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    Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

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    Paeter
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    Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 6th 2012, 11:12 pm

    Sorry for the somewhat overly dramatic subject, but I wanted to attract as many advisers as possible to this topic. Here's what's up:

    I recently changed my billing info with my podcast host (Libsyn), a complex process because I am on an old plan that they don't use anymore. Long story short, I discovered that suddenly I only have a 50MB/month storage capacity for the podcast, which until this forced change I used to have 100MB/month for.

    I e-mailed them about the issue and just got a message back from Libsyn. Apparently the plan I was on was cancelled two years ago and I was grandfathered along until I changed my billing information, at which point I either have to lose half of my storage capacity or more than double what I'm paying to get WAY more than I need. (FYI potential podcasters, they neglected to tell me during this process that this "event" would be triggered by switching my billing info. I am not pleased.)

    So until I figure out a long-term solution, I'll have to cut the bit rate quality of all episodes in half, which I hate having to do.

    As I gauge how bothered people are by the drop in bit rate quality, I'll be trying to get educated on the pros and cons of switching the podcast to a new host. (As I understand, there is tremendous risk of losing listeners when this is done, so it scares the crap out of me.)

    To continue the show at the audio quality I've established for the last couple of years, I need 100MB/month. Currently, I'm paying $6/month for 50MB + stats. The next plan up with Libsyn is $15/month for 250MB + stats.



    I need advice on what to do. The long term options I see now include:

    1. Continuing with Libsyn and cutting the audio quality of episodes in half, potentially losing or failing to gain listeners due to the audio quality of the show.

    2. Continuing with Libsyn and paying $9 more a month. (Spirit Blade Productions has already been in the red since day one, so this obviously would frustrate me further.)

    3. Finding hosting service elsewhere, risking a large exodus of subscribed listeners in the transition.


    Any insight or opinions you may have on this topic would be very welcome. Thanks everybody.


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    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Nathan James Norman on February 7th 2012, 12:41 am

    Just my thoughts, take them as that...

    I'm thinking you could find another hosting service but instead of just switching to another server, double up on the servers and load up the same show onto both sites. (But upload the lower quality to the libsyn site) Mention several times in each show that listeners need to update their links/subscriptions by such and such a date, and that the full quality show is at the new site. Then, after the cutoff date, only upload the show to the new site, but record a brief message each week for the libsyn site that says "its March 15th and a new podcast is up at blahblahblah.co, please update your bookmarks and subscriptions now."

    You might need to double up on payments for 8-10 weeks, but in the long run you can save money, and preserve your listener base.

    Also, you may want to consider using the archive.org site to "host"the podcast. My church uses that in conjuntion with a blogger account for free and they've also been able to setup a subscription feed for the podcast.

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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Hackmodford on February 7th 2012, 10:25 am

    I'm not sure... I briefly checked the other services and libsyn just seems more professional.

    This seems like a really good alternative that might benefit you (they seem to offer way more space for the price)
    http://www.hipcast.com/tour/tour03.htm

    I found it via this site
    http://www.davidleeking.com/2011/11/08/new-podcasting-host-for-us/#.TzEyLVFj19k

    Edit:
    After doing a slight bit more research I seem to like hip cast's

    UNMETERED Storage Plan - $4.95/mo
    FREE 7-Day Trial Account, then just $4.95 per month for unmetered Storage, 5000MB Transfer, Unlimited Podcasts, Unlimited Blogs. Additional transfer just $1.95/GB as needed. Your credit card will not be charged until your trial period expires in 7 days.

    I don't know how much bandwidth you use a month but is it more than 5GB?


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    WhiteBoy
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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  WhiteBoy on February 7th 2012, 12:37 pm

    I'm not familiar with Libsyn, but it sounds like it is only hosting the podcast. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) What about just adding Wordpress to your web site host? What kind of web hosting plan do you have? You can get into some pretty reasonable unlimited plans for web hosting, add Wordpress, and let that run both blogs and podcasts.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 8th 2012, 6:11 pm

    Thanks for the feedback guys!

    Nathan:
    If I switch hosts, I will definitely be double posting for 2-3 months. Hadn't considered the archive.org solution. I'll look into it a little more. My only hesitancy is that archive.org is not obligated to keep my episodes archived, and I'd like to have more reliability.

    Hackmodford:
    Thanks so much for screening some options for me! I will definitely look into those links before doing any other searching. I don't need NEAR 5GBs per month. (I've been using only 100MBs per month for the last 2-3 years.)

