The Honest Actors’ Podcast is On Hold

Honest Actors Podcast logo on iTunesAnyone who has ever started a podcast quickly realizes that podcasting takes a lot of time, organizing, planning, scheduling, and effort. The majority of podcasts are being created and offered for free. This is admirable, yet unsustainable, especially if the creation of the podcast is costing the creator money. Such is the case with The Honest Actors’ Podcast.

The Honest Actors’ Podcast was founded by Jonathan Harden. According to the show’s About page it became the UK’s number 1 Acting Podcast. The show launched in September of 2015 with a free fortnightly podcast that featured interviews with working actors. Topics included things like what work they had done in the past, what they’ve done to pay bills, and how they stayed sane through it all.

As of February 29, 2016, The Honest Actors’ Podcast has gone off the air, indefinitely. Jonathan Harden intended to keep the show free for everyone. He provides some explanation as to why he has decided to stop the podcast:

But I’ve been working on the project solidly for twelve months, happily dedicating several days a week to getting it out here and making it a success; as its popularity has grown, it has started to take over my life. One year on, I can no longer do it alone. Honest Actors’ needs a sponsor willing to support a project that supports actors. Thousands of us.

Few people can afford to take on what amounts to a full-time job that doesn’t come with any pay. It is completely understandable that Jonathan Harden has come to the decision that The Honest Actors’ Podcast cannot continue unless it has a sponsor. He has a plan that could, potentially, demonstrate to sponsors that the show is worth funding.

He has a short list of things that listeners, who love his podcast, can do to raise awareness of it. They can post a rating on iTunes, join the mailing list, and mention the show on their social media accounts. Full details can be found on The Honest Actors’ website, where you can also read about Jonathan Harden’s plan to take the show to the next level – if the show gets a sponsor.

Good Moderating of Comments is Key

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 6.50.07 AMThere is a commonly shared piece of wisdom that says: “Don’t read the comment section”. The reason is obvious. If there is a space online where people can post a comment, and that space is poorly moderated (or not moderated at all) things have the potential to get ugly. Good moderating of comments is vitally important.

The Longest Shortest Time podcast recently shut down its Facebook moms group. The podcast is hosted by Hillary Frank and produced by Abigail Keel. The show is described as “the parenting show for everyone”, so it makes sense that they would have a Facebook group for moms who are fans of the show. (It also had a Facebook dads group for fans of the show.)

According to an article at Neiman Lab, the moms Facebook group had 18,000 members. The same Neiman Lab article notes that not all of the people in that Facebook group were listeners of the show. Some joined simply because they enjoy parenting-related Facebook groups.

An article at The Cut notes that discussions taking place at the Facebook group got contentious after the size increased. It also notes (and I am summarizing greatly here) that the content of the discussions became more negative after things got political.

Between the two articles, it appears there was a point where Hillary Frank and Abigail Keel considered increasing the number of moderators. In the end, they decided to close the moms Facebook page in favor of focusing more time and energy on the podcast itself.

I once was a moderator for a podcast about a video game. The podcast did live shows. I found the experience of moderating the comments posted by people who were watching the live episode to be exciting and exhausting (at the same time). I learned that good moderation of comments was key to keeping the fans of a podcast engaged and invested.

I also learned that moderating comments is a difficult task. It is easy to make mistakes about what to allow and what to remove. It can be difficult to discern when a moderator should get involved. There are people who will complain about decisions made by a moderator – and that can make things stressful for both the moderator and the fans who read the angry comments.

What can podcasters learn from all this? Lack of moderation (of comments, Facebook fan groups, and forums) can lead to a lot of disgruntled listeners. Some people won’t want to return to a space that has become very negative. The plan you created to moderate a small group needs to expand as the group grows. Be proactive and add more moderators periodically as your fan base grows in number.

