Zencastr Team Spotlight #1 - Erica, Head of Support

For this post we’re changing gears from our regular Podcast Spotlight, this time sharing with you the team that keeps things running behind the scenes. Our small but mighty Zencastr team is essential to keeping things running smoothly, answering your questions and helping spread the word about the service. 


Our first Spotlight is with Erica, who is our Head of Support team. In the unlikely and unfortunate event something isn’t working as intended with the software, you should definitely send us a note at support@zencastr.com and the Support team (maybe even Erica), will be responding and getting you sorted.

Erica joined our team back in February of this year and has been making a huge impact on support since day 1. How significant? How about 75% faster response times than before!


I had the opportunity to interview Erica for this Spotlight (using Zencastr, of course, since we’re on different coasts). Hear how Erica has made her own podcast, is making support better and what she thinks is the single quality that great support teams all share. Enjoy!

 A view from Erica's workspace.

A view from Erica's workspace.

 Outside view from Erica's workspace in Washington.

Outside view from Erica's workspace in Washington.

Posted on June 19, 2018 .

Spotlight 4 – Five Star Walk On – A College Football Podcast

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Sports + podcasting go together like PB&J. Why? The speed at which podcasts can be created and distributed make podcasting a perfect medium to discuss sports and entertainment topics that are prone to constant change. The freshness of the content is the good news for fans and podcasters. The tricky part is that the content can go stale very quickly. A big win by an underdog team in March Madness is old news come April.


"The freshness of the content is the good news for fans and podcasters. The tricky part is that the content can go stale very quickly."


Truth be told, I don’t personally follow many sports closely so I didn’t realize how big college sports are until I moved to North Carolina last year from Los Angeles. (L.A. gave me a glimpse into college pride but it appears the American South has bigger college sports fans). When we were in LA I saw the USC, UCLA, Stanford, and even Oregon pride around town, but after we moved I really saw the college rivalries emerge in North Carolina. Duke, UNC and NC State are major battle lines and self-descriptors here. Who knew!? I grew up in the northeast so either college sports aren’t as big there (maybe) or I just wasn’t paying attention (most probable scenario).

Today we’re talking to Five Star Walk On, a college football podcast started by three lifelong friends. Here are excerpts from my interview with Sean of Five Star Walk On.


1. Q. How did the podcast start?

1. A. We spent so much time talking about recent games, upcoming games, and other college football news that eventually, we just decided to start recording our conversations. We thought that other people might be interested in what a few average joes have to say about college sports.


2. Q.    What was the hardest part about starting your podcast?

2. A.    Honestly, we had no idea what we were doing when we first started. We would just click record and then talk. Our conversations didn’t always flow so well, and we spent a lot of time rambling. Eventually we figured out how to make our episodes more structured.


3. Q.    What’s the best part about podcasting?

3. A.    We all have day jobs that take up a lot of our time and energy. It’s been really great to be able to work on something of our own, especially with your best friends. Having this podcast gives us the opportunity to stay in touch pretty much every day and talk about something we’re all passionate about. Also seeing our number of listens grow and receiving positive feedback from listeners is really cool.


4. Q. How do you promote your podcast?

4. A. Right now we use Twitter, Facebook, and word of mouth to promote our podcast.


5. Q. What’s your recording setup?

5. A. Funny story, actually. Tater records from his camper trailer, using his phone as a hotspot. Dylan finds peace and quiet in a closet. Sean has a desk in the corner of his bedroom. We all have high-quality microphones that we got for under $100. Not the ideal setup, but we make it work. Also, Zencastr has been an incredible tool for our podcast. Being able to record every week, with all 3 of us living in different locations around the country, would be nearly impossible without it.


6. Q.    Best tip for other podcasters?

6. A.    It’s not as hard to get started as you’d think. If you feel like starting a podcast about something you like talking about, just do it.


How can you find the Five Star Walk On team and Podcast?

Twitter: @fivestarwalkon

Facebook: @fivestarwalkon

Find the podcast:



Posted on June 7, 2018 .

Podcast Spotlight Series (#3): Ian Farrar and Industry Angel


Ian is a longtime Zencastr user and industry luminary. He’s prolific when it comes to creating content, especially podcasts, and today we’re pleased to bring you our spotlight of Ian and his podcast, Industry Angel Business Podcast.

