Celebrating TryPod one listener at a time

TryPod is a recent effort hatched by industry executives to combat “podcast unawareness.” The goal of TryPod is to grow the overall podcast audience by encouraging people to share their favorite podcasts with those who don’t yet listen.

In 2016, 24 percent of Americans (67 million people) listened to a podcast in the past month, up three percent from 2015, according to last week’s Infinite Dial report from Edison Research.

Nancy Mills is a resident of Washington DC. She’s 67 and retired, and she’s a podcast power listener who is celebrating TryPod in a serious way. We spoke to Nancy about her listening habits and what she’s learned about how to be an effective podcast evangelist.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you become a podcast listener?

My daughter encouraged me to try it, but I don’t remember how I actually got started. Lots of hunting and clicking I think. Continue reading

Innovating new forms of audio storytelling

We’re delighted to share that we’re partnering with BuzzFeed and Stitcher to host Come and Play, a two-day audio storytelling hackathon where artists, storytellers, producers, developers, designers, and others will come together to find new and fun ways to tell stories with audio.

Participants will quickly prototype new tools for interacting with sound. They’ll also be treated to lightning talks from amazing speakers, including Lo Bénichou (Wired), Jenny Radelet (Stitcher), Avery Trufelman (99% Invisible), Kawandeep Virdee (Medium), BuzzFeed Audio’s Ahmed Ali Akbar (See Something Say Something) and Tracy Clayton (Another Round), and Audiosear.ch’s very own Bailey Smith.

When: May 13 and 14th
Where: BuzzFeed San Francisco (989 Market Street, one block from the Powell Street station)

If you love audio and want to play around with new ways of using technology to tell and share stories, sign up to participate!

Please note that signing up for the Hackathon does not ensure enrollment. Unfortunately, we have limited space and will be selecting candidates based on need for various skill sets. You will be notified if your application has been approved by April 14. Please let us know if you have specific travel requirements that may necessitate an earlier response date.

We’re excited to start playing. Sign up here.

Come and Play is sponsored by BuzzFeed and Stitcher, in cahoots with PRX.

 

 

See you in the archive,

The Pop Up Archive team

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

Find new listens with Alexa’s “Magic Podcast”


Amazon Echo digital personal assistant. Source: Flickr.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just tell someone, “Find me a podcast about science,” and they’d do it immediately? With the Amazon Echo digital personal assistant Alexa, you can.

Erik McBeth is the developer of the Alexa skill called Magic Podcast, which uses the Audiosear.ch API to find and play podcasts based on title or subject matter. This means you can simply say, “Play Fresh Air” — or whatever your podcast of choice is — and the newest episode of that podcast will begin. Even cooler, Magic Podcast can also be used as a discovery tool. Discover podcasts by subject area by asking Alexa to “Find a podcast about food,” or “Find a podcast about business.” Magic, indeed.

Erik got the idea for Magic Podcast after developing another Alexa skill called Magic Jukebox that allows users to stream SoundCloud music on their Amazon Echo. The most complicated part of the skill — responding to requests to pause, start, and skip tracks — was written during the Magic Jukebox development cycle. All Erik needed to adapt it for podcasts was to find an API that could plug into his existing infrastructure.

“So far so awesome. Don’t need to subscribe to anything. Say the name of the podcast and it plays the most recent episode. Simple.” — an Alexa Magic Podcast skill user

He looked at a few different options, including Feed Wrangler and Digital Podcast, as well as others that had seemingly gone defunct. None were a fit, since Erik needed links to actual mp3s served up over HTTPS (Alexa will not play audio from untrusted sources). He also liked the fact that by using Audiosearch’s API he could allow his users the option to play a specific show or look for podcasts on a certain subject.

Users have responded very positively to the skill, commenting on the novelty (“This skill just upped the cool factor of Alexa! Made her more functional for me.”) and simplicity (“So far so awesome. Don’t need to subscribe to anything. Say the name of the podcast and it plays the most recent episode. Simple.”) Erik has many plans for adding to the skill in the future, such as allowing users to save favorites or screen out podcasts they prefer not to listen to.

For now, users are simply enjoying the ability to add podcast functionality to their Echo experience. Have an Echo? Enable the “Magic Podcast” skill here. Or take the Audiosear.ch API for a spin yourself!
See you in the archive,
The Pop Up Archive team

How I listen: Lucy Carnaghi

lucy“I love podcasts — always fantasize about doing my own someday!”
Meet Lucy Carnaghi. Lucy is the co-owner of a restaurant in Detroit called Rose’s Fine Food (“The Ultimate Diner”). In her free time, she enjoy foods and entertaining, reading and writing, exercise, horses, and making things. This is how Lucy listens.

