It’s not a podcast if you don’t offer a subscription URL

It’s not a podcast if you don’t offer a subscription URL

I have been on a bit of a podcast kick lately, subscribing to a multitude of shows and then listening to them from my Android smartphone while I am on the go. I use the Google Listen app, which is no longer supported, but there are many free alternatives out there if you are looking for an Android podcast app.

One of the most annoying problems that I have been running into while searching out good podcasts is that many of the shows that I am interested in make it extremely difficult to find their subscription/feed URL, or they don’t even have a subscription URL at all! In the latter case, I argue that they should not even be called a podcast.

Let’s define podcast

The Wikipedia page for Podcast currently leads with this sentence: “A podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio radio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.” Emphasis mine.

Merriam-Webster defines podcast as “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” Emphasis mine.

As you can see, one of the primary components of a podcast is the subscription/syndication/automatic-download feature. If you call your show a podcast, you had better damned well make sure that your listeners can subscribe and allow for the automatic delivery of new shows to their preferred listening device. This is a simple thing to do these days with RSS and other tools, but alas, some old-media folks still just don’t get it.

Shows with no subscription feed

And now for a few examples. I tried to subscribe to Marc Victor’s Attorney For Freedom audio show, but there is no subscription or feed URL to be found.

This show is part of the “Doublewide Network”, whose website exclaims “Welcome to the Future! Arizona’s FIRST Digital Network! Internet radio and internet television!” Pro-tip: the future now is show subscriptions and automatic downloads. Make it happen Doublewiders. The network was founded and is run by radio broadcast veteran Dave Pratt. I have messaged them asking for a subscription URL for the Attorney for Freedom show but have not received a response.

I was also interested in checking out Shane Krauser’s Liberty Storm show, but once again we have a “podcast page” that has no subscription or feed URLs. Again I sent a message, asking for a subscription URL, but did not receive a response.

These old-media guys really need to get with the program and set up proper feeds for their shows if they really want to build their audience and attract tech-savvy, podcast-loving listeners.

Shows with an iTunes link and no subscription feed URL

Another annoying trend that I have run into is that some podcasts will only list an iTunes URL. Protip: there is a massive contingent of potential listeners out there who do not use iTunes! For these cases, I use Feed Flipper, an excellent little free web app that will convert an iTunes show URL into the actual RSS subscription URL for you to use.

Have you noticed old-media online shows that are missing subscription options? Run into other annoying podcast related situations? If so, let us know about them!

About Wes Novack

Wesley Novack is a Technologist working in the software industry, with extensive experience building and managing highly available applications, services, and systems in the public cloud. He has a breadth of experience in online publishing, the consumer electronics industry, and building internet communities. Wes enjoys hanging with his family, skateboarding, hiking, the vegan lifestyle, and a good cup of tea. You can find him on Twitter @WesleyTech.

View all posts by Wes Novack →

One Comment on “It’s not a podcast if you don’t offer a subscription URL”

  1. I just had this problem with the @Geektopia show. It’s so hard to subscribe to their show if I don’t want to have that dirty dirty iTunes software on my machine. Thanks for the link to the Feed Flipper app.

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