Getting my podcast up and running.

22 Jul 2008

I recently started a new podcast called Teach With Video. It is my third and I plan on it being long-lasting. My first podcast is called CDS News, and is actually my students’ news show. It began in 2005 and is still going. With CDS News I really only have a vague idea of how many subscribers we have and this is frustrating to me and to my students who work on the show.

CDS News can be found at the iTunes Store, and I write the RSS feed for every show myself. I write it with MS Word and copy my last item and change what needs to be changed for the new show (file name, description, show title, etc.). I inherited this RSS document from the teacher who started the podcast. The original RSS feed was created using a web site that probably doesn’t even exist any more. If you have never dabbled in writing an RSS feed, don’t. It is extremely frustrating because one incorrect letter can make your feed not work.

I recorded my first show for the Teach With Video podcast and copied my RSS feed from CDS News and began changing all of the vital information so that it would work with this new podcast. It didn’t work. Invalid feed. After many tries I gave up and downloaded Podcast Maker. I input the information about the podcast, selected the mp3 file and published the feed to my web site. It was quick and easy. Podcast Maker has a free trial for thirty days and then costs $30. It is worth every penny for its ease of use. I can’t believe I didn’t get it before now. I will never write another RSS feed again.

Over that last two months I spent a lot of time investigating ways to get podcast statistics (specifically, number of subscribers and downloads). I settled on Feedburner. Now that Podcast Maker created my podcast feed (in XML) I set up my Feedburner account for Teach With Video. It took me a while but it was not difficult. Then I submitted my podcast to the iTunes Store. Everything worked great with the exception of my logo not appearing in the iTunes Store. The Feedburner forums say this glitch will work itself out in a few days. When someone subscribes to my podcast they don’t even have any idea that I am using Feedburner. I can check my number of subscribers whenever I want and my podcast works.

The process of setting all of this up was very frustrating for me because I did not know if I was doing it correctly and there was no support available. With Feedburner & the iTunes Store the changes I make do not show up immediately, causing me to doubt if the changes I made were accepted. Even my Twitter & Plurk networks weren’t a lot of help. If you are thinking of starting a podcast or know someone who is I’m here for you. I’ll help.