Podland News

Podcast SEO: stuff the title and forget the description, it's only a B medium anyway!?

July 16, 2021 James Cridland, Sam Sethi Season 1 Episode 33
Podland News
Podcast SEO: stuff the title and forget the description, it's only a B medium anyway!?
Show Notes Transcript

Join James Cridland and Sam Sethi

With Special Interviews:


Podland News

1.  Exclusive:
Do podcast apps use your podcast’s description to help people find new shows? Should you put your guest’s name in your episode title? Which apps search which bits of your RSS feed? Three weeks in the making, Mark Steadman from podcast studio Origin has catalogued what every big podcast app indexes, and how to help listeners find your podcast.

2.  The winners were announced for the British Podcast Awards 2021. We have a full list: Fearne Cotton won the Podcast Champion award for her efforts to open up the mental health conversation, and the Podcast of the Year was awarded to VENT Documentaries.3.

3. Podnews has implemented the Podchaser API on our podcast pages, bringing back ratings and creators.

4. Netflix has hired its first Head of Podcasts, N’Jeri Eaton. She had been Head of Content, Apple Podcasts for a year; and prior to that spent four years at NPR


5. The Podcasting 2.0 team this week have been working on cross-platform comments for podcast episodes





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James:

Welcome to Portland Parkland sponsored by Buzzsprout used by over a hundred thousand podcasts like us to host, promote and track your podcast to, and by riverside.fm. The easiest way to record podcasts and video interviews in studio quality from anywhere just by using a web browser. We're using it now. It's the 15th of July, 2021. I'm James Cridland, the editor of pod news.net here in Australia.

Sam:

Sam set to the editor of Sam Talks Technology here in the UK. Hi, I'm Ryan. And I'm

James:

Zach and we're the co-founders of squad cast.fm. And we're still stoked to join you on this episode to talk about squad cast, version four, with our collaboration, with Dolby recording, with 10 participants and a lot of awesome features. Hi, I'm Nick Hilton from Pardot, and I'll be on later to talk about my new documentary podcast, the town that

Sam:

knew too much.

James:

Portland's a weekly podcast where Sam and I delve deeper into the week's podcasting news. Now

Sam:

you've been working very busily on a report. Do podcast apps, use your podcast description to help people find new shows. Should you put your guests name in your episode title you've been working with a guy called mark Steadman? Tell me more about this

James:

report, James. Yes, I did. I worked a lot with mark. This is what mark has to say about the data. Discovered I found that most podcast apps will search through episode titles. So it's best to make sure you make the most of them, but it's also clear that you should concentrate on a good website too, to help people find your podcast. So he and I did a ton of work around putting weird and wonderful words into our podcasts and then checking them on a bunch of different podcast apps to see if we could find them. and it turns out that if you spend a long time on your descriptions for each industry, Or your show notes as you might call them. then actually very few podcast apps actually bother to have a look at that, so a bunch of really interesting data, it took us about three weeks to do, and that came out in pod news a couple of days ago.

Sam:

Fundamentally, you're talking about podcast SEO, right? Now one of the comments we had offline this week, you and only was about Google having a character limitation in the title of about 180 characters because I was stuffing our titles with too much. so I was

James:

110 characters. exactly. You go to big things. So

Sam:

if you can't put it into the title, And the description isn't being picked up. What's the solution?

James:

that's one of the problems. if you look at by market share, as I did a little bit of work with the maths, then pretty well, any podcast app we'll look at the episode title, but virtually none of them look at their descriptions. So. you are a little bit stuck. You basically have to make sure that you get as much into the title as you possibly can without making that title too ridiculous. And Google's sort of maximum is 110 characters ish. And so it's probably a good idea to keep under there. So I think we are a little bit stuck. The benefit of course, is if you own your own website, as mark was saying, then of course it'll appear there, but it won't necessarily appear in a sale. In a podcast app.

Sam:

Okay. But when I look at Spotify or I look at apple, which is where most people are probably going to search there isn't a character limitation, so we've been putting quite long titles in and they appear quite clearly.

James:

maybe it's not such a bad thing after all It does mean that the app quite often we'll scroll through the title, which isn't necessarily a magic plan, but it's certainly a way round it and I think not every podcast app will even search your episode titles, but most of them do And it's one of those interesting things,

Sam:

Okay. head over to pod news.net to read the full report, I guess is the best way now Moving forward the British podcast awards were held here in the UK last Saturday. Matt Deegan was the organizer of it and unfortunate. I was due to go and thanks to COVID and the NHS track and trace app. I was pinged. So I had to isolate this week. Now that really annoyed me, but the winners were announced. Fern cotton won the podcast champion award. She's a TV personality for her efforts to open up the mental health conversation. James. Did you have a look at some of the other winners?

James:

Yeah, I mean, there were a bunch of winners, the listeners choice, which is the one that everybody votes on was red handed, which has a true crime podcast which came runners up here and the listeners choice last year and were the winners this year. So that was good. Quite like the fact that the British podcast awards has an award for the best international podcast. I hear the podcast that doesn't come from Britain and that ended up being won by revisionist history, which is Malcolm Gladwell's one and the podcast of the year. Which ended up winning a bunch of different awards was vent documentaries, which is a piece of work between vice UK and the London borough of Brent, not really the partnership that you would expect, but there we are. It's lots of young people in they're being asked to report on the stories that they want. And you ended up with a bunch of stuff around identity and love and justice and all that kind of stuff.

Sam:

it looked like a really great award. Well done, Matt, and I think he might be on the show next week with you.

James:

I haven't asked him yet, but you're not going to be on the show next week. You're away. so it may be Mr. Deegan. It may be someone else I'm thinking it might be somebody else. We'll see who we can get.

Sam:

I'll tune in. thank God. This podcast is going uphill now.

James:

Yes. That should be fun. But yes. both Matt Deegan and Matt hill, of course working on the British podcast awards. And that thing goes from strength to strength, which is a good thing. You've been speaking to another British institution. Haven't you? I

Sam:

caught up with Jimmy Lee, Ryan. She's a. PhD research fellow, she's working with the BBC R and D looking on the future of podcasting. And I asked Jamili what her project was about

Jemily:

my PhD project is all about what's next for podcasting, specifically, looking at how to make podcasts more immersive and more personalized using AI driven audio production tool. I know that's a mouthful, basically. That means I'm trying to see how different AIS could be. Packaged and repurposed into tools for podcast, producers, creators to make either the production side easier or the end content more enjoyable for the

Sam:

listeners. And how long have you been working on this project?

Jemily:

I started back in November, 2020, so my first

Sam:

year. And so what are your, initial thoughts or conclusions?

Jemily:

So still, really early in my research, I'm very much trying to gather as much data as I can on what people are expecting, not just what I want to see in podcasts, because I think we all have our opinions, but the job of the researcher is very much to make sure that their opinion, isn't the only thing that transpires. So I, I'm trying to define what's a podcast festival, which is quite. Important for someone who's doing research and podcasting to know where to go from set some boundaries on what the project is going to be about what kind of tools we can be using. I've made it a list of tools of potential ways, potential roads that podcasting could go and could use AI in creative ways. and right now I'm at a stage where I'm interviewing some creators and producers sound engineers, to know what they think about these possible tools and how they could be

Sam:

applied to podcasting. Okay. So are you already use AI in my podcasting production? So I use a tool called de script out of a U S I love the product and it revolutionized the way that I edited Prior to de script, I was using a combination of, or Udacity or Adobe premiere and it was just painful. it was pulling hen's teeth.

Jemily:

sorry. I was going to say I'm quite familiar with descript. I use it actually. I used it to make the demos that I presented and it's a product that I enjoy using, I think streamlines. Production of audio and video content varies. Straightforwardly and easy to use. I'm a big fan of the script as well.

