Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Podcast Hosting Blues

Unfortunately, I had to change my podcast hosing service today.

For anyone interested in listening, it can now be found here. Please note that there's buttons right on the page that allow you to subscribe via iTunes, Yahoo and Google as well as an RSS feed so you can use your own podcatcher.

There are upsides and downsides to the change, so I thought I'd fill in everyone who's interested in bit a 'behind the scenes' info.

Unfortunately, at this time, we're just not able to go with paid hosting. With such a small audience it's just not worth it, and with the host I was with, we'd be spending about thirty dollars a month on a package that was just barely adequate. You see, after signing up with Podbean, I was lead to believe (by not reading the small print) that I'd start with 100mb of storage, get an extra 100mb every month and have 5gb of transfer a month (that, at least was plenty, for a 30 minute podcast, 5 gigs of transfer would give us about 2500 downloads a month).

Unfortunately, after checking the fine print, I found I was only getting 100mb of storage total, meaning I'd have enough storage for about three episodes and would have to delete old episodes in order to make room for the new ones. Given that building an audience requires you to keep a full archive, that was a huge no-no. I also discovered that even though I had 100mb of storage, there was a 30mb per episode limit…meaning that all episodes would have to be under 25 minutes. Another big no-no.

Now, my new host solves all these problems. It's completely unmetered, meaning I have unlimited storage and transfer and there's no file size limit.

The advantages of this are obvious. I seriously doubt we'll ever make an episode longer than an hour, but it means I don't have to watch the clock and cut an episode short at 25 minutes because the file size will be too large to upload.

There are two downsides, however. The first you probably won't notice, and that's the mp3s have to have a bitrate of 96kbps and be mono, not stereo. The stereo thing is no problem, as I was never planning to record in stereo. The 96kbps bitrate, however, means the sound quality technically won't be as good as it can be. To be completely honest, I downloaded a 128kbps podcast and converted it to 96kbps before deciding to switch, and I honestly couldn't tell the difference…especially when the podcast is spoken word.

The one thing you will notice, and I apologize for this, is ads.

Luckily, they're very reasonable. We're talking on 10-15 second ad spot per approx 20 minutes of audio, and I get to choose where they go. So for a 45 minute podcast, that works out as a 15 second ad at the start and another at the very end. It's a pain in the ass, but I'll take less than a minute of ads per hour long podcast for free hosting with unlimited bandwidth. I'd just like to be clear, though. Regular readers will know how I feel about advertising on the internet, so bear in mind I'm not getting paid for those ads, they go to the host to pay my storage and bandwidth.

The other good news is that, as of last night, there is a halfway decent microphone winging it's way to us via UPS, so even with the lower bitrate, expect a major rise in sound quality on the next episode.

So far, the response to the first episode has been…limited…but 100% positive. I hope you'll give it a listen and I hope you'll enjoy it.

If you have any questions, or topics for the podcast you'd like to hear discussed, you can leave a comment here, on the podcast site or drop us an email at melonhelmetpodcast@gmail.com


MC Etcher said...

Glad your new podcast found a home!

You don't have a link to your old podcast anywhere! That was a fun podcast too.

Paulius said...

Believe it or not, I wanted to give it a listen myself, only to discover it had been deleted LAST WEEK due to inactivity.

I don't even have the original mp3s any more...EC4A is lost to the internet wilderness