Industry Angel
Podcast for entrepreneurs
Made in the UK
— Industry Angel Haiku

Ian interviews guests both in-person and remotely about a wide range of topics from productivity, entrepreneurship, NGOs, LinkedIn advertising, and even mobile home investing.


To be clear, Ian didn’t set out to be a podcaster, rather it became an exercise in documenting his journey as an entrepreneur. Through that journey he began to offer up actionable tips for fellow entrepreneurs who were at all stages of their journey. Highly applicable to anyone interested in running a business, productivity, marketing and sales, his listeners are not only business owners but also employees that are looking to innovate advance and progress their careers in meaningful ways.


Ian says that podcasting can be a time-consuming project, but one he doesn’t feel comfortable offloading to a Virtual Assistant, like many of his podcasting peers. Like many entrepreneurs Ian would love to share the workload (and reclaim some time in his day) but he is simply the best person to infuse passion into Industry Angel, so he manages the edit and promotion all himself.


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As far as equipment, he uses the podcasting staple mic; Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB, which plug directly into his laptop and records using Zencastr for interviews. When Ian records his monthly live podcast (see photo), he goes beyond audio and streams both audio and video across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. For that audio he plugs his mics into a Zoom H4n Pro Handy Recorder.


Ian is very pragmatic when it comes his best tip for podcasters starting out. “My top tip is not to invest in high end audio equipment immediately.  Mid-range equipment works extremely well.  I would also suggest to use the remaining budget on services such as hosting and audio recording.”

Learn more about Ian and his Industry Angel podcast here:






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Posted on May 16, 2018 .

Podcast Spotlight Series (#2): The Women in Tech Show


The Women in Tech Show Haiku:

Tech conversations

in the women in tech show

A weekly podcast

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As you know, March is Women’s History Month. We couldn’t think of a better podcast to profile than Edaena Salinas' series: The Women in Tech Show.


Edaena was tired of hearing podcasts that kept asking guests the same question over and over: “What does it feel like to be a woman in tech?” As a software engineer, it's been the tired question Edaena was being asked ad nauseam. She thought about how interesting it would be to hear women talk about their actual work; what are they creating and how are they changing the world. As Edaena puts it, “these women typically get asked “what does it feel like to be a woman in tech?” or get invited to give the diversity talk instead of being asked about what they work on.”

...“these women typically get asked “what does it feel like to be a woman in tech?” or get invited to give the diversity talk instead of being asked about what they work on.”

And so she decided that podcasting would be the perfect medium to broadcast the technical stories of software engineering, software design, Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer graphics, leadership, open source software and more. However, with of the technical nature of the interviews Edaena conducts, the podcast appeals to anyone interested in tech.


When starting the podcast, Edaena found the biggest hurdle to be “figuring out what I needed to get started: microphone types, how to record, hosting, finding guests.” Indeed, the hardware side of podcasting can be an endless sea of expensive hardware options. But she researched and now has a rock-solid setup for capturing audio content. (Photo below).


The Women in Tech Show uses the following recording setup:

Microphones: Two Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

Remote recording: Zencastr

Backup recording: QuickTime or Audacity

In-person recording: Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder




How the show grows.

After recording and posting her first few episodes, the podcast grew organically without much marketing effort. Word of mouth is certainly a great way to grow your audience and Edaena has found success with simply sharing new episodes on Twitter and LinkedIn.


From there, word has spread and downloads have racked up. Better than downloads, Edaena tells, is “when I hear from a listener about how much they like the show or something they have learned from it."


Tips for future podcasters:

“Prepare for your show. Do your research.”

As they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Same is true for hosting a podcast.


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Posted on March 28, 2018 and filed under Spotlight.

Think you're ready to start a B:B Podcast? Think twice if you're doing these 3 things.

Podcasts are amazing. They’re burgeoning. The cool kids listen to them. They’re fun to be a part of. But you do need to think long and hard before starting one. And my advice here is not exclusive to podcasts.


