PHD-026 – How *NOT* to get kicked off your Webhost


The company Personal Audio, The people claiming they have a patent for podcasting, that were suing Adam Carolla have tried to drop the lawsuit. They claim there is “no money” in podcasting. Adam has decided to not let it drop just yet and is keeping his counter-claims. His goal is to invalidate the patent. I’m not sure that’s a good idea. He’s raised nearly $1 million to fight them. I was listening to Adam Curry on No Agenda and he (the podfather) said that he thinks Corolla should give the cash to the EFF who is trying to get the patent invalidated. I’m not exactly sure what to think about it. Read more about it H E R E


I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people who have been asked by their webhost to upgrade because they are hogging all the CPU on a shared server. (a good problem to have)

– Not all webhosting is created the same.

– I would use the big guys for shared hosting. I’ve had the best luck with either Bluehost (you can help me out by using my affiliate link if you are going to go with Bluehost) or Godaddy hosting. (this podcast website is on Godaddy Linux hosting)

Bluehost just introduced their “Optimized Hosting For WordPress” (use my link code) which would solve the problem.

-Wordpress takes some CPU to generate your feed with powerpress. PHP is used to generate your feed on the fly. When someone requests your RSS feed, it pulls a little bit on the server’s CPU. Get too many requests at one time and your site can slow down a bit. The way it does that is PHP.

From Wikipedia: PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language. As of January 2013, PHP was installed on more than 240 million websites (39% of those sampled) and 2.1 million web servers.

– Say you have 1000 people that listen to your podcast every time you put out an episode and of those 1000 people, 50% are using your RSS feed, either with iTunes, the iOS Podcasts App or some other podcast app or rss reader. It’s not just 500 times does your feed get queried. It’s ever xx amount of time, it gets hit 500 times. over a week, if the podcatchers ping once a day thats 3500 times. Most of the time, most people (lets say 400) have it set to ping every hour. That would be 67900 times! If your show keeps growing, it won’t take long before your webhost will say that you are using too much CPU and ask you to leave. Hopefully they are nice enough to ask you to leave.

– There are many ways to fix this problem. Only 3 of them make any sense to me. As you know, I am a firm believer is owning your own brand and controlling your feed.

1. Upgrade your hosting. VPS, Dedicated server or WordPress optimized hosting. Bluehost just introduced their “Optimized Hosting For WordPress” (use my promo code) which would solve the problem.

2. Create a static feed. I would (and do) use Static Feed plugin. at . ignore the part about it not being updated in over
2 years. It works and it is supported (by me and Angelo) so don’t worry. I’m hoping Angelo will update it just to get rid of that warning. :)

3. Use a caching plugin. (not my favorite choice but it can work)

Others may tell you to use Feedburner. That will ‘sort of work’. It does take the load off your webserver, but you give up much more so it’s not worth it.

Still others will say, use your hosting company’s RSS feed. Both Libsyn and Blubrry offer a feed with a hosting account. I wouldn’t use that feed from either of them (although you could do worse since both companies will redirect your feed if you change your mind).

I’m going to be having another “off week” next week. So I will be back and we will continue the zero to itunes podcast series. Thank for listening!

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I’ll be back on 8-3-2014


The podcast Help desk is taking a short hiatus. I will resume the weekly schedule on August 3rd (a Monday).

I’m switching the schedule for a Monday release. That gives me time over the weekend to catch up if I got busy during the week.

I will be continuing my series on zero to podcaster with setting up WordPress.

Thanks for hanging in there!


PHD-025 – Q and A plus how to pick a domain and webhost for podcasting


Followup from last weeks show.

I did have a chance to listen to more of the podcasts in the list from last week. I have to say, that one of them seem a bit pushy selly. (if that’s a correct term) What I mean is that this show seemed more like an infomercial for consulting, affiliate program links and lacked useful information. I’m not going to call out this podcaster as I may have just caught a show that was more like that than normal. I will keep listening. It was entertaining and well produced, so I’m not saying it was bad or useless, just not my style. Enough on that for now. Film at 11 :)

Val, from the comments for Episode 23 asks:
Q: This all sounds fine…but I am a bit slow.
I have a mp3 file I uploaded to my site how do I get a feed to be able to sent to Itunes? I tried wordpress free version but the powerpress plug-in is disabled. I tried feedburner but it tells me that it cannot find my audio
I missing something??

A: Well, there are a couple of things going on here. The first thing is there isn’t really a good way to to do podcasting from WordPress.COM (notice I said wordpress DOT COM). is a service of a company called automatic. They are also the people behind the open source blogging software called WordPress.ORG (or just wordpress). They are not the same thing. Powerpress will not work with free (or paid) sites. It only works when you buy your own domain name, install on your webhosting account. There are ways to to podcast from, but they are not great.