    Whiteboy:
    To be honest, I'm not exactly sure all of what "hosting" entails. Libsyn stores current and past episodes on their server and provides a blog type of page I can edit to serve as the podcast's home. (spiritblade.net/podcast) But with the upcoming changes I'm planning for the blogs, one idea I'm considering is to somehow have the podcast on the same blog page as the SBU Weblog, regardless of where the audio files are being stored.
    I don't currently have unlimited web hosting for spiritblade.net, so using my site's hosting plan to store the podcast as well isn't an option. At some point in the future I'll strongly consider that option, but as it stands, with the site coded using Cold Fusion, my understanding is that most hosting services today no longer support Cold Fusion and so the entire site would need to be redesigned or at least recoded. With the anticipated production costs for Spirit Blade 3, a redesign/recoding of the main site isn't a financial option right now.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  MidwestGuru on February 9th 2012, 2:10 pm

    So here's a thought: How about if some of us chip in on a monthly basis to help out your expenses for the podcast? I'm currently sending a few dollars every month to Decoder Ring Theatre and wouldn't mind sending some your way too. If as few as 15 people each pitched in $1/mo your hosting would be covered.

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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 9th 2012, 2:19 pm

    MidwestGuru wrote:So here's a thought: How about if some of us chip in on a monthly basis to help out your expenses for the podcast? I'm currently sending a few dollars every month to Decoder Ring Theatre and wouldn't mind sending some your way too. If as few as 15 people each pitched in $1/mo your hosting would be covered.

    That's extremely generous of you. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

    I want to be careful that I avoid anything that feels like a "subscription fee", so I've never considered this route before. I also don't have any ideas for special freebees or extras I could regularly offer to those who donate on a regular basis (which I'd like to offer if I announce any kind of request for regular donations).

    For awhile I have considered setting up a Paypal donation button in connection with the podcast in case anyone would ever like to donate now and then specifically to support the monthly hosting expenses. I need to look into the legal aspects of that, given that the podcast is part of a business. But it may be worth taking the time to check into. Thank you.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Nathan James Norman on February 9th 2012, 2:36 pm

    I'd donate in a heartbeat. (Although I suppose I could do so right now by purchasing a digital download) Smile

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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  WhiteBoy on February 9th 2012, 3:26 pm

    Other podcasts I listen to have ways for the listeners to donate and sponsorships.

    Donations could something like they pay $10 and you could just give a short acknowledgment of "today's episode is brought to you by WhiteBoy (who wants to wish his wife a happy birthday), Nathan (who wants to invite you to his online study of eschatology at www.endtimes.com), and George Lucas (who wants to urge you to see his movies again...in 3D)."

    Sponsorships could be from, for example, Christian sci-fi/fantasy publishers. Or maybe audible.com -- they sponsor some of the shows I listen to.

    The size of your audience would probably determine the feasibility of these options.


    Last edited by WhiteBoy on February 10th 2012, 5:08 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 10th 2012, 1:04 am

    Thanks for your thoughts, Whiteboy. Maybe I'll create a donate/sponsor button with a specific amount listed for those who want a sponsorship plug.


    Okay, switching gears a little here. I just created a Feedburner feed for the podcast and used (what I believe is) a function in my Libsyn account that will re-direct all subscribers of the old feed to the new feedburner feed for the podcast. (Or at least I-tunes subscribers.)

    The new Feedburner feed is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheSpiritBladeUndergroundPodcast

    Would you guys mind checking to see if this feed is working for you? I just posted a quick note about the podcast returning to its regular schedule next weekend, so that should be the most recent thing you see in the feed.

    Thanks!


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Nathan James Norman on February 10th 2012, 1:06 am

    Works for me. I'm using Google Listen.

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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Hackmodford on February 10th 2012, 11:07 am

    I wouldn't mind donating something like a $1 a month. I'm also interested in creating an iPod "enhanced" version of the podcast.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  WhiteBoy on February 10th 2012, 5:14 pm

    I see it via the link and via Google Reader. I don't see it via iTunes.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 10th 2012, 9:10 pm

    WhiteBoy wrote:I see it via the link and via Google Reader. I don't see it via iTunes.

    Do you mean that i-tunes does not show you the url of the feed at all, or that i-tunes is showing you the old url of the feed?


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 10th 2012, 9:12 pm

    Hackmodford wrote:I wouldn't mind donating something like a $1 a month. I'm also interested in creating an iPod "enhanced" version of the podcast.

