Creating an audio montage from 50+ hours of tape

Source: Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Presidential primaries are a huge deal everywhere, but they garner particular importance in states like New Hampshire, where their early timing positions them as bellwethers of what is to come. 2016 was one of the most contentious and protracted elections cycles yet, and New Hampshire Public Radio wanted to produce as much excellent primary coverage as they could — and make sure their primary night coverage was picked up by other stations across the country that were also following the race closely. Continue reading

CastNinja: a desktop alternative to iTunes

CastNinja is a new web app by Jesse Morris that uses the Audiosearch API. 

Jesse Morris is a big podcast fan. He tries to expose himself to a broad range of topics that interest him, and he’s fascinated by podcasts as a form of unregulated media that can address something as inane as socks or as elaborate as French Revolutionary history.

Jesse is also a software developer, and while he typically uses an app on his phone to listen to podcasts, sometimes he wants to listen on the web to avoid running his battery down. He used to use iTunes, but stopped after he switched to using his Android device for music and podcasts. He found that it was difficult to find a good replacement for desktop listening — so he decided to create his own, CastNinja, using the Audiosear.ch API.

Finding the Audiosear.ch API was a happy piece of luck for Jesse: he was looking for an API that provided metadata and MP3 source information for podcasts, and he happened upon a thread on StackOverflow that mentioned Audiosear.ch. He read the developer documentation and went from there.

“I looked at other tools but didn’t find any great candidates… Audiosear.ch was easy to use and provided all the metadata and hosting information I needed — and it was very easy to get it up and running quickly.”

CastNinja’s user interface is deliberately simple. It provides an interface for seeing top shows and the ability to create an account and subscribe, but doesn’t it push alerts to you. Jesse says he designed it more in the model of Twitter, where you follow a podcast and see the latest episodes. Users can also see popular shows they might be interested in, and create playlists to listen to.

Jesse says he found the Audiosear.ch API intuitive and easy to use. “I looked at other tools but didn’t find any great candidates. iTunes was one option, but I’ve read that their API is poorly designed and difficult. SoundCloud was another possibility, but their API is focused on embedding their player as opposed to permitting access to metadata. Audiosear.ch was easy to use and provided all the metadata and hosting information I needed — and it was very easy to get it up and running quickly.”

CastNinja started as a desktop solution to podcast listening, but — once all the functionality is in place — Jesse would like to develop a mobile app as well. While the app wouldn’t initially add any new bells and whistles, he’s keeping an eye toward what it would take to scale, and what the next steps might be in terms of growing and responding to his user base.

Try CastNinja here, or give the Audiosearch API a whirl yourself!

See you in the archive,
The Pop Up Archive team

TriPod podcast celebrates New Orleans’ past

Weatherbeaten wharves in New Orleans. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

To celebrate the tricentennial of New Orleans, WWNO — the NPR member station for New Orleans and the 13 parishes of southeast Louisiana — wanted to create something intimate and rich that captured the history of the city in a meaningful way. The result is “TriPod: New Orleans at 300,” a unique on-air program (and podcast) that, over the course of three years, celebrates the city’s past through short, documentary-style episodes.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson is the host and producer of TriPod. TriPod’s 10-minute episodes air bi-weekly, and each one is its own mini history documentary. A recent two-part episode (I, II) for example, told the story of a World War II internment camp called Camp Algiers that housed Europeans who the United States thought might be Nazis.

Laine produces the show on her own, but she has an auxiliary team of historians, professors, and museum curators who help her identify the stories behind some of the city’s most compelling pieces of history. Each month they sit down to discuss different topics to cover. After selecting the topic for the next show, Laine reaches out to people to start interviewing. As the sole producer, she knew she would need to rely on tools in order to keep up with the bi-weekly schedule, so rather than transcribe tape by hand — as she has done in the past — she signed up for Pop Up Archive. Continue reading