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Posts tagged with "podcasts"

Relay FM Kicks Off Its 2023 Fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Today, Relay FM kicked off its annual fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help combat childhood cancer. We’d love it if MacStories readers joined us in supporting this cause.

You can make a donation by visiting here.

If you’re a MacStories reader, there’s a good chance you have listened to one of the shows Federico co-hosts on the network or have another favorite, in which case you may have already contributed. However, if not, please consider donating.

St. Jude plays an important role in the fight against childhood cancer, treating kids, and doing research with other medical facilities around the world. Your donations help ensure that families aren’t charged for treatment, travel, housing, or meals, so their sole focus is helping their child get better.

Relay FM, which has raised $2.2 million for St. Jude over four years, will be raising money through the end of September, culminating in the Podcastathon, a 12-hour video streaming event featuring the hosts of many of Relay FM’s network of podcasts that will be held September 22nd. As in past years, the Podcastathon will be streamed on Relay FM’s Twitch channel.

Like last year, you can create your own fundraising campaign to help Relay FM achieve its goal and earn limited edition rewards in the process.

Thanks in advance for checking out Relay FM’s fundraiser for St. Jude and to all who donate.

Apple Podcasts Expands Its Analytics and Marketing Tools

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple announced new analytics and marketing tools for podcast creators.

Apple Podcast analytical tools are being expanded to provide a wealth of new anonymized information about paid podcast subscriptions. The new stats will cover information about free trials, conversion rates to paid subscriptions, financial data, and more. There are a number of ways to filter the new metrics and display trends, too.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple also announced additional delegated delivery partners, who allow podcasters to publish their paid subscription episodes to Apple’s platform using the delivery partner’s tools. The latest to join the program are Audiomeans, Captivate, Podbean, Podspace, and Transistor.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Finally, Apple and Linkfire are partnering to offer podcasters smart links to landing pages for their shows where listeners can access their shows and subscriptions. The links, which are commonly used in the music industry to give fans a way to connect to a musician’s material from multiple services, can be used by podcasters to feature their shows on social media, on websites, in newsletters, and anywhere else they want to link to their shows. Linkfire will offer analytics to users of their linking system, which will be anonymized. Linkfire’s new podcast links will be available this fall and include free and paid tiers of service starting at $9.99/month.


Relay FM Announces 10th Anniversary Event

Our pals Myke and Stephen at Relay FM announced today that they’re celebrating their podcast network’s 10th anniversary in style with a special live show in London.

The event will take place at the Hackney Empire Theater and feature a group of Relay podcast hosts competing in a game of Family Feud Fortunes. Tickets for the all-ages London show, which is scheduled for next summer on the evening of July 27, 2024, are available now.

If the 5th-anniversary show Relay did is any indicator, this event should be a lot of fun.


MacStories Unwind Expands to Club MacStories with Unwind+

MacStories Unwind began as an experiment that sprung from the 2020 pandemic lockdowns. It started as a recap of the week at MacStories paired with a couple of quick media picks for listeners who were stuck at home. Early last year, we refocused the show on the media picks, which has proven popular with listeners, so today, we’re pleased to announce an expansion of the show for both existing listeners and Club MacStories members.

If you’re already a listener, Unwind will continue to feature weekly media picks and be about a half-hour long. What we’re adding is a little more conversation and personality, which has been missing from the show. As is the case now, Unwind will also remain free to download on Fridays and be supported by ads and promotions for other things we’re doing at MacStories.

Listen to Unwind:

The bigger change is that today we’re also introducing MacStories Unwind+, an exclusive perk for Club MacStories members. Unwind+ will be released every week a day early on Thursdays, without ads, and in high bitrate audio. Both versions of the show also feature brand new artwork by our own Silvia Gatta.

With the expansion of Unwind, we’re also simplifying the Club MacStories podcast lineup, consolidating the monthly MacStories Unplugged and AV Club Town Halls into Unwind. The fun, quirky stories and explorations of the differences between Italian and American culture that Unplugged was known for will become a regular segment on Unwind.

Also, AV Club is continuing, but instead of being limited to the Club MacStories+ and Club Premier Town Hall feed, the monthly event will become an episode of Unwind for all Club members. Club MacStories+ and Club Premier members will still help pick the media for AV Club in our Discord community and have the chance to listen live during recording. We’re reorganizing and adding to the channels in the community Discord to make it easier for members to find and discuss the media they love too.

We’re excited to bring you this new edition of MacStories Unwind beginning this week. There was a lot of overlap among Unwind, Unplugged, and our AV Club podcast episodes, and by rolling all of our media picks together with the free-form, casual vibe of Unplugged, we hope you join us for what we think will be the best version of Unwind yet.

