Podcasting Stats

Stats can tell you a lot of interesting things.

I spent most of this morning updating the daily podcasts for KBSZ-AM, the local radio station.

KBSZ‘s Around the Town broadcast was my first foray into the world of podcasting. I wanted to experiment with the new technology but didn’t have any content available to experiment with. KBSZ was already doing a daily radio show. Why not podcast that?

Well, what started out as a fun and education project has become a bit of a chore. It isn’t difficult to turn their broadcasts into podcasts — especially since I also do streaming audio for them and my computer automatically records each show for me — but it is time consuming. You see, I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times. KBSZ’s show never starts exactly on time and never ends exactly on time. So there’s stuff at the beginning and end that needs to be edited out. Then I need to upload the podcasts files, create the podcast entries on their Blogger account, link the podcasts files, and publish. It takes about 15 minutes per episode. If I were smart, I’d just do it every day. But I’m not smart. I wait until there’s about 2 weeks worth and knock them all of at once. It took two hours this morning. Two hours that I should have been working on my WordPress book.

I do plan, however, to get very smart. I’ll skip the editing and fully automate the process. More on that when I find time to do it. Hopefully soon.

While I’m messing around with the podcasts, I often check the download stats for all podcasts and other files on my server. I serve all files from a GoDaddy.com hosting space. They give you a good amount of disk space and bandwidth for only $3.95/month — and even cheaper if you pay a year up front. So all podcasts and book support files live there. No need to bog down my limited bandwidth with visitor downloads.

Due to a server glitch, all stats prior to November 18, 2005 were lost. No big deal. I just started using that server seriously in August 2005. But it’s good to know the start date for the stats.

By looking at the stats, KBSZ can see who their most popular guests are. For a while, I was number 2 (behind the high school football coach — hey, sports are important here in Wickenburg). Now the top slots are held by the folks who make sure all their friends know about the podcasts. Some of the really smart ones link to the podcast from their own Web sites, further increasing the number of downloads.

While I was checking stats, I checked the stats for my own podcasts. I found that my video podcasts are among the most popular I do. That doens’t make me terribly happy, mostly because they’re a royal pain in the butt to create. Recording my voice reading a script is one thing, but inserting a bunch of screen shots at key points is another. Still, I’ll try to make folks happy by delivering a few more audio podcasts.

The excerpt from my Mac OS X Tiger book is by far the most downloaded file on my server. The Panther excerpt isn’t far behind. You can find both of those in the Mac OS QuickStart support area.

All this, of course, reminds me that I haven’t done a podcast in about two weeks. I’m behind already. Maybe I’ll throw something together on the plane to Austin on Wednesday.

What do you think?