Podcast Movement 2016 Adds Keynote Speaker and 7 Session Leaders

Podcast Movement 2016 logoPodcast Movement 2016 has revealed who all of their Keynote Speakers will be for this year’s event. In addition, they have also added a total of 7 Session Leaders. Combine them with the previously announced speakers, and it is clear that Podcast Movement 2016 will have a whole lot to offer.

Kevin Smith has been announced as the final Keynote Speaker for Podcast Movement 2016. He is the co-founder of the Smodcast Podcast Network which includes the hit shows Smodcast, Fatman on Batman, and Hollywood Babble-on. Kevin Smith is also the filmmaker and actor behind Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

In addition, Podcast Movement 2016 has also added seven Session Leaders. Some of them have been with Podcast Movement before, and some are brand new faces. They are:

* Cliff Ravenscraft – Podcast Answer Man

* Christina Canters – Stand Out and Get Noticed

* Rob Walsh – VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn

* Carrie Olsen – Full time voice actor who also records e-learning and commercial spots

* Hani Mourra – Simple Video Press

* Meg Le Vu – Video Marketers Cookbook

* Mike Kim – Brand You Podcast

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor – PCN Show 027

In this episode, Shawn and Jen get into a discussion about ads and podcasting. This is an area that appears to be undergoing a “sea change” of sorts. There are companies that think the “renaissance of podcasting” means now is a good time to put ads into it. At the same time, the mechanisms by which those ads are placed is changing.

Links Mentioned in this episode:

* Amazon Hiring Comedians, Engineers for Growing Audio Service
By Lucas Shaw and Spencer Soper on Bloomberg Business

* Why Podcasts? Website
Created by Jessica Kupferman of She Podcasts

* Podcast Network Panoply Introduces New Ad Platform
By Jeremy Barr on Advertising Age

* 12 habits from a highly effective freelance audio producer
By Veronica Simmonds on CBC Radio

* Nick Quah is Leaving Panoply
By Nicholas Quah on Hot Pod

iTunes Connect Is Your New Podcast Dashboard

iTunes logo newAbout a year ago, I suggested that it was time for the iTunes team to create a dedicated user portal for podcasters. Perhaps someone over at Apple is listening. Last week, podcasters looking to add new shows to the iTunes Store noticed that the “Submit a Podcast” option that’s been available in the iTunes desktop application since Apple first added podcasts to the platform, was gone. A few days later, the option returned. Instead of opening a submission form inside the iTunes application as it has always done, clicking the “Submit a Podcast” link now opens a web browser that directs to the new iTunes Connect page.

iTunes Connect login

iTunes Connect prompts you to log in with an Apple ID and password. Once logged in, the site provides an iTunes Connect: My Podcast page that shows a list of all of the podcasts you’ve submitted to iTunes using your Apple ID. You should see any active shows under your account and you may see old shows that (for whatever reason) have been removed from the iTunes Store. Click on the album art for any of the shows and you’re taken to a new page that presents a short list of options: Refresh Feed, View in iTunes Store, Hide Podcast, and Delete Podcast. There’s also a field for the podcast’s feed URL (in the screenshot below, I’ve blanked the field – you’d normally see the current feed URL of the show in this field) along with the show’s status in the directory as well as the date/time of the listing’s last refresh. (Altering the text in the URL field activates a Save button on the right-hand side of the screen. Presumably, you could use this to update a podcast’s feed URL in the iTunes system.)

iTunes Connect podcast dashboard

Apple brought this new podcast dashboard online with little fanfare. It’s possible they’ve done this to cut down on some of the frequent support requests they receive (refreshing feeds, changing feed URL’s, etc.). This web-based system also makes it possible to submit podcasts using devices other than Mac or Windows computers. It’s the logical next step for what is still podcasting’s biggest directory to give a little more access and control to those of us who are providing its content. It’s a long overdue change.

A Plethora of Political Podcasts

American Flag by Mike MozartIt has been said that the American political season is extraordinarily long (especially when compared to the much shorter versions in other countries). Some people become quickly overwhelmed by it all and choose to avoid all mentions of politics. Others seem to thrive on it and have an insatiable desire for more information. There is now a plethora of political podcasts for “political junkies” to enjoy.