If you already listen to Unwind, there’s nothing you need to do to enjoy the new format because the podcast feed isn’t changing. The same goes for Club members who were subscribed to MacStories Unplugged. Unwind+ will replace Unplugged in that feed, so the next time you download an episode, you’ll see Unwind instead.

If you’re not listening to Unwind, we’d love it if you’d give it a try. You’ll find great recommendations for TV shows, movies, videogames, and music, along with the occasional book, podcast, and even media-related hardware. Plus, if you’ve never listened to Unplugged, you’re in for a treat with stories about things like acid-spewing vultures, retirees spectating at construction sites, and southern cooking. Yes, it’s a little weird, but it’s fun too.

Listen to Unwind:

If you want to level up your Unwind experience, we’d love it if you’d consider a Club MacStories membership. We offer three tiers of membership with perks like our active Discord community, exclusive discounts, special columns, and now, Unwind+. And, with Club Premier, you also get AppStories+, the extended, ad-free version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered a day early most weeks in high-bitrate audio. You can learn more about our Club plans using the buttons below.

Join Club Premier here:

To compare every Club MacStories plan we offer, visit our Club plans page.

So, starting today, all members of Club MacStories will have access to MacStories Unwind+ weekly. And, to participate in deciding what we cover for on the monthly AV Club episodes and the live recordings of those episodes, join Club MacStories+ or Club Premier, which each come with a long list of other perks. We hope you enjoy the new format.

The support of Club members is the foundation of MacStories’ future, which is why we’re actively working on growing membership. The Club will celebrate its eighth anniversary this year, and by growing it deliberately each year since 2015, we’ve maintained the free ad-supported stories and podcasts we offer while giving readers and listeners an option that isn’t just ad-free but extends what we’re able to offer across every facet of MacStories.

We’ve got many plans for MacStories that have been in the works for a long time now, which we expect to be able to start sharing soon. We’re excited to share it all with you and would love it if you’d join the Club to help us make those plans a reality.

Slow Burn Recognized as the Apple Podcasts’ Show of the Year

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple Podcasts has named Slow Burn Show of the Year for its season covering the history of the events leading up to the US Supreme Court’s decision in Row v. Wade. The four-part series was released in June, produced by Slate, and hosted by Slate’s executive editor, Susan Matthews.

Regarding the series, Matthews told Apple:

I wanted to make this series because I was really discouraged by how polarized and stuck the conversation around abortion was, and it seemed incredibly timely and important. We set out to tell this story in a way that helped expand and challenge what people understood about this subject. We decided the way to approach this season was to go back to the early ‘70s, when the abortion debate was still up in the air and your party affiliation didn’t correlate with your views on the issue. I am so honored that Apple Podcasts saw something special in this season. I hope people come to it with an open and curious mind, and appreciate listening to it as much as I did making it.

Today, Slate is releasing six Slow Burn Extras, which include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show, new personal stories, and follow-up interviews. The extras are free to download and only available through Apple Podcasts. There’s also an interview with the team behind Slow Burn that’s available on the Apple Podcasts for Creators website.

To commemorate Slow Burn’s achievement, Apple’s created a physical award. The purple award resembles the Podcasts app icon and is made from 100% recycled aluminum with the winner’s name engraved on the back.

Apple Podcasts Marketing Tool for Social Media Released

Apple has released a free web app that lets podcasters create artwork and links to promote their shows on Apple Podcasts. The app offers several customization options that should appeal to a wide variety of creators who want to market their shows on Apple’s service. Still, there are a couple of limitations worth keeping in mind.

Apple's tool offers several options, but the marketing messages are limited to a predefined list.

Apple’s tool offers several options, but the marketing messages are limited to a predefined list.

At its core, Apple’s tool makes it easy to generate promotional artwork in several predefined sizes along with links that can be posted to social media to promote a show, an episode, or an Apple Podcasts channel. Six size choices cover the standard artwork specifications for most social networking services. By default, the artwork is generated with a purple gradient that matches the Podcasts’ app color scheme, but you can change it to whatever you like.

Shows that offer Apple Podcasts subscriptions can promote bonus content and other perks to users.

Shows that offer Apple Podcasts subscriptions can promote bonus content and other perks to users.

There are several messaging options tailored to whether a show is free or offers a subscription version.

There are several messaging options tailored to whether a show is free or offers a subscription version.

The tool also provides several predefined messages that are applied to the artwork, the number of which depends on whether a show is free, paid, or free with a paid option. Shows that rank among Apple Podcasts’ Top Shows have the option of promoting their rankings too. However, there is no option to craft your own marketing message for the artwork, which is a little disappointing but not surprising.

Promotional art comes in multiple sizes for different social networks, and URLs can include affiliate parameters.

Promotional art comes in multiple sizes for different social networks, and URLs can include affiliate parameters.

