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Podcasting with Talkshoe and Skype Part Two

Started by Rob, March 29, 2010, 11:20:09 AM

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This is part two of a three part article. You can find part one here.

As previously stated, using Talkshoe is not very difficult. If you have ever set up a profile for yourself on a forum or membership to a site like DeviantArt then you won't have any difficulty creating your account for Talkshoe. The one major difference in creating your Talkshoe account is the inclusion of your telephone number on the account info. If someone else has used your phone number to create another account you may find it difficult to create yours. The system will not allow two accounts with the same phone number. The way it is set up suggests that you might be able to use a random series of ten digits as your "PIN" but having never tried that I'm not sure it would work. Logic tells me they may want a working phone number for the account; but that may not be the case.

Now I think I should point out that you do not need to create an account if you only want to listen to a show. You can simply go to the show page and click listen if the show is live or if it was preciously recorded you can stream it or download it. You do however, have to create an account if you wish to participate in a live show in any way, that includes chat room functionality.

This image is the main profile editing interphase. From here you can view your shows and all your settings.

Once you've got your account set up it's pretty simple to create your "Show." One of the nicer things about TalkShoe is the fact that you can create more than one call or show. Depending on your intentions for the call you can choose all your show setup options here in this interphase. If you just want to have a long talk with your grandparents then the private, non-listed options are the way to go. Choosing "none" under recording options will also leave the call unrecorded. If you want to create a podcast then the public options are an obvious choice. You will also want to set the system up to either record automatically as soon as the host account logs in or maintain manual control of the show start (the show end is alway under manual control). Personally, I always kept my controls on manual as things rarely ran so smoothly that you would want the recording starting so abruptly.

This image shows the advanced settings for creating a call or for our purposes, our "show."

Making a good description and using relevant keywords will also help fans find your show easier. There are a lot of shows to choose from. The easier you are to find the happier your listeners will be. One of the more important choices here are the options to allow callers to participate (or be blocked) and whether or not you want callers to be muted or unmuted when they enter the call. Chances are pretty good that if you are planning a public show you want audience participation. If you block them they won't even be able to use the chat room. All they will be able to do is listen. On the other side of things however, if you allow them to enter the call unmuted you will have people randomly popping in and out of the call and everyone listening will hear everything they say from the moment they enter the show.

This can lead to guests and the host getting stepped on (talked over) by people constantly asking "am I on?", "can you hear me?" or some variation thereof. How and when people are allowed to talk on the show is something that should be handled from the moderation controls once the show is running. Controlling the content and flow of the show is kind of the point of those moderation functions. So it's best, if you want people to participate to have them enter the call muted and then you as host (or whoever is handling the computer based moderating functions) can control when and for how long you want them to actually speak on the show.

This image shows the episode scheduler.

Once you've created the actual show then it's up to you to schedule an episode. You can even start one right then and there as it gives you the option once the show creation process is complete. Scheduling the show is a simple date and time system that lets you list details like guests and upcoming topics. You can also give each episode a unique name. Don't worry to much about the episode duration though; it's good information for your listeners if you have some idea of how long the show may be but as I said before; you actually decide when the show ends and this arbitrary time duration you set in the schedule process has no effect on that. It's merely informational.

This image is of a show page where a scheduled episode is counting down to start time. Even if the start time arrives the show won't start if the host isn't there to start it.

This episode has now counted down to zero and is ready to start. You can press the purple button for standard controls or the green and blue one beneath it to use the TalkShoe Live Pro software; assuming you have it installed on your computer. You can also just start an episode without scheduling it if you are feeling spontaneous.

So now you have your show and an episode scheduled and you've come to a choice. Do you run the show off of the simple in browser interphase the website provides or do you download and use the TalkShoe Pro software the company provides for free? There are some things that the standard interphase simply cannot do. The chat room moderation is pared down and the controls themselves seem simpler. That said you can run your show from this simple setup and if you are averse to adding new software then that may be the way to go for you. For me I always used the free pro program. It just seemed to be more stable and reliable with a few more options. Not the least of which is ShoePhone.

This image is of the in browser controls. If you were simply participating in the a show the interphase would look the same without the moderator controls.

This image is of the TalkShoe Live Pro interphase which is a program downloaded and installed onto your computer. Once again if you chose to use this program to simply participate in a show it would look the same without the moderator controls.

This image is a labeled explanation of the Talkshoe Live Pro interphase.

ShoePhone is a VoiP much like Skype or all the other choices with one major difference. It was made by TalkShoe to work specifically with the TalkShoe Community Call System. They have detailed instructions on how to hook up to the show with various VoiP services. I know I titled this article series with an eye towards explaining Skype use but honestly it's so simple and easily explained I'm just going to suggest you visit that link if you really want to know. But ShoePhone is the only one integrated into the program and the only one you can be pretty sure won't cost you anything. Because it really only works with TalkShoe.

This image is the instructional page for setting up various VoiP services to work with TalkShoe. This includes the TalkShoe created ShoePhone program which comes with the free TalkShoe Live Pro software.