Sam:

The other tools that I've played within use, there's one called lately, which again, allows you to put your podcast into their AI and the AI will then look at what is the most interesting element. so one of the biggest challenges with all podcasts, I'm sure you know, this already is, if you've got a long one hour podcast, then you've probably got five or six golden nuggets in that podcast that you want to get, out into public domain. and what I would say is, manually, I was having to clip those up in, the script and then put them into Twitter or put them into LinkedIn and try and bring people back to the podcast. But actually when you put it into lately, it's a bit like HootSweet, it automates the discovery of the interesting parts. It creates clippable elements that you can just then put on an automated schedule. I also found another tool that does exactly the same thing from headliner.app. And so those are the only AI tools that I found so far that worked for me in creating and distributing my podcast. Have you come across all the tools

Jemily:

so there's a few thoughts beyond editing or, helping to market or share a podcast that could be useful, but all of them are pretty much. Not applied to podcast yet. And that's where I come in, where I try and use these AI technologies and see how they could be used for podcasting. so I'm not going to give too much detail because this is what my study is all about, and I want to get reactions about it. you could do some things. Non-linear narratives for podcasting using artificial intelligence. How would that come about? How do you integrate this within a podcasting workflow? sound recognition for elements in the editing, but also on the user side, there's a lot of things that can be done with AI and applied to podcasting, but the gap hasn't been bridged just yet. Hi.

Sam:

Does that make sense? you talked about nonlinear paths and one of the previous interviews I did was with a senior researcher at the BBC called in Forester, who works in the BBC R and D. And Ian had told me about some work that the BBC had been looking at, which was to allow you to basically choose your path. Is that what you mean by nonlinear?

Jemily:

so yes it's the kind of choose your own adventure setting, where you can go in different parts. it can be used for storytelling choose path a and go to this story or this type of content, or it can be useful, more subtle personalization. So you can also view it as just different content that would get to you. It could be different soundscapes that are playing in the background or a different mix that ends up on the user's device. so the choice doesn't have to be restricted to storytelling choices. It can be applied to, production decisions as well.

Sam:

And is this also something that will work with location and time of day?

Jemily:

so I think actually that's the thing that Ian Forrester works on, which is called adaptive podcasting. And I think there's a couple of very interesting article on the BBC R and D website about this, how using location and General preferences and metadata can be applied to tailor the podcast content to the user. there's some research being done by Ian and his team will Reggie on this. And it's very interesting.

Sam:

the BBC also had a very clever Alexa skill, which again, you could argue as a podcast with nonlinear. capabilities. So if I ask or enable the Alexis skill on the BBC I can get, read the headlines. And then I say, Alexa, tell me more. And then it will basically go off and give me the full story. And I guess that same technology could be applied to podcasting, certainly here at Portland, we are a news coverage of what's going on in the world of podcasting. And so James. Short and down the whole podcast and have three or four interviews and maybe just headline, you know, we're talking to you about the future of podcasts and then somebody might say, I want to hear the whole interview. So is that an example of how you see maybe the future of podcasting? definitely.

Jemily:

So variable length and variable content to cater to the user's preferences is something that a lot of people think is important in the future of podcasting. I think there's as a future for it. everything is becoming more personalized. Anything that you can use to get. People's attention and to offer listeners the content that they want to hear rather than filler content that they prefer skipping, it's a good step. So it could definitely be something that happens as an outcome of my project.

Sam:

Very interesting. Jamie show head of digital at commercial radio in Australia has suggested the podcast consumption in the future will be only three minute long episodes.

Jemily:

I think the average length of the podcast is what, 35 minutes, something like that, which is quite far away from three minutes still. So we have a long way down to go before we get to three minutes, but who knows, maybe that is what people are after. And people prefer listening to short snippets of audio content rather than full programs. I think it's a mix of what people want and what platforms are pushing and distributing and recommending the most. a similar thing happened on YouTube with the length of the content, Back in 2005, it was very short videos. And then it was 20 minute videos. Now it's around 10 and you have this, variable length of the content that people prefer. That's a mix of the actual attention of the listeners and what the platforms see. fits best their strategies. So we'll

Sam:

see. so how can people get in touch with you to help with some of this research?

Jemily:

so right now I'm conducting a study. That's called collaboration with podcast creator for the next generation podcasting. I'm looking for participants who are interested in the future of podcasting to talk about how AI can be. Implemented in their workflows, what their job is, what they see for the future of podcasting. and I'm open to anyone who's interested to take part in this study and they can contact me by email. I don't know if I should spell my email out. That's the

Sam:

best? I'll make sure it's in the show notes, but if you want to spell it out as

Jemily:

well, this is my university email address. So that's J I R 5 86. At york.ac.uk,

Sam:

how long is this research going to go on for? When do you think you'll have it finished? When will it be published?

Jemily:

things to be done by mid-summer, let's say the end of July to give myself some time to do the analysis and everything. Very nice. That happens after you're done with the study. I'm hopeful to have a substantial data so that I can produce a paper for the research that I conducted. as with any research, it's very much dependent on the type of data you gather, if it's conclusive or not. So I don't want to scream victory before it has, but no, I'm very hopeful. And the interviews that I've had so far have been incredibly interesting, I am hopeful that I'll get to publish a paper. And if not a paper, just a blog posts about what I found

Sam:

thank you so much for your time. please do get involved if you're interested in the future of podcasting and help shape where podcasting's going. Thank

Jemily:

you very much.

James:

So the future of podcasting from the university of York and BBC R and D research and development. And that was really interesting. I wonder whether the future of all podcasts is going to be choose the ending let's choose the ending of this show is really interesting.

Sam:

The one that other interesting part was a guy called Ian Forrester. Who's a senior researcher at the BBC, R and D who I know quite well. he's the one who's really looking at this sort of ending thing. But what they're looking at is also using location as part of the ending. His example was you might be walking around a museum. So it uses your current location, as well as what you're listening to, to try and inject at the same time, different options for you.

James:

And there's a bunch of that going on in terms of advertising as well. So a million ads is doing of course, much the same sort of thing. We spoke with many, an answer while back, and, NPR is doing a bunch of location-based stuff in the U S with consider this, which is their afternoon podcast, where depending on where you listen to, you hear local stories from. Um, the place where you are, which is really clever. So I'm sure that we'll end up seeing an awful lot more of that kind of stuff. And it's really interesting to see, the BBC and the university of York, jumping in on this and seeing what they can learn. So

Sam:

going from an old institution to a brand new institution, it seems Netflix finally is getting into podcasting. They've hired the first head of podcasts, new Jerry Eaton. she's joined from the head of content at apple podcasts. And she was also at NPR. James, do you know Nigeria

James:

So I thought to myself I'd like to know what new Jerry was doing at apple over the last year or so. So I went searching for it. If you do a search for her name and and an apple you end up with one Google. One Google hate and that's when she was a judge at the Pulitzer prize for audio journalism, probably a job that she got while she was at MPR. She had a great career at NPR. She made a great name for herself, and there's plenty about that online, but there is literally one Google hit for our role as head of content at apple podcasts. And I thought to myself, oh, that's interesting. I wonder how Jake Shapiro's getting on Jake. I used to work for radio public. And PRX he's royalty in terms of podcasting. I wonder how he is getting on. Cause he's been at apple for nearly a year. I did a Google search for Jake Shapiro at apple podcasts as well. I found one thing that he's spoken at and it was essentially outlining apple podcasts, paid subscription. He's not actually put his head above the parapet and spoken in public at all. Now he's a brilliant guy. I used to guest regularly on podcasts. I've shared a very spicy Cambodian meal with him. he's a really intelligent guy, but what I think is very clear is that apple is highly. People like Jerry like, Jake away. And they're not using them to the best of their ability if you ask me. it was a real shame to actually see that, as soon as you join apple, you essentially become completely invisible and that can't be good for your career. So no wonder that she has jumped, shipped to Netflix. And she's thrilled, she ended up posting a really excited tweet about it too.

Sam:

She was saying that as head of podcast she's really excited to be at Netflix 16 years ago, I watched three DVDs from Netflix a day while working the late night shift at university. My obsession for storytelling has taken. All kinds of places, but she ends it with, this is truly a dream.

James:

well done her. So I think that's a wonderful thing. And hopefully we will hear more of her over the next year than we have over the last year. Sounds like

Sam:

Apple's like the men in black, you enter there and that's it. everything's

James:

gone. Yes, I think so. I completely understand but I think it's just so unhelpful. and surely a company is made up of the people who work at the company. And so why would you hobble a company in that way? So it's a real shame, but there are some great people who work there and it'd be great to hear a little bit more from

Sam:

them. Talking of companies who don't hide people away Libsyn has added a list of services that you can post to.