When did you start listening to podcasts? Did someone teach you how to subscribe, and have you taught anyone else how to listen?

I started listening about five years ago because I wanted to catch up on This American Life episodes I was missing on regular radio. My interest in other podcasts grew from there. I tried to teach my dad, but I’m not sure if it really stuck for him. Continue reading

Which podcast app is right for you?

ipad-605439_1280New podcasts are coming out all the time, which is great — and also overwhelming.

Podcast discovery has long been limited to recommendations from friends or the hosts of shows listeners already know and love — but podcast apps are starting to integrate smarter discovery features into their offerings. We’re building the Audiosear.ch API to help podcast apps delight listeners with serendipitous discovery — in particular by using our podcast intelligence to surface specific episodes based on content, tone, and quality.

How to sort through all the choices and find the ones you’ll love? Here’s a roundup of how seven popular podcast apps handle discovery. Continue reading

Four moments from the history of women in politics

Image: Suffragettes outside the White House in 1917. Source: Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

We didn’t elect a female president last night, but we did have another win: the number of women of color in the Senate quadrupled. They are part of a legacy of fighting for justice and equality. Today, we want to celebrate that legacy by remembering a few moments from the long journey of women in politics.

 Suffrage Victory—Virginia Maynard and Charles Levy (Pacifica Radio Archives)

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote in 1920—after a decades-long fight started in 1848 by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. During that time, suffragists had to work tirelessly to overcome the objections and prejudices of those who worried that giving women voting rights threatened the morality of the nation.

This is what the suffragists who won women the right to vote were up against. share on Twitter

Hillary Clinton as a young woman
Image: Hillary Clinton as a young woman. Source: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 Wellesley, 1969—With her

Today, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate for the highest office in our country. But in 1969, she was Hillary Rodham, a college senior who had been voted by her classmates to give the commencement address at Wellesley College. This original recording of that speech reminds us of the ideals, perspective, and background that made the candidate who she is.

Hear Hillary Rodham Clinton like you never have before (as a 21-year-old). share on Twitter

Image: Shirley Chisholm announcing her candidacy. Source: Wikimedia

 Shirley Chisholm: campaign and interview—produced by Miriam Rosen (Pacifica Radio Archives)

Shirley Chisholm is a giant in U.S. politics. Born in in 1924, she went on to become the first black congresswoman in 1968. After serving for seven terms, she ran for the 1972 Democratic nomination for president as the first major-party African-American candidate. Ms. Chisholm, for whom social justice and representing the underserved and unacknowledged was a driving cause, died in 2005.

Shirley Chisholm: “I’m a shaker-upper of the system.” share on Twitter

Image: Dolores Huerta at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. Source: Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 Dolores Huerta: Vice President of the United Farm Workers—interviewed by Maria Huffman (Pacifica Radio Archives)

Dolores Huerta launched the National Farmworkers Association with César E. Chávez in 1962 to improve the working condition for farm workers, and directed the first National Boycott of California Table Grapes. In 2012, Ms. Huerta was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama for her contributions as an organizer and advocate.

“The farmworker is subjected to a brutalization… that is absolutely inhuman.”  share on Twitter

 

Here’s to the end of election season.
The Pop Up Archive team

Clippable quotes from political podcasts

Podcasts ramp up as Election Day nears

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As the 2016 election season has ramped up to a fever pitch in the United States, a swath of political podcasts have come on the scene, topping podcast charts and publishing relentlessly as voters seek the latest news and commentary on the presidential race. With all three televised national debates behind us and just a week to go before voters head to the voting booths, the polls continue to shift. This recent quote from the FiveThirtyEight Elections podcast might sum it up best: “The one big question: is the race for president tightening? One word answer… Yes.” (Click the GIF below to see the tweet with audio.)

fivethirtyeight

Many of you have been helping test our podcast clipmaker, which makes it possible to quickly clip podcasts quotes and share them on Twitter. We thought we’d take this opportunity to share some salient podcast moments with you:

And a throwback to earlier this year, when fiction author Brad Thor likened a Trump presidency to an “extinction level event” on The Glenn Beck Show, ultimately resulting in Beck’s temporary suspension from SiriusXM. (Beck’s show was reinstated shortly thereafter.) Upon further questioning, Thor clarified: “Hell no, I wasn’t talking about assassination.”

glennbeck

Got a favorite segment (political or otherwise) you’d like to share? Search for it at www.audiosear.ch — if you see a scissors + Twitter bird icon on the episode page, feel free to clip and tweet away:

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We’ll leave you with this segment on storytelling from Face The Nation 2016 Diary, where John Dickerson says, “There are no stories in presidential politics the way there used to be. Candidates used to tell real stories about human beings. …We know since voters vote based on emotion and projection, we should hear stories all day long.” He illustrates his point with an excerpt from a story Barack Obama told in 2008 at the Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia.

facethenation

Happy clipping — and for those of you voting in the U.S., don’t forget to vote!

