Project: UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Publication Party 2015

I shot and edited these videos from the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Annual Publication Party. I have been doing this program for the last several years.

Ucla ex pub party 2015Project: UCLA Extension Writers' Program Publication Party 2015

Watch all 17 readers in this YouTube Playlist

Find more great writing info on the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program YouTube Channel

Real World Example: Moving to a new podcasting web host and why

As you may have read a few weeks ago, when Apple released its new Podcasts app for iOS devices, I discovered that my long running podcast, Career Opportunities, had disappeared from the iTunes Podcast Directory. When I looked at the listings for my other podcasts, I noticed that they seemed to be having issues updating their information and logo graphics. When I tried to re-submit Career Opportunities to the iTunes Podcast Directory, I also found that my GoDaddy Shared Hosting did not provide the byte-range request feature that iTunes now required to register a podcast. This set in process a whole series of actions which have now all been completed. This post is an attempt to catalog what I needed to do to repair the situation and put my web site and podcasts on good footing for the future.

Career op itunes

Career Opportunities in iTunes Podcast Directory

New Web Hosting


First, I needed to find a new web host that could support podcasting, hosting my own media files and also 5 WordPress blogs. Based on the recommendation of (fellow Friends in Tech member)  Steve over at the GeekCred podcast, I decided to move to Dreamhost. I contacted Dreamhost with a few questions and they confirmed they did indeed support byte-range requests on their server and could also deal with the more the 20GB of data that make up my web site.

One Dreamhost feature that made my web site move easier than ever before is that they support shell access for their web hosting accounts. This means I am able to login to a command line on my web host and use that command line for various functions. In my case, this meant I could use the WGET command to mirror my entire web site directly from my GoDaddy server to the new server. The reason for doing this, of course, is speed. To upload just one podcast, A Gardener’s Notebook, from my home computer to the new web host was estimated to take almost 7 hours at the full speed of my cable Internet connection. Because the web servers are on higher speed connections, though, I was able to move the files directly between the web hosts at 3MB/sec and accomplish the entire move in about 1.5 hours. This dramatic difference made me realize how critical shell access is to anyone is who moving their web site to a new host. I understand from others that Dreamhost is one of the few web hosting companies that provides shell access, but I would find this to be a critical need for any podcaster who hosts their own media files. We simply have too much data to be troubled by uploading our entire library from a standard Internet connection.

WordPress Database Move

Since I have 5 WordPress blogs on my site, after all the static files had been moved to the new web host, it was time to consider moving all the databases that hold the content for these blogs. This is not something I am experienced with, so I called on another Friends in Tech member, Kreg from the Technorama podcast, to help me move those files. Kreg wasn’t available immediately, so I began to poke around in the process and see if I might be able to do it myself. As it turned out I was able to export all the data from the old system and import it into the new. A few quick changes to each wp-config.php file on the blogs and I found that everything was working on the new site. It was a great learning exercise and also means I won’t be so leery of moving databases in the future. Once again, Dreamhost’s Control Panel and help files made it a straightforward and easy process.

Re-submitting to the iTunes Podcast Directory

First, as a word of warning, if your podcast is dropped from the iTunes Podcast Directory, you will be able to re-submit it, but all your ratings and reviews will be lost. Your podcast will also receive a new, different, ID number and link in the iTunes Podcast Directory. This could be quite damaging for a particularly popular podcast, so do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Mainly, make sure that iTunes can easily and regular access your RSS feed. In my case, it appears that GoDaddy is doing such aggressive traffic management that external services like iTunes, Feedburner and others are refused connection to your web host on a regular basis. I found this to be especially true when trying to re-submit my podcast. I would get 10-12 error messages of Connection Reset before iTunes was able to access my RSS feed. Conversely, when re-submitting from Dreamhost I received no Connection Reset errors. iTunes immediately recognized my feed.

One big issue when re-submitting your podcast is that you cannot submit the RSS URL that you are currently using for your podcast. If you do, iTunes will tell you that it is a duplicate podcast. Instead, I took my existing RSS feed, saved it to a static file (in my case, I named it index-fix.xml) and then stripped out all by a few podcast entries. Then I used this URL to re-submit the show to iTunes. Since my feed already contained all the appropriate iTunes XML entries (since I use Blubrry Powerpress to generate the feed) iTunes recognized all the settings and re-addded the podcast. Career Opportunities then reappeared in the iTunes Podcast Directory in about 1 day.

Of course, you want iTunes to use your old RSS feed as the main feed for its listings, so you need to re-point  iTunes back to your original feed. Once the podcast had reappeared in the iTunes Podcast Directory I was ready to take the next step. iTunes provides an XML tag that allows you re-point iTunes to a new, different RSS feed. This tag  is


Of course, you should use your own RSS URL in place of mine above. You place this tag immediately after the <CHANNEL> tag in the RSS file. I edited the index-fix.XML file and added this tag using a text editor. Within an hour or so, iTunes had seen this change and re-pointed the iTunes Podcast Directory listing back to its original feed.