I believe less is more and you need to play to your strengths. You can do everything good/fine/OK, but you’ll risk doing nothing great. And it’s important to be great. Mediocre is fine for most of the world but you’re not mediocre; you’re great. I will not tell my kids that I do lots of things half-assed and mediocre. What lesson would that teach them?


That said, starting a podcast is fairly easy, inexpensive and can be done quickly. But you need to ensure you’re taking the time, putting in the effort and investing in your podcast in the right ways.


Dead blogs, stagnant YouTube channels, and Twitter profiles with the last tweet from 2009 are about as unsexy as you can get when it comes to marketing and branding. When I see these I always wonder…Why did they give up? What if they held on a bit longer? Could they be further along? Absolutely. To be clear, I’m as guilty as they come. I’ve left in my wake a half-dozen blogs with a combined 500 words between them all.


That said, I want everyone to start their own podcast, and for many brands, podcasting makes sense when done well. They’re fun, cathartic and you’ll learn something new. But I recommend that you proceed with a clear roadmap and idea of what you want to do and how this helps your organization. For example, here are three reasons not to start a B:B podcast:



1.     You’re selling.

Especially B:B podcasts you should not be selling on your podcast. Ads are one thing but peddling your own product as the basis of the show is wrong and you will be quickly reprimanded by listeners running away or not showing up at all. I hope you’ll share unbiased knowledge and make your audience smarter. Don’t shill.




2.     You’re not listening to other podcasts.

If you want to start your own podcast simply because they’re a hot medium or your competitors have one, you can stop right there. Like other content vehicles, not everything is right for every company. Let’s be clear…Don’t do podcasts just because. Podcasting takes work and passion to do well. And part of that passion is listening to all sorts of podcasts. Other podcasts provide valuable teachings. What is working, what is obnoxious, what is everyone else doing and how do you differentiate from the herd? You need to be armed with the ear of a listener and have empathy for those listeners.



3.     You’re not willing to (possibly) sacrifice something else that is important to you (maybe sleep). 

Unless you have an ongoing overabundance of time on your hands (I know nobody that fits that profile), then you must be willing to cut something else or outsource parts of other work. Is there something else that might take a backseat, or get cut altogether in order for you to be successful at podcasting? Are you willing to wake-up 30 minutes earlier, go to bed later, stop an activity, cut 15 minutes off your daily workout? For example, as I write this, it’s 4:45am and I have a (now sleeping) 4-month-old child in my lap. (I guess the keystrokes are soothing.) Time management is elusive, but the first step is realizing there are finite hours in a day. How much can you truly commit on an ongoing basis to a new project?




Podcasts, like any medium, are easy to start but do take time to build an audience and create original content for. Of course, this can be curbed by setting realistic expectations as well as creating efficient processes to keep the content machine humming.



I’ll be sharing more podcast insights in Detroit on March 23 at the “Everything: Content & Social, Powered by Digital Summit”. I can also be reached @DanRusso


Posted on March 12, 2018 .

Zencastr Podcast Spotlight Series (#1): Life Science Marketing Radio


Welcome to the Spotlight!

Welcome to the first Podcast Spotlight blog post in our series! We’re sharing the stories of podcasters like you to find out what they’re doing, how and why they’re doing it, and even share some challenges they face and how to overcome them. Hope you enjoy the series and if you think there is a podcast that should be included in the spotlight, please let us know at dan@zencastr.com.

Life Science Marketing Radio

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Our first podcast spotlight kicks off with Life Science Marketing Radio, which is an interview-based show with episodes usually running about 30 minutes. Chris Conner runs the show and he’s done a great job of finding a very specific industry niche and audience for his show. That niche is marketers in, you guessed it, life science organizations. We often hear from Seth Godin and Gary Vee (AKA Gary Vaynerchuk), among many other marketing experts, that when starting a podcast (or a business for that matter), we should find a niche and over-deliver to that audience. The old expression “don’t boil the ocean” applies to podcasting, because as an independent podcaster, if you try to serve everyone you’ll end up serving nobody because you can’t be everything to everyone, as they say.

Why Podcast?

Chris’ focus is on helping life science companies market their work, humanize their brands and share the best marketing ideas in their industry. In addition to being a place to share life science marketing ideas, his podcast serves as a personal branding and marketing tool so his future clients can get a better sense of who he is and what they can expect when working with him on future projects. As we all know, podcasting is a very intimate medium and allows a relationship to develop with listeners. Chris has found that podcasting has been even better than his blog in helping to grow his brand and client work.