One thing you could do is get hosting at With your media hosting they provide a website. (use my promo code NOBS for a free month) But, as always, I recommend your own domain with wordpress installed on it. You *can* (but not a long term thing) host your media on your webhost if you want. It will work while you are just starting out, but if your show grows quickly, you will want to get the media off your webserver. One place that will allow it is bluehost. They have some good deals on webhosting over there. Godaddy hosting is also a good place. They have tools that make it real easy to setup wordpress.

So, my advice to Val is to get your own domain, install wordpress and powerpress. See episode 1 of Podcast Tech Coach (Podcast Help Desk) for step by step instructions.

From a smart-aleck Jeffrey Powers, from Geekazine Via Facebook comment:
Q: What chair do you use?

A: I know Jeffrey was trying to be funny, and of course, I am in a squeaky chair in Northwest Lower Michigan… But that does bring up a good topic. That is Studio comfort.

If you are uncomfortable or your gear isn’t organized, your podcast won’t be as enjoyable to produce. Make sure you chair, desk, table, keyboard and everything else is setup in a way that you are relaxed while podcasting.

Today, I want to start a series on going from zero to a fully ready to go podcast website complete with RSS feed and iTunes and Stitcher listings. I will also be making these into screencast videos which will be available on YouTube and on this site.

Today’s topic: Selecting the domain name and getting web hosting account.
Domain names are the heart of your branding for a podcast. Selecting one is something you should only have to do once

Heil PR40 – $327.00 – my Old standby

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PHD-024 – Podcasts about podcasting and other resources


This may seem counter-intuitive, but I only want you to have as much info as you can. My fellow podcasters that podcast about podcasting have a lot of great information. There isn’t any real competition in this field. We all have our own take on things and for the most part, everyone puts out great advice. Personalities and styles are quite different and you might not like someone’s style so here is the best (in my opinion) of the people you should also listen to.

I suggest you pick a few other shows and sites from below to round out your podcasting education.

Podcasts about podcasting in no particular order: ( I randomized it)

Listen to the show for my comments about each of these links (agree or not they are well thought out)

Ask the Podcast Coach – Dave Jackson

The Audacity To Podcast – Daniel J. Lewis

Podcast 411 – Rob Walch

More Podcast Money – Dave Jackson

New Media Show – Todd Cochrane & Rob Greenlee

Start Talking and Recording today – Nick Seuberling 

Podcasters Roundtable – Ray Ortega + others

The Powerpress Podcast – The Blubrry Official Podcast

Podcast Talent Coach – Eric K. Johnson

Podcast Answer Man – Cliff Ravenscraft

Podcast Quick Tips – Ray Ortega

Podcaster’s Studio – Ray Ortega

School of Podcasting – Dave Jackson

The Feed – The Offical Libsyn Podcast

The Podcast Review Show – Dave Jackson (paid reviews)

Podcasting Resources (Most all the Podcasts above also have written and video resources)

How To Record Podcasts – Jeffrey Powers

The Podcasting Manual –

Blubrry Podcasting Forum –

Google Plus Podcasters Community  –

Google Plus Podcasting Technology Resorces –

Facebook Podcast Community –

How to Start A Podcast – Patt Flynn

Podcasting AtoZ – Cliff Ravenscraft

Podcasts about Podcasting list – Dave Jackson

Podcast Places – Daniel J. Lewis

Apples “Podcast Specs” page for iTunes

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PHD-023 – Podcasts App problems, Feed Size Problems, Soundcloud for podcasting and a Cheap mic shootout

phd300_2014Apple’s “Podcasts” app on IOS crashed for almost everyone yesterday. 

Apple is going to be making the PODCASTS app, one of the default aps in IOS8! Good news for podcasters!

Soundcloud for podcasting

Why you shouldn’t use Soundcloud (or any other proprietary service) as your only point of presence for your podcast.

it’s in beta (after 3 years?!?!) I don’t trust beta.

It costs some money and it’s limited on the TOTAL uploads, not monthly like other services (like blubrry or libsyn)

They mess with your file. What you upload is not exactly what your listeners will download. (even if it is just a filename change)

If you use their RSS feed, you will have trouble keeping YOUR audience when you decide to leave.

One cool thing they do have is the player, but I’m guessing there will be players like that coming out for other services / systems soon.

Q: My latest podcast episode is not listed on iTunes and it’s been a week. What’s going on?

A: In the case of this questioner, it was their feed size was too big.

