Help with Podcast hosting, uploading and creating a iTunes podcast?
February 23, 2008 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Any free Podcast hosting out there? I need help with Podcast hosting, uploading and creating a iTunes podcast!

While many of the Profs at my University podcast their lectures, I have one that does not.

He allows me to record his lectures and share them with any student that wants - as long as I handle the details. I have been recording them on my iPod and then burning them onto CD's - and the pool is getting tooooo large.

So, I would like to create a podcast, and I want free hosting. I signed up for Switchpod, which seemed to be a great deal (450mb free!) as our lectures are 1 hour and 15 minutes a go, problem is I cannot upload wav files to their site.

I could use some help!

How can I change the format of these files - or where can I find good Podcast hosting so that I can upload the Podcast to iTunes?

Any other advice is also appreciated!
posted by caveat empress to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If they're just spoken word, you can compress the WAV files into 64kbps or 48kbps mono MP3s which will shrink the file sizes considerably--I would think 450mb should get you a good bit of the way there. You should also see if your school provides you with webspace. If neither of those work, you can get pretty darn cheap hosting with plenty of webspace and bandwidth for 5 bucks a month.
posted by gramcracker at 9:30 AM on February 23, 2008

Response by poster: I am really novice at all of this - can you tell me how (from start to finish) to compress from WAV to momo MP3?
posted by caveat empress at 9:50 AM on February 23, 2008

Okay. You're recording on an iPod and getting WAV files? That sounds odd. Or are you using iPod in the generic sense, and you mean you're recording on some other audio device? Because if you've got files that'll play on an iPod, they'll play in iTunes, and if they'll play in iTunes, you can use it to convert the file into an MP3.

If you're using some other recording device and getting WAVs that can't be opened in iTunes (which is cross platform and free), then you need software to convert it. And it might help to know what kind of computer you use. My first suggestion, again sticking to cross platform and free, would be Audacity. It's how I got started podcasting, and it even handled my transition from PC to Mac production just fine.

Once you've got your MP3s, you need them on the web, and you need an RSS feed.

To get them on the web, one free hosting option is the Internet Archive. Again, it was how I first distributed a podcast without worrying about a hosting account.

Thing about the Internet Archive is, you have to be pretty sure about your recording and distribution rights. Recording and sharing MP3 files with fellow students is one thing, publishing a podcast and releasing it far and wide is another thing. In addition to getting your instructor's go ahead on the podcast, you might want to see if your university or school has its own restrictions.

If you're not sure, or you want something faster (downloads from the Internet Archive are pretty slow), there's always a service like Libsyn, which has plans starting at $5 a month, and you can pay by PayPal.

Once your MP3s are on the web, you need an RSS feed with enclosures that people can subscribe to. The simplest way to get this is to start a Blogger blog on Google's Blogspot. Every blog post would include, in the body, a direct link to the MP3, and the link would include the enclosure element. For example:

Download <a href="" rel="enclosure">this podcast!

Of course you want to put more information in each blog post that will get picked up as the episode description, or "show notes."

Blogger automatically generates an RSS (and Atom) feed for your blog, and the above link will automatically insert an "enclosure" element into that feed. It is that element that podcatchers (like iTunes or Juice) will look for to know there's a new episode to download. Give out that RSS feed address and tell people to copy and paste it into their podcatcher (or RSS reader) of choice.

But wait... what about the iTunes thing?

Of course, RSS and enclosures are a widely open and compatible standard, but iTunes all but owns the podcasting space, meaning that if you want your podcast to be found by the world at larger, or easy to subscribe to (for iTunes users), you'll want your podcast inside the iTunes Podcast Directory. And while you could submit your naked RSS feed to iTunes, you probably want to take the opportunity to "pretty it up" with a graphic, and other details that make your iTunes Podcast Directory entry more useful for people.

Enter Feedburner. You give your naked RSS feed address from Blogger to Feedburner, and Feedburner gives it a meta makeover. You can easily specify a graphic or logo, you can add flags like "Explicit" or "Clean," you can categorize your podcast, and so on, all in a relatively straightforward interface (rather than hacking the code that Blogger outputs). Feedburner also allows for analytics, so you can see (if activated) how many people downloaded a specific show, using what software. After configuring the Feedburner version of your feed, you give the Feedburner version of your feed to iTunes.

Using the Feedburner feed as your feed also means you could conceivably move your blog (podcast site) to another service or site, and only change where Feedburner looks for your stuff. This is easier than trying to get all your listeners to change their subscriptions. And an additional plus of the Feedburner service is that you get a "pretty" feed address, rather than the messy one you get by default out of Blogger.

The primary downside of the Feedburner route, it should be noted, is that you're giving up lots of information and ultimate control to them. Though if you're also using Blogger and Internet Archive, I doubt this is a big worry.

With your pretty Feedburner feed address, log into your iTunes account, go to the Podcast Directory (click "Podcasts" and look for the directory link in the lower right of your iTunes window), and hunt for the link to "Submit A Podcast." Submit it, wait 48-72 hours, and pow, you're live!
Hope this helps.
posted by pzarquon at 10:14 AM on February 23, 2008 [5 favorites]

Oops. The example code for the MP3 link is missing the closing tag. It should be:

Download <a href="" rel="enclosure">this podcast</a>

Also, although Audacity is free, I forgot to mention that it requires a separate file to do MP3 encoding. The instructions on the download page are pretty clear, but just know it doesn't do MP3s out of the box (because, believe it or not, MP3 is not a "free" format).

Finally, in whatever software you use to convert your audio to MP3s, you'll have settings to play with. Mono vs. stereo, 160, 128, 96, 64, or 48k kbps, and so on. These things affect file sizes and sound quality. A lecture could probably be fine at mono at 64kbps. But with video bloggers regularly distributing 100MB video files (like me), I don't worry too much about bumping up the sound quality for a few extra MBs these days. A paid webhost would care about how much space your using, of course, but it bears noting that the free Internet Archive has swallowed GIGABYTE files I've submitted without a whimper.
posted by pzarquon at 10:21 AM on February 23, 2008

450Mb will get you decently far. If you need more space, however, shoot me a Mefi Mail. I could probably set something up for you on the order of a few GB no problem.

Also, nthing Audacity. My weapon of choice for audio 100%.
posted by potch at 10:37 AM on February 23, 2008

I used Audacity, Razorlame and Odeo to set up a community radio show podcast.

I record to WAV, edit with Audacity if necessary and then compress to a low bit rate mp3 with Razorlame. Upload to Odeo and then copy the Odeo link to the show's blog.

I haven't done it yet, but I understand that to get it listed in iTunes podcast directory all you have to do is submit the Odeo feed address from the iTunes application.
posted by d-no at 3:12 PM on February 23, 2008

I always thought Odeo had a lot of promise, but it's effectively a dead service these days. I mean, it's still up and there's still content popping up there (and there's been a new release, combined with FireAnt, coming "real soon now" for a while), but if you use it for your new podcast, I'd suggest having backup hosting as well.

A lot of all-in-one podcast hosts offer some amount of space for free, and for one semester of talk-only recordings, I'd imagine many would work fine.
posted by pzarquon at 5:03 PM on February 23, 2008

« Older outletfilter!   |   How can I fend off the boss with data while I do... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.