Haiku description of Life Science Marketing Radio:
Marketing science?
Do you listen to podcasts?
Subscribe to this one.

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Ideal Listener:

When starting a podcast, it’s a good idea to have an ideal listener in mind to help you articulate the content and even how to market your show to the intended audience. Chris’ ideal listeners are Marketing Managers and Directors that work on products or services that serve biotech, pharma and academic researchers in the life sciences. 


What was the hardest part when starting your podcast?

  1. Uncertainty of finding guests on a regular basis.
  2. Missing out on automated distribution through iTunes. Chris went from uploading on SoundCloud to moving his whole site to the Rainmaker Platform, which he’s found has made publishing much easier.


Podcast Promotion?

Chris says, “I promote my blog primarily through sharing on Twitter, in various industry groups on LinkedIn and at some conferences.” Another way he grows his base is by encouraging listeners to refer colleagues to the show. “I make a call to action in each episode to have listeners tell two friends if they like it. My niche is pretty small and the most likely way for someone to find me is if a colleague tells them about the show.” Interesting tactic. Gently encouraging your audience to help spread the word is certainly an interesting way to promote your podcast because it lends the social credibility of the person passing on the referral, and sometimes people might need a nudge to encourage them to share.

"My niche is pretty small and the most likely way for someone to find me is if a colleague tells them about the show."

What’s the best part of podcasting?

Without a doubt, it has been the networking power of the podcast. The podcast has helped me build my brand and opened doors to people I might not have met otherwise. That, in turn, has led to connecting with other influential people in my industry (and more guests!) It just gets better and better.

What’s your recording setup?

  Chris' podcasting setup.

Chris' podcasting setup.

As you can see in the photo, Chris has an efficient setup for recording and uses the following equipment for remote guests:


Best tip for other podcasters?

If you have started, stay with it or make an adjustment if you need to, but it can pay off. If you are thinking about starting, keep your mind open about how to serve your target audience beyond your first idea. There may be other topics or different approaches that will get you where you want to go. And it’s just a lot of fun!

To learn more about Chris and the Life Sciences Marketing Podcast, you can find them at these places:


Website: http://lifesciencemarketingradio.com

Twitter: @words2wow

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/words2wow/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/life-science-marketing-radio/id979008210


Posted on March 2, 2018 .

Announcing a Major Performance and Stability Update

Later tonight we will be launching a new version of Zencastr with a primary focus on addressing the nasty audio drift issues that some of you have experienced. This update has been a long time coming but it was important that we got this right. I appreciate all of you who patiently provided feedback and bug reports through this frustrating time. 

I have spent the last several weeks rebuilding the recording pipeline from the ground up.  This should not only address the audio drift problem but make the app run more smoothly all around.  A side benefit is that we now have a much better foundation to build on moving forward. I'm excited about the possibilities this opens up for the future.

What Caused All of this

Up until now, all code in the Zencastr application ran in the same process. This worked ok most of the time but it was vulnerable to situations where a computer's resources became strained.  You could end up with a tug-of-war happening between the code powering the user interface and the code that was recording the audio. If it got bad enough, this would cause the recording code to get behind and miss little slivers of audio here and there. Thus causing the audio to drift noticeably out of sync over the course of a podcast.  

This was a relatively rare problem up until last September when some updates that shipped in Chrome and Firefox inadvertently exacerbated the issue making it a much more common problem. As painful as this was to deal with, there is a silver lining.  These changes were part of a larger transition that is now enabling a much better way of writing audio related code in the browser.

What Has Changed

Using brand new features available starting in Chrome 64, we can now totally segregate the audio recording code from the rest of the application.  This means no more tug-of-war between the recording code and the user interface.  Also it gives us extra freedom to add more immersive and interactive elements to the application.

A Recording Studio Experience

The most immediately noticeable change is that each participant's track now spans the page horizontally. And without such tight performance constraints, we are now able to draw and animate audio waveforms live as you record to create a more recording studio like experience. It feels like a much better direction to me but let me know how you find it.

