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Making Complex Podcast Tech Disappear With Alitu
Episode 2021st September 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

Podcasting should be made better, not just easier!

Evo Terra:

That's the motto I started this show with.

Evo Terra:

And I still stand by it!

Evo Terra:

But a lot has happened in the last five years.

Evo Terra:

What if making it easier to podcast also made it better?

Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

Evo Terra:

I happen to love podcast tech and there's a better-than-average chance

Evo Terra:

that you, as a listener to this podcast, also kind of dig podcast tech.

Evo Terra:

Now, if that does describe you, uh, then you also know that we're in the minority.

Evo Terra:

Most podcasters - and I know I'm casting a very wide net what with

Evo Terra:

millions of podcasts available - most podcasters do not love podcasting tech.

Evo Terra:

In fact, I think a large number of them fear or avoid podcasting technology.

Evo Terra:

And if that is true, imagine how many people don't even entertain the idea

Evo Terra:

of having their own podcast because of similar fears, people potentially with

Evo Terra:

stories worthy of telling and being heard.

Evo Terra:

Now, maybe you're the person to say, "Hey, fine, we've got

Evo Terra:

too many podcasts as it is."

Evo Terra:

Actually, I'd be surprised if you said that because that is horse shit.

Evo Terra:

We have plenty of room for more podcasts.

Evo Terra:

Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Evo Terra:

In fact, one thing that has me terribly excited for the future of podcasting

Evo Terra:

is how the entire process of making a podcast has, for many, changed

Evo Terra:

drastically in the last 20 years or so.

Evo Terra:

I'm talking singularity-level changes.

Evo Terra:

A new breed of technology from lots of providers that really looks a little alien

Evo Terra:

to people like you and me, perhaps, but is still a game changer on so many levels.

Evo Terra:

Alitu, a service from The Podcast Host, is one of those services that's

Evo Terra:

reimagining how podcasts are made.

Evo Terra:

They're the branded sponsor of today's episode and I sat down

Evo Terra:

with Colin Gray and asked him how Alitu makes podcasting better.

Colin Gray:

With Alitu, really, the goal is just to make it so easy to

Colin Gray:

make a podcast, to create a podcast, everything from recording to editing,

Colin Gray:

to publishing that you can forget about the tech, really, behind it all and

Colin Gray:

concentrate just on your voice, on getting your message out there into the world.

Colin Gray:

That's the goal to make the tech just disappear so that you can

Colin Gray:

concentrate on your message.

Evo Terra:

You know, there have been a lot of tools that have aimed to make

Evo Terra:

podcasting easier and in fact have made podcasting easier, but in, in

Evo Terra:

some cases it doesn't make it better.

Evo Terra:

Easier and better, there's not a, there's not a parallel

Evo Terra:

line that they follow along.

Evo Terra:

Do you honestly think that having the tech disappear helps make podcasting better?

Colin Gray:

I do, because I think that so many of the podcasters we work with,

Colin Gray:

actually, they just end up worrying so much about their microphone, their

Colin Gray:

editing, their platforms they're posting on, that they don't spend the time to

Colin Gray:

actually get better at presenting, to get better at the way they speak, to get

Colin Gray:

better at engaging with their audience, to get better at designing your content.

Colin Gray:

I think that was one of the great things about podcasting in the early

Colin Gray:

days is that you can do anything, that all the controls are gone.

Colin Gray:

You know, it's not radio, you can do what you like and that's amazing.

Colin Gray:

But with that comes downsides and that people think that

Colin Gray:

podcasting is all about wingin' it.

Colin Gray:

There's no plan required.

Colin Gray:

You just get on a mic and you chat away with your friends, but

Colin Gray:

actually concentrating on how you design your content, thinking about

Colin Gray:

really what your listener wants and how they can best consume that.

Colin Gray:

I think that makes a huge difference.

Colin Gray:

So yeah, I think that having more time to spend on that does make podcasting better.

Evo Terra:

I agree with you that we get caught up in the tech and we are

Evo Terra:

using our brains to make decisions that are better done by bits.

Evo Terra:

We are a creative species and we're good at planning and

Evo Terra:

strategy and all that stuff.

Evo Terra:

So let's get into the how for just a moment.

Evo Terra:

How, how, how does that work?

Colin Gray:

We started out with editing.

Colin Gray:

That was what Alitu was built around.

Colin Gray:

It was our, our content site, The Podcast Host, like we had hundreds

Colin Gray:

of thousands of readers visiting that every, um, every month.

Colin Gray:

And the biggest question we got from those people was always, "Oh, please,

Colin Gray:

how can I make editing easier?"

Colin Gray:

"I hate editing."

