In the era of Podcasting

Sujatha R
4 min readMar 6, 2019

How I turned my whatsapp story group into a Podcast.. Peek into Podcasting know-how and the technology ecosystem !

What is Podcasting?

Podcasts are like episodes of audio programs delivered and streamed over the Mobile phone. Pretty much like the audio avataar of Netflix and Spotify. For instance if I subsrcibe to a story telling App, everytime there is new content I am notified of the series episodes. The app manages the history of heard vs unheard vs new content and manages the download and storage aspects.

For the podcasters, it is pretty much like DIY Radio Broadcasting. There are powerful servers and tools in the ecosystem that allows good quality audio to be hosted on the server, cataloged and delivered to the end users.

Podcasts was first introduced by Apple in 2005s where they made mp3 accessible through their iPods. Hence called Podcast (like Radio broadcast)

Podcasts vs Youtube ?

Firstly, it is a secondary activity during commute, walking or doing house hold jobs that do not demand much attention and listening does not prevent mobility. Unlike Video that demanded focus, Audio has the charm of transporting its listeners to a different world of imagination as painted by the Host. And there are a lot of interesting topics to discover and get hooked like career growth, language learning, story books that are not available in traditional sites. Seems like a light weighted portable activity that facilitates relaxation and cognitive learning rather than pure intense recreation.

How big is Podcasting?

It is estimated that Americans listen to more than 21 million hours of podcast audio every single day. Definitely, we are living in the era of Podcasting..

Technology Aspects

Unlike the ubiquitous Facebooks and Youtubes, the podcast ecosystem is very very fragmented.

The hosting servers like Libsyn, PodBean, AudioBoom and Soundcloud provide storage, bandwidth, analytics and streaming services. In addition, they provide an indexing service through RSS protocol that facilitates content discovery by mobile Apps.

https://discoverpods.com/

There are podcast players in the android and iPhone platforms that aggregate and discover services from different hosting servers using the RSS feed. iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Pocketcast and Stitcher are podcast players.

lifehacker.com iPhone Apps

Apple Podcast are predominantly the biggest player in the ecosystem right now. However, Google is expanding on its podcast plans and will integrate it with Google Auto, Google Home and make the app available natively in all the Android phones.

And to facilitate high fidelity recording and suppression of background noise, there are tonnes of podcast equipment microphones, headphones, mixers, and software like anchor, gagarge band, audacity..

Discoverability

How about making money?

My experiments with Podcasting

I had this crazy idea of setting up a whatsapp group for daily Telugu stories. The schema went something like this.. My mother-in-law would daily narrate a story in Telugu and the group was open for subscription. Due to ease of deployment, it went on pretty well. 100 plus subscribers in first one week. A friend suggested.. Why dont you Podcast?

Then began my technology exploration.My mother in law had an account in soundcloud where the audio files were uploaded. It provided a static view like youtube and I used to get confused myself which episode in the Akbar Birbal series I had already heard.

To make it compatible with Podcast, I figured out the RSS feed link and shared it with the viewers. In less than two weeks, I was super excited to see the feed in Android and iPhones Overcast, Pocket Cast and Podcast Apps.. As it was experimental, Idid not invest on proper hosting servers.. Neverthless, it was a fun experiment.

If you are interested in taking a peek, here is the Sound Cloud link of the hosting Server

https://m.soundcloud.com/kathala-nagaram/sets

The RSS feed has been tested on iPhone(podcast, overcast) and Android (pocketcast) Feed URL Needs to be added manually.

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/…/soundcloud:users:4…/sounds.rss

The snapshots look like this

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Sujatha R

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Music, Linguistics & Patterns