    Thanks, Hackmodford. That's very generous of you. I'd also be open to discussing an enhanced version of the podcast with you once I know what the long-term hosting situation of the podcast will be, so hold that thought and we can absolutely come back to it.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 10th 2012, 9:13 pm

    Nathan James Norman wrote:I'd donate in a heartbeat. (Although I suppose I could do so right now by purchasing a digital download) Smile

    Thanks, Nathan. That means a lot to hear. Though the download purchase route requires a minimum "donation" of 5 bucks. (Our least expensive product.) So a donate button where people could do a buck may feel like a more reasonable way to help for folks who already have all our junk. Wink So I'll certainly look into that.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Rickster on February 10th 2012, 11:34 pm

    I've been wanting to get some movie passes and mailing them to Paeter so he could do some movie reviews without using his money for tickets

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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Drew.Rub on February 11th 2012, 9:27 am

    Paeter, I can say that I'd give honest consideration and prayerful thought to a monthly donation to help support the podcast. The weekly downloads and "In Search of the Truth" segments are actually a highlight of my week.

    I would not consider it a "subscription fee", but more along the lines of a tithe or mission donation to support any other church ministry/outreach program.

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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Tim on February 13th 2012, 1:51 am

    Drew.Rub wrote:Paeter, I can say that I'd give honest consideration and prayerful thought to a monthly donation to help support the podcast. The weekly downloads and "In Search of the Truth" segments are actually a highlight of my week.

    I would not consider it a "subscription fee", but more along the lines of a tithe or mission donation to support any other church ministry/outreach program.

    Ditto. I've donated to a few podcasts before because i listen to them more than a watch TV and so other than books, it's my primary source of Entertainment. Everytime "This American Life" asks for donations, I text in my 5 or 10 dollar donation. I've said before that I'd be whiling to pay for an ad to run on that Christian Podcast. [Unfortunately he hasn't got back with me on a firm price for it yet.] So I think there are plenty of us, maybe even more than just us here on the forums, that would be willing to do so. There are probably even some lurkers who just faithfully listen to the podcast and might not even take part in the forums that would be willing if you put it out there on the podcast.

    I'm wondering if you could set up a sort of text Donation thing, but so far I've only seen it for Non Profit Organizations.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Hackmodford on February 13th 2012, 11:38 am

    Paeter wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys!

    Thanks so much for screening some options for me! I will definitely look into those links before doing any other searching. I don't need NEAR 5GBs per month. (I've been using only 100MBs per month for the last 2-3 years.)

    It isn't that you get 5GB per month of storage it's just that your subscribers can download 5GB worth of data per month.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 13th 2012, 10:10 pm

    [quote="Hackmodford"]
    Paeter wrote:It isn't that you get 5GB per month of storage it's just that your subscribers can download 5GB worth of data per month.

    Okey doke, that makes sense.


    Thanks again to all of you who have expressed a willingness to consider donating. It's been humbling and encouraging.


    A little update. With the help of some tech geeks, I've found what I think will be a temporary solution that will still leave the show sounding nearly the same as before, without noticeable drop in audio fidelity, and that is to encode the show in mono. Since most of the show is talking, I don't think this will have a significant impact on the experience and will give me time to work on the best long-term solution without paying more each month than I am now. Then sometime later this year I should be able to change to hosting the show myself.

    Which reminds me of another thread I need to go start about the upcoming website redesign!

    Thanks again all of you, so much.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Hackmodford on February 13th 2012, 10:25 pm

    Doh!... why didn't I think of that... mono reduces the size practically by half cyclops


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  CreatorsPixels on February 15th 2012, 8:10 am

    Just a thought about losing your archives for the pod casts. I know I personally have a good number of them stored locally and I'm sure others do to. There is this thing I've heard of called "torrents" out there. Wink Don't really know but seems like you could use that and we could all host the archive. As well as recent episodes. I know I'd give a bit of my personal bandwidth to upload it. Just a thought.

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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  Paeter on February 15th 2012, 2:32 pm

    Thanks so much, CP. I really generous offer.

    Right now the plan is to keep using Libsyn until the new website is up and running, at which point I'll be able to host the entire podcast, including all archived episodes, on my website's server, where storage space won't be an issue any longer.

    This will happen anywhere from 3-6 months from now I would guess.


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    Re: Podcast In Danger! Need Advice!

    Post  WhiteBoy on February 15th 2012, 4:10 pm

    This will happen anywhere from 3-6 months from now I would guess.
    Would donations help speed this along? I.e. is it a time issue or a money issue.

    (Heh...see my tagline.)


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