Posts Tagged ‘podcast’

On Publishing Five Hundred Podcasts

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Last Friday saw one of the moments where numbers conspired to mean something. Over on ESC Insight, I posted the five hundredth episode of my Eurovision Song Contest podcast. There was nothing particularly special about the contents, it was a regular episode of ‘ESC Insight News’, covering the last two weeks of news in the world of the Song Contest.

The only concessions to the episode number was a sad party twizzler sound effect at the end of the show, and the subtle use of a Fiat 500 as the key image in the post and shared social images.

And while it is podcast #500 on the RSS feed of ESC Insight, I’ve done more Eurovision podcasts and audio that have been sent down other channels – the podcasts and radio shows for the SBS Eurovision pop-up radio station, the work with Radio Six International, the syndicated radio preview shows each year, and even the commentary work I’ve done have all been part of the audio adventure. These shows are not in the core 500, but they all arose because I podcast about something I love and became one of the ‘go to voices’ in the space.

This is the point where inspirational posts would suggest some grand lessons over the last six years of ESC Insight. I’m not sure there are any, beyond find a passion, keep the quality as high as possible, always ask if you can do more, and say yes to every opportunity you get.

The ESC Insight podcast has taken me on some amazing journeys, from a midnight flight into Yerevan to armed guards blocking my path into Azeri press centres; from commentary booths around the world to talking to TV and Radio executives across Europe and beyond; to be welcomed by a community and to create a new community, it has delivered all that and more.

As for what comes next, I’d highlight podcast #499. This is part of a series called ‘Eurovision Castaways’, where host Ellie Chalkley interviews members of the Song Contest community about their favourite records and finds out more about them. That episode arrived in my podcast player with no input at all from me.

I may have started the Eurovision podcast many years ago, I may still contribute, but the podcast is now something much bigger than just myself, a microphone, and some passion.

Now that personal passion is the shared passion of tens of thousands.

The start of another Eurovision season means a new podcast

Monday, September 11th, 2017

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Imagine if the only football you watched was the FA Cup Final in May? If the only baseball game of interest was the World Series. If the only American Football match was the Superbowl. And imagine the delight if you found out that there was a season’s worth of action…

Well, it’s time for the Eurovision Song Contest season to start. Sure, everyone will tune in on Saturday May 12th for the Grand Final, but there’s a world of music before that point. IT;s one I follow with the team at ESC Insight, and the first podcast of the season is now online.

Its going to run fortnightly for a few weeks, so don’t worry about being overwhelmed, but it’s a great place to jump on board this year’s fun.

You can follow the ESC Insight podcast through its RSS feed, or subscribe in iTunes.

A familiar podcasting voice from MWC

Monday, February 27th, 2017

For those following MWC remotely (or need something to listen to on the hike to the Barcelona gatherings), Rafe Blandford is part of the DigitasLBi UK team who are bringing (hopefully) daily shows now MWC is under way. Start of with the preview that aired over the weekend – listen on Soundcloud – and check there tomorrow for more! 

Is this not the end of the Voicemail?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Podcasts should, like people making a Terminator TV series, plan for a final episode. Even if it’s ‘go on hiatus’ think about what you leave if it is the last one. As it is with genre TV, as it is with The Voicemail:

This isn’t the last episode of The Voicemail, but it’ll be the last one you’ll hear for a while. In it, James and Stefan discuss what’s been happening in their respective lives since the last time they recorded, what news items caught there eyes during the show’s brief hiatus, and what they’re looking forward to in 2017.

Goodnight, guys, it’s been fun. Sleep well, you’ll most like kill The The Voicemail in the morning…

A third way to make money from mobile apps

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

First up, I consider Overcast the best mobile podcast clients currently available. Marco Arment’s client has grown over the years and developed almost every feature that I could want. The only trouble he’s had is trying to create a solid income from it. Following the initial one-year subscription model, then a patronage-based model, he’s now looking at a third option:

Ads are the great compromise: money needs to come from somewhere, and the vast majority of people choose free-with-ads over direct payment. Ads need not be a bad thing: when implemented respectfully, all parties can get what they want.

