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RadioPublic answers my questions about Podsites

Learn why Podsites will be compelling if your show his hosted with Libsyn or Spreaker, not if it’s self-hosted or Blubrry-hosted.

RadioPublic just announced its Podsite service, specifically targeted for a particular group of podcasters. Podsite websites are not promoted as a podcast media host, but are designed to offer a dedicated website for on-demand audio shows which are syndicated as a podcast via RSS and use an existing dedicated media host, in order to automate its website maintenance by updating itself based upon the show’s RSS feed. That way, the content producer doesn’t need to create a new post on the website manually after uploading a new episode to the show’s media host together with show notes. Ahead I’ll summarize the service, clarify which type of podcaster will find it compelling, and which wouldn’t, depending whether it’s self-hosted (like mine), Blubrry-hosted, Libsyn-hosted or Spreaker-hosted. Then I’ll share my 5 questions and their answers.

Main unique features of Podsite

Podsite’s mantra is Spend less time on your website so you’ll have have more time to produce your show. That website can be automated, so many podcasters (especially those which host media files with Libsyn or Spreaker) will no longer have to “double-post”. Each time you publish a new episode on a media host like Libsyn or Spreaker with its corresponding show notes, the automated Podsite will automatically create a new post based upon information that it grabs from the show’s RSS feed.

As explained ahead in more detail, this automation makes most sense for shows hosted with Libsyn, Spreaker or similar companies, not for many self-hosted (like mine) or Blubrry-hosted shows. More details about that in the next section.

The Podsite also includes an audio player that continues to play as the visitor navigates within the site, which is another nice feature which —to my knowledge— is unique to Podsites.

Will the Podsites offering be compelling for you? It depends…

Podsites will not be compelling for shows which are currently self-hosted using a WordPress site with Blubrry’s free PowerPress plugin (as are my 4 active shows). I have covered PowerPress in past articles. Why will Podsites not be so compelling for these shows? Because these shows already enjoy the one-post benefit provided by Podsites.

Similarly, Podsites will not be so compelling for shows whose media files are hosted with Blubrry and use WordPress with the PowerPress plugin, for the same reason indicated in the prior paragraph.

Podsites will be compelling for shows whose media files are currently hosted with a media host which offers a haphazard website, like Spreaker (where the provided website cannot currently have the show’s own domain displayed in the browser, and has very strong Spreaker branding at the top and bottom) and Libsyn (whose provided website is somewhat better, since it can use the show’s domain, but sadly still cannot force HTTPS, as I documented in Branded RSS in the era of platform expulsion back in September 2018. I verified that this sad situation still persists in February 2019, according to the very bottom of Libsyn’s knowledgebase article. Forced HTTPS is a Google requirement since 2014, so Libsyn is nearly 5 years late with this essential capability as of publication time of this article.)

So if you currently host your media files with Libsyn or Spreaker, want to continue to do so, and are tired of having to post twice each time you publish an episode, Podsites from RadioPublic can certainly be compelling to you. If you currently self-host your media files with the PowerPress plugin (or host your media files with Blubrry and use PowerPress), it won’t be compelling for that reason.

Questions I asked and answers

RadioPublic promptly responded to my initial 5 questions. Only my 6th is still pending.

What’s the pricing?

US$12/month if paying yearly, US$15/month if monthly.

Even though you include the domain, do you alternatively allow producers to continue to use their domain on their preferred registrar? If so, can it be pointed via CNAME or A Record, instead of having all DNS controlled at your end?

At this time, we are asking that the domain be configured to use our nameservers to simplify the SSL provisioning without downtime and to be able to support apex domains. In the future, we may allow configuration using CNAME records, but because of the CDN technology we use it would be challenging to support A records for apex domains and still guarantee high levels of performance.

We offer a free domain with the service, but we do not require folks to take advantage of that to use the service. You are free to register your domain elsewhere and continue to pay for it with your preferred registrar and point it at us.

Do Podsites include SSL/TLS for HTTPS?

It’s included and required. Privacy and information rights are baked into our company charter and mission, and we think widely deployed encryption is part of that mission.

Do Podsites allow the apex domain, without the old-fashioned www prefix? (See my article 5 reasons to remove WWW from your website or 5 motivos para eliminar WWW de tu sitio web.)

Yes, that’s what most of our first customers have opted for.

I imagine that Podsites probably use the RadioPublic player, which is great. Do Podsites also allow embedding in case the podcaster also does (or wants to do) live online radio and wants to embed that on the website too?

Each Podsite has native playback baked into the website, this means a visitor can click play and navigate around your website without interrupting the episode. I’m super interested to learn more about the live radio aspect, though it isn’t something we’ve yet added.

Do Podsites currently include the option of PWA, or is that on the timeline somewhere, either in full or partial implementation? Let me know if you need clarification of what I mean between full and partial.

(The summarized response is: Not at this time.)

How good can your show notes look and act on Podsites?

Given my prior research into podcatchers and players, I already know that fortunately, the ones from RadioPublic properly respect both functional and graphical properties in show notes. For example, RadioPublic’s player and podcatcher support:

  • Human type links, like this one
  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Lists like the one you are reading now, both ordered (with numbers) and non-ordered (with bullet points or something similar), as well as the proper indentation after the first line.

I have researched that using my own self-hosted shows which include all of the above. I have no doubt that since RadioPublic has done that correctly with its web player and podcatcher, they’ll do it correctly with Podsites too.

However, those things will only work that well if they actually exist in the original show notes as created at the media host. That means good news for Libsyn-hosted shows (since Libsyn fortunately supports all of the above in show notes) and bad news for Spreaker shows (since as of publication time of this article, Spreaker show notes sadly don’t). So show notes coming from Spreaker will look just as plain and ugly on Podsites as they do everywhere else. That’s something that Spreaker needs to improve, not Podsites. Although show notes might be able to be polished after the fact within Podsites (I have not confirmed that), that would deflate the compelling one-post advantage mantra, which is one of the most important feature in Podsites. Spreaker: Please improve the show notes!

Tentative conclusions

As explained in detail above, Podsites from RadioPublic can be quite compelling for shows whose media files are hosted with Libsyn and even with Spreaker, but not for many self-hosted shows or Blubrry-hosted shows. The one-post workflow is compelling for those who currently miss it, but not for those who already have it. The audio player that continues to work when navigating within the site is also very nice. I hope that the answers of the pending questions will soon become a definite yes, and that they will soon support pointing via CNAME or A RECORD. For more information about Podsites, visit here.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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