James:

one is geo sovereign, which is India's largest music streaming service. I believe that they also support garner as well, which is the other one GSR even has more than a hundred million monthly users. and Rob Greenlee friend of the show said that he sees. The partnership as a key opportunity to expand interests for podcast, creators and listeners globally. but I think a really useful thing. It just shows that there are other people and other places to get your podcasts into than just apple and Spotify. And Both GSR and Ghana have been really successful for many podcasters. Who've ended up going in there 125 million people in India speak English. So it's a tremendously large audience for you so well worth having a look at

Sam:

indeed. do we know of any other hosts that actually support going into that market?

James:

Oh, yes. Libsyn's quite late. if I can be honest there's been quite a lot of other companies who already support your sovereign and Ghana captivate, who I'm a, an advisor for. Do I believe that bus prone to, a bunch of these other companies do, but I think, that's the interesting side is that actually there are more of these organizations. So only today I posted a link on how to get your podcasts into Samsung podcasts which is a thing that you can only get in the U S and only on certain Samsung phones, why not add your podcast to as many places as you possibly can? That's a good plan. I think the trick is to make it really easy and simple from a podcast as dashboard and. does that in a really good and easy way. I think.

Sam:

Now I also had an interview this week with the founders of squad cast. Now Scott cast is a, another way of recording your podcast remotely. they recently launched a version four and I asked rock and Zack, What were the. Key features

Rock:

So there's a bunch of features that we can definitely go into about what makes squad CAS V four so special. But I think the big headline is that it's a unique collaboration with Dolby. So Dolby is a name that, I think is very familiar for folks that have gone to the movies. Dolby sound, there'll be vision, all those things, but being able to bring. The power of Dolby's technology, which we feel is premium and synonymous with quality, being able to give podcasters access to that technology was a huge part of this update. Something we're really excited about. It's one of Dolby's at least to our knowledge, first times entering into the podcast space, which is something that they've expressed to us as being an interest of theirs and so happy. Squad cast is leading the way in that regard. And they've been extremely great collaborators to work with, which is another awesome thing. Cause they're a company that's been around for so long and they're public and huge, but they have really been extremely receptive to the feedback that we've been sharing, what we're hoping to accomplish. what kind of people podcast. They're really interested in that. So having a collaborator. Very receptive to that stuff was really interesting and unique and actually caught me by surprise, to be honest, I thought, we would just be more a customer vendor relationship. but it's been way more than that. So I've been pleasantly surprised.

Sam:

So G one knock on the door. Hey guys, do you fancy doing something together with us or did they come to you? How did the story unfold?

Rock:

I'll tell this story because I think it's pretty funny how it happened. I, besides working on squad cast, I'm a big Brazilian jujitsu practitioner. And so I like to go every day. And Zach told me about this event that Dolby was having in San Francisco. And he's like, I want to go to this event. I think they're going to release something that we could probably use for squad cast. And it was how sure are you? I don't want to miss jiu-jitsu man. And then he was like, I think you need to go rock. And then I'm so glad that he, was from with that request because we. He was right. That's why he's the CEO of the visionary. And we've made the absolute, most of that event by making some connections that has led to this collaboration here.

Sam:

So Zach, now you've got Dolby rolled into it. how do customers or guests, users of squad cars get to use it? Or what difference do they get to hear?

Zach:

there's a couple of different things that that. We've been proud as rock said to bring from Dolby's technology into the squad cast experience for podcasters and content creators Dolby voice is a setting as an option that People who connect and record on squad cast can have things like loudness, normalization, or background noise reduction is the big one that people tend to hear. our head of design Alex is a lover of coral and has a bunch of saltwater tanks. Those things make noise. they're in his background and. When we have Dolby voice turned on, you don't hear any of that. so that's really nice if your guest is in maybe a noisy place, but it's completely optional, a lot of audio producers. They want to hear the actual microphone. And if there is anything in the background, they want to get it out of there. that's why it's a setting and we big on listening and squad cast. The other one Is mastering. So of course, squad casts. We focus on delivering really high quality audio and video recordings source quality raw and all of those things. But people do post-production to edit their episodes. What we've done is collaborated with Dolby to take a lot of the filters or plugins. People might run that audio through to do things loudness, normalization, or D sibilance and gain control in a non-destructive way. So you still have the source quality recordings from squad cast, but let's say. You listened to Evo, Terra and other industry OGs like yourself and you normalize the negative 16 loves. So things like that. We can just say one click and you get a second version of that file so that it's a time savings for you in post production. so we've been having a lot of fun with that and The last thing I'll mention is because of some of the network resiliency that Dolby has built into their conversation platform that we're proud to bring to squad casters is given us the ability to go above what was previously the limit of 40. Connected participants in a conversation. And we took that up to 10. So one host and nine guests can all connect and record together. Everybody in ISO tracks, all the same quality, progressive upload backups, all that good stuff. that was a surprise that we threw in there towards the end to really add value for our customers.

Sam:

so we've got up to 10, people on the call Dolby. What else? Come on. What else did you put into that version for you? I bet you snuck a little couple of Easter

Zach:

eggs in there as well. There are so we added screen-share and screen recording, which is a third form of content that creators can collaborate on. Now. we have audio, we have video and now we have screen. we also. done a lot of things to give visibility into we're big on transparency. So I can see what microphone you're using. Sam or rock can see what microphone I'm using and that stuff that just isn't going to come to life and Skype or zoom, and is important to creators who are using the tools that we have access to. so we brought that same level of transparency to everybody's network connection. we can see. a signal strength, you would be used to on your cell phone for every participant. and that helps give confidence into the reliability of the connection and everybody's internet can fluctuate in different conditions. So that's really great insights. And then that's during the conversation, but proactively, we now have something unique that People coming into a session, a recording session on squad cask, and do a quick sound check record for seven seconds. That'll automatically play back the audio and video, give you insights into your connectivity, strength, and give you a thumbs up that we're all good, ready to go for the recording. so you know what you sound like, you know what you look and you can choose to talk or your camera off or your microphone off, or switch that around and be confident going into the session. That's some of the things that I'm really excited about, I think in particular and a lot of cleanup and love and craft have gone into this update as well. we added pronouns to our names. so it'd be inclusive. We improve notifications. there's a lot that I can give you a link in the blog post. This was, I think by features and by volume of changes, this was by far our biggest update.

Sam:

Okay. Now in the mobile space, you're in, is very competitive. and zoom is that I'm not going to say it's at the bottom end, but it is the mass end. the quality isn't the highest, but it does a job, and it's trying to push up. The hill a little bit, by adding HD quality. And it's trying to add in, some of the features you talked about, but they're below you, but you do have competitors Riverside, FM stream yard people like that. So how do you see yourselves evolving going forward? what sort of things are in the pipeline of your planning now? I guess I know this unfair, you've just launched version four and I'm telling you, come on, give me version five. What's in the can. Do you know, how do you keep competitive? What are you thinking about

Zach:

we're super big on listening and asking the creators that we serve, that exact question? what else would you like to see from a platform like squad cast? And I think that's culturally unique to us. And I love that the customers that we serve are essentially, speaking for a living, so we need to be really great listeners. And, there's a lot of things that we have in our pipeline and we're always planning for the far out future. So one of my favorite topics, so I'm glad you asked it can be a bit frustrating not being able to bring these things together, to life all at once, as much as we'd love to do that, but we're really excited about our mobile apps. That's something we've been really open about. we support all the browsers except safari. I think that's unique to squad cast a to your point about the competitive landscape and that includes on Android. so we've supported mobile on Android, through the web browsers there for close to two years now, I think two years this month, actually. that's something we're really excited to bring like proper mobile apps for Android and iPhone. that are going to be a complete experience of the squad cast platform, not just the guest experience or not just scheduling or getting your recordings, but the whole thing. so we're really excited to bring that to life. And, some of our technology we're proud to say is patent pending, and that is going to give us and our customers a lot of benefits and advantages to using the squad cast platform on mobile things like progressive upload, make it so that. We don't need your iPhone to store gigs and gigs of wave or MP4 files, right? we can get that up to the cloud and and you can keep on recording for as long as you like. So that's something that's unique to our platform.

