How to Record a Podcast With An Old Laptop, Bad WiFi, and a Smartphone

People have been asking how I’ve managed to record Radio BrendoMan and Pop Sickles since I’ve been living in hotels with very unreliable internet access and my desktop computer is in storage. It took some trial and error as we almost lost a Radio BrendoMan episode in the process. Right now for gear I have an ancient Dell laptop running XP and my Yeti microphone. I tried recording using our traditional method of using Google Hangouts and Audacity on my laptop but running but Hangouts on Air brought my laptop to a standstill and the hotel wifi was practically useless. Next we tried using Skype and Audacity and this seemed to work until I tried to sync our two tracks together. It appears that running both Skype and Audacity caused Audacity to stutter a bit resulting in out of sync tracks. Phil was able to fix it by painstakingly listening to the files in real time and deleting the gaps as he found them but it was not a viable option going forward. Back to the drawing board I went.

Pop Sickles was the next test and this time everything worked. After messing around with Hangouts on my Galaxy S4 I determined that the audio quality was pretty great when using my 4G connection. I plugged in my headphones on the phone, started a group hangout with Derick and Benson, and fired up Audacity on my laptop. The recording went off without a hitch since Audacity was no longer competing for processing power. Everything synced up perfectly. It’s not super ideal since you can’t use Hangouts on Air with the mobile app so you don’t have the YouTube video you can use as backup in case something goes wrong and you don’t have the stream for people to tune into and chat on but it gets the job done when the next option is not podcast at all.

Feel free to comment with your suggestions or questions. The main thing I’ve learned from this experience is that you really can put together a podcast in almost any circumstance and with even the crappiest of gear. Seriously you guys, this laptop I am using to run Audacity is probably 10 years old. It takes a while to encode files but it gets the job done. If you really want to make a podcast, gear shouldn’t be holding you back. As I’ve said before, I recorded the original Radio BrendoMan on my sub-par laptop with a $2 PC microphone and I was behind the Great Firewall of China. Phil uses a Rock Band microphone. One of the first podcasts I listened to on a regular basis was a show some guy recorded on his Palm Treo in his car. If you’ve got a good idea, just do it. Figure out the rest as you go.

How To Publish a Podcast with WordPress and Archive.org

I’ve been meaning to publish this for awhile so thank you to Jason Paul for sending in this email to get me motivated:

Hey man,

Just took your advice and got setup with Archive.org to host my podcast. I have my wordpress site up and running but my question is what do you use to generate your RSS feed? My first thought is feedburner, is that correct? If so how do you make sure the RSS feed picks the podcast up as an audiofile ( I use the archive.org code to stream my podcast on my site)? Also, do you know of anyway to migrate my old rss feed to the new one (itunes subscribers)? Sorry for these random questions but I know you probably know a shit load more than I would find out pecking around on Google. Not sure if this is a show email or not but feel free to respond anyway you see fit.

Here was my response and I am publishing it here as I know others are curious:

If you are on WordPress you don’t need to use Feedburner. Use a podcasting plugin. I use BluBrry Powerpress. It is easy to use and install. http://www.blubrry.com/powerpress/

Do you have control over your old feed? The only way to really do it is to add the itunes:new-feed-url tag to your feed and point to the new URL. You can find more info about itunes tags here:

http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html

Let me know if you need any more help.