Category Archives: Information

Podcasting On-The-Go: Tips & Tech For Taking Your Show On The Road



If you’re planning to travel this summer, you might be considering taking a break from podcasting. But why not take the show on the road instead? We consulted three Blubrry team members to get their take on the equipment and strategies that can help you keep publishing regularly, no matter where in the world you are.

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Todd Cochrane, CEO 

“For portable gear, a lot of people like the Zoom H6 ($399), myself included. There are cheaper options, though, including the Tascam DR-40 ($130) and the Zoom H4nSP ($159.) While these units have built-in mics, you should only use those as a last resort.

A headset/mic combo is convenient on the road – I really love the Audio-Technica BPHS1 ($199). It has an incredible mic and the headset lets you hear your environment perfectly so as you are not in a controlled environment you can make sure you position yourself in the best place to reduce noise. If you’re on a budget, consider the Eartec Lazer Single-Ear ($70.) These headsets are all XLR and work with the above recorders.

It can be tough to get good sound quality in hotels, but a few well-placed pillows can help you reduce echo in a room. I have done interviews in cars: it can be a little awkward but they almost act as a mini sound booth and you can get really good sound.”

Barry Kantz, CFO 

“I guess I go for the low end. I use a Logitech headset and go through quite a process in Adobe Audition to correct the dull audio I get from the mic on the headset. I use Audition’s macro function to zoom through the correction process. I think it turns out very well and I’m fussy about audio.

Podcasting from our motorhome is becoming a common practice for me. It’s a challenge with dogs on board and the air conditioning turning on and off. I’ve recorded in the Jeep to avoid these challenges. I use my Zoom H4 to record in the car. As Todd said, a car is a good sound studio because of the close space and all the soft surfaces eliminating echoes.”

Brian Yuhnke, Creative Director

“For a portable studio, I recommend a Yeti mic ($130.) It has a USB port and has its own earbud input for no-delay monitoring. I recommend it to my students for their podcast projects. Other than that, you need a laptop, some earbuds/headphones and Audacity, Garage Band or Audition.”

 

What are your favorite tips and tools for taking your podcast on the road?


6 Great Productivity Tools For Podcasters



As any podcaster knows, creating a great show requires a lot more than just showing up and recording. Between collaborating, planning and organizing your time, it helps to have access to great tools to help. Here are some favorites among podcasters we know:

Scheduling:

While Google Calendar is great for keeping track of your overall schedule, it can be great to give guests an easy way to sign up for an available recording time. Here are two options podcasters love:

  • “I use SetMore for scheduling – It’s free and it integrates with google calendar! It’s awesome to just send guests a link for scheduling and have this tool take care of the rest. – Bryn from The Birth Hour podcast.
  • “I use Calendly as my scheduler. It’s so easy to use, and I love the clean interface. I love not having to email back and forth, and being able to set automatic reminders is so helpful.” Heather from the Happiness Mama podcast.

Collaboration: 

Even if you’re a one-person show, chances are good you’ll need to collaborate with others at some point, whether that be sponsors or special guests. These options are popular with podcasts we know:

  • “I love DropBox for sharing files and making them accessible anywhere.” – Kelsey Wharton, the Girl Next Door Podcast. 
  • “Initially my co-host and I were were winging it with scheduling content from week to week, but now we look a month out on a shared Google calendar and can build episodes into each week and see what makes the most sense to come next. We also had a meeting to talk about our personal goals and visions for the show and how best to use each other’s strengths, whether that be editing, writing outlines, show notes promotion and social media. We feel this can be such a useful tool for shows with multiple hosts- otherwise you’ll end up tripping over each other trying to do everything at once which makes it more complicated, and less productive.” – Rachel Cassinatt, The Table Chat Show.

Communication:

  • Here at Blubrry, we use Slack for almost all internal communications. With an interface that acts like a messaging platform plus the ability to upload files from documents to graphics and great searchability, it’s the best of all worlds for teams that like to communicate quickly on the fly and share short bursts of information throughout the day.
  • If a separate messaging platform is overkill for your podcast, you might consider using Google Hangouts as a scaled-back way to communicate with guests and co-hosts without ever leaving your Gmail inbox.

On-Demand Vs. Streaming Podcasts: It’s the Listener’s Choice (And Why We Support That)



Recently there has been a fair amount of chatter about download / on demand vs. streaming podcast and whether one delivery method is better than the other. “If a segment of the podcast services market had it their way today, they would eliminate the download option – some because they want podcasting to align with their current business model, and for some the download is hard to explain to media buyers,” says Blubrry/RawVoice CEO Todd Cochrane. “Largely for those reasons, they don’t want customers to have a choice.”