Rock:

So it's been really interesting cause you're right, Sam, our landscape for remote recording has become extremely competitive in the past year, which. To us. on some front is like, okay, That is a little threatening. but at the same tone, it's this is a good thing for the industry and our category because it shows that it matters and it wasn't always like that. we were viewed as this little niche tool that was part of a. Niche that is podcasting and we're starting to see the opportunity is much more significant, but when it comes to competition, I think we're embracing it because it's bringing out the best in us, but we're not trying to compete on being a better mouse trap or just adding features for features. Really. I think what it boils down to is we. The innovators in this space, a lot of the features that are now common, such as backups, progressive upload which is patent pending. So I'm not sure it's apples to apples comparison from the other options, but all of those things and a few other things That's what's expected and normal now, but squad CAS was the first to do that. And I think we're just now learning that we're not doing a good enough job of vocalizing that and planting our flag on all those things. So I absolutely think we'll continue to be innovators in this space because we're not again, not yet. Build a better mouse trap. We're just trying to be ourselves. We're trying to be authentic. We're trying to be different. And I think that's really what it comes down to is our authenticity. Zach and I, of course are huge fans of the podcast space, but we're also independent creators ourselves. We have a podcast between two mikes, so we live and breathe this stuff. And I think that is a differentiator,

Sam:

One of my observations in the market as trends. So for example, Buzzsprout have started to add in audio mastering. Anchor is now free. As a hosting service into Spotify. The script adds the ability to one click publish to multiple platforms lip sync, or Buzzsprout headliner allows you to take clips and audio gram create them, but also. Segments from what I'm trying to say is that I'm beginning to notice that what I call the technology escalator, where what used to be a unique service hosting is now becoming a commoditized service. Do you find that one of your biggest challenges is going to be, how do you integrate more of squad cast into the workflow of podcasters? Is that something that's on your thought process?

Rock:

that's absolutely. Initiative that we have coming up. cause we understand that our place in the podcast production workflow is the middle, is that production that recording, but we want to play nicely and empower our customers to be able to seamlessly go from one step of the workflow to the next. because we're right in the middle, there's that pre-interview so we have a scheduling system baked in, but we'll start to make that a little bit more. Robust by including integrations with scheduling tools like Calendly. But on the post-production side, we also have plans to offer integrations for file sharing services like Dropbox and Google drive. And then some of the post-production tools, you mentioned, having something be automatically sent to D script or even to other places. So we absolutely have that in mind. And really, I think that's where focus really comes into play here. we get asked a lot What's next? Are you going to build an editing tool? How about hosting? In our opinion, those are pretty solved problems. I get why people think that we would just want to expand the offering and keep it all in one place. But what we seen is that we still don't think anyone's really nailed the remote recording of, making it extremely easy and seamless to where people are like, why would I even want to record this in person anymore? it's way better and easier for squad casts. And I think we're close,

Sam:

So one of the other challenges around I guess we've seen it clubhouse, Twitter spaces Spotify is acquisition, a locker room, renamed green room. and there's plenty of others that are going to be coming around up here. LinkedIn's got a solution. So this live audio. Capability with a social network wrapped around it with a recording function. Okay. Fully understand that the quality of the recording is going to be down low, but that's just a time thing. They will increase the quality over time. How do those platforms and that real life recording? As new entrance into your space affect you at all, if at all,

Zach:

I'm not sure it is same thing, Sam cause all of those people recording locally is what it's gonna take to get the quality we're experiencing now on squad cast. you would need some of our IP to do something like that. what we're thinking about is the exact opposite where rather than creating a social network, the creators that we serve have worked really hard and are working all the time to create amazing communities for them. So providing a way for the audience that the creators we serve have connections with to be part of the recording session on squad cast and have have engagement opportunities there. Podcasters are very hungry for audience engagement opportunities. It's not something that comes as part of the podcast platform by default, you have to go and seek it in a Facebook group or on clubhouse for that matter, or a lot of different places. That's awesome. but we want to provide a unique experience for the audience to engage. As people are recording big caveat here. We never want this to be a distraction to the conversation that we work hard, to have a flowing dialogue on this quad cast platform. But we think there's a sweet spot there where we can provide creators a new way to engage with their audience and also have a potential for monetization opportunities like you would have with a live show. like our friend drew Ackerman has the sleep with me podcast here in the east bay alongside us. And before the pandemic, he was starting to ramp up doing these live shows and having a lot of success there. the other end of that spectrum is pod save America. Sell out these venues and have live shows. So I think that there's opportunities there for both audience engagement, but also monetization for creators. And I think that'll help with the continued professionalization of podcasting.

Sam:

Okay. So putting your other crystal ball hats on, then where do you see the podcast industry going forward? what are your thoughts

Rock:

So Zach pitched me on the idea that became squad cast. And for me, it was really easy to get excited about because it was rooted in helping podcasters. back in 2016, when we had this conversation and really started to make those preliminary steps to building and creating squad cast it seemed inevitable that podcasting was going to become more mainstream and only a matter of time. But as you may remember, Sam, even back in 2016, there was still a questionnaire. People didn't even know what a podcast was. So they would pull people and get back, 30, 40% didn't even know what a podcast was, let alone where to find it or what it was about. So that was mind blowing to us. But nonetheless we've come a long way. so I do think, like Zach said that we're seeing the further professionalization of podcasters and independent creators an article that I saw shout out to James Cridland in the good work. Pod news. I forget the author's name. It'll come to me in a second, but they basically compared to what's happening in podcasting, similar to what happened in indie filmmaking that it's a hard job. it's not easy, but there are paths to monetization in a major way because there's big money that's coming into it. And so we absolutely expect that there's going to be there already is, but there's going to be even more of an explosion of independent media created within the next decade. Thanks to technology. That's leveling the plane. squad cast to make it super easy where independent creators can compete with these larger media companies what the quality of their show.

Sam:

Zach. Can you hear

Zach:

it from you? I definitely agree with the professionalization. that's already happening. We've already seen that momentum and it's gaining steam. So monetization opportunities like I described, but also reoccurring revenue for premium content on Spotify and apple podcasts is an another mainstream way other than advertising. That podcasters can monetize and deepen those relationships with their audience. So I think that there's a lot to look forward to in that regard. also, the community is a really big part of what makes podcasting special. and Eager to continue investing into the community because I don't think anybody wants to see that kind of disintegrate as podcasting grows to a greater and greater scales. but it seems pretty magical that people can get people's attention for these long form conversations and in a world where people's attention spans are just getting shorter and shorter. and I think that filmmaking is another one that, that comes to mind where people, will sit and engage with this content for hours and hours. we have a lot of vision at squad cast for what we can do to help the creators really rise to these occasions and continue professionalization of their show. if you're going to have an ad relationship where you're gonna engage with your audience with premium content, the quality really needs to be there at that point. your audio is a product. So people really care. the user experience, the listener experience of that. and we're really excited that we can serve so many people who are already succeeding at that today. but just more and more of that I think is is really exciting. And rock said we lower the barrier to entry quite a lot these days, but, until we can say that, Okay, Google record a podcast and connect me with Sam and rock and record that. I think that's something I'm eager to see. We have a blog post from several years ago where I hypothesized about that. all of these smart speakers are also very high quality, smart microphone, arrays, and people have access to those technologies, that technology where you don't really think about this little thing on my shelf as a microphone that's probably on par with this. so I think that the pieces are there and it's up to us as the technologists and innovators to to really glue them together so that people can have these great experiences.

Sam:

Excellent. I know, I fully agree with you. It's got to get simpler, but more, inclusive into what we can do with this stuff. Now, before we go how can people get involved with version four?