Here are some ways to make the feed size smaller:
1. Reduce the number of episodes in the feed
2. Write less text in your posts for podcast episodes
3. In powerpress, turn on “Feed maximizer”

I know most people want to have EVERY episode in the feed, but in most cases it’s not needed.

Q: If I’m going to add a digital recorder to my audio chain, why not use one of the cheap recorders like the Zoom H1 for $99?

A: There is no reason not to use the h1. But, look at the recorder specs of any other cheap recorders and make sure it has 2 things.
1. Line level input
2. Records in Stereo in .wav format (uncompressed)
Recording to mp3 can cause quality problems. Even on the more expensive recorders. The Zoom H1 would be a great little studio recorder for backup or even the main recording.

R-05 for $199

Q: What is the best Microphone for me?

A: I get this one a LOT! It depends on your voice, your studio, your budget and your preferences. We talk about this a lot and we podcasters (most of us) are gear heads. If your budget allows, try a bunch of mics.. you can always trade, sell them later.

I’m going to test 2 inexpensive mics here. You tell me if you think it was worth the $300 for my PR40 (other than it looks really cool).

The first one I’m going to test is the $59.99 ATR2100 from Audio-Technica

The other one is even cheaper!

The $24.99 Behringer XM8500  The cheap mic :)   Love it anyway.

As you can see, you can go as cheap or as expensive as you need and still do a great job of podcasting with good audio.. No excuses for crappy audio :)

Heil PR40 – $327.00 – my Old standby

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PHD-022 – The Basics of RSS and Podcasting


This week I had a lot of questions from new and prospective podcasters that show that, even though podcasting has been around a while (10 years), people seem to have trouble with how it works.

So I am going to explain it in very basic terms. This would be a good episode to pass on to people you know who ask you about how podcasting works, what it is, and how it DOESN’T work.

Ok, The first thing about podcasting you should understand is, that it is driven by the RSS feed. What is an RSS feed? RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. What that means is that it’s a file on the web (either static or dynamically generated) in XML format. It contains “posts” or “items” in reverse order newest first and oldest last. RSS is a standard where the content is not formatted in a particular way as how it’s displayed. It’s just the raw content (mostly text) and the receiving program (RSS Readers) format it for display on a screen. The raw RSS was never meant for humans to see. It’s meant for machines to see, interpret and display as they see fit.

For podcasting, Dave Winer (who invented RSS) added some magic to RSS to allow “enclosures” which can be any sort of file that once delivered to an RSS reader would download to the local users device (at that time computers only). This is what allows us to enclose our mp3 files in the RSS feed for delivery to our listeners. (works the same for video files)

So basicly how this works for Real people is like a Radio. Your RSS feed is the transmitter and the listener’s Podcatching software is the receiver. They “Tune” (subscribe) to your RSS feed just like you might tune your radio to 98.1 to listen to the Bob and Tom show on your local radio station. The difference is you can “Tune” your podcatcher to more than one station at a time and it “records” (downloads) the show for playback later kind of like a DVR would for a tv show, that can be played back at a later time.

The podcatching software all works a bit differently from one another, but uses the same basic method to get your podcast files to the listener. Some now allow streaming of your files so instead of downloading the whole file before you play it, it plays it on demand. Apps like Stitcher, Tunein and even Apple’s “Podcasting” IOS app can do this. (I prefer to download the files so I don’t’ have to use up my data plan when I’m away from wifi on my phone)

The import part is to have your RSS feed formated correctly so that all these podcatching software apps can read it correctly.

In 2005, Apple added podcast support to iTunes and we have never been the same since! The only issue at that time was they added some iTunes specific tags that needed to be there for the podcast to look right in iTunes. If you use a plugin like Powerpress, and fill out all the settings, all those tags will be there in the correct place and your show will look right on those apps.

While we’re on the subject of iTunes, I want to re-iterate that you do not UPLOAD to iTunes. You do not have an iTunes feed. Just because the iTunes store doesn’t LIST your episode, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. People get so worried about what iTunes shows in their listings they don’t realize that the listing isn’t the important part. It’s the RSS feed. People who subscribe to your show in iTunes are subscribed DIRECTLY to your rss feed. The iTunes store (where your listing lives) doesn’t update in real-time. If I put out a podcast at 3pm on Friday afternoon, at 301pm it will be available to be downloaded via someone subscribed in iTunes. The listing might not update for 2 hours or 2 days.