Political Gabfest is a podcast that comes from Slate. It is hosted by Slate’s Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz. The show is described as “the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.”

FiveThirtyEight Elections is an extension of what FiveThirtyEight has been piloting in their What’s The Point feed. Each Monday, hosts Nate Silver, Clare Malone, Harry Enten, and Jody Avirgan discuss polls, issues, voters, and media coverage – with a FiveThirtyEight spin. This podcast may also include occasional reports from the field and other “specials”.

The Ticket – A Presidential Podcast comes from the Texas Tribune. It is hosted by Ben Philpott and Jay Root. Every week, they provide a rundown of the week’s campaign actions, and bring you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering, or commenting on the campaigns.

NPR Politics is NPR’s new podcast where NPR’s political reporters talk to you like they talk to each other. It includes weekly roundups, quick takes on news of the day, and reporting from the campaign trail. It provides listeners with an easy way to keep up with what’s happening this election year.

Presidential is a podcast from the Washington Post. It is hosted by Lillian Cunningham. This podcast is a bit different from the rest because it explores how each former American president reached office, made decisions, handled crises, and redefined the roll of Commander-In-Chief. New episodes are released on Sundays.

Off Message is from Politico. It is hosted by Politico’s Chief Political Correspondent Glenn Thrush. The podcast is about the 2016 campaign “and everything else”. Episodes include interviews with Jeb Bush, President Obama, Martin O’Malley, and more.

Candidate Confessional – Defeated Politicians Tell All, is a podcast from the Huffington Post. It is hosted by Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis who talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator, and other elected offices. It is produced by Christine Conetta.

The Pollsters is a weekly podcast hosted by two of America’s leading polsters: Kristin Soltis Anderson (Republican) and Margie Omero (Democrat). They offer fresh insights into the data driving the week’s biggest stories.

The Axe Files is hosted by David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He interviews some of the most interesting players in politics each episode.

Image by Mike Mozart on Flickr.

Google Play Music Offers Podcast Option for Some Devices

Google Play Music logoOver the past few weeks, there has been some speculation about when Google Play would officially announce their Google Play Music Podcast feature. DroidLife posted a blog on February 2, 2016, with an unofficial announcement from Bill Simmons, who tweeted: “FYI – the BS podcast will be available on Google Play when GP launches its podcast platform later this month.” That tweet was soon deleted, but you can still see a screenshot of it on DroidLife.

Google still hasn’t given out any official word on when Google Play would announce their Google Play Music Podcast feature. Instead, it appears that some Google Play Music users are reporting that they have seen podcasts show up inside the Google Play app.

The podcast section of Google Play Music is said to look very much the same as the rest of the app. Shows are arranged in a card-like interface (with artwork and detailed descriptions available). Some users are able to play the most recent episode of a podcast, and have been given the option to subscribe to it. The interface also enables people to skip ahead, or skip back, 30 seconds.

It has also been reported that there is a search bar at the top of the app, but it is currently not something that can be used to search only for podcasts. The REM thinks the feature will come to “just podcasts” when the service has been launched for the public at large.

If you are an Android user, it is possible that you can now play (at least some) podcasts on your device. It is also possible that this new addition hasn’t been rolled out to you just yet. The update is expected to reach all users by the end of February. Perhaps Google will make an official announcement about it when it is ready to launch the podcast option on all devices.

Girlfriendology Podcast Seeks Suggestions of Podcasts for Women

Girlfriendology logoGirlfriendology was a podcast that was hosted by Debba Haupert and was started in 2006. She interviewed over 150 amazing women on her show while it was active. Unfortunately, she ran out of time to invest in the podcast, and took a break for a while. This happens to a lot of podcasters.

Now, in 2016, Debba Haupert is bringing the Girlfirendology podcast back. She is bringing back over 150 episodes that were recorded in 2011 – 2013. The first “Girlfriendology Classics” episode aired January 5, 2016, and features a 2012 interview with Teresa Scanlan (who was crowned Miss America on January 15, 2011).