Zach:

we'd love to help out wherever you're at with your podcast journey. we're available@squadcast.fm. we're on socials at squad cast FM. We're very involved in the podcast community, so we're happy to help even if you're not recording on squad casts. we have webinars, we have a bunch of resources to help people get started and make quality content for them. V4 is a web app. So everybody gets the latest and greatest. Every time we roll a major update, we've already had two minor updates rollout since then to work in some feedback around little things I mentioned the pronouns before, making sure that's even clearer for people to make use. And we're really eager to gain feedback from the community about how they're using mastering to save time in post-production or now I can have panel discussions with up to 10 people and some producers on the call. So there's all these use cases that we're really excited To bring to life. I know our friend, Brian Barletta was eager to do screen recording, right? So there's all these use cases that are really exciting to us. And we'd love to help out with your show, wherever you're at and if you're going to be a podcast movement. So as our team look for us at all the community events as things start to come back on.

Sam:

3rd of August there, shocker Brian asks when you never expect that I've got to Bray it, shout out to Brian. I think he's on every podcast everywhere that, he's just on everything Zach rock. Thank you so much for your time. Congratulations on version four.

James:

rockin Zach from squad cast FM, we are of course sponsored by riverside.fm, which is jolly good. And I have to say one of the things that I'm spotting about. But the Riverside platform is just that it is becoming just a little bit more smart looking, quite a lot of the raw edges with some of the interface has been tie-dyed up an awful lot, which is really good. the new media board is rather lovely. So you can do things this if you want. Powered by Riverside FM and all of that. So it's a very smart and cool thing. competition in this space is always a good thing. many congrats to rockin, Zack, and many congrats to to the folks Riverside FM as well.

Sam:

Now, another friend of the show is The podcast hosts themselves claims it's the first podcast hosts to recertify for the IAB podcast guidelines. Now wake me up when you tell me what's going on, James. Cause this sounds dull as

James:

dishwater. There is a there was a set of rules out there called the IEB podcast guidelines, and they basically work out whether or not that particular download is really a download and should be counted as a download. That's what the IAB do. And there are quite a lot of podcast hosts out there that. IB certified, which means that they've had their code looked at and checked to make sure that I'm what they call a download really is a download. now everybody is certified for version 2.0 with the exception of two companies. And 2.0 was the earlier podcast guidelines that were changed at the beginning of this year. But companies Libsyn and captivate and Buzzsprout. are all compliant with the IB podcast guidelines version 2.0, the first company to certify for the 2.1 standard, which is just a little bit tweaked was a company called from Germany called Julep hosting. And Wishkah is the first podcast hosts. That's actually gone to the IAB and said, we've already got version 2.0, but we would to certify for 2.1, please. Here's all of our code. Does it look right? and I think it's good. I'm wondering whether everybody has to recertify as part of their deal or whether or not you can just sit on your hands and do version 2.0. for the rest of your life. I don't know. so might be an interesting question to ask the folks at the IAB about that. I do know though that Triton is using version 2.1 for their podcast ranker and their podcast ranker. the change between version two and version 2.1, essentially pulled audience figures down by about 10%. And some of it's very boring and to do with IP version six and everything else, but it's just, something worthwhile keeping in mind that even if a company is IAB, Certified, you should probably check that their IB certified to version 2.1. And if they're not version 2.1 by the end of the year, then I think we should be asking questions about podcast hosts.

Sam:

now talking of numbers dropping couple of weeks ago, we reported that the iOS app. had a bug in it or maybe a feature. We, I don't know whether you, which way you want to call it which wasn't reporting the number of downloads. Now it looks like the latest version 14.7 is going to be dropped, I believe.

James:

Yes. there's a couple of things going on. there's an upgrade to Macko S and there's also an upgrade to the iOS operating system. iOS is obviously what you run on an iPod or an I phone. and it's that, but we need to wait for that bug to go away. And apple have said it's a bug by the way. regardless of whether or not we joke around as to whether it's a feature or not, it is definitely a bug. That's what apple say. Apple has never wrong. so we're expecting that. I'm guessing in the next couple of weeks what I did notice is that the new version of makeover. has got up to a RC status. That's released candidate, which is basically, this is it. This is finished. We just want to check that everything works. And my guess is that we'll see that relatively quickly for iOS as well.

Sam:

okay. I'll be ready to download it when it's ready. Now I have a little bit of a bug bear with apple still with their channels. So this week I was trying to share. The river radio channel that I have with my team internally. And I went into the iOS app. There is no way to share a link to your channel. The only way to find a link to your channel is to go into the podcast connect, go down to the bottom. And there is a minor little link that you can find that. Actually use. And that is the only way to find the link to your channel. Otherwise, from a public facing view, there is no way to share your link to your channel with this. No,

James:

I did find one way of sharing that link and that is. The apple podcast app on your Mac? No one does obviously, but if you were to use the apple podcasts app on your Mac, then you can right. Click the channel icon and copy the link from there. so that's another way of doing it, but another way of doing it, Sam is to visit your podcast. On pod news. because I have done some hacking. I have no idea how long this is going to last because I'm using a very, definitely not official API, but nevertheless, if you go and visit any podcast on the pod news website, if it is in a channel. And we've updated it in the last two weeks. and that bit's important too. then you'll see the podcast channel linked and you can link straight to that as well from there. and it's super frustrating that apple haven't got that in their public API and I've got no idea how long the hack that I'm using is going to run out. but I'm monitoring all kinds of things, so we'll see what happens there, but it's been quite interesting playing around with that for most of the day. I have to say today, Sam I'm sure it's a worthwhile exercise, but we will

Sam:

see. Excellent. apple just put it in as a feature so that people can share actually subscribed to the API and subscribe to channels. Make it easy. Okay, moving swiftly on. I noticed this week, James, you were having a little bit of a meltdown, I think is the way to look at it. Your passport is sitting next to you, burning a hole in your pocket. You can't go anywhere. So you've decided to write about the rest of the world. Instead. Now you started off by writing that the number of us Latino podcast listeners has soared. Why is it sore, James? Let's start off with that.

James:

So this is us Latino podcast listeners. And it is up by the number of listeners is up by 44% year on year, according to new data from Edison research, which is really good to see 36% of that. Adults and are listening every month. and the Latino audience is a very special audience for American advertisers and worthwhile chasing. lots of new data from there. Good. There was also data from Australia as well. Wasn't the same.

Sam:

it seems you always eat. I can call you that now. love your smart speakers. Have you got one? James? are you

James:

there? No, I've got 400 million of the things. there's one just over there. So I have to be careful what I say, but yes, new research again from Edison research, they've been busy and commercial radio Australia show that. Well, a quarter of people own one here in Australia. People own one in the U S we're a little bit behind the U S in terms of that, but where it's so way of front in front of the U S in many other reasons. So that's all. Okay. the research doesn't mention it. Doesn't mention podcast consumption. But 41% of people say that they use it to get the news and even higher say that they use it smart speaker to get music as well. And so obviously some of that is going to be linked into both radio and to podcasts in there.

Sam:

Now keeping the theme of going around the world in Portland the Russian podcast festival is going to be free on YouTube between July the 16th and 18th. So imminently this weekend with more than 70 speakers and the Paris podcast festival, that's going to take place. Toby they've announced, but their podcast competition is open now for entries until July the 21st.

James:

their competition is open to anybody who makes podcasts in France or anyone internationally that makes a podcast in the French language. So if that is you then ball Shaws and go and enter. I don't really know very much more French than that, but still, but there we are. to Scotland's a new podcast studio has opened in Wishaw. I had to look on a map where was, it's a little bit Southeast of Glasgow. and it is called a town. In Wikipedia. So therefore she's not very big at all. and a bunch of data from Spain as well, or from Spanish language podcasters.

Sam:

The data from 3063 participants showed an increase of people listing on computers. Again, like you in Australia on smart speakers, it's perhaps a result of the pandemic at home. But again, it shows that, podcasting is growing around the world. We've even had some Arabic interest

James:

as well. James. Yes. I spoke at an Arabic podcast conference last week, which was really good, really exciting to be part of a very different feeling virtual conference and. Arabic sports podcast network, which I'm going to mispronounce his studio owl. Jim Howell has launched seven new shows, covering a number of sports and that's basically, shows around the English premier league and NFL. I don't think that they're mad enough in terms of AFL, the Australian football league. but they are covering quite a lot of that kind of stuff. So again, really interesting to see just the growth of podcasting going on around the world, which is really good.

