. These unique pages can be customized to help match the theme and branding of a podcaster’s main website.

Castbacker comes at a time when the crowdfunding is busy with many competing services. Regardless, Castbacker is the first service of its kind that’s focused specifically on podcasting. If you’ve been considering a crowdfunding option for your podcast, Castbacker could be the way to go.