G’day World Podcast Reaches 200 Shows!

Rooster’s Rail extends sincere congratulations and a slap on the back to Cameron Reilly on reaching 200 episodes of G’day World on The Podcast Network.

Incidentally The Podcast Network turned 2 this week as well. Have a look at The Podcast Network two years ago using the Wayback Machine courtesy of Internet Archive. Great effort Cam and a huge achievement. Looking forward to the next 100.

Cam has put a show out nearly every day for the last two years, is CEO of The Podcast Network and has a firm conviction for the success and love of the medium that is podcasting.

Cam’s 200th show features the best of G’day World Guests since it has started.

G’day World Screenshot

Want to Know How to Podcast?

GGP Album Art SmallThe latest Global Geek went up today. Knightwise and myself put a lot of hard work into this one. It is the first special edition for the show. We were asked to do a show about how we put the show together. So we did.

This episode is a real behind the scenes look at the podcast. We cover all the on-line and off line applications that we use. The technology behind podcasting. Audio editing and hardware also get a look in. For a budding podcaster it is a valuable insight into podcasting and what it takes. Although I will bracket that with the fact that our show has been going a while now and we have upgraded most software and hardware from the “basics” to more advanced and powerful. So this is not a basic show in terms of what would be the minimum requirements.

Technically the show is a valuable resource for anyone including us. But it was created for many other reasons. We want to connect with our listeners. We genuinely appreciate them and the effort they make to listen to the show. We love hearing from them. Hopefully they will connect with us and feel that they are as much a part of the show and the community as we are.

Added to the complexities of the podcast is the fact that my co-host is literally a world away in Belgium. So we cover just what we do and how to overcome difficulties that arise due to the distance. Not to mention the time space continuum. But as you will hear it feels like Knightwise is next door.

There are some great sound clips included in the podcast. There is a snippet from the very first Global Geek. Wow what a difference in sound quality! It felt great to know that the show had developed and matured as much as it has. You also get a ear in on our pre-production meeting for the show and our sound check. Plus we have pictures on Flickr that we are going to add to through the week and we also made available our unedited show notes for the episode.

One of the coolest things we did for the show was to include a special surprise for the end. I am not going to give it away, just to say that it is a real laugh. I did not even tell Knightwise the secret, he found out just like you can. He had this to say about the show:

“I have tears streaming down my  face as a drive to work!!!!!! Tears with laughter!
You F*%kwitt must have spent all day editing that last bit together!!! It is bloody brilliant!!!!
The rest of the show is awesome! Fantastic job Dave, I absolutely love this podcast!!!
I can see our listeners bubbling with laughter at the end!”

We are our harshest critics. Seriously.

Most of all I think that Knightwise and I have realized that through this journey of podcasting together that we are more friends than co-hosts. I value his friendship over the podcast. I am truly grateful of his friendship and that he joined the show.

Knightwise is a true friend, you don’t get many of them in life. Life is fickle, fleeting and crap at playing fair. Friends tip the balance.

So waste no time have a listen. Head over to the Global Geek Podcast Blog for the Show Notes and subscription details. The music that was used on the show is also available for free download from the Show Notes on the blog. DRM free and legal.

But you can also listen here, please vist the blog and be a part of the show with us!

An Irreverent Podcast

There has been a discussion going on in the latest podcast from Cameron Reilly of G’day World. It is about how can we promote podcasts and podcasting. There have been a few responses from listeners about what they think. Such as giving away a Wii. This to us podcasters would be great… as long as you are providing it! So I made the suggestion that people blog about a podcast that they listen to on The Podcast Network. Here is my take on G’day World and me “putting my money where my mouth is”.

G’day World is hosted by Cameron Reilly, CEO of The Podcast Network and pretty much the flagship show of the Network. Generally has a show every week day unless he has an Xbox night with his mates…

“G’DAY WORLD, the very first Australian podcast, is an irreverent rant about technology, science, politics and the arts by Cameron Reilly, CEO of The Podcast Network.”

Cam is opinionated, blunt and at times argumentative. His latest show talks in part about the fact that it was pointed out to him that he was abrasive when talking about certain topics. It was an interesting reflection that he had about himself in response to that. It is partly true as Cam believes he is right and you can get totally owned being on the show. Is that a good thing? In some respects yes. To be that self assured and certain about what you believe in is great. To be so at the expense of someone else nope. So it was good to hear Cam reflect on that, it showed his listeners another side of him. Something I thought I would never hear from Cam.