Sam:

Before we move on. You also ended the keynote, I think, at the African podcast festival a couple of weeks back. How was that? Cause I haven't caught up with you on that

James:

one. Yes. in fact that is tomorrow as we record. so I'm moderating the radio days of Africa, the final day of that, which is tomorrow, but you can go to radio days, africa.com and catch up on all of the speakers. You might guess that it's an awful lot about radio. Just as useful for podcasters as well and worth a look at so worthwhile having a look at that. and I just did something for a podcast conference yesterday, the nappy content cast conference, which was an American one. and again, talking to a bunch of folk like Netflix, but not Netflix about how they're using podcasting and stuff like that. If you're a a nappy member that's Nat P E a, then you can go and watch that on there. Sorry,

Sam:

my spelling has got to off the Richter nappy

James:

and a T P E. I know. I actually said when I started it, I said welcome to the Nat PE content cost. And they said, no, it's nappy. And I said, that's P and they said, no, it's not. Okay. As in diaper. Okay. That's good.

Sam:

I do love the American

James:

Sundays. Exactly. Now

Sam:

coming back to Blighty. I had the child's catch up with Nick Hilton. He's launching on the 21st, next week, a new podcast called the town new too much which is a really interesting podcast. It's about, Cheltonham a town in the middle of England. Couldn't get more British if you tried. and it's basically where GCHQ is based. And it's a fascinating podcast series that he's launching about how basically Cheltonham is where all the double agents and all the spine goes on in the UK. But the veneer of it is this beautiful English countryside and beautiful towns set in the middle of England. So I caught up with Nick and he told me all about it.

Nick:

it's a documentary about a place. it's a thematic SQL to a podcast. I just last year I was inspired, with that story to tackle the kind of classic documentary format is almost a biographical format, but to make the protagonist a place, a town rather than a person. so this area is the town that knew too much is about children it's, which you know, many people will know is a Regency town in the Cotswolds in England. It's synonymous with Sort of middle-class very respectable, but at the same time, it's also home to GCHQ, which is Britain's kind of spy center. and that kind of is the fundamental complex at the heart of the series. It's examining how. Tom, it could be a kind of synonym for social conformity plays home to all these spies. and because through time, there are moments where those two things come into conflict where kind of things slip through the gaps, double agents suspicious deaths. And then there's also all the history of, every town in Britain. We're lucky enough to have a rich history that almost every town has an interesting history. There's all sorts of interesting things. In Sheldon, which kind of run through the story of GCHQ. so that's basically what the series is that goes back right to the beginning. through Regency England, through spar mania, the madness of king George through to Bletchley park, the foundation of GCHQ. and then it ends with Edward Snowden and those explosive leaks about the NSA and GCHQ, which

Sam:

you mentioned a few of the people you forgot to mention, obviously, Lewis, Carroll and Alan Turing

Nick:

Alan Turing, I guess it's particularly interesting right now because of the 50 pound notes. And he was obviously key at Bletchley park and Bletchley park was not in chapters in Milton Keynes, but it went on to become GCHQ. So it's very much part of the story of GCHQ. it in many ways, the story of Cheltonham and Lewis Carroll the looking glass of Alice through the looking glass was supposedly in John King's, which is where honestly, Dell who the original VALIS her grandfather, who was Dean of cross judge college. He was living there and Sean King. So it has all these kinds of historic links, as I think a lot of towns the Harbor kind of rich and long history and storied history, you know, Royal visits and aristocracy.

Sam:

now I believe your girlfriend comes from Cheltonham. Is that where you chose children moment? Because you could have chosen, as you said, any town within Britain with such rich history. why chunk? Just because of your girlfriend or any other reason?

Nick:

No, th that is just the reason. I did this first series about east Grinstead, which. very near where I grew up. I went to school there and it made sense because I just knew it was such an interesting story. And then after that, I was in the market for a sequel because I thought, you know what? I need to capitalize. I need to strike while the iron is hot and I have some listenership. So I started thinking about why wants to do for SQL. There's not enough. I told that story, you can't flog a dead horse. so I wanted to start thinking about it and I have this kind of working thesis that. Almost every town in Britain has enough interesting stories. If you can get into the, kind of the detail of it, you can unearth enough. just happened that I had made most of the podcast in gentlemen because I would have been staying there with her family and we'd spent three or four months there. so I'd been working on that podcast, but also work walking around the streets of chatting and, she grew up a thousand meters probably from the donuts. it just seemed a no brainer that because it's not despite all my requirements in terms of having this sort of underbelly, this sort of double life be able to look at the surface on the kind of sub Terranea and I just had access to it as well. It's very hard to approach a story when you do it. Have any access to the place you don't know the place. you don't have an emotional root in, and this podcast opens with the two of us going up onto a local hill and looking down at the other town. And I I wanted to make sure that it had an emotional connection because it was quite important. The previous podcast, I think, in terms of the credibility locally, it was that people felt I had a connection with the area. So I'm using. For that purpose. but she consented to it. So that's it. Okay. Good.

Sam:

Now Pato itself, your production company, how long have you been in podcasting and why did you move out of journalism? Because you famously wrote for the guardian, the independent you've written for the spectator, the new statesman. So a real journalistic background. So what made you move over to the podcasting?

Nick:

I didn't really move per se because I did most of those, most of the writing I've done has been done was at the same time, this being a professional podcast, I'm lucky that I've been. professional podcasts, pretty much all my career because I did various things after university, I did various bits and bobs and I did mainly multimedia stuff. and thought probably the video was the way I would go with things because it had been something I'd been interested in. but after doing various internships and kind of short contract stuff I needed a more solid job cause I was working at that time. working in a bookshop so I got hired as the broadcast editor of the spectator. at that point when I was probably. 2223, something that. and I ideally, they wanted me to do video and podcasts, but very quickly it became apparent that they didn't have the resources and they didn't have the team, basically the size of team either by the types of journalistic posts personnel, but particularly in terms of technical personnel to do that. anything the scale required to make it viable, but they did have the ability to do podcasts and they wanted us to do a daily podcast, as well as the weekly podcasts. They want us to launch new podcasts to represent the different areas of the magazine. So that job, basically, even though it wasn't designed to be that it became a podcast exclusive job. And that was so I did that for two years in house, and that was how I became a kind of professional podcaster pretty much straight away. but I don't see the distinction. Between journalism meant podcasting. my podcasts are very journalistic. They're very written. They're very researched. They're very interview heavy, basically all the things I would do for feature journalism I do for the podcast. Do I just happen to then read out and use other people's voices directly, but all the approach is the same and I've tried not to be someone who's, Either resentful about not being a splashy print journalist cause you can do such interesting things in terms of storytelling and journalism through podcasts. I don't think it needs to be, one or the other. so then I left spectator started Pardot. I, same time I, or maybe six months later I joined the new statesman as their podcast editor, which I did for two or three years up until earlier this year and I've just run the company side-by-side and it was only last year that I. started doing my own stuff. and that was because I'm just cheap talent. that, that was really the only reason I just had a bit of time cause the pandemic set in and suddenly I wasn't socializing or anything and I thought I'll do something productive with this time and I'm here and I know why I want to do

Sam:

So how do you go about putting a budget for something like this? And how'd you go about thinking of the monetization of this podcast? do you have goals or do you just, put it out there and see what happens? she'll process.

Nick:

I do, I was, I would say I didn't really put together a budget for this and really put together a budget for the previous one. And in terms of the monetization, I'm not going to monetize it is the reality. I obviously could the advertising on it through any of the many people who run podcasts advertising, but I have used these podcasts, the previous one on this one. I will use them as a cooling cost, both in my production company. And for me as a writer, as a broadcaster. And I tried to find a balance about what I would consider. A good financial outcome. And I just think that unless we were talking about figures that I don't think we're going to be available to me for, one or 2000 pounds up front, which is all that the CPMs could really reliably generate for me. It wasn't worth the imposition that advertising would have on the listener. I would rather the listeners had a keen listening experience. Now I'm obviously in a luxurious position where. I can make this podcast on my own dime and I can spend some money on it and I can spend a lot of time on it and not necessarily need to make any direct money out of it. And I know that a lot of podcasts aren't in that position, but for me podcast advertising is such a complex situation. it doesn't feel right to have a ton of programmatic or even, host read adverts on a podcast this what I'm trying to make it just for people's entertainment. so I'm not going to run advertising on it is the long and short of it and I'm not going to make any money from it. and that someone wants to buy it adaptation rights or, do anything else. But that's down the road. I don't worry about it upfront, so I don't spend very much money on it. It's the key,

Sam:

I'm a big advocate of actually I think advertising in podcasting is awful and I think it will die out. I think there's a move swiftly towards subscription-based podcasting. I think. People are going to get used to paying for quality content. And I think Apple's just turned it on. So people are a little bit in there behind the curve, but I think in a year, I think people would be prepared. to pay you 1 99 an episode or something that. Would that be something that you would consider going forward for the next version of a podcast?