Colin Gray:

It's just...

Evo Terra:

Mm-hmm.

Colin Gray:

People just don't enjoy it.

Colin Gray:

Um, not everyone.

Colin Gray:

By all means you get some people in there that are really into their

Colin Gray:

editing, but the majority, they want to spend less time on that.

Colin Gray:

And people are using tools like Audacity and Audition and, and

Colin Gray:

all sorts of different things that are designed for audio engineers.

Colin Gray:

There's too many tools in there that we don't need as podcasters.

Colin Gray:

So that was the first goal was really to strip out all of those things

Colin Gray:

that we don't need as podcasters and create an editing platform

Colin Gray:

that's specific to podcasters.

Colin Gray:

So, first we cut it all back to make it simple as possible.

Colin Gray:

Just the stuff we need.

Colin Gray:

That was the goal.

Colin Gray:

And, and it seems to have worked out.

Colin Gray:

We got really good response to that first version.

Evo Terra:

And I had seen an very early version of that.

Evo Terra:

Well, I don't know how very early it was.

Colin Gray:

Yeah.

Evo Terra:

It was, it was four years ago when I was looking at Alitu.

Evo Terra:

Uh, I'm assuming some things have changed a whole lot.

Evo Terra:

Um.

Colin Gray:

Yes.

Evo Terra:

And there are other automated systems out there which aim to make the

Evo Terra:

editing process easier, or just skip it all together, which you should not do.

Evo Terra:

Uh, but that's me editorializing now.

Evo Terra:

So tell me how, what you're doing now with Alitu is, is better

Evo Terra:

than other tools that exist.

Colin Gray:

We automate as much as we can.

Colin Gray:

So we automate the audio cleanup, for example.

Colin Gray:

That's a real audio engineering job that's, actually's pretty well solved.

Colin Gray:

There's tools out there like, like Dolby.

Colin Gray:

So we work with Dolby audio, for example, to do the audio cleanup.

Colin Gray:

They know audio back to front and they can clean up the noise, they

Colin Gray:

can level out, do de-essing and de-plosives all that kind of stuff.

Colin Gray:

And so that is just something you shouldn't really have to worry about.

Colin Gray:

So that's done automatically.

Colin Gray:

Then we automated things like adding in your theme music.

Colin Gray:

So your theme music automatically appears at the start and the end of the show.

Colin Gray:

You've got fades that overlap the music with a voice.

Colin Gray:

Um, so again, another little job that you do every single time, exactly

Colin Gray:

the same, that's now automated.

Colin Gray:

And then beyond that, it was really just trying to help with

Colin Gray:

the parts that can't be automated.

Colin Gray:

So the editing, for example, we can't quite automate the whole

Colin Gray:

editing, but we can automate bits of it and we can make it much easier.

Colin Gray:

Like with that editing interface, that's just for podcasters.

Colin Gray:

And from that point, we actually just started adding in the other tools.

Colin Gray:

So we've got call recording on the front and then hosting on the back.

Colin Gray:

And I think the reason it's better in that sense is because people save so much time

Colin Gray:

not having to go from one tool to another.

Colin Gray:

They can just record in one place.

Colin Gray:

It's cleaned up straight from there into the episode builder.

Colin Gray:

They can pop in their adverts, their intros, all that kinda stuff.

Colin Gray:

Build that episode up and then just send it straight to the hosting.

Colin Gray:

And that, that's the goal just to make it so that you don't have

Colin Gray:

to worry about all the different places, all the different links.

Colin Gray:

It's just one place where you can do the whole thing.

Colin Gray:

And with that comes so much opportunity for increasing

Colin Gray:

the quality, as well, I think.

Colin Gray:

Like we can take stuff straight from the recording and put it right into

Colin Gray:

audio clean up so that it's just brought straight from there into the

Colin Gray:

editing and, and, you know, there's so many efficiencies in terms of time.

Colin Gray:

There's no downloading.

Colin Gray:

There's no converting of files.

Colin Gray:

There's no exporting.

Colin Gray:

And that, that's what gets people, hopefully, more time to

Colin Gray:

concentrate on the content itself.

Evo Terra:

For people who know what the hell they're doing, who

Evo Terra:

are masters at crazy things like Pro Tools or even something like

Evo Terra:

Reaper, or in my case, Hindenberg-

Colin Gray:

Sure, yeah.

Evo Terra:

Should I switch to Alitu or are the advances not created for me?

Colin Gray:

It depends on your goal.

Colin Gray:

I, I know people who use Alitu to create, um, one show, but then they

Colin Gray:

use something like Audition or Audacity to, to create another show because

Colin Gray:

they want to have real kind of multi track, like quite complex audio in one

Colin Gray:

of their shows and they want that full audio engineering experience for that.