The app generates full and shortened URLs, too, with the option to include affiliate parameters if you participate in Apple’s affiliate linking program for services.

Apple’s new marketing tool for social channels works well and generates good-looking artwork with minimal effort, making it a nice option for anyone with limited time and resources. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the tool is limited to Apple Podcasts. The messaging options are limited too. You’ll need a different solution if you’d rather promote your podcast’s own website, another podcast directory, or use a marketing message not offered by Apple. Still, because such a large percentage of many shows’ audiences listen using Apple Podcasts, the company’s new tool is an excellent way to reach those listeners and potentially grow that segment of your audience.

Automating Podcast Sessions in Audio Hijack 4 with Shortcuts and Timery

Audio Hijack 4 and Timery.

Audio Hijack 4 and Timery.

For the past week, I’ve been rethinking my approach to time tracking with the Timery app with a focus on simplicity and automation. I appreciate the insights into my habits and patterns afforded by time tracking and Timery’s excellent Reports view, but lately I’ve felt like my setup with projects, tags, and sub-tasks was too convoluted since it was based on a structure I designed years ago.

My daily routine is different now – and it’ll continue to change in 2022 – and I wanted to get rid of the overhead caused by a time tracking system that was too granular. For time tracking to be effective, you need to remember to start a timer whenever you’re working on something; too much friction in the process – such as having to carefully pick from a list of similar projects – defeats the whole purpose of it. There’s also the opposite problem – forgetting to stop a long-running timer – which John explained and fixed in a separate story for Automation April.

So I went back to the drawing board of my Timery projects and reorganized everything with simplicity and ease of activation in mind. I cleaned up my saved timers and shortcut that activates those timers, which I can now trigger system-wide via Raycast on the Mac and the Shortcuts widgets on iPad. I split my work projects into three main areas – MacStories, Club, and podcasts – removed redundant sub-tasks, and grouped related activities under the same tags for more reliable filtering.

How I access my saved timers from the Home Screen.

How I access my saved timers from the Home Screen.

The approach worked well for MacStories and the Club, but podcast timers turned out to be a different beast. You see, when I sit down to record a show like Connected or AppStories, I need to take care of key tasks such as making sure my audio inputs are correct, checking out notes for the show’s outline and intro, and keeping an eye on the Connected audience in Relay’s Discord server. These tasks distract me from time tracking and, as a result, I often forget to start a timer for when I begin recording and, conversely, stop the timer when I’m done. I could automatically start a timer when a calendar event for a show is due in my calendar, but that also doesn’t work for me since it doesn’t account for the time before we actually record the show when I may be chatting privately with Myke and Stephen. Wouldn’t it be great if there was One True Way to automatically start tracking my real recording time when I start talking into the microphone for a show?

As it turns out, thanks to the latest update to Audio Hijack – the new version 4.0 that recently launched on macOS – there is. So for this week’s Automation April story, I’m sharing the custom system I created to trigger a single shortcut that starts time tracking in Timery based on the show I’m recording in that specific moment. Let’s take a look.

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Apple Podcasts Follower Metrics Are Now Available

Last month, I wrote about Apple’s plans to expand the analytics available to podcasters who offer free shows. Yesterday, the new metrics for free shows went live on Apple Podcasts Connect with an announcement from Apple.

The metrics report on a show’s Followers, the term Apple uses to describe anyone who follows free podcasts by selecting the plus button in the Apple Podcasts app. “Subscribers” is reserved for anyone who signs up to receive episodes of paid shows

The new analytics are explained in detail in a support document on Apple Podcasts for Creators. If you’re a podcaster, you’ll find the new metrics under the Analytics tab on Apple Podcasts Connect. The company says that the new Follower metrics allow podcasters to:

Get a breakdown of followers per show and easily measure followers across shows. Once a show is selected, you can view the number of net new followers over the last week, month, 60 days, and all time. Navigate to the Trends menu to view a graph of followers over time and the number of net new followers on a specific day or during a specified range.

The new statistics also report the listening habits of Followers and anyone who doesn’t follow your show.

It’s good to see Apple’s podcast analytics offerings expanding. Apple is just one source of listeners, but it’s a big one that, for many shows, is the dominant source of listeners, so having more anonymized data on user behavior should help guide podcasters in their promotional efforts.

Overcast Redesign Enhances Podcast Navigation with an Emphasis on Playlists and Recent Episodes

I’ve used a lot of different podcast apps over the years, but the one I return to most often and have used the most is Overcast by Marco Arment. The app’s customizability, Smart Speed and Voice Boost audio enhancement technologies, and Shortcuts support are unrivaled among podcast players. I also appreciate that when episodes of the shows I love are published, they usually appear in Overcast first.

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