Most podcasts played in Overcast are funded by ads for this reason, and as a podcaster and (occasional) blogger myself, I already make most of my income from ads.

I’m far from the first one to try an ad-supported app — among many others, my co-host on Under The Radar, David Smith, now makes the majority of his App Store income from ads — and it’s unwise to rule out any reasonable business model in today’s App Store.

So I’m trying ads in Overcast: simple, non-animated, mostly-text banners on the main list screens that unobtrusively scroll with the content.

Arment has kept much of discussion over the app’s development and business models on his blog, and I hope that he finds true success with Overcast. Needless to say I’ll be paying the premium to remove apps (I’m so old-school sometimes) and watching the continuing story with interest.

Trivial Posts #23: A Jukebox, A Fridge, And An Immortal Dragon

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Hello subscribers to Trivial Posts, it’s been a while…. lets see if I can get back into the swing of things with links out to curious stories, items that make me think, and stuff that’s just interesting.

The Boys Are Always Back In Town

Really the title says it all, but keep reading. Not only an exercise in humanity, but a wonderfully written story as well:

Over the course of these past few months, I have come upon two bits of forbidden knowledge: One, this bar does not have a working “kill switch” (which allows the bartender to change a song in case someone plays, I dunno, the entire A-side of 2112). Two, this jukebox permits the same song to be played back-to-back if each instance was paid for with a separate bill.

It was 3 AM on a recent Tuesday when, standing in the dark outside my train station, these truths reconciled themselves within me. My compulsion became explicit and inescapable: I needed to stay up and play “The Boys Are Back in Town” as many times as I could. The thorns from the road ahead cleared themselves, and I walked toward the future amid roses to share the gospel with the other patrons of this unlikeable bar.

The boys were back.

I Played ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ on a Bar Jukebox Until I Got Kicked Out

6 Megabytes, 150 Requests, One Word

The New York Times manages to get away with a one-word story, as long as it doesn;t count the headline. Here’s the curious thing about that one-word story. The amount of crap, clutter, advertising, and screen real estate that accompanies the body text.

When I’m Mistakenly Put on an Email Chain, Should I Hit ‘Reply All’ Asking to Be Removed?

Chilling Out With Some Tech

The history of what we all call ‘The Internet of Things’ started with the idea of the Internet-connected Fridge. Nobody has every explained why this was a good idea (“it can order milk when you run out!” is the usual argument), but that hasn’t stopped Samsung. At last week’s IFA conference in Berlin, the South Korean company revealed… an internet connected fridge!

Samsung Electronics Australia chief marketing officer Phil Newton said the company’s Family Hub Refrigerator not only featured three connected cameras to let you check on its contents while at the supermarket, but users would be able to leave notes and watch TV shows on its 21-inch touchscreen.

The four-door, 671 litre fridge would cost $7499-

…and I’m out.

Samsung Unveils Smart Fridge

Arming The Science Of Queuing Theory

America has a gun registry. America does not allow the gun registry to be computerised. America relies on billions of sheets of paper and a human-powered index. America scares me sometimes

For five years Charlie took it upon himself to create a new workflow system for the tracing center, breaking down each step in the tracing process into equations, doing time-motion studies for actions as minute as how long on average it takes the ladies to go from their desks to the roll room. Every step was analyzed and rethought, the numbers crunched.

…Despite no increase in budget, no new technology, no new staff: “I’m doing twice as many guns, twice as fast, and almost twice as accurately as we did when I got here in 2005.”

The Federal Bureau Of Too Many Guns.

The Battle Of Rallos Zek

When tales are told of battle, when the Gods change the destiny of man, when the rag tag army can see an unlikely victory, stories will be told. Does it matter that the battlefield was a digital server when Cecillia D’Anastosio can tell the tale of the attack on Everquest’s last unkillable Dragon:

On EverQuest, in November of 2003, nearly 200 players came together to defeat the apparently invincible dragon Kerafyrm, known as “the Sleeper,” against Sony Online Entertainment’s designs. The story has everything: warring factions, a tomb, an invulnerable dragon, surprising partnerships and a panicked multinational corporation; and, as of a few days ago, it would have remained relatively unknown had I not received an encrypted PGP message from the moniker “Master Control Program.”