Like all VoiP systems that work off the computer (I know Vonage and some others work off of real telephones) you will need to have a microphone and headset to make it work. But unlike other VoiP's there doesn't seem to be any chance you will get charged anything for the call because the only thing ShoePhone does is call in to TalkShoe comunity calls. In other words, unlike Skype or Vonage you cannot actually call another computer or telephone. You can only call into the "Episodes" created for a TalkShow show (fair warning though, TalkShoe has not always been forthcoming in how one can be charged peripherally for using their services as indicated by the stories I told in part one... so while I cannot see any possible way in which someone could be charged to using ShoePhone I will not say unequivocally that it could not happen... only that it has not happened to me and I cannot perceive a manner in which it might happen to you).

So you've decided on how you're going to connect to the call now and whether you use a VoiP, your cell or your house phone; you are now ready to begin your call.

If you leave your controls on manual as I suggested, just starting the call won't start the recording. This is pretty important to think about. Leaving the settings on manual means you won't start the recorded portion of the show until your guest is there, you've cleared your throat and all your ducks are in a row. But once you are ready; someone (the show moderator) has to hit the record button. I once lost an entire show because I was calling in and had another person running moderation and at the end of the show I said "ok go ahead and hit the terminate button" and that's when I heard them say "oh no I forgot to hit record!"

You're ducks are in a row, you've hit record and the show has begun. You're moderating the chat room and muting and unmuting guests; you're witty and charming and most of all informative and things are going well. But what happens if you can't be at your computer? What happens if you have so many things to do that you just can't moderate the chat and interview your guests at the same time?

Currently there is no way for you to appoint a Co-host to your show. So you might be wondering how I did the things I did before. Well the only way to really accomplish this is to allow someone to log in as the show creator. This goes back to account creation and even some things as mundane as profile naming. If you plan to host the show and perform all moderation duties yourself; always, then it's perfectly fine to use your name for the account profile that creates the show. But if you occasionally (or repeatedly) would like to hand control of the show over to a designated moderator or co-host the best thing to do for the account that creates the show is to create an ambiguous name related to the content you are providing and a separate account for yourself.

For example, for the Grifball Explosion the account that created the show had a profile name of "Grifford P. Ball" and then I had another account for myself under my Rooster Teeth username: Quikthnkr. When Quikthnkr logged in to the show everyone knew who I was and that I was there. But without Grifford P. Ball logging into the show the show could not begin; because the account that created the show will always have all the moderator controls for that show. So occasionally I was logged into two accounts on two different computers. Occasionally I just ran the show as Grifford P. Ball and once everyone in the chat room heard my voice coming from that profile name they knew it was me. But most of the time I had a co-host log in to moderate the show under the Grifford P. Ball account while I logged in as Quikthnkr. That way I could concentrate on the show and the co-host was able to run the technical aspects.

If you don't have a lot of live listeners then running the moderation of your show won't be a big deal. But any more than five lively chat room members along with an engaging guest can leave you scrambling to keep up with the chat and what your guest is saying whilst being charming and insightful yourself. If you have more than ten live listeners I would say you absolutely need to have a co-host handling moderation. But if you do choose someone to run your show while you do the talky parts make sure it is someone you trust because you will have to give them full control over the show to let them run it. So that vindictive ex girlfriend who seems to delight in ruin things you care about might not be a great choice.

So your show is over and it was great. Now what?

Well once a show is complete you can choose to edit it's information to add show notes; you can hide the show if it was a disaster you don't want anyone else to hear (once a show is hidden you then receive the option to delete it but a show must be hidden first before you can delete it) or you upload audio for the show replacing what (if anything) was recorded.

This image shows the call or "Show" homepage with the episode editing controls exposed.

I'll talk more about this in part three but if you were to use other methods to record your podcast you could upload the show this way.

Once your episode is done it is added to your past episodes list and it if is your first show an RSS feed is generated for your show for fans to use for updates. Additionally there are a host of sharing options available on your show page including Facebook and Myspace, by customizing your share options.

Now that your first show is done you can schedule the next one; rinse and repeat.

The last section of this article will actually be a short description of some advanced tricks that I used to improve the overall quality of my show. For many of these tricks you will need to own or be willing to purchase equipment that isn't cheap. I had a home recording studio before I got into podcasting so I had the equipment and was able to adapt it to other uses. For most of you though, a headset microphone, a decent computer and the will to use them are all you really need to make your show a reality.

TalkShoe has a list of selected instructions for your perusal in case there is anything I missed that you would like to know about. That said if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the discussion thread and I'll do my best to answer them.


This has been a very useful and interesting article. I've always been curious about how podcasts work and whether they were very hard to set up.



Thanks H.

I'm glad someone is getting something out of it. Took bloody forever to write. LOL. :D


QuoteTook bloody forever to write.

Yes, but it's very thorough, which is what sets a good tutorial apart from a bad one. I'm looking forward to part three.



I agree. I'm not sure I'll ever do a podcast, but it's a great resource for anyone who will. Thoroughness abounds, and that saves people from making the tiny mistakes that result from vaguery. The more webcomickers that come here, the more these tutorials will be valuable.


I have a Talkshoe acct, and have been trying to create test calls. It worked this time except that I can't hear myself talk on my headset and don't know why that is. I recorded the call, I called into another community call and was heard, I just can't hear myself. Any ideas?


Without a screen shot of your interphase it would be  hard to say. I would say maybe you muted yourself but as the call initiator I don't think that's possible. If you can post a pic of your interphase while you are called into your call (and can't hear yourself) it might help me diagnose your issue.