 

Pastime: streamlining the podcast app

Helping new listeners discover podcasts with the Audiosear.ch API

Software engineer Andrew Roper first got the idea to build Pastime — a “rigorously simplistic” audiobook and podcasting app — when a relative was diagnosed with macular degeneration.

With its large buttons and straightforward navigation, Pastime was made to suit the needs of visually impaired people. That challenge prompted Andrew to consider broader issues of accessibility.

“A non-technical, simplistic experience is crucial to drawing in new users. My aim is to declutter podcasting technology to make it as easy as possible for newcomers to consume and discover audio content,” Andrew says.

Building a sleek, minimalist interface and deep-linking content within the app, Andrew hopes to make streaming podcasts in Pastime as intuitive as turning on a radio.

“Overcast, Castro, and Apple’s native app all cater to podcast enthusiasts who already know their way around. I’m trying to reach people who aren’t quite sure what they’re doing,” he says.

But Pastime isn’t just your grandma’s app. Andrew is problem-solving basic user experience issues that prevent the majority of mobile users from giving on-demand audio a go.

In a recent Nieman Lab article, Panoply’s Jacob Weisberg bemoaned the medium’s consumer gap, saying, “It’s still much too hard to get podcasts. People who know how to do it do it quite easily. People who don’t know how to do it find it a little bit intimidating. There’s so much infrastructure that needs to be built and upgraded.”

Even for the podcast in-crowd, discovering and sharing new content is extremely problematic. After designing Pastime’s basic functionality, Andrew began tackling what he calls podcasting’s Netflix dilemma — how do consumers find anything amidst the overwhelming number of choices?

Andrew turned to the Audiosear.ch API, which he uses as the backend database for Pastime. Not only does Audiosear.ch allow users to search for content by show, network, category, people, or topic, it also lists top-rated shows and tastemaker audio picks.

Andrew hopes to further integrate Audiosear.ch into Pastime’s own curation feature — Shortlist — which lets users create and share streamable playlists of episodes.

“There is just so much good content out there, but it’s hard to know where to start,” Andrew says. “Pastime provides an entry point.”

Try Pastime

Take the Audiosear.ch clipmaker for a spin

Share your favorite audio clips on Twitter

Have you ever tried to describe a favorite podcast episode to a friend only to realize it’s more of a “guess you had to be there” situation? Ever wanted to share a zinger of a clip, but feel silly sending a podcast link and timecode? We’re right there with you.

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are optimized for text, images, and video — but not audio. How do we make audio content flourish on our feeds just as much as photos, gifs, and videos? Let the words speak for themselves, we say. The Audiosear.ch clipmaker makes it easy for anyone to select a favorite podcast moment and share it on social media as a short auto-playing video. 

We’re pretty psyched and can’t wait to share it with the world. But first, we want your input. Sign up to be one of the first to test the Audiosear.ch clipmaker today! All you need is a Twitter account.

 

The Audiosear.ch clipmaker is the result of years of experience and observations in shareable audio. Segmenting audio files into snappy, quotable moments can help change the way people experience podcasts, taking them beyond the solitary work commute or dish-washing routine into more people’s daily lives and interactions.

Lots of people have lamented and examined the un-shareability of audio on the web, from Stan Alcorn’s 2014 piece “Why Audio Never Goes Viral” to various NPR experiments with social audio. Shareable audio was a popular topic at This American Life’s Audio Hackathon in the fall of 2015 and ultimately led to a Knight Foundation-funded prototype for shareable audio. Most recently, WNYC announced the open-sourcing of their producer-facing Audiogram Generator.

Our goal is for the clipmaker to be useable by anyone and embeddable anywhere on the web. The clipmaker will function for any of the 10,000s of podcasts indexed (and ultimately transcribed) by Audiosear.ch.

Click on any of the tweets in this email to see the clipmaker in action. Clipmaker tweets include words as they are spoken in the audio and links to subscribe in iTunes — or potentially other platforms.

Sign up to beta test the Audiosear.ch clipmaker!