Thinking about jumping into the pool of podcasting?  Awesome!  We believe every radio station in every market, no matter how small, should be owning a podcast of some kind.  The possibilities are limitless.

A question we get often is “do you include podcasting in your website service”.  We are quick to answer, “no, but with very good reason.”

We advise everyone to use a specialized podcasting host to avoid the hassles of a slow website.  In addition to large media files eating up server space, podcasts require lots of bandwidth.  This means as more people listen to your podcast, the slower your website will get.

We’ve had several stations come to us with the complaint that their current website got slower over time.  Our first question is, “does your current host provide podcasting or e-mail newsletters (which can also take up bandwidth and server resources)?”.  If your website provider includes these services on their hosting platform, even though you may not be using them, it may be time to start looking elsewhere.

Dedicated Podcast Service Benefits

Larger Files
Most web hosts only offer limited storage.  However with dedicated podcasting hosts, storage won’t be a problem unless you require more resources than their typical plan includes.  For most podcasts, a typical plan will be all you need.

Faster Website
Uploading media files directly to your website will result in an overall slower website speed as more and more people access it.  As your audience opens and plays a podcast episode, expect a slow download. The website traffic may also result to delayed or lagging media.  Podcasting hosts give an undisturbed access to your podcasts and avoids conflicts with your website bandwidth.

Better Experience
Although you have control, there is still limited control when using your website host to store media files. With podcasting hosts, you are able to operate on your own without having to sacrifice quality or speed due to poor bandwidth.

At first, you might just have only a few people listening to your show at one time, and that’s probably fine.  Imagine thousands of people listening to your show at one time though!  Requring that much bandwidth and server resources will surely crash your site resulting nobody listening to your show.  This is why dedicated podcasting hosts with high bandwidths are always the better options.

Choosing a Podcast Service Provider

There are a number of podcast hosting sites out there and you should start your search by asking yourself a few questions.

1. Does the podcast hosting site have restrictions on episodes or bandwidth?
Podcast hosting is generally structured as a subscription service, but some sites offer free podcast hosting for a limited upload amount. Other services offer unlimited upload bandwidth for a small monthly fee.

2. What podcast promotion or marketing features are available?
You want people to hear your podcast and in order to do that, you need to make it easy for your audience to find your show.  Are you able to promote your podcasts via other podcasting provider directories?  You’ll want to market your podcast in as many places possible.

3. Free podcast hosting vs paid podcast hosting – How much do you want to spend?
If you choose to work with a free podcast hosting site, read the terms and conditions to figure out who owns the rights to the podcast content you upload. For paid hosting, you’ll notice that most platforms offer a variety of different plans that increase as you add more features. List out the features you need right now compared to your projected needs six months to a year in the future.

For a more professional level podcasting plan, you may have to connect with each hosting company directly to learn more. Be sure to ask about their support teams, multi-show podcast management options, and monetization options.  This will give you a better idea of the scope of features and support they can offer to a larger show.

Podcast Service Provider Options

There are many different podcast hosting platforms and it can be difficult to decide which one to go with.  Some companies have been around a long time and new ones are popping up all the time.  The best podcast hosts make it super simple to migrate existing podcasts into their system.  Here are a few, in no particular order, to take a look at…

OmnyStudio

OmnyStudio stands out as a good fit for radio due to their on-premise recording agent that can record on-air shows live for podcasting purposes.  They have excellent integrated marketing tools and great looking players that can be embedded nearly anywhere.  Pricing depends on your particular needs.

Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout was designed to make podcasting simple, but not limited.  There’s a forever free plan (no credit card needed to sign up) but your episodes get removed after 90 days, then their plans start at $12/month.

Spreaker

Spreaker has been around since 2010 and has a handful of unique features and software for podcasters.  They have a Live Podcasting option which lets listeners interact with you with the included chatbox.  There is a free plan to test things out, but the $20/month Broadcaster option is the best option.

Captivate

Captivate is a relatively new podcast hosting platform.  The analytics are advanced, yet easy to understand, and they have a great looking player.  You can host an unlimited number of podcasts starting at $19/month for 10K downloads – more than enough for 97% of podcasters.

Transistor

Transistor is also relative new.  They are focused on brands and people who take podcasting seriously vs those who are hobbyists.  Pricing starts at $19/month for 10,000 downloads per month, which is more than enough for most podcasters. If you need more, they have higher tiers with more downloads and team members as well.

Libsyn

Libsyn is a podcast hosting service that has been around since the early days of podcasting. There are better services available but this one has stood the test of time.  Libsyn’s pricing plans start at $5/month with an upload limit of 50MB which is too small for most people but a good place to start.  At a minimum, you will likely need the $15/month plan that bumps you up to 250MB of upload per month and basic statistics.

As I mentioned above, after you get your hosting all set up, you’ll want to make sure to get listed on the top podcasting directories so people can find and listen to your shows.  Here is a great article outlining some additional places to distribute your podcasts.

We hope this article helps to set the stage or your podcasting success.  Cheers!

Jim Sherwood serves as chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects.