It’s hard to believe, but we are winding up our second year of podcasting with Lovey Dummies this week. For me, it has been a great learning experience and a lot of fun.
Pearl and I have said that we started this podcast as a way to reassure listeners that they have company in their trials when it comes to relationships, but personally, I wanted to make it to reassure myself! We have had many moments wherein we felt pretty isolated in terms of shared experiences, so it has been eye-opening for us to talk with our friends about their perspectives and the things they’ve gone through.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the technical side of things, as I am the podcast’s resident nerd-in-chief. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve done to improve the listening experience and the back-end infrastructure of Lovey Dummies this past year.
Our podcast tends to run about 20–30 minutes on average (sometimes we near the hour mark!), which means it can be difficult to share snippets of our show with your friends. At the beginning of 2017, we introduced chapter support for our Apple Podcasts feed, which allows users to skip through the episode to specific topics or questions of interest. Those of you who use Pocket Casts or Overcast are probably familiar with this feature. If you’re using Apple’s standard Podcasts app, we recommend switching to an app that has chapter support, or just use this website!
Integrating support for chapters involved learning how to create them in Audacity, our audio editor, as well as figuring out how to write them into an audio file. As a result, we coded chappy, a small script that reads in exported Audacity labels and converts them to a format suitable for our audio files, as well as WebVTT format for our website.
In July, we tweaked how our episodes appear on the website to make them a little more personal. You can see a picture of our interviewee(s) now while you listen!
Our post-production process has changed a bit over the course of time, and that’s part of why we were able to increase production in our second year. It is mostly due to experience—despite still making a ton of mistakes in our recordings, we’re getting better at identifying them after the fact and pulling them out in the finished product. One helpful tip was learning to snap or clap at cut points to make them easier to spot. There is certainly still room for improvement, but I am happy that episode quality seems to be on an upward trend.
Probably the most significant change, however, was a shell script I wrote to automate most of the launch process for each episode. Instead of looking up a reference guide for all the steps involved in getting the audio files ready, all I have to do is invoke the script with the title and episode number, and voilà! The audio is compressed, tagged, and uploaded to the Internet for consumption. It also prepares a show notes file with some front matter that is very important to our iTunes feed. No more hunting on Google for esoteric shell commands!
We are always trying to make our podcast better, whether it’s improving our back-end workflows or searching for interesting stories. Personally, I am hoping to find time this year to rewrite our website’s audio player to make it more robust and add the ability to increase playback speed. I’m also hoping to learn and implement new ways to boost the quality of our audio, whether we are interviewing our guests in person or across the ocean. Pearl and I have also talked about playing with the format of our show—we’ll see if anything interesting falls out!
It has been a great two years of producing and creating, and we’d like to thank all of our listeners and subscribers for sticking with us. We appreciate your listenership and we hope you will enjoy what we have in store for 2018!