But let’s not forget why podcasting is so popular: we listen on our terms, where and when we want to – not just when we have a internet connection. Streaming removes a huge amount of convenience and cost-effectiveness for the consumer.

Here’s why Blubrry will continue to support both downloading and on demand as options for podcasters and podcast listeners:

1. On-demand is convenient. “Consumers should be allowed to choose where and how they listen to content,” argues Cochrane. “If they choose to pre-download a podcast while they’re on a WiFi connection because they don’t want to use their mobile bandwidth or are in a place where WiFi isn’t readily available, that’s their choice.”

2. On-demand is more cost-effective for the listener. “Most people cannot afford huge data plans. If you’re a listener with two kids, you might have four people sharing on a single mobile data plan with maybe 4-5 gigs of data,” Cochrane says. For a serious podcast consumer – the kind we all want to reach! – that may not be enough to support a streaming-only option. Also, consider that listeners in developing nations may have even less access to data – they’re more likely to be using Internet cafes to download shows and then listen on the go, explains Cochrane.

3. Downloads can be (and are being) measured accurately. “We’ve been measuring on-demand without an issue for a long long time,” says Cochrane. “Pro-streaming people don’t like downloads because once a piece of media goes into the Apple ecosphere or is downloaded in an app, they don’t know what happens to it afterward. But we do. Because of Apple iOS having such a huge market share, and because we know that the Apple podcast app stops downloading after three unplayed episodes, there is well-defined trending data that help us know the audience performance of a show.”

4. On-demand audio is why podcasts were created in the first place. Being able to listen to a podcast wherever and whenever you want to – whether that’s on an airplane, that one place on your commute where your cell signal always drops out, or the room in your basement where you can never get a good data signal – is one of the crucial things that’s made podcasting so popular to begin with. “Even Google Play recognized the importance of download by allowing it,” Cochrane points out.

Bottom line: while it’s possible down the road that customer preferences or needs will shift to using their data plan primarily  to stream podcasts, the data does not bear out a shift now.  Until that point, the industry should not be forcing a change, but instead supporting what the consumer wants. It’s pretty clear that right now, listeners want to be able to listen to podcasts on demand, and smart service providers will do what they can do meet that need.


Blubrry Stats Is Now Tracking Over A Dozen New Apps (Including Google Play Music Podcasts)



If you have Blubrry stats, you may have noticed we now list several new clients in your statistics dashboard. We’re pleased to report as of April 19 over a dozen new apps have been added to our ever-growing list of podcast clients. We now track nearly 200 unique podcast applications, devices, and platforms.

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Here’s a list of some of the apps we’re now tracking individually in your stats menu:

  • Google Play Music Podcasts – This much-awaited app is tracked by Blubrry, but it’s important to note that as of now, Google Play Music Podcasts is not making individual download numbers available to outside services. Instead, each episode that Google Play Music Podcasts makes available to its users will only show as one download, no matter how many people listen in the app. For now, you’ll need to log in to Google Play Music Podcasts to see your total download number.
  • Player FM for Android
  • CastBox.FM Mobile App for iOS and Android
  • AntennaPod for Android
  • Kodi – open source home theater software
  • Clementine – music player and library organizer for MAC and Windows

To see how many downloads each individual app is delivering your podcast, click “clients” in the statistics section of the Blubrry dashboard.
client screen shot

Curious how to list your podcast with Google Play Music Podcasts? Check out our latest episode of the PowerPress Podcast!  

 


4 FREE Magazines and Newsletters For Podcasters



Podcasting has never been more popular, so it makes sense that there are more and more publications for – and about – podcasters. Here are four we love:
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Podster Magazine: This beautifully-designed publication features podcaster profiles, show information and reviews that help listeners discover new podcasts and find out more about their favorite podcasters. Subscribe free here. 

HotPod: Jam-packed with information and insights on news and trends in the podcasting world, this weekly newsletter (it publishes on Tuesdays) also includes a membership group with a discussion forum. Read the archives or subscribe free here.

PodcastOne: This weekly newsletter is targeted at podcast consumers more than creators, but it’s still a great way to keep up to date on what’s happening in the podcasting world. Select the type of show you’re most interested in, and you’ll receive customized news based on your preferences. Subscribe free here. 

podtopod – this free weekly newsletter reaches nearly 25,000 subscribers with trends and industry news. You can find out more about podtopod by following #podtopod on Twitter or subscribe free here. 


What Does “Fair Use” Mean When It Comes To Podcast Copyright?