One thing that I respect about Cam is the fact that he is very well read and has wide and varied interests. This is reflected in the topics he covers on the show. He is a passionate movie buff and also co-hosts The Movie Show. Cam is into science and technology although does not consider himself a geek. History on the other hand is also an interest and is reflected in his hosting of Napoleon 101. He is also very passionate about online media and podcasting and what it means to be a podcaster.

So why does that make a good podcast? You Never know what you are going to get for one. I enjoy listening to Cam’s perspectives on life and everything. I don’t agree with him all the time but I think he is a deep thinker and has the unique ability to put that thinking into words. That is hard to do. I start putting what I think into words and it never comes out the way I expected or intended.

G’day World is also very funny. I remember one time I was listening in the car and almost ran off the road I laughed so hard. Can not remeber for the life of me what that was about now. But yes the show is also funny. Maybe another unexpected bonus that makes it a good listen.

Why do I listen to it. Not sure. I think it is because sometimes you can not help but to listen. I was a bit like that with one of the latest things Cam has been about: “Curing Christians“. I have not got into the argument, but I disagree with what he is doing. Cam doesn’t want Christians influencing politics and decision making as much as he perceives it does. His answer: Cure some Christians. I believe that a belief system is part of being human and part of who we are. Destroy that and you take some of the person away. I think Cam should attack the thing he has the beef with and that in my opinion is the influence that a minority have over the majority on public policy. He will disagree with that. But I listened and I respect his view, at least he has one and isn’t afraid to say it.

Cam is currently running a competition where you could win a $50 Amazon voucher. What do you have to do? Just register with the online form and send some referrals Cam’s way! Currently he has zero takers so if you are the only one to register then you’ll get the prize. For the record I have not registered nor a part of this competition.

G’day World is entertaining, period. Why? Even myself I am not sure why; but it is. I would recommend G’day World for a listen, it might not be your cup of tea but then you won’t know if it is or not unless you do. While you are there check out some of the other great shows on The Podcast Network you will find something you like. Please remember to leave a comment on the podcaster’s blog, just to let them know what you think or just your opinion. As podcasters we value that and it means a lot to us. Easy for you and invaluable to us. Keep up the good work Cam.

DISCLOSURE: G’day World is part of The Podcast Network where The Global Geek Podcast is also a part, of which I am one of the hosts. I have in no way been offered any incentive or been requested to write this post. These are my opinions and original ideas and not those of The Podcast Network or Cameron Reilly.

What Bit Rate for Podcasts?

I really, honestly do not know the answer to this question. What is the best bit rate to encode a podcast at? Also does that answer depend upon the fact that you are a listener or a podcaster or hosting service?

I do the post production work for the Global Geek Podcast. Before moving to TPN I always encoded the podcast at 44khz and 96kbps. That works out at about 35 – 40MB per show (depending on length between 40 minutes to an hour). We have what I think is great audio quality, but am I spoiling ourselves and our listeners and potentially excluding others?

We have never had a complaint about the file size of the show. No-one has ever said it was too big. People have commented on the quality and said it is great and we have worked hard to get it that way. But I now question if that is over kill. So I tried to figure out what bit rate is the most common. I did a very small survey of the podcasts I have on the computer. I only have nine on it at the moment – most of them are on the MP3 Player (where they should be).

Anyway I got the following breakdown:

Total of 9 Podcasts:

  • 2 encoded at 96kbps
  • 4 encoded at 64kbps
  • 3 encoded at 48kbps

A conclusive survey that does not make. But maybe I am aiming too high. What quality do listeners expect of a podcast? Do they want a small file and lower quality so that they get the content without the bandwidth. Or do they want great quality and a larger file size? With the size of MP3 players now the storage is not an issue I don’t think. But I know in Australia the cost of bandwidth might be. The cost of faster connections is expensive and so many users are on a maximum of 256/64 or 512/128. So does a larger file size deter them from listening to our show? Could we have a bigger audience if we made it smaller and if that is the case what size is acceptable?

With the uptake of broadband technology there is a step towards encoding at a larger bit rate but what should it be? Perhaps 64kbps is a good place. I listen to quite a few podcasts that are recorded at 64kbps and they sound good. A one hour podcast encoded at 64kbps is about 28MB (voice only). Is this a big difference to 96kbps? Well it is between 10 and 15 MB. Will that mean the difference between more listeners and a balance between keeping your existing ones because of what they expect? Will you loose listeners by lowering the bit rate dramatically and will it matter because of the number you pick up. To me it does anyway, I care that we keep the listeners we have.