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Health Checks to Catch Problems Before They Start

A thorough diagnostic health check is run on every participant before the recording begins.  If any critical issues are uncovered, a log of the health check will reveal itself with details about the problem and how to resolve it. Below is an example of the health check log showing that a user's mic wan't able to he accessed. Since this is a 'critical' issue, it will need to be resolved before the recording can continue.

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Real-time Monitoring of Local and Cloud Backups

Underneath each participant's track is an informative footer that shows health check status, selected microphone, available storage space, and real-time stats on the progress of the local and cloud backups. The goal being to alert you of any problems with uploads or backups as soon as they are happening so you can address them on the spot.  For instance, If you notice that the local backups aren't progressing, it would be prudent to stop the recording and investigate if the guest may using their browsers Private Browsing mode which can disrupt this process.

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If you find these extra details distracting, simply click on the tab hanging underneath the footer and it will disappear leaving a simple and minimal UI.

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Thanks for taking the time to check out our latest features.  I think you will find this to be update to be a solid step up in performance, reliability, and usability. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments.  What would you like to see in future releases?

Posted on February 27, 2018 .

Podcast, Price, Promotion and Place - The 4Ps of Podcast Marketing

As you well know, podcasts are on the up right now. From fiction, to journalism, to comedy, to everything else, podcasts have become a rediscovered medium in recent years with an ever-growing audience welcoming new shows with open ears. With so much new competition it’s crucial for podcasters to market their podcast effectively.


The 4Ps of marketing is a model designed to enhance the components of the marketing mix, which is the way a new product or service is taken to market. It helps to define marketing options in terms of price, product, promotion and place to meet a specific customer need or demand. This traditional marketing method is widely used by marketing companies and branding agencies. Here we look at how it can be applied to podcast marketing.


The 4Ps marketing mix


When it comes to marketing your podcast the 4Ps can be applied in the following ways:



1. Podcast

Your podcast is your offering to the world. You will know your podcast inside out and understand what message you want to convey to your listeners, so it’s important to use the same tone of voice in all communications. Take time to define the characteristics of your podcast as if it were a living breathing human being. You can even ask friends, family and listeners to help you with this to get an idea of how others view your podcast.


Then reflect this personality in your logo, font, imagery, title, description, in fact every little detail about your podcast needs to be consistent and match up to what your podcast is all about.


2. Price

Whether you’re podcasting for the sheer love of it, or you’re doing it to spread the word about your business, it’s important to understand how valuable your podcast is. Podcasting can add great value to your brand by raising brand awareness, increasing traffic to your website, developing influential relationships and creating new opportunities.


3. Promotion

Effective promotion will get your podcast ranking higher on iTunes, Google and featuring more prominently on social media. Think about why your target audience would want to subscribe to your podcast.  What’s in it for them? Some podcasters have enticed listeners to subscribe with competitions and giveaways.


4. Place

Here, you need to think about how people find new podcasts and increase your online presence. iTunes is the main platform for listening to podcasts. Optimising your podcast for iTunes will help to increase rankings and target the right customers at the right time.


The extended 7Ps

If you want to explore the marketing mix further, you can look at the extended 7Ps model.  The extra 3Ps are people, process and physical environment.


5. People

This refers to everyone who is involved in creating your podcast as well as the listeners. Good customer relationship management will ensure listeners keep coming back for more. Email marketing can be an excellent tool to keep in touch with your fans.


6. Process

The systems and processes of the organisation affect the execution of the service. So, you have to make sure that you have a well-tailored process in place to minimize costs.


7. Physical Evidence

This is the physical evidence of a business’ presence and establishment. A concept of this is branding. For example, when you think of a sports brand, you think of Nike. So for podcasters, the aim is to get your subject matter associated with your podcast.


So to achieve your podcast marketing goals, a plan that encompasses all the elements of the marketing mix will help to form a robust marketing strategy. We’re keen to hear your thoughts about what marketing strategies you’ve implemented and where they fall within the marketing mix.



About the Author

Effective.FM are podcast marketing specialists who know how to build an audience for your podcast using a combination of SEO, social media, iTunes, newsletters and PPC. They have been using some of these skills to promote websites for the last 18 years via sister company www.effective-internet.co.uk

For more information, please check out www.effective.fm


Posted on January 31, 2018 .