 

John pulls his microphone to the center of the desk and prepares to begin his weekly podcast, “Ooze News.” After opening the list of news articles he assembled from his main source, the New York Times, John begins reading and recording the articles verbatim into his podcast. John finishes his podcast by telling his listeners that he hopes they enjoyed this week’s top news stories from the Times.

Anna has a podcast called the “Groove News,” a weekly podcast that, like John’s, uses various articles from the New York Times as sources. Anna assembles her list of articles and begins discussing each article and inserting her analysis, comments and opinions, using enough of each article to give context for her analysis, comments and opinions. Anna then compares each Time’s article with similar news stories written by other news sources and highlights how each news source treats the “facts” in each article differently. Anna uses these differences to support or highlight her analysis.

 copyright issues podcasters

Which podcast is using the concept of “Fair Use” within the realm of copyright law? If your answer is that Anna’s podcast comes closest to the definition of “Fair Use,” then you are correct. But the real question here is: why is Anna’s podcast “Fair Use” and John’s is not? The answer is not easy and not simply defined.

It’s obvious that we cannot take something someone else has created and treat it as our own in our podcasts. But there are legitimate situations when we can include another person’s work in a podcast. Those situations fall under the broad category in copyright law called “Fair Use.” This is an area of the law where two equally important concepts clash head on: free speech and property rights.

If I create something, it is my property and I control its use – therefore, you cannot take it, free of charge and without permission, for your own use. However, as a citizen of the United States I have a very broad right of free speech so I can say just about anything I want in my podcast. So, if I have the right of free speech, how can a someone use the power of the government to stop me, as in John’s podcast, from reading news articles in my podcast? Within the answer to that question lies the concept of “Fair Use.”

“Fair Use” is not easily defined because it lives within the enormous grey area between free speech and property rights. It usually takes the final word from a court to tell us what “Fair Use” is in specific situations. But there are five general rules we can apply that will give us a reasonable assessment as to whether or not we can use the creative work of another person, without getting permission or paying for it, in our podcast. Here are three factors that are particularly relevant in the case of John and Anna’s podcasts:

  1. Transformative Use. A primary test is whether or not you transform another person’s creative work and make it into something of your own creative work. In the example of John and Anna, John simply read the news stories from the New York Times and did nothing else; there was nothing creative added in John’s podcast. However, in Anna’s podcast, Anna took pieces of news stories and added her comments, opinions and comparisons. Anna was transforming the various news articles into her own work by what she was adding.
  2. Amount and Substantiality: Another factor determining “Fair Use” relates to the amount of the news story used in Anna’s podcast. Anna used just enough of the news story to support her opinions, comments and analysis. However, Anna could have used the entire news story, if that was required to make her point. In contrast, John would have been no better off in claiming “Fair Use” by simply declaring before reading each news story, “this article sucks,” or “this article is right on.” In this example, John’s comments relate to the whole news article, but the comments do little to transform the work, as required in factor 1.
  3. Purpose and Character of the Work: Copyright law tilts in the direction of “Fair Use” if you are using another person’s work for educational purposes, news reporting, commentary, research and scholarship. The words, “tilts in the direction of ‘Fair Use’ used in the previous sentence are not used lightly. The courts, when analyzing a “Fair Use” claim, consider and balance all five factors when making their decision.

Above I’ve discussed three of the five factors used to determine “Fair Use.” The two remaining factors not discussed are: “The Effect of the Use on the Potential Market For or Value of the Source Work,” and “The Nature of the Original Work.” Those two factors didn’t carry as much weight in my balancing test when looking at John and Anna’s podcasts. Please take a look at the University of Minnesota’s website at https://www.lib.umn.edu/copyright/fairuse if you want to dip deeper into “Fair Use.” In addition to containing good information about the basics of “Fair Use,” the website has a nifty interactive tool to analyze your content to determine if you are a fair user. But, as always, the best resource to use to review your content for potential copyright problems is an attorney familiar with copyright law.

One more important thing: You own the copyright for the podcasts you produce. Never treat your ownership rights lightly and give away the rights to your show. It was a common practice in the early days of podcasting for podcast service providers to claim ownership to your show’s rights when you signed up for their services. This practice is no longer prevalent but seems to crop up occasionally. Always read the user agreements before you sign up with a podcasting service. This simple act will protect your rights and save you from major problems.

Now go podcast and have fun!

barry kantz-Attorney Barry Kantz is General Counsel and CFO of RawVoice and Blubrry. He can be found on Twitter @kantzb

This post is part of a series on copyright law as it pertains to podcasters. Check out Barry’s post on using music for your podcast without breaking copyright law. 