Media Hosting / Web hosting

Your web page (if you are doing it the way I suggest) is where your RSS feed lives. The place where your media files (mp3’s) live can be anywhere that is accessible on the web. To be included on iTunes, there are some other requirements for the server, but if you use a good media host (such as that is all taken care of. In fact, as I have said many times, it’s not a good idea to server media from a webhost. Just webpages.

From Gene:
Q: I was able to use the right click button inside ITunes to Show Info”of the podcast. I see your settings for Name/Artist/Album Artist, etc.

However, I don’t see your show notes under any of the tabs.
I’m asking because when I’m listening to your podcast on my ipad and i touch your album art, several paragraphs of text appear.

How did you enter that so that it would show up that way?

A: Great question! The way that works is your podcatcher (in this case iTunes or the Podcasts app on IOS) takes my show notes (which are really just taken from the blog post attached to the episode) and makes them show up there. That is what is in the RSS feed. The text from my shownotes / blog post and the mp3 file. Not all podcatchers work that way so you can also put the shownotes in the “lyrics” tab in the id3 tags or the “get info” area when you process the mp3.

Cliff Ravenscraft article in Soapbox Cincinnati

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PHD-021 – Your questions, Mike’s Answers – Podcast Cover Art and iTunes SEO


Recovered from the great basement flood :)

Q: My podcast artwork doesn’t show properly in iTunes / Stitcher / whatever other podcatcher

A: There are 3 places in your feed that the image needs to be.

1. Is in the mp3 files itself. A image bigger than 600 x 600 needs to be in the iD3 tags of EACH of your podcast mp3’s. I do this using iTunes on my computer by dragging the mp3 into a playlist I called “edit” and then I right click on the mp3 in itunes and select “Get Info”
In there is some tabs. In the Artwork tab you can upload your image there. Also fill out the “info” tab while you are in there.

2. RSS2 image – 144 x 144 px image (or larger) I just use the same 1400 x 1400 image for all 3 items. Saves time :)

Your Podcast Title

3. iTunes image – 1400 x1400 px, RGB jpg or png (I recommend JPG for file size) and under 500mb.

If you use Powerpress with wordpress (Like I recommend) you can just fill out the “Feeds, iTunes and the Artwork tab in powerpress settings. (Have your image or images ready)

As always, give iTunes (especially) at LEAST 3 days to update and it can take longer (like 3 WEEKS!!).

Along a similar line:

Q: How do I force iTunes into updating my image. I changed my image over 7 weeks ago.

A: Well, as I say over and over, you don’t force Apple (iTunes) to do anything. What you can do is trick it into thinking you have a new image. Do this by changing the name of the images in your feed. This will sort of force iTunes into updating your image.

Q: Where do I find someone to make my Podcast Artwork?

A: What I use is It costs $5 for someone to make your image. You might have to spend $5 a few times, but it’s much cheaper than hiring an artist to do it for you. I’ve had great luck with fiverr for images and intro voiceovers.

Q: I can’t find my podcast in iTunes by searching for my keywords.

A: iTunes SEO (thats what I call it) is much the same as Google except iTunes seems to (and nobody outside of Apple knows for sure) also weigh the search results by how popular your podcast is (how many subscribers and reviews you have). It’s not an exact science and it’s competitive. It also take a LONG LONG time to show any improvement.

Last one for this week, Q: Do I need to have my post “published” before I submit my feed to iTunes?

A: Duh! (this is why I don’t use names often in my Q and A’s ) :) Yes, for a podcast feed to be valid, you MUST have published at least one episode.

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PHD – No Episode This Week


Due to flooding in my Studio (see picture) and the fact that Servpro has about 20 fans and other noisy equipment running in my basement. I’m not able to do a full episode this week. The file I have with this episode was recorded from my iphone and sounds like crap. Sorry about that! I will be back with Episode 21 next week as long as the river doesn’t rise again :)


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PHD-020 – On the road again – Mobile Podcasting Safety Tips and Lots More


Today was a mobile podcast and I touched on a lot of stuff.  Even some safety tips if you are going to drive and podcast at the same time :)

I also talked about (in no particular order!)

Better show notes for the next show!

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PHD-019 Reintroduction and the 8 steps to record your first Episode


Today I wanted to take a few minutes and re-introduce myself and this show for the many new listeners that have joined in the last few weeks that might not have gone back to the old Podcasting Tech Coach intro show.

First off, Who am I?

I’m Mike Dell.  Not the guy that started Dell Computer company, but the one who has been podcasting for 9 years on various shows.  I am located in Northern Michigan and do my show from a squeky desk chair in the basement of a 1940’s log cabin  in the woods along the shores of Lake Michigan.