Part of the reason why Girlfriendology has returned is due to the notion that podcasting is “back” in 2016. It is a new year, and a new opportunity to share what is going on in the world of women’s podcasting. Debba Haupert is asking people to recommend podcasts that are done by women – for women. You can add your suggestion as a comment on her blog. She is putting together a (yet to be completed) top ten list.

As of the time I am writing this, Debba Haupert has added a list of 7 podcasts for women. The list is unfinished and will eventually grow into a “top ten”. A few of the podcasts that have made the list include The Happiness Project (hosted by Gretchen Rubin) and Women of the Hour (hosted by Lena Dunham). What podcasts for women would you recommend? Let Debba Haupert know and your suggestion could help fill out the “top ten” list.

WordCamp Dayton 2016 Can Be Useful for Podcasters

WordCamp-Dayton-2016-Logo-235x300There are many podcasters who have their own websites that are dedicated to their podcast. This is where they post new episodes, detailed show notes, and whatever else fits with their show’s main topic. As such, it would be a good idea to learn as much as you can about how to use WordPress. In addition, there is something specifically for podcasters at WordCamp Dayton 2016.

WordCamp Dayton 2016 will take place on March 4-5, 2016, at Wright State University. Attendees won’t have to pay for parking and are free to come and go as they please. Be aware that each attendee only gets one parking pass per day. Things start early and there will be coffee and tea available. There is also going to be a “networking event” on Saturday, which is a different take on the usual “after party” in a relaxing environment.

The schedule has been posted (with some spaces yet to be filled in). Attendees can learn how to set up WordPress and the WordPress Dashboard, to understand Posts, Pages, and Categories, as well as information about content creation and how to use social media to attract people to your WordPress website.

The key thing at WordCamp Dayton for podcasters is a session titled “How to Improve Your Podcast’s WordPress Website”, which will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2016, at 9:30 in the morning.

It is presented by Daniel J. Lewis, an award-winning podcaster who has helped others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success. Daniel leads Podcasters’ Society, an elite community for podcasters, and also hosts a network of award-nominated shows covering how to podcast, clean-comedy, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC’s hit Drama Once Upon a Time.

In the session presented by Daniel J. Lewis, podcasters can learn how to optimize the site for better findability (SEO), engagement, conversions, ease of use, mobile devices, and more. The tips he offers will work for the hobbyist as well as the professional. This session will help podcasters to get more out of their podcast website.

The Sixth Annual Worldwide Radio Summit Happens in April

Sixth Annual Worldwide Radio Summit logoThe Sixth Annual Worldwide Radio Summit will take place in Los Angeles, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel from April 13-15, 2016. The summit typically includes speakers from radio, music, and the media industry’s most inspiring and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and companies. This year, The Worldwide Radio Summit will also include important people in podcasting.

On Friday, April 15, 2015, the Worldwide Radio Summit will have a panel called “Podcasting And Mobile Go Hand in Hand – It’s A Real Business! How Easily Can You Jump In?” Those who attend this panel will learn why mobile and podcasting are like the Wild West – where these growing platforms and revenue streams are sprouting everywhere.

The panel will be moderated by Seth Resler, Digital Dot Connector, Jacobs Media.

The panelists include:

* Andy Bowers, Chief Content Officer, Panoply Media

* Eric Nuzum, SVP/Original Content Development, Audible

* Rob Walch, VP/Podcaster Relations, Libsyn

* Todd Cochrane, CEO, Raw Voice/ Blubrry

You can register to attend the Sixth Annual Worldwide Radio Summit right now. The Standard rate is $445 (which is offered through April 13, 2016). The Late rate is $475 (which begins being offered in April 14, 2016). There is also a group discount available for those who are sending 5 or more people from the same group. Everyone in the group must register at the same time. Panel sessions, networking events, luncheons, and other events are subject to capacity restrictions.