The other big consideration here is the hosting cost. I know that I had to go to the plan one up from the basic plan in order to have the podcast encoded at such a high bit rate. So that privilege cost me $10US/month instead of $5US/month. That was a cost that I thought was worth it. Also what if your podcast is being hosted by a network, what file size is reasonable for them to host? Is it acceptable that you have a higher bit rate than the other shows that are hosted there and is it necessary? Personally, I would like to find a happy medium between file size, bit rate and quality. I want the best quality at a reasonable file size. I don’t want my hosting provider to get pissed off that the show is too large. In addition to that fact; the network wants as many people to listen to as many shows as possible. If it is possible that people are “turned off” by a large file size, then that is not for the benefit of the network and I would not do it. In that instance the file size should be smaller at the sacrifice of quality for the benefit of the network and I need to accept that.

As a listener I do not care what size a file is. I have a fast Internet connection and it really does not bother me. I like high quality podcasts but I listen to some that are not of a high quality as far as bit rate because the content is good. So is good quality a cover for shit content? If it is; it is not sustainable long term. So as a listener of podcasts I don’t search for podcasts based on audio quality or file size, and maybe I have just answered my question in part.

Having made these points I will say that some basic editing will improve quality out of sight. I have turned off podcasts because they have not bothered to do this basic editing. They were unlistenable and total shit and they should have thought the same! I wonder if some podcasters even listen to it after they have recorded it. So what do I mean by “basic editing?”

Basic editing in my opinion is:

  • Setting levels before you start, especially if you are recording Skype using a software application. This means setting your levels with enough “headroom” to get loud during a podcast so that you don’t “clip” the recording. And not so soft that you have to amplify it dramatically to get something to work with.
  • Don’t edit the podcast as an MP3, MP3 is a “lossy” format and gets worse and worse in quality every time you re-encode it or open it and save it.
  • Run a compressor on the audio to “smooth” the audio. That is take out the high’s and bring up the lows.
  • Run the compressor a few more times.
  • Normalise” the audio, basically set the zero level. Makes the podcast the same volume and means that the listener isn’t constantly turning their volume up and down.
  • You may need to “amplify” the whole audio after using the compressor and normalising the audio. You don’t want the listener running out of volume because it is too soft!
  • Any added or imported audio needs the above steps.

Believe it or not the above takes the least amount of time in my editing but makes the biggest difference. I do go a step further and edit the actual audio and take out the umms and errs and we always stuff things up and say well we will edit that out. The time is also in the transitions and the mixing of the imported audio, making it all work together (the best that I can). So maybe you can see why as a podcaster I want it to sound as good as I can, I put a lot of effort into both the pre and post production. But is that at the neglect of other issues? Is this basic and advanced editing enough to make it a “quality” podcast?

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. Tell me if you are a listener or a podcaster. Podcasters, tell me what you encode your podcast at and why. Listeners please answer my questions for me. As I said at the start of this post I really do not know what the right answer is, that’s why I have posed lots of questions. It would be great to get some answers, although I am not sure there is one.

Odeo Respond, Download Link Returns!

As posted yesterday it appeared Odeo had decreased it's functionality of the "send me an Odeo message" by not allowing users to download the mp3 of the left message. Well there has been a great response from Odeo with emails and even a blog comment. All is restored in the Odeo universe.

Odeo Download LinkBiz Stone who works for Odeo left a comment on the Rail yesterday that indicated that the omission of the Download link on the web page was a bug and implied that they were unaware of the problem until I had blogged about it. So great I found a bug! The emails that were recieved were also prompt and promised a resolution. The action by Odeo to resolve the issue has been excellent. When I logged onto my inbox this afternoon, the download link is now present and accounted for. Everyone breath a sigh of relief. I am yet to see if the enclosure in the RSS feed from the "inbox" has been fixed as well but I am assuming that it has.

I commend Odeo staff on their excellent response time and the fact that they responded at all. They could have easily just resolved the problem and pretended that it did not happen. Great work Odeo, we still love you 😉 (In a nice blokey type of way…).

In fact I am not really sure how Biz found my humble blog, and if he is reading this then I wouldn't mind knowing. The other thing that I was curious about was if the staffers at Odeo patrol the BlogOsphere looking for tags and posts regarding Odeo, to see what people are saying and suggesting. I know that one suggestion that I made in the past was implemented, so that was cool.

Thanks Odeo keep up the good work.