I learned today that WordPress.com has added the feature of both uploading audio files and a player. This potentially means that WordPress could be used as a podcasting platform. The only stumbling block at this point is the RSS feed.
You can now upload a file of up to 25MB onto WordPress. Not bad, but for our show it is short of the file size that we need. But for a lot of podcasts it might be enough, or you could decrease your bit rate to get the file size down. The other thing that has been added is the Audio Player WordPress Plugin. It is a common player that you would have seen before that works very well.
Consider also that unless you purchase more space then you only have 50MB allocated to you as a WordPress.com Blog owner. It won’t take long to use that up as a podcaster (our shows average 32MB each). So there is added cost there as well. But don’t make the assumption that you are restricted to the 25MB limit on file size, or that you have to buy more space here on WordPress.
There is nothing stopping you having the files hosted elsewhere and playing them from your blog here. You might have a server to host files. To demonstrate this I have embedded last weeks Global Geek Podcast that is hosted on The Podcast Network. You could have a file anywhere on the Internet. But just make sure that you host the content and are not leeching it from some poor blokes server! Some consider this theft, as well as bad form. The same as you should not embed photos on your blog unless you host them. But remember files don’t have to be hosted here to be played in the on-line player.
Okay so what is stopping WordPress.com from being able to be the “home” of your podcast? Probably the most important thing of all. You can either host the audio file here or somewhere else right. So that is the restriction on file size out of the way but once you place that file in a player on your blog you need it recognized as an enclosure. If it is not then a podcast it isn’t. The enclosure is what is needed for things like iTunes and feedreaders, “pod-catchers” in general to be able to download your podcast for the user. If it is not an enclosure then it won’t be “seen” by the RSS reader or aggrigator. By definition the audio file not being an enclosure is not a podcast, but an embedded audio file in a web page. Or “streaming audio” in other words.
I have had one file that I linked to here on the blog; recognized as an enclosure. Once, then it has never happened again and I don’t know why not. I sent a support request to WordPress.com and got nothing back. I did nothing different to what I would normally do. Go figure.
Not only that there is no micro-management of RSS on WordPress.com. You can’t tell it what to do, we are at the mercy of the guys at WordPress. They do a good job though, I have never had a problem. But you need this to be able to manage the podcast. The feed is crucial to the success of any podcast.
So while we are able to have fun with a player and be able to upload files now, which is great; we can not look at WordPress.com as a viable cost effective means to host a podcast. It may be something they are aiming for, right now though we have a cool player and that is all. As cool as that might be the file needs to be recognised as an enclosure, once that happens we are nearly there. Next is the RSS… then we might be podcasting here on WordPress.com.
As promised here is The Global Geek Podcast #034 :: Looks are Everything. Check out the Show Notes, links to everything we talk about can be found there. Plus I blog there as well as here through the week.
Nice player eh? Apparently a movie player is coming. Now, I have to figure out how to use the operators to get the colours to match the blog theme…