 


5 Things Podcasters Need To Know About Taxes



April 15 is almost upon us, and if you’re like many podcasters and other content creators, you might be procrastinating on getting those taxes filed. Even if you aren’t making a lot of money yet, confusing tax laws and, let’s face it, less-than-stellar bookkeeping often make something that should be pretty simple seem complicated. But don’t procrastinate too long! If you earn income – any income – from your podcast, it needs to be reported correctly.

Here are some tips for getting your tax return done right:

IRS

  1. Decide whether you’re filing as a business or a hobby. If you aren’t making much or any money yet, this can be tricky to figure out. “The difference is in the podcaster’s motive – does he or she wish to make a profit or not,” explains Carol Topp, CPA and host of the Dollars and Sense Show. The IRS does offer nine factors they use to differentiate between businesses and hobbies, but they can be a bit vague – for example, “whether you carry on the activity in a businesslike manner.” One thing to keep in mind, warn tax professionals, is that filing as a hobby isn’t necessarily going to be the cheaper route. There’s a risk that you could trigger an audit if you file a valid business as a hobby, and if you declare your podcast a hobby, you are also limited to deducting expenses up to the amount of income it’s produced – you can’t take a loss on a hobby.
  2. Start as soon as you have expenses. “That’s sooner then most podcasters think about taxes!” says Topp. You should start tracking and reporting your podcast as soon as you have expenses instead of waiting until you have income.
  3. Know what counts as income and deductible expense. Equipment (your mic and software, for example,) fees associated with services like podcast hosting and statistics, travel and entry fees to industry conferences and events, business-related meals, classes or podcast consulting services, studio/recording space or a home office, and graphic design and website setup fees are just some of the things you may be able to write off as an expense related to your podcast. Income can include free products, exchanges from bartering, and of course, any monetary payment you receive whether it’s via check, direct deposit, Paypal, cash or some other format. If you aren’t sure if something counts as a taxable income or deductible expense, consult a tax professional.
  4. Keep household and podcasting finances separate. If you haven’t been keeping track of your finances – or keeping your podcasting expenses and income separate from your household finances – you’re probably realizing right about now how big a mess that can create. “Separating business income from your personal income makes tax preparation easier, but it also allows the podcaster to have a better idea if the business is profitable,” advises Topp. “If business and personal are all mixed into one checking account, it requires more bookkeeping to see how the business is doing.”
  5. Record everything. As for assuming you’ll remember how much you spent on that trip to Podcast Movement? Nuh-uh. “Using a spreadsheet or accounting software is best – track of all you income and all your expenses. Also track your meals and mileage. Do not rely on memory!”

Great advice, but nobody’s perfect. If you are getting organized a little late this year, you aren’t alone! Just commit to making life easier for yourself when it comes to file 2016’s taxes by getting informed, separating out podcast and household finances out, and keeping good records…starting now. Topp offers a free downloadable business income/expense spreadsheet you can use to keep track of your podcast finances. While Topp’s site is aimed at writers, there are many parallels between podcasters and writers when it comes to taxes, so visit TaxesForWriters.com for more great tips and resources while you prepare your taxes.

A note: we at Blubrry are experts in podcasting, but not necessarily tax preparation! To make sure you’re protecting yourself and your podcast, be sure to consult IRS resources and/or speak to a tax professional if you have any questions.

Considering joining Blubrry at the Podcast Movement in Chicago this July?
Use the code “Blubrry” at checkout for a $40 discount!

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2 Fierce Female Podcasters You Should Be Following



Forget the image of podcasting as an old boy’s club: the visibility of women in the community seems to be on the rise – and many of us have been here from the beginning. Here are two female podcasters – who just happen to be Blubrry customers! – you’ll want to keep an eye on:

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Podcaster: Kitzie Stern, Host, New World Kirtan

About The Podcast: A show that explores Kirtan, a spiritual practice focused on singing meditation. The show is both personal and practical, featuring music to accompany Kirtan practices as well as relatable glimpses into Stern’s life.
Why You Should Listen: “Kirtan is just a really easy, accessible way to get your mind to quiet down during a time when we desperately need ways to quiet our minds.

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A New Way To Reach An Audience

Like many podcasters, Kitzie Stern initially turned to podcasting as a way to serve an existing audience. An experienced voiceover artist, Stern also had a deep personal interest in Kirtan chanting, a form of singing meditation that originated in India thousands of years ago. “I got this idea that I could do a podcast of songs and it would be like a setlist for my local Kirtan group to use for their chanting practice,” Stern explains. Because of its auditory nature, a podcast was a natural extension of a guided in-person Kirtan experience, but Stern also saw an opportunity to use podcasting to demonstrate her voiceover abilities.