The Surprising And Allegedly Impossible Death Of EverQuest’s ‘Unkillable’ Dragon.

The Start Of The Eurovision Song Contest Season

One from my stable of writing to finish off this week’s newsletter. Although the televised Grand Final for the Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t take place until late May 2017, the cut-off date for songs passed on September 1st… any new song now aired is eligible to be sung at the Contest. ESC Insight will tell the story of the Contest this year, and my regular podcast (follow via RSS or through iTunes) will keep you updated in a fifteen minute burst of news – currently airing every two weeks as the season comes to life.

ESC Insight: discussion and commentary around the Eurovision Song Contest.

‘Trivial Posts’ is a mostly weekly series of posts that brings together interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye on the Internet. Read it online, or subscribe to the email newsletter version here.

Overcast improves my favourite podcast player

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Overcast has been updated to version 2.5. It’s my podcast player of choice and while I wasn’t screaming out for some of the optional extras only open to patrons (a dark theme and ability to upload your own single files) the changes to battery consumption and the sound output are very much welcome.

It’s a free download, but you can make a small one-off payment as a thank you through an in-app payment. Grab it from

From The Sublime… To The Cliffhanger

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

I know there are a million ‘media/sci-fi/genre‘ podcasts out there, but here’s another reason to listen and subscribe to ‘From The Sublime‘… I’m making an appearance this fortnight!

FTS (because every good show needs to have a good abreviation) is hosted by Iain Hepburn, and works on a magazine-style format, with discrete topics introduced and presented as monologues from Hepburn and his “finely honed fighting force.” Yes, it’s ‘Nationwide for Nerds’, with just a little bit more attitude than Frank Bough.

Anyway, Hepburn asked if I would take a swing at a topic for the current episode, and I decided to look at the staple of genre television the cliffhanger, taking in the current season of Doctor Who, some of the classic series, Star Trek The Next Generation, and a few easter eggs hiding in the script (there’s a free badge for the first person to name them all).

It’s been fun being able to concentrate on ‘just the audio’ for once, and not worry about long term goals, website, promotion, or anything else. Let me know what you think!

Listen to the full show on the website, alternatively subscribe to FTS in iTunes or by RSS to get every episode.

Get the most from SXSW with my introductory podcasts

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

SXSW is here, and that means I’m in Austin, Texas for the usual jamboree of music, film, and interactive bits and pieces. As always I’ll be blogging, interviewing, and podcasting, over at As part of that, there’s a series of podcasts on how to get the most out of SXSW. You could subscribe to the podcast (here’s the RSS feed), but to get you started, here’s the three ‘primers’ for the two weeks in sunny Austin.

The Beginner’s Podcast

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The Intermediate Podcast

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The Ninja Podcast

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And I’ll have more from Austin and SXSW every day at SXSW Baby!

Support for this year’s podcasts comes from HipChat. Bring your team to life, with group and private chat, file sharing, and integrations, all at

Trivial Posts #2: Concrete arrows, Serial’s listener numbers, and Sean Bean dies

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Everyone seemed to enjoy the first ‘Trivial Posts’ from last week, so let’s do it again . If I’m honest it’s going to take a good few weeks to get established and find its feet so you were always getting Trivial Posts #2 (and it’s probably guaranteed through to the end of January at the very least), So, once more, a collection of posts that brings together interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye on the Internet.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list so you never miss anything trivial!

A Line Of Arrows Across America

As part of the expansion of the US Postal Service to airmail in the early 20th century, the USPTO marked out a New York to San Francisco route across the continent with 50 foot high gas-light towers and concrete arrows at their bases to show where the next tower was, and so on between the two cities.

Replaced by radio navigation beacons, the arrows are still there, waiting for the time they will be needed after a cataclysmic event knocks out  the beacons.