Colin Gray:

But then they have another show that they just like chatting with their friends

Colin Gray:

or chatting about hobby or, or just making something for a, for a company

Colin Gray:

that they're doing marketing with.

Colin Gray:

And they just want it to be quick and easy and get out there.

Colin Gray:

So we do have people who know fine how to do proper or do engineering using

Colin Gray:

Alitu just because it's, it's easy.

Colin Gray:

And I suppose, I dunno whether this is, I'm biased, obviously, so I dunno whether

Colin Gray:

this is a justification, but I use it.

Colin Gray:

I use it for all of our shows and, and I've been a, you know, a professional

Colin Gray:

audio engineer for, for years in my past.

Colin Gray:

But I still use it because actually I just want to concentrate on talking these days.

Colin Gray:

I, I don't want to worry about the clean out, the editing, all that kinda stuff.

Colin Gray:

So yeah, I think there is a place for it, but certainly there are people

Colin Gray:

that it's not for too, so yeah.

Colin Gray:

Depends on your goal, I'd say.

Evo Terra:

So is everything the way that you want it?

Evo Terra:

Are there new, cool things on the horizon?

Colin Gray:

Yeah.

Colin Gray:

Like loads of new stuff.

Colin Gray:

Yeah, we've just added in a couple of things.

Colin Gray:

Like, um, so transcripts for example, was a little, uh, feature we added,

Colin Gray:

but actually had a really big effect.

Colin Gray:

People were really happy to have that in there as a, an accessibility tool

Colin Gray:

as, as well as a way of making new show notes, but we're wanting to integrate

Colin Gray:

them right into the editing as well.

Colin Gray:

Everyone's seen, you know, text-based editing in the past and we want to

Colin Gray:

build on that approach to add that in.

Colin Gray:

And I think we're in a unique position where we've got a really good visual

Colin Gray:

waveform editor that's really simple, but adding in text-based editing to

Colin Gray:

that actually gives you real control over, you know, the exact words you

Colin Gray:

cut out, the exact spaces you cut out, really quickly navigating through and

Colin Gray:

highlighting spots you want to edit, but actually having the control then to really

Colin Gray:

finely adjust exactly what is edited, the edges of those edits and previewing

Colin Gray:

them really simply and stuff like that.

Colin Gray:

So I think we can take what's been done and make them much better

Colin Gray:

as well, actually, in future.

Evo Terra:

If you can make it easier for someone to edit, who's not as

Evo Terra:

comfortable using complex DAWs, as you mentioned previously, and if they're

Evo Terra:

encouraged because it's not an arduous task, yeah, I do think that would

Evo Terra:

actually make, make podcasting better.

Colin Gray:

There's people I know, um, that wouldn't have done it otherwise.

Colin Gray:

Like literally would not have, would not have tried to conquer

Colin Gray:

the tech, like people who are really kind of phobic to that.

Colin Gray:

Or people who are willing to give it a shot, but, um, I've seen give up

Colin Gray:

because it was too time consuming.

Colin Gray:

There was too many different steps.

Colin Gray:

There was too much confusion every single week, but then we showed

Colin Gray:

them Alitu, we got them in there.

Colin Gray:

Um, they start playing around with it and it became so easy that they

Colin Gray:

actually managed to start their podcast up again, put it out week

Colin Gray:

by week and become consistent and, and grow an audience after all.

Evo Terra:

And that is a positive movement.

Evo Terra:

We can keep people podcasting, keep the content growing, I

Evo Terra:

think that's a really good thing.

Colin Gray:

Yeah.

Evo Terra:

Big, thanks to Colin, Alitu, and The Podcast Host for being

Evo Terra:

today's branded benefit sponsor.

Evo Terra:

And for reminding us, yes, even those of us who know what the hell we are doing,

Evo Terra:

that even we are probably spending time and energy doing things that would be

Evo Terra:

better left to software in systems, systems and software that, frankly, could

Evo Terra:

probably do a better job than we can.

Evo Terra:

At least sometimes.

Evo Terra:

So check out Alitu, A-L-I-T-U.com, to see what processes you could be leaving

Evo Terra:

to a robot, freeing up your creative human brain to do more important things.

Evo Terra:

And let me know what you think.

Evo Terra:

With that, I shall be back next week with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

Evo Terra:

Cheers!

Sheila Dee:

Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

Sheila Dee:

He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

Sheila Dee:

Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

Sheila Dee:

section of your podcast listening app.

Sheila Dee:

A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

Sheila Dee:

podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

Sheila Dee:

transcript, both created by Allie Press.

Sheila Dee:

Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.