Though it was originally targeted at a specific audience, as often happens Stern’s podcast took on on a life of its own – though Stern didn’t realize until about a year after the show launched. “On New Year’s Eve, just for kicks my husband and I thought we’d check download numbers, and found that it had been downloaded thousands of times. all over the world. I didn’t think I was talking to anyone besides people in Corvalis!”

Unexpected Opportunities

Stern considers her podcast a service to the Kirtan community, and while monetizing New World Kirtan directly isn’t a goal of hers, she can’t deny the benefits she’s received via the podcast, on both the personal and business sides of the table. In addition to the connection she’s been able to make with listeners across the globe, Stern has been invited to attend Kirtan and other spiritual festivals and events as a direct result of her podcast, and it’s also helped her create a thriving specialty in her voiceover career. “Voiceover is really a specialized kind of field, so I branded my voiceover site to take this side of myself into consideration…and now, I’m getting more of the kind of work that I really want to do,” she explains.

Advice To Newbies

After publishing hundreds of episodes, Stern enthusiastically encourages would-be podcasters to jump in with both feet. “I’m 63, and worked in radio for a long time. To be able to do your own show without having the constraints of being on a radio station – I can’t tell you how wonderful it is,” she says. “It’s an unprecedented time for podcasters, and people are really catching on to what a great medium this is.”

 

fogarty mignonPodcaster: Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
About the Podcast: The show started as a five-minute quick writing tip, but has evolved into a longer show – about 12 minutes long – for both language lovers and language learners.
Why You Should Listen: “If you find language as fascinating as I do, you’ll love it.”

grammar girl

Podcasting As A Platform

Mignon Fogarty, the author and online personality also known as “Grammar Girl,” has become a household name – but not everyone realizes she’s also been podcasting for a decade and is also the founder of the high-profile podcasting network Quick and Dirty Tips. “I started podcasting in 2006 because I love technology and it was the neat new thing, and I was hooked by the immediate listener feedback,” she explains. “I started a science podcast first, because I was a science and technology writer, and started Grammar Girl about eight months later.”

Though she was already a successful writer and had extensive startup experience before starting Grammar Girl, “the success of the podcast gave me a platform to take both those interests to a much higher level, and now I’m a New York Times bestselling author and a professor of journalism and entrepreneurship. Also because of the podcast, I’ve been able to build an online social media platform that gives me the ability to try all kinds of new and interesting things like making digital games (Grammar Pop) and card games (Peeve Wars),” she explains. “I owe so much to podcasting.”

Women in the Podcasting Community

When asked whether she thinks there are more women entering the podcasting space, Fogarty says she hasn’t really noticed – however, “my perception may be skewed because I founded Quick and Dirty Tips, where all our full-time employees are women, the executive in charge of the enterprise is a woman, and 11 of our 17 podcasts are hosted by women. When I look at podcasting, I see women everywhere! To me, there have always been women in podcasting, but there does seem to be a weird perception in the media that we don’t exist.”

What Are You Waiting For?

Though Fogarty always considered herself a writer first and never imagined herself becoming a radio personality, she does remember playing alone in her backyard as an only child, instructing imaginary friends and audiences on how to swing on a swing or build a sand castle. The takeaway? Even if you never thought of yourself as a “radio type,” that doesn’t mean you won’t find a great fit in podcasting – it can be used for entertaining, instructing, or simply connecting more deeply with an audience.  “There’s no reason to be nervous,” Fogarty  “Just jump.” She recommends the She Podcasts community as a supportive community to answer your questions and help get you on the right path.

Be A Better Podcaster with Blubrry: FREE Tutorial



 

Podcasting can be confusing.

From ever-changing guidelines and recommendations to evolving technology, getting a show running and keeping it up-to-date can take a lot of work and know-how, even for experienced podcasters.

We want to help! As leaders in the podcasting community – and podcasters ourselves! – the team at Blubrry is dedicated to making the technology of podcasting simple so that podcasters can do what they’re good at: create great content and connect with audiences.

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That’s why we’ve created a FREE guide that will make sense of all those challenges podcasters face. From setting up your RSS feed to creating iTunes cover art to making sense of stats and more, we’ll be there to guide you every step of the way.

Ready to start? Just fill out our quick signup form and you’ll start receiving helpful, exclusive emails weekly that will help you get started podcasting, step-by-step…or, if you’re already a podcaster, help you take your show to the next level.

We’ll never sell or share your email, and we’re just as allergic to spam as you are. No tricks or hard sales tactics: just helpful content to help you up your podcasting game.

Click here to get started.

Thanks, and happy podcasting!