The huge arrows

When Will Sean Bean Die?

Nerdist takes a closer look at the greatest spoiler in movie history – if Sean Bean is in the film, Sean Bean will die. is it a myth or is there something in the actor that just simply screams ‘plot point death man’? And where does Bean rank when compared to the great ‘deathers’ of the twentieth century such as Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, Cary Tagawa, John Hurt, and Kenny from South Park?

Does Sean Bean Die More Than Other Actors?

Will Independents Rule The Earth?

Jason Evangelho went to the Sony Playstation Experience looking for the A-List games, but instead discovered Sony’s Indie Army ready to take on the console wars. A motley collection of two- and three-man teams taking on the world, and they have all the support  they need (and more) from the Japanese company.

Evangelho’s epiphany can be read at Forbes.

How Many People Listened To ‘Serial’?

This American Life’s serial podcast (‘Serial‘) has done what no other podcast has managed – it’s made ‘old media’ write seriously about podcasting (it’s only taken ten years…), but the ability to throw out random engagement numbers and have these stick to the show title is still there. The numbers 1.5 million and 5 million are now attributed to ‘Serial’ and locked in the mind of feature writers around the world.

The truth is, podcast numbers are hard to figure out, even more so than web pages.Pete Davies looks at the unique issues to podcasting and how it mirrors the ramshackle days of early web page monitoring via Medium.

For me, a podcast is a second-line content tool in your armoury. A podcast on its own can be great, but if you pair it up with a site that has strong content from other genres (primarily text, but also photography and video) and can be a wonderful multiplier and build up a long-term fan-base.

That’s the trick Serial is missing. Beyond that podcast there is…

Downloads, listens, listeners, and about those podcast numbers.

The Woman Who Caught 1201 and 1202 On The Way To The Moon

The Three Fingered Fox investigates a single photo of “Margaret Hamilton, Apollo Project” and discovers that she was the lead software engineer on the Apollo computers. If you don’t know the story of Apollo 11’s landing, you won’t know that the computer in the lunar lander spent most of the descent throwing out buffer overflows, running out of CPU cycles, and generally screaming at Armstrong and Aldrin “Too. Much. Input!‘ (Air and Space has a good summary).

Hamilton’s code caught all of those bugs, kept the critical procedures running, and her memory recovery code allowed us to land on the Moon, and she is rightly another Apollo legend.

Margaret Hamilton, Lead Software Engineer, Apollo.

Insert Coin, But Never Play Again

Gaming firm THQ was once one of the biggest names in the leisure industry. Then it wasn’t. Polygon looks back on a company that didn’t react fast enough to the changing market. If there’s a crash coming, we’re going to see more stories like this.

The Fall Of THQ

This Week’s Long Read: The Death Of Mail-Order Kings Columbia House Records

Just a snippet from Brockman and Smith’s look at the mail order success of ’12 records for a penny’ Columbia House in the US. Yes, it;s another ‘death of a company’ but definitely worth a read over a coffee.

And yet, the record club was one of the most ingenious marketing ploys of the 20th century, perhaps right up there with rock and roll itself. It introduced the notion of getting music for free — which may have ultimately led to its own destruction, when people stopped buying even CDs. But those of us who remember it in its prime find pause when pillaging a torrent site or googling for the .rar file of a new album, and remember the halcyon era when checking off which records to get for “free” with an introductory signup to the club felt like the sweetest deal in the universe.

The Rise and Fall of Columbia House Records.

What have I been up to?

Everything above here I found, everything below here I had a hand in. This week I had a series of posts on wireless charging, including What is wireless charging, a look at the latest charging puck from  Microsoft (nee Nokia), and how to add Qi wireless charging to your iPhone for twenty dollars.

Subscribe To Trivial Posts

You could just swing by here every week to catch up, or you could subscribe to the mailing list and I’ll email you all the trivial goodness every seven days.

Two Grown Men… The Podcast Of The Aftermath

Friday, March 21st, 2014

This should be fun. The Carson Podcast interviews comedians who have one thing in common – they all got their big break from Johnny Carson and ‘The Tonight Show’ Now available in iTunes and via RSS.