Nick:

I would treat every project is discreet and take a bespoke approach to advertising. And I, I do run a lot of podcasts with advertising. This is just a specific thing where for me it doesn't feel right. I wouldn't rule out doing a subscription based model and assets gets integrated into places. I'm always a bit reluctant to do it because I do still see podcasts as a free and open medium. And that people have that choice. distribution platforms. I the people have access to it without requiring a television license or requiring, your Netflix subscription. So I like what podcasting used to be, and that's kind of important to me and I am relatively ideological about this. so I don't know, but if the money was right and and asked me to do it, I think all my principals would go hang. But I, at the moment, I don't really have any plans to do that. But The thing that would learn me would be the idea of upfront cash. I'm not really interested in earning 1 99 every time someone wants to listen to my podcast, but if I have the money upfront to make certain editorial choices and commits different amounts of time and different amounts of money for different things, then I would probably. Be seduced by that.

Sam:

Okay. Going back to the actual podcast itself, the town that knew too much, what was the most surprising thing you learned from actually the research you did into the podcast? Or what was the most interesting guest to you?

Nick:

Let me just think for a second. personally I'm excited by the middle episode, which is a sort of intimate. So the previous focus I did the talented and stair or six episodes long, I think I personally am a big evangelist for a short series with short episodes. this one's going to be seven episodes because I wanted to do a middle episode, which is something different. and that's The story of the wishing fish pot, which is a fish statue in Chapman, but it's also the story of masquerade and kit Williams which is a story I've always loved. if people don't know. Treasure hunt built into a children's book called masquerade, and it was a golden head buried under the earth. This is in the late 1970s. and I've always found that kind of fascinating and romantic and Kate Williams is a really interesting character. And I have always also wanted to do a podcast puzzle hunt, a treasure hunt. and I had this idea a year or two ago doing something, using lots of different internet mediums including podcasting and creating Puzzlement. and that's something I might revisit in the future, but anyway, I found a team of software developers who make puzzle hunts, and I found them through a car and I make a podcast for their software company they will work for. And I basically said, do you want to have a go at this kind of building a puzzle into the, into this documentary about masquerade? and so that's, that's going to be really interesting to see how it's received by. the public. I really hope armchair puzzlers, cause they're a great community and I've got to know them a little bit enjoy it and find it challenging, but doable. and and that's just something I've never seen it before and in podcasting and it will have a real world prize that's you know, that you can win at the end of it. that was quite exciting. I didn't know, in terms of the best guests, I dunno. Jeff who's a brilliant writer, brilliant non-fiction writer grew up in Shelton, immense, and we just had that kind of long conversation. It's going to be interspersed throughout this year throughout the series. It's not about any one thing, but he's just a fascinating guy and I know that some people just think. One of the great writers living today. who else is good? There's some great. The Snowden stuff has, I've got a lot of, you and McCaskill who was in the room with Snowden and Laura portraits. when that kind of all went down, Alan Rusbridger, who was editing the guardian, reflecting on that. so David Omangi was running GCHQ in the nineties. it's been some good guests in the series, I think. And my favorite guests is probably a piece of picket who is a retired police inspector who ran special branch and Herefordshire at the time that Jeffrey prime links, Soviet spy, who's the central figure of the series, even though it's not a bout him, His story is unfolded over multiple episodes and frames. a lot of the discussion Peter and was that was working on this case. You can have a a local policeman who of got sucked into dealing with this massive international story. and it's just fascinating to speak to someone who was, just so close to history in that moment. but otherwise you could walk past the industry and not know that anything happened. that's probably how he likes it. I think I have to say, I think he loves the glamour of the story. it's just the biggest case that he ever works by. A hundred times. it's just such an unusual case for a local police officer, not involved in espionage or anything to have to deal with. so he's probably my favorite guests at the whole series, but there's some great guests.

Sam:

last question for me, Nick, given your time in podcasting and podcasting is having a Renaissance right now. Where do you see podcasting going

Nick:

I dunno, I don't know about this Renaissance, Sam, to be honest with you. I've long been a advocate for podcasting. In the future becoming a B media, a subsidiary medium of audio streaming. I think that has to be the direction. It goes not really live radio, but something more discourse. I've not really been satisfied by clubhouse as Spotify green rooms as a kind of solution to that, they they lack the The spontaneity that I think is required to make it work. and I would probably look to something more discord or Twitch kind of things that have come out of gaming culture to be the, a medium for which podcast is a subsidiary of the medium as a way of redistributing and reusing your content as TV has done, as film has done, as music has done, as everyone has done, podcasting is a B, medium masquerading. Isn't a medium. so that's where I see it going at the moment. I think. Last year we had for me personally, I can only speak to my own experiences, but I think it generally holds up for the UK podcasting. We had a pretty good year because events had a terrible year. And I think a lot of budgets were redirected towards podcasting that might otherwise not have been in. And that's my space in the market is more of a corporate level. You need a healthy corporate ecosystem before you can build a healthy editorials ecosystem. the BBC will always be able to fund some podcasts. Spotify will always go sponsor podcasts, but most of the production companies, bigger ones in mine are making, 50% plus of that money from corporate work. and so all the pitches that they do for BBC or the Spotify and Amazon or whoever, they're all those pictures that fail as well as the pictures that succeed are being subsidized by the corporate ecosystem. It was really good last year. I think it's getting a bit difficult at the moment. I'm starting to see that people have adjusted to the work from home lifestyle. They've realized that's, you can't make people engage with these podcasts in the same way. You can make people engage with internal meetings with conferences, events. There's no open bar in podcasting. And obviously anytime that finance gets tough marketing budgets are one of the first things to be slashed. We saw it in 2008, we'll say it again. I can see it belt tightening, but I think will hurt the corporate marketplace. And I think that will how they have a slowing effects across the podcast ecosystem. So I'm not wildly optimistic. I know that I'm a seen as a podcast, gluten stor and a pessimist, and I'm not an evangelist of podcast in and of themselves. I don't think there's anything special about podcasts. They're just a medium for telling stories any other medium. but I think there's a lot of things to be happy about in terms of the money that's coming in. But I think there's a lot of things to worry about as well.

Sam:

Nick Hilton, can you remind everyone where they can find this wonderful podcast that's coming out next Wednesday?

Nick:

you should be able to find it anywhere that you listen to podcasts, just search for the town that knew too much. and it's out next Wednesday, 20%.

Sam:

And you've also got a url@thetownpod.com as well.

Nick:

that just redirects to my medium, where you can find episode notes and more

Sam:

Nichols. And thank you so much for your time. Good luck. Next Wednesday. I'll be listening and be certainly glued to each episode.

Nick:

Thanks Sam.

James:

Nick Helton talking about the town that knew too much. BBC radio Gloucestershire is based in the same building as GCHQ in Cheltenham. So it's his beautiful estate building that you're talking about and they share the same canteen. So you could imagine that. That you're there and you're walking in and you've got all of these shady looking spies at one table, and then you've got the morning show from a BBC radio Gloucester or one of the other tables. It's the most incredible thing I have been there once actually. I went there for a Christmas party. I have no idea why I was invited, but I went there for a Christmas party and they put on a show and it was all very good. Fun. And but very strange going and basically this beautiful estate house in the middle of Gloucestershire. there we go. Uh, podcasts that I should listen to because I'm sure that I would enjoy the town that knew too much.

Sam:

now let's move on a little bit. The bit I like most tech corner. This is where you get your sleeves rolled up and you have got your sleeves rolled up this week because you've been playing around with pod Chase's API. What have you been doing with that now?

