This is starting to look like Days of Our (Podcast Launching) Lives! In Part 4 of this series I wrote about some challenges I was having with Podserve: Big in Japan and made a passing reference to having challenges also with Clickcaster.
I don’t know if this record of my rather stumbling journey to setting up and operating a podcast site is of any help to others. If nothing else, I hope it encourages others not to give up.
Because the light at the end of the tunnel has appeared, believe me. But before I talk about that, let me just round out my comments in the previous post in this series, about Podserve and Clickcaster.
I’ve been very impressed with the efforts the people at both services have made to solve the problems I’ve had, but I think what I’ve been experiencing is in the ‘too hard’ category. With Podserve, the problem was that when I looked at the display for my show in Internet Explorer 7, the text for new uploads was right but the podcast that was played was not the latest one but the first one I’d uploaded. When someone else accessed it from a different computer, there was no problem. So I tried it in Mozilla Firefox and, from another computer, also in IE7 and had no problem. Great, I thought, then went to upload a new session and got this:
When I fill in the boxes, the Submit button stays greyed out and does not respond. I have emailed the good people at Podserve about this, but I suspect that my problems are unique. And yes, it does the same thing in Firefox.
In fairness to the Podserve people, I’ve been aware that I’ve been participating in alpha testing. And it’s free.
I’m a bit uncomfortable that there are now 270 subscribers. They are not getting anything new, I don’t know how to contact them to give them a new location and I can’t even post a podcast to let them know. Hopefully, those that are interested will still find me – ok, some of them.
Clickcaster seemed to be a more fully developed service, certainly with a more elaborate presentation in terms of the site, the people and so on. They describe their offering in these terms:
We’re dedicated to creating the best turnkey podcasting experience available on the planet. We are currently in public beta, working on cool new features all the time.
Problems started with my attempts to record a podcast. First, after I finally got the recording system to work and recorded a whole session, the page hung and I had to shut the whole computer down to be able to do anything, thus losing the recording I’d done. Then I found I couldn’t record. On the advice of the Clickcaster team I tried their multi-track recorder which did not work at first but worked when I deleted the version of Java I had installed and then re-installed. But the quality of the recording left a lot to be desired and I realised I could do better just recording on my computer directly, using Audacity – an excellent, open source, thereby free, product – and then uploading.
The people at Clickcaster have come back and asked me for some more info to help them improve the service and I hope to get around to obliging them there.
In the meantime, my good friend and colleague Bill Vick has introduced me to the BYOAudio – “the leader in streaming audio solutions” – which is looking good so far. This offers a great array of services and I am very interested in testing the capacity for recording conference calls and then publishing those as podcasts. They have a one month trial for the outlay of $1. This provides most of the functionality and you get the full functionality when you stay subscribed, at a basic cost of $19.95 a month. They also have an affiliate program, which Bill and I have signed up for.
The audio is good. I used the video a day or so and was not greatly impressed with the quality of the images. Quite pixilated. My comparison, same webcam, same computer, is Skype, which is very good.
That said, and from what I’ve seen so far and with initial testing, it looks to me as if BYOAudio could fill a real gap, for me and for others, especially solo and small business operators. At least as far as audio recording and streaming go.
After my recent experiences with podcasting services I’m being a bit wary, but if it does all the things they say it does I reckon it will be great value for me and I’ll be promoting it more strongly.
And for a home base for the podcasts, I’ve started to set up the site for businessbloggingshow.com. Nothing there yet, but should be operational this weekend.
(Update March 5: site is now operational and all previous podcasts have been uploaded – http://www.businessbloggingshow.com)