I started my first podcast, The Benzoid Report, (named for the county I lived in at the time called Benzie)  in Summer 2005.  I started it using a $10 headset mic with my old Dell laptop.  It sounded awful! (at first) but got better with time and experience. If anyone has copies of the first 40 or so Benzoid Report podcasts, let me know.  That podcast is still around at Mike Dell’s World and is over 200 episodes now.  I don’t do that one too much, but every once in a while when the mood strikes.  (

The second podcast that I did, I did with a co-host and it was called the Ham Radio Podclass.  It’s where John Martin and myself helped people pass their US Amateur Radio (Ham) license tests.  That one was very popular and we had 1000’s of people email us their new callsigns after they passed the tests.  Due to the work involved with producing that one and the fact the FCC changes the question pool (and the subjects covered in the test every 3 years) we quit doing it.  If anyone is interested in downloading the episodes, they are still available at for the Tech and General.  Lots of good information there, but a bit outdated.

My wife and I did a podcast called “Strange Today” which was a daily podcast about strange history.  We did it for a year.  That was enough.  I don’t recommend doing daily podcasts unless you REALLY have a commitment to doing one.. Even if it’s short.  Ours almost never went over 5 minutes, but was still a lot of work to keep going.   That one is in the bit bucket.

I did another Daily , turned weekly called Aviation History today and then Aviation History this week.  That is another one that I didn’t save any episodes of.

I had / have a tech podcast called “Geek of the North”. I’ve podfaded it, but it still exists at and it may come back someday.  I’m keeping the site online in case.

I’m sure I’m missing a few shows I’ve done, but that’s the main list.

What makes me qualified to give advice?  Well, it’s quite likely, if there is a mistake to be made, I’ve made it.  If I didn’t make it myself, I’ve helped other podcasters undo their mistakes.

For 5 years now, I’ve been the tech support guy for Rawvoice, Tech Podcast Network and Blubrry.  I have answered 1000’s of questions from podcasters both about Rawvoice services and podcasting in General.  I’ve also consulted with a bunch of podcasters to get them started in podcasting on my own.  People pay me to get them out of trouble.

What is this show all about?

Well, about 2 years ago, I thought it would be a good idea to have a podcast about the technology of podcasting.  The plan was to take the questions I was getting at blubrry/rawvoice and answer them in podcast form.  It took me almost 2 years to get to episode 12.  The problem was I wasn’t doing it my way.   This show was never the official blubrry support podcast or anything like that, but it was too focused on tech issues.  When I rebranded to The Podcast Help desk, I figured I would branch out more and discuss anything that has to do with podcasting that will help people learn about podcasting.  Sure there are lots of podcasts about podcasting out there already, and they are great.  I want to put my spin on it.  If you notice, I have a very down-to-earth view of podcasting and a rather laid back style.  I’m not going for the slick radio show type program.  I’m not doing the “Do a podcast and make TONS of money” thing either.  I’m doing this show the way I am.

I’m more than a hobbyist but not so much that I don’t understand the hobby podcasters.  I really enjoy podcasting and the podcasting industry and want to share that with the world.  Hobbyist and pro alike.

I have also formed lots of strong opinions about how one should go about podcasting and since I’m not representing anyone but myself, I feel I can share those with you.  I’m sure there are others out there that will disagree with me on some things. That’s ok and I hope to have them on this show sometime to tell their side of anything I might say.  If I think a service is crap, I’m going to tell you that it’s crap!  If I think something is better than something else, I will tell you that also.

One more time:  Yes, I work for Blubrry.  No, this is not the Blubrry official podcast.  It’s mine and my opinion only.

So thanks for letting me introduce myself and my show again.  Now on to the meat of the show.

8 Steps to make your first episode a good one.

1. Get your mic, mixer, software and everything setup in advance. (Show zero anyone?)

2 Relax! You can re-record as many times as it takes and you can edit if you want. This is not like Radio or TV. Don’t be nervous.

3. Have your subject outlined. If it’s a free form podcast, have at least and idea of what you are going to talk about.

4. Make sure you press “Record” and test out the audio levels before you commit to recording the whole episode.

5. Set your environment. Quiet, phone off, dogs fed and happy. It’s a lot easier to NOT have to “fix it in post”. The best way to record is get it right the first time. (or the final time)

6. Don’t be overly picky either. As long as the audio is decent quality and you don’t sound like you’re nervous, put it out there. Everyone’s first episode sucks when compared to their 20th episode.

7. LISTEN to your recording. Make sure something didn’t go wrong before you publish.

8. Have Fun! That is what this is all about. If it’s not fun, you won’t continue to to do it.

This show brought to you by Media Hosting and Pro media statistics.

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