James:

so I used to show rankings and things like that. And hosts and guests and all that kind of stuff from the pod chaser API within pod news, podcast pages, and a couple of months ago, I deprecated that feature while I rebuilt all of that. And finally got round to understanding how the new pod chaser API works. It uses a thing called sparkle and sparkle is a way of doing database. Queer is over the internet and it's very clever, but my goodness me hurt my head. not helped by the fact that some of the documentation was well, I think it was pretty clear that I was the first person to be doing any documentation, any developing on that. so it was a little bit of fun, but anyway, it's all back now, which is nice. and And I've learned an awful lot about sparkle. Ask me anything about sparkle. no,

Sam:

I won't. but where can people go and see the implementation? So if they wanted to look at what you've done,

James:

So if you just visit the pod news website and do a search for, I dunno, pod land, for example, then you will see that there are some ratings in there. possibly. I say that I'm not entirely convinced that certainly ratings for pod news. Let's see if anybody has bothered creating this show on pod chaser, because it'd be slightly embarrassing if I say that. And actually nobody has actually done that. so let's have a quick look and let's see. No, we've got four ratings and our score is

Sam:

excellent. Thanks mom. Thanks dad.

James:

Five out of five. So there you go. so that's lovely to end up seeing that, and it lists me as host you as host and editor and Chris Stevens as music composer.

Sam:

I wonder where all the Satoshis were going now. I know Now, moving on to other people who are doing stuff in the tech world, we are talking about our friends. Of course, Adam Curry and Dave Jones. They've been working on something called cross-platform comments for podcast episodes. Tell me more.

James:

So when Joe Rogan moved from YouTube which is really where his podcast was over to Spotify, a lot of people really missed the fact that you could go into the comments section and talk with other Joe Rogan fans. if you can imagine such a horrible thing. One of the things that podcasting 2.0 is wanting to do is to have comments for individual episodes and individual podcasts, but make those comments so that they don't lock you into one particular podcast app. So make those comments. So they work everywhere, whatever podcast app you're using. They're making it sound very complicated by using words like activity, pub, and matrix and other exciting things. and I think they're wanting to use a block chain or something, but still, but the idea behind it at least is very exciting. And I would really like there to be a open way of being able to comment on podcast episodes and that sort of thing in whatever app anybody's using. So that will be really cool if they can get that up and running

Sam:

You used to be able to do cross comment platform links with ping backs and trackbacks so I don't know if that has any value in a tool, I did ask Dave Jones many weeks ago, about the ability to comment on a episode and then have that pushed out with somewhere Twitter, with a timeline. That would be cool because then people could then comment on multiple different places, but it all linked back to the source.

James:

I think one of the things that has confused matters is that there are some people in the podcast index social group who really want live chat among podcast listeners, which is one thing, and there are other people. In that group that want comments that live forever in there. And I think it's just been a bit of a bunfight over who of those who of those thought that they had the better idea. but personally I'm really excited for. Comments that live forever. And so weirdly that was the one thing that SoundCloud used to do really well. So if you were listening to a track and then the drums came in, you could comment where the drums came in and say brilliant drumming or It might've been hopefully we'll get to see a bunch of that sort of thing

Sam:

Now we were talking about apple earlier. apple has made some clarifications to new show submissions with the apple podcast connect. by default, when you submit a new show, it will appear in the API. So your show will appear in other podcast apps too. But if you want opt-out, you'll now be given a confirmation message to ensure you understand that the show would only be available on apple podcasts.

James:

I think what they're doing is that they're fixing some of the really quite poor UX in the apple podcasts connect to make it really clear. If you uncheck this box, you will not appear anywhere else. and there's a, another piece of UX that they're also fixing, which is when you when you want to launch a new podcast, it asks you whether you want a podcast with, or without an RSS feed. and of course you want one with an RSS fit because you want to plug in Buzzsprout or your favorite podcasts. Which has probably Buzzsprout into the system and so that again was a very complicated piece of UX that they added into the apple podcasts connect. So they've spent some time making that simpler and easier to understand, and I think that's a good thing. so a handclap to you apple, even if it is a slightly slow hand clap for missing out in the first place.

Sam:

but didn't, we talk about Spotify last week and also they offering a similar thing, which is the ability for not having your RSS.

James:

So this is anchor. they are talking about you will have to check a box to turn on an RSS feed. Good. Cause that'll probably mean that some of the rubbish that's an anchor won't get onto the rest of the podcast landscapes. So that's all fine. What I have noticed over the last month is that it's been significantly fewer new podcasts being added into apple podcasts. I don't quite know why that is. Because as far as I can understand ANCA, hasn't put that new policy in place yet. So I don't quite understand that one. it may just be that apple podcasts connect is just too complicated and that may be the reason why apple is making a couple of UX changes to make it easier and simpler. I don't know, but a worthwhile keeping an eye out in terms of the amount of new shows, which is being added onto apple podcasts. there. But, I think it's been an interesting week because you've had apple podcasts doing a little bit of tweaking there, getting rid of some of the more stupid things from their platform. But also Google has also got rid of the most stupid thing from their platform where Google's algorithm thinks that it knows better than you do where your podcast RSS feed is. You can now override Google. So you can actually go to Google podcast manager and say, no, Google. This is the RSS feed for my podcast. And this is the one that I want you to use forever. So congratulations, Google for after two years, putting that into place so that we don't have to deal with. Google's slightly weird algorithms in the future. lots of these little tweaks. Adopt to a better product. So thank you to Google and to apple for doing that. Excellent.

Sam:

So that's it, James, what have you been doing in Portland

James:

this week? I did a presentation in French yesterday for a client who is in France. I say I did a presentation in French. What I did is I recorded a presentation in English and then it's gone to a translator to him. French subtitles added to it. Cause I am that's mano blot. I'm looking forward to obviously tomorrow to radio days, Africa and taking part in that. And I'm doing an awful lot of talking with people at weird times of the day, at the moment with some new projects and things for the future. So it's all going well, are you allowed to leave the house yet?

Sam:

Probably another day or so. thanks to the NHS track and trace, which the government has now said. It's only advisory, so it's not against the law for me to leave. They just advise me not to leave. I dunno if GCHQ are listening, I may leave the house I make come back in secretly. it really annoyed me cause I couldn't go to the Brit boards with Matt and. My radio station. Also, we had to close down because we had a COVID outbreak. And so we had to move every one of the 40 presenters to work from home, which has been a challenge to say the least this week.

James:

Yes, no, I'm sure. Absolutely. And things aren't going particularly well in terms of the COVID here in Australia as well. Nobody here in, in Australia is vaccinated which is helpful. I think we've got 4%. which is not particularly helpful. there's currently quite a lot of COVID running around, around Sydney's everybody's stuck at home. So if you're stuck at home and listening to this in Sydney, or indeed in Melbourne, which is having a few troubles at the moment, then good luck and hopefully you'll be out soon. here in Brisbane, we've been told that we have to wear masks for another week. I hate wearing masks because it fogs up your glass. What they should build is they should build glasses that don't fog up. Sam, could you fix that if for next week,

Sam:

Newcastle, I'll tell you they've got folk on the time. I'm sure they've invented folk free glasses.

James:

Okay. Very good. there we are. And with that without reference to. who was it? Who's saying that it was Gaza who sang the cover version and it was Lindisfarne who sang the original of fog on the time I would play a clip, but I'm not allowed to we should probably wrap it up. So that's it for this week, you can come back to pod land, anytime, follow us in your podcast app, or we're at www dot Podland dot news. On the web. If you've got

Sam:

any comments or questions, please tweet us at Podland news. If you'd like to be a guest on the show, let us know. And also if you'd to rate us now that James has got the pod chaser API working,

James:

please. I think so. Yes. go to pod chaser.com and search for Podland news. That will be good. If you want daily news, you should get pod news. The newsletter is free@podnews.net. The podcast is in your podcast app or your smart speaker. Our music is from ignites jingles. We are hosted and sponsored by riverside.fm. And Buzzsprout please tell

Sam:

your friends and colleagues about Portland. We'd love if they subscribe by following us and we'll see you all next week in bulk land, but I won't I'm away. So you'll have a special guest.