On reaching 250 Eurovision podcasts

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

This week I published my 250th podcast on The Eurovision Song Contest.

Given the show is a ‘weekly’ (with some notable exceptions during the year, such as the twice daily schedule in the few days before the Contest), 250 is as good a milestone as any to take note and remember where the podcast has taken me.

The first audio tracks I recorded for Eurovision were from Moscow and the 2009 Contest – those downloads were three ‘alternative ‘commentary’ track so you could watch the show along with me. It was during the run up to Norway in 2010 that the podcasts started ‘for real’ (mostly because they had their own RSS feed) to deliver news updates, analysis, and round-table discussions.

After the 2010 Contest burned through far too much bandwidth on this site, I realised that a dedicated home was needed and ESC Insight was born. Since then, the Eurovision Song Contest has been really good to me personally and professionally. I have friends all over Europe and beyond. I’ve learned many new skills, broadcast documentaries and music shows on terrestrial radio, appeared on the BBC World Service, countless local radio stations, and vox-pops from around the world. I found a practical use for my puppetry skills. I’ve even been an ‘official’ Eurovision Commentator at Junior Eurovision last November.

Most of all, I’ve made more people smile in the world through the coverage I’ve helped create.

But the podcast is where it started, and it’s the podcast that everything else spins out of. So I’m really pleased to reach two hundred and fifty of them. And I hope you have enjoyed listening and participating with me. Right now I’m in Helsinki, ready to take the audio/video kit out to the Barona Arena to watch Finnish television choose their singer for Eurovision 2014. I’ll tell you all about it next week on the podcast…

Don’t forget to listen to Edinburgh Nights every week!

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

You might recall that after this year’s radio broadcast of the  Edinburgh Fringe chat show came to the end, I decided to keep the format alive and showcase all the fun things in Edinburgh each week (that would have been the moment for a David Tennant-esque “I don’t want to go…”). It’s three months later, and Edinburgh Nights is still on the air, at 3pm every Friday, with a podcast available to listen again to the show (if you’re in Edinburgh), or to listen fresh to the whole hour if you are further afield.

It’s a show that continues to evolve, but being able to highlight the great bands playing in the capital, give some airtime to the theatre shows around Edinburgh, and to go beyond the ten minute set from the comedians playing the Festival city, are all adding up to an exciting hour every week.

If you’re not yet listening, head over to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast, and if you are a regular listener, why not think about leaving a review?

What comes after the Fringe podcast? Edinburgh Nights!

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

I might have hinted at this near the end of my thoughts looking back at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe podcast. I had a blast doing the show, which this year was recorded and broadcast live on Castle FM as well as going out as a podcast through the usual RSS powered sources.

When the Fringe was over, the time-slot on the FM dial was still open, so it felt natural to keep the one hour format of music and intervews going, but with some tweaks to fit the landscape in Edinburgh for the other 11 months of the year. So it’s a weekly one-hour show, 3pm-4pm every Friday, with guests from comedy, theatre, music, and the occasional special event, mixed in with bands playing in the local clubs, and a little quiz element called ‘Twenty Questions Wrong‘ (more on that in my next blog post, I think).

As I’m writing this after the event, you can listen to the show right now. I promise I’ll give you a bit more heads up next week so those of you outside Edinburgh can listen to the live stream from Castle FM. Truth is with the move to Castle FM’s Studio One I wanted to get all the buttons and sliders in the right place before the internet audience arrived!

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With Keith Jack, Leah Bonnema, Penny Black, Tom Diben’s theatre preview, and music from Sienna, The Gorms, Sham 69, and Matt Gloss and the Emulsions.
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“Two mobile companies, both alike in dignity, In fair Redmond and Espoo, where we lay our podcast”

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

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The AAWP podcast spent all of yesterday’s show talking over the Microsoft/Nokia deal in some detail, with Rafe lending a lot of detail, numbers, and insight, while I focussed on the conspiracy theories, mad plans, and a bit of Shakespeare.