Behind the Scenes of CloudFocus Weekly - 100 Episodes Later

07/21/2012 by Justin Edelstein
A behind the scenes look at the CloudFocus Weekly Podcast - the weekly cloud computing podcast brought to you by Arkus.

Unless you’ve been living under the Arkus pet rock Arky for the last two years you’ve noticed and followed our very own Jason Atwood and myself, on the CloudFocus Weekly Podcast. The podcast has evolved over the last two years and in honor of the 100th show I figured I’d give all you fans a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating our weekly show.

Why A Podcast

For years prior to founding Arkus Jason and I had been podcasting. We like to say that we are the hosts of the longest running podcast on the internet (in a specific genre that won’t be mentioned here - bonus points for anyone who actually knows the other show and puts it in the comments below). As avid fans of podcasts and experienced “broadcasters” we decided that doing a show that focused directly on our growing cloud computing industry would be both fun and informative. We also thought that while doing a weekly blog, we could add a weekly podcast to provide more live content to our website and give some insight into our thoughts on the industry we work in and love so much.

Preparation - The Ever Popular Agenda

Back in the day (up until this year) we used the ever-popular Google Wave and made sure to mention it during every show, to put together an agenda collaboratively. We always included a line for our blog post from the current week, two to three popular news stories in the cloud computing genre, and our CloudFocus App Picks of the Week (CFAPW). Nowadays since Google decided to can Wave we utilize Google Docs. We essentially do the same thing but on a different platform. The one thing we miss is not being able to mention Wave on every single podcast. Regardless of platform, we still collaboratively come up with stories we see throughout the week on Zite, Twitter, Facebook, or our Google Readers and add them to the list. Generally, the list gets to be about five or six stories long and we cut it down to three or so just to make sure that the podcast lasts somewhere between 30-40 minutes. We also try to talk as much as possible about since that’s our bread and butter while still keeping an eye on the entire industry as a whole which people have told us they really appreciate.

Production - Recording the Podcast

To record CloudFocus Weekly we utilize two pieces of hardware (up until now) and one software program. For hardware, we use a MacBook Pro and a Blue Snowball microphone. For episode 99 we starting using a second microphone made by Audio-Technica but for years we set up our machines with the Blue Snowball in between and plugged into Jason’s laptop. We both talked into the same mic, Jason louder than Justin, and recorded the podcast using Garage Band on the MacBook Pro. Utilizing just those three tools we are able to record and produce the podcast. Even the music intro was created utilizing Garage Band - pretty funky bassline for a digital tool if you ask me. Moving forward we will each have our own mics hopefully making the sound even better and more professional sounding.

Post-Production - Syndicating the Podcast

Once the tracks have been laid down and the podcast is fully recorded and “edited” together by adding the music to the start and finish of the show we use a tool called Podcast Maker by Lemon Dreams to “package the podcast up”. When I say package it up I mean create the XML file that you all use to subscribe to the podcast using your favorite podcast app, (<COUGH> InstaCast <COUGH>). Podcast Maker also adds the image, the description, does the heavy lifting of getting the file to our hosting provider Cachefly via FTP then pings iTunes to let the mothership know that there is a new show available for download. Once the podcast is live and on the internet, we add a new post to our blog with a basic description of that show and links to our CFAPWs. The final step is to head out into the social networks and post a link back to the podcast letting all our Twitter, Facebook, Dreamforce Portal, and Google+ followers know it is live.

100 Down, So Many to Go

At this point, the show has taken on a life of its own. It has fans, real-life ones that have visited us at Dreamforce and put a face to the voice. It’s really humbling to have people come up to you at a large event and tell you that they listen to your show every week and look forward to its release. For the 100th show, we’ve decided to do a few special things like introducing our new logo, recording on our new second mic, and do an all picks show because people seem to love our picks and we enjoy sharing all our favorite apps.

Thanks to all our fans for listening and leaving all those kind reviews on iTunes (we love when you do that so if you haven’t done this yet stop reading this now and go leave a review). We promise to keep moving forward and providing great new content every week. Feel free to leave comments below - would love to know what everyone thinks of the show. You can also comment on our Facebook page or tweet me @JustEdelstein or my co-host @JasonMAtwood.