Podcasting with Purpose: How Technology Is Amplifying Voices of the Disabled Community



Between measured breaths from her BiPAP mask, a device that supplies her airways with pressurized air, celebrated disability rights activist Alice Wong introduces her audience to her latest altruistic foray. “With a gazillion podcasts out there, you might wonder: ‘Why this one?’ ‘Why now?’” she asks.

“The short answer is that I don't see shows about disability culture and politics from NPR or other major media organizations. There aren’t that many around.” There’s a brief pause before she electrifies her audience with a rallying cry.

“The revolution is here. One podcast, one transcript, one tweet at a time.”

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And so begins the debut episode of “The Disability Visibility Podcast”, a natural extension of the brilliant, necessary, and groundbreaking work Alice performs as the founder and project coordinator of the San Francisco-based Disability Visibility Project. This nebulous, online collective is committed to not only amplifying the voices, concerns, and narratives of the disabled community, but they empower their audience by educating them on relevant policies and practices through their partnership with #CripTheVote.

Outside of her previous standing as a member of the National Council on Disability, Alice’s fervent brand of activism has manifested into actively combating the lack of multicultural competency within our broken healthcare system, in addition to dismantling the stigmas affixed to Asian Americans who occupy the disability community.

But when asked how she uses her podcast to generate awareness for the issues that pertain to this community, humanity precedes predicament. “I'm focusing on issues that I think are important. And featuring people in conversation on why these issues matter. As well as what needs to be done.” By directing attention to the person, as opposed to their plight, Alice strives to galvanize the support necessary to facilitate wholesale changes in how the disabled community is both perceived and engaged.

An example of this is her natural aptitude for storytelling. In “Choreography of Care”, we’re introduced to various caregivers and the intimate relationships they forge with their clientele. But in being a master storyteller, Alice incorporates sound and music in order to intensify the emotional weight of her message.

But for all of Alice’s brilliant work throughout the digital diaspora, Vilissa Thompson is another celebrated voice who’s fused technology with activism in order to serve as a catalyst for change. As the CEO and founder of Ramp Your Voice!, Vilissa’s forte is intersectionality. Specifically, how the unique challenges faced by the disabled community intersect with race, gender, and class.

Examples of this include her viral #DisabilitySoWhite campaign, in which she passionately assailed “the racism, invisibility, erasure, lack of representation, and othering” of disabled people of color. Or how, in the tumultuous battle to resurrect WGN America’s “Underground” from cancelation, we conveniently omit Harriet Tubman’s status as a disabled person of color. Which, in a medium starved for representation from both the disabled and Black communities, just lost one of its most compelling depictions.

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But equally of note is Vilissa’s podcast, “Wheelin’ & Dealin’”, which co-stars political consultant and social media mainstay Neal Carter. In which Vilissa and Neal provide savvy commentary and inimitable insight into the politics and policies that shape our country. With each episode serving as a love letter to Vilissa’s allegiance to affirmation and intersectionality. “With the rights of disabled people that were rightfully won and earned now in danger of being repealed or weakened, now is the time for our voices to exist loudly in political spaces.”

When asked what role her podcast plays in generating awareness for the concerns that permeate the disabled community, Vilissa doesn’t shun the influence she wields.

“What I see our podcast doing is prompting key stakeholders in the political realm and our listeners to grasp how disability and politics are connected and not detached from each other.  Disabled people care about politics as everyone else, and we understand intimately how legislation can significantly affect the opportunities, resources, and support instated in society.  Having two activists who self-identify and are politically disabled places us in the position to connect those two fronts better.”

With the IAB’s recent announcement that podcast revenue is on track to exceed $220 million, the digital medium is experiencing an emergence unlike any we’ve experienced before.  But while the threat of oversaturation will always loom, podcasting has evolved into a refuge for underrepresented voices. Perspectives that, in the absence of technology, would otherwise be drowned out by uniformity and dismissal.

Alice Wong’s “The Disability Visibility Podcast” is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and other available podcast platforms.


Vilissa Thompson’s “Wheelin’ & Dealin’” podcast is available on at the provided link.