November 18, 2005

The Podcast learning curve

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/audio/

So you may have noticed a few blog entries about University podcasts. This is a new thing we are exploring and I wouldn't mind getting a bit of feedback on whether people think this is interesting, useful or any other comments. I know we've only done two, but any initial thoughts appreciated.

I am aware that there may be a few technical issues to be resolved (stero/mono gah!) – we're on a learning curve here, but I would hope that these get ironed out soon enough.

Also, I would like to add a directory of other podcasts/vodcasts being produced around the Uni. I think RAW are doing something, as are the BrassSoc – is anyone else creating these and would like to be listed?


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  1. Hi Tom, Ben from the Brasssoc exec here… just to let you know, Brasssoc are not producing pod-casts. I think you may have been confused by a post on our blog, which was merely to bring other Brass Band podcasts available on the internet to our members' (and everyone else's) attention. We are not making any of our own, nor do we have any plans to at the moment.

    Cheers
    Ben
    Chamber Brass Co-ordinator, Brass Society

    18 Nov 2005, 12:30

  2. okay – understood.

    Guilty of a Blinkx type cockup myself here…

    Note to self – check your sources first…

    At least I haven't published anything yet :-)

    18 Nov 2005, 12:37

  3. Hi, RaW is working on podcasts – we have a beta version going, but we're still working out how to get the content from the studio directly to the podcast without anyone having the press 'record' on anything.

    Hopefully there'll be a 'RaW News' podcast in a few months, and then other speech content could follow (obviously we'd have big problems podcasting music).

    18 Nov 2005, 13:00

  4. John Dale

    One tiny suggestion: I'd find it helpful if the page indicated how long each podcast is; you can kind of guess it from the filesize if you're geeky enough, but a minutes/seconds listing would make it easier.

    Also the [title] attribute of the page isn't very meaningful.

    But as far as the content and presentation goes, I think it's great. Are you finding that there's enthusiasm for participating from academics?

    18 Nov 2005, 13:47

  5. Mathew Mannion

    I'd imagine RaW speech based podcasts work quite well, although the ones in shows that usually have music are a nightmare – they sound bad, and they're a nightmare to cut too.

    Just out of interest, is the podcast feed published to iTunes? Do you anticipate them to be useful to random surfers?

    18 Nov 2005, 13:52

  6. Steve Rumsby

    The Discworld podcast is quite quiet – normalising the volume might be sensible.

    18 Nov 2005, 14:02

  7. John – fair comment, I'll ammend the pages so that's clear.

    I don't know if people have a feel for what is a good length (ooh er misus). The first was a whopping 1hr, the second about 16mins. If the subject warrants the time, are people interested in listening to these for an hour?

    As for interest, we haven't had anyone say no yet! We have subjects lined up until christmas. I would not want to suggest that after two we have people breaking down the studio door, but the mood is positive. Whilst we have kept this focussed on staff commenting on topics of the day or their research, I could see that we might invite submissions from students as well. Maybe even external academics and notables.

    BTW - How's about a neat logo for Warwick podcasts?

    Matt – I haven't submitted to iTunes as yet, though you can subcribe using the .xml file linked on the page and manually subscribing that way – Kieran and I have both got this working. I will be submitting this for iTunes and other aggregators in the near future when we a)are happy that we have the process right b)we have a bit more content

    as an extra note we seem to be getting 100–150 page views per day on the audio page, excluding me – which I guess is not bad.

    18 Nov 2005, 14:04

  8. Steve – volume is our major headache at the moment – I am normalising this, increasing that and getting quite unsatisfactory results at the moment. I may have to refer back to AV to see what we can do with the original recording.

    Here's hoping it's better on the next one.

    18 Nov 2005, 14:06

  9. John Dale

    I'd vote for stuff more in the fifteen-twenty minute range than an hour. Unless you're a great speaker, an hour is just too long for a monologue.

    Good idea about a logo. I'll have a play.

    Also, how do people discover these? Should there be a link from the home page or somewhere else reasonably popular?

    18 Nov 2005, 14:08

  10. BTW - I also promise that this won't be a Science only thing – the next two will relate to Humanities and Social Sciences

    18 Nov 2005, 14:10

  11. I'd add that while we don't have a working podcast, we do have a hell of a lot of material available for normal download.

    General RaW programmes are available here: link

    While News programmes from the past 9 months are available here: link

    18 Nov 2005, 14:11

  12. This one was a much better length, far easier to digest. I agree that this is the sort of length you should go for. I'd feel pretty guilty listening to an hour long podcast, but 15 minutes you can squeeze in quite easily during your day :)

    18 Nov 2005, 14:14

  13. At the moment there is a link on the homepage to a specific item (note to self, need to change to discworld…) but not to the idea in general. Will need to look at this in the near future.

    I am referencing them on WarwickBlogs too and they get pinged to technorati.

    I have also been notifying blogs and sites that relate to the subject that they might be interested in the podcast. I don't want to do too much of this as it gets a bit too "I've got a great link you might like…." which I hate when I get them, and I certainly don't want us to get accused of blogspam.

    If there is a n especially interesting debate, such as the ID one, Peter and Richard might notify a few media channels to see if they are interested.

    We are also going to trial a joint press release/podcast issue next week (assuming all goes to plan) which will be an interesting exercise.

    And as I mention above, I am looking at getting an iTunes listing and submitting to other podcast directories when I get 5 mins.

    18 Nov 2005, 14:16

  14. John Dale

    Two more thoughts:-

    1. I believe that I should be able to type go.warwick.ac.uk/podcasts and get to your page, and thanks to my near-telepathic ability to anticipate my own desires, I now can. (go/podcast works too, just for completeness).

    2. Although for most people, clicking on an MP3 file linked to on the page will do something sensible (open iTunes or WinAmp or whatever), there may be some people for whom this doesn't work, or for whom the idea that clicking the link is how you listen to the audio is not intuitive. What about putting a player widget on the page itself for people who are not familiar with podcasts or MP3 files? Something like this perhaps…

    18 Nov 2005, 16:28

  15. John,

    once again you poke my brain about go.warwick … cheers

    Now, that other thing – looks interesting. Do you want to take a look at how we might embed this in the page? If you can adjust the width it would fit very nicely in the right hand side.

    Perhaps more radically, maybe this could be embedded on the homepage – now that could be an interesting proposition…

    Is there a video version?

    18 Nov 2005, 16:39

  16. John Dale

    Certainly possible to tweak width, height, behaviour, etc. This was just a quick example I grabbed from another site and put up to show the concept.

    And there are plenty of video versions, though it's a bit more work to do the encoding. Have a look here for example.

    18 Nov 2005, 16:49

  17. John Dale

    21 Nov 2005, 10:42

  18. John – nice!

    I'll have a play with this and the flash thingy later today

    21 Nov 2005, 10:49

  19. link

    Hmm – anythoughts if this is useful…

    21 Nov 2005, 13:51

  20. Very good, works for me :)

    21 Nov 2005, 13:57


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