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Hosting a Podcast from Scratch

Ramón Huidobro
He/Him | #BlackLivesMatter | Joyful developer advocate at CodeSee | Freelance Software Dev | Mozilla Tech Speaker | 🏳️‍🌈 🎤 💜
Originally published at ramonh.dev on ・4 min read

A few months ago, Timea and I started hosting the Gender Equality over Coffee podcast, as part of the Women Techmakers Vienna organisation. It’s been a blast!

Now that we’ve been at it for a while, I wanted to share how we make this podcast happen. Huge thanks goes out to Jason C. McDonald for this very helpful article and to Stefan Haslinger for all your support!

Recording

Right off the bat, Gender Equality over Coffee is a video podcast. Recording will therefore involve not only audio, but also video.

We currently record our episodes on Zoom. The advantages offered by Zoom are:

  • Recording of video and audio.
  • Guests can join using their Zoom client.
  • Zoom is used by loads of folks lately.

Editing

Given we’re dealing with a video podcast, we’re splicing an intro and outtro as well as any tiny edits each episode needs with an open source app called OpenShot.

A way to splice the video clips together making the transitions as seamless as possible is using fade ins and outs: Screenshot of OpenShot in action, showing how to add fade ins and outs

Converting

Using OpenShot, we then export an mp4 or mov video in the ‘1080p 29.9fps’ format. When we tried exporting in 30fps (frames-per-second) format, the sync would break up. Not sure why this happened, but it was consistent! Switching to the 29.9 option eliminated this issue.

We can then use an open source app called VLC to convert the exported video file to mp3.

Once all of that’s exported, we can then upload the video file to YouTube.

Then comes the audio!

Audio file hosting

While we get this podcast off the ground, we’re operating on a volunteer, non-profit basis. Therefore, we’re keeping costs low. One thing I learned from the article posted above is that we can host the episodes for free on Archive.org. This allows us to upload and host themp3 files on their website and link to them from the RSS feed (more on that later 👇).

After it’s processed, we’ve got access to a direct link.

Quick note about uploading to Archive.org, however: It has to be one of CC0, Creative Commons or Public Domain. We ended up going with Creative Commons.

RSS feed

The great thing about RSS is its format being flexible enough to be expanded upon and dynamically generated!

The Women Techmakers Vienna website is built using Jekyll, a static website generator. In our_config.yml file, we define a episode collection, as well as a general set of podcast metadata:

collections:
  podcast_episodes:
    output: true
podcast:
  title: Gender Equality Over Coffee
  description: Let's talk intersectional gender equality from the perspective of organizations and individuals that strive for a more inclusive world.
  url: /podcast.xml
  author: Women Techmakers Vienna
  email: wtmvie@gmail.com
  logo: /img/podcast/logo_feed.JPG
  language: en
  category: Business
  subcategory: Non-Profit
  type: episodic
  explicit: false
  complete: 'no'
  block: 'no'

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We can then define podcast episodes inside the _podcast_episodes folder, write their shownotes using Markdown and metadata:

--------
layout: podcast
title: 0. The what, who and why of Gender Equality over Coffee
author: Women Techmakers Vienna
isStaticPost: true
image: ../podcast/logo.JPG
episode: 0
episodeType: full
explicit: false
length: 394
date: 2020-12-29
audio: host://url_to_episode.mp3
--------

# SHOW NOTES

# TRANSCRIPTION

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You might’ve noticed we’re using a podcast layout in the above markdown. Well, given that this is Markdown data, we can use it to render the show notes as well as audio player in the website!

Here’s the layout:

--------
layout: post
--------

<br>
<audio controls preload='auto' style='width: 100%;'><source src='{{ page.audio }}'></audio>
{{ content }}

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We use an audio tag to play the mp3 file! Here’s how it looks in action.

Deploying this live gives us a working RSS feed!

Transcribing

Making a show as accessible as possible was a pretty important goal for us from the outset.

Below is an example of how the transcripts look:

- **TIMEA** : Hey Ramón!
- **RAMÓN** : Hey Timea!
- **TIMEA** : Let's talk gender equality.
- **RAMÓN** : I love the idea. Gimme a second I just gotta grab my coffee, I hope you've got yours, too!
- **TIMEA** : Yep, right here.

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Transcribing can be a lot of work. One very helpful tip we found is, as previously mentioned, we upload our videos on YouTube. One thing I learned is that you can download the automatically generated YouTube subtitles from YouTube Studio:

Screenshot of YouTube studio, allowing to download subtitles

We can then use these as a basis to clean up the transcriptions. These then go into the show notes and the RSS feed.

Publishing

Last part is getting the podcast out there into the world! What we can do is submit the podcast to different listings, such as:

Up and running!

With that, we’ve been up and going! We just gotta keep at it and let our show evolve and improve over time.

I hope these tips will help you get up and running. I’d love to hear about what your thoughts and experiences are with creating podcasts. Hit me up!

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