Don’t forget email accounts and subdomains

On my web site I had quite a few email aliases and 2 subdomains on my old web host. Remember that these will need to be set up fresh on your new web host. I prefer to set all of this up before pointing my domain name at the new site. Every web host will provide you a temporary domain name for your new site so that you can test out nearly all functions before “throwing the switch” to send everyone over to the new web host. In my case, everything seemed to be working well at this point, so it was time to reset the DNS servers to point to the new web host.

Switching your domain

In my case, my domains will remain hosted at GoDaddy for the time being, although I will probably move them in the future. I prefer to take one step at a time so I don’t create multiple problems for myself. The process of moving is complicated enough without adding additional, simultaneous issues on top of it. Dreamhost provided me with the IP addresses for their Domain Name Servers so I only had to visit GoDaddy and enter those numbers for each domain to point it away from GoDaddy’s web servers and off to Dreamhost’s. 

It can be a bit difficult to tell when the switch over has occurred as, ideally, the sites should function in exactly the same way. In my case, I added a small notice to my home page telling visitors that I was moving web sites. I only added this note to the front page of the new web host. Every so often I would reload my main page in my web browser. When I saw that the page included the web move notice, I knew I was looking at the new web host and not the old one. Within about an hour I noticed that visits to were already pointing over to the new web host.


I has now been about 3 days since I made the move and I am quite happy with how it worked out. The new web host at Dreamhost seems a bit faster and, more importantly, it doesn’t seem to throw up the Connection Reset errors I was seeing with GoDaddy. I have also noticed that the listings for my other podcasts now have been updated and include the appropriate logos and a current list of episodes available. I am fairly confident now that I shouldn’t have any on-going issues with my podcast listings down the road.

If you have any questions or comments about my experience, please add your comments below. I would love to hear them!

Audio: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol read by the Podcast Community on Facebook

The Podcast Community on Facebook has come together this season to record an audio version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This reading is based on an edited version of the story created by Dickens himself for his own live readings.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Listen to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Our cast includes:

Produced by Douglas E. Welch and

Interstitial Music and Sound Effects provided by Michael Lawshe of Eclipse-1 Media


Join the Podcast Community on Facebook

LIVE: Prelude to Revolution Part 3 – A July 4th Radio Play – 4pm PDT

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Prelude to 1776
“Our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor”

Time: 06/29/2008 4:00 PM PDT Pacific — 07:00 PM EDT

Live your liberty, don’t lose it in a history book.

We are going live again this weekend!!!

This is Prelude to Revolution – May 1775, to July 4th, 1776 – a live audio production of Eclipse-1 Media.

Listen LIVE via Talkshoe

New Media Interchange LA Meeting Tomorrow Night – May 28 @ 7pm

We are only a day away from our first meeting of the new group, New Media Interchange.

My goal with this group is to bring together traditional and new media artists and technicians to foster the creation of new work.

I see so much wasted effort here in Los Angeles and much great creative work that is simply thrown away if it can’t find a place in the traditional media landscape. I have many friends who work on both sides of the traditional/new media world and would love to see them working together to create something instead of spending their lives pitching ideas with little to show for it.

We now have a new, open, market for our creative work and we should seek to exploit it for our benefit. Whether you are trying to create a promo piece for yourself, a show with online distribution of even an idea for a traditional broadcast television show, new media can provide you tools to get your message out to your audience directly.

Join us both online and in-person at New Media Interchange and let’s all make something special!

Please join me for the first meeting of New Media Interchange on Wed, May 28, 2008 at 7pm

The location is Panera Bread in Studio City

Ventura Boulevard
12131 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 762-2226 | phone
(818) 762-5566 | fax

They have several good spaces indoors, a large patio and free Wifi.

Please RSVP for the meeting using

New Media Interchange Meetup – Interested?

I am looking to launch yet another meetup (Oh Noes!) , but one in an area I don’t think is currently being served in LA. I want to bring together New Media Tech folks like Flash animators, podcasters, videobloggers,etc together with creative and entertainment types like writers, actors and directors so that we can share information on producing New Media.

This idea grows out of my Podcasting and New Media for Writers class that I teach for the UCLA Extension. I have had a really good time with that class as it focuses on “doing.” We talk as much about the creative side of the New Media as we do the tech and everyone has something to bring to the table. At the end of the class, everyone has produced and released the first episode of their production, ready to continue as long as they wish

While there is a social element to all meetups, I want to focus on the Interchange of ideas and sharing real world, useful information that we each need to know. I imagine a “5-minute meeting” where you can ask a pressing question and provide a great resource (web site, book, person, etc) to share with the group. Then we can break up and discuss whatever we wish.

If there is already something like this, please let me know. If you are interesting in the New Media Interchange, contact me directly at If there is enough interest, I will find a venue and start to select a date.

Link: New Media Interchange Google Group Mailing List
Link: New Media Interchange Wiki

New Project: LA Book Readings on audio and video

Last week I wrote an essay on how booksellers and authors could make great use of new media to help get their message out. The first step in the process is to simply capture the content they are already creating each time they host a book reading in their store. In that regard, I am looking for booksellers who might be interested in having me in to record their readings so that I can share them via a dedicated web site.

In that regard, I am looking for booksellers who might be interested in having me in to record their readings so that I can share them via a dedicated web site.

I would start here in Los Angeles, but I can foresee accepting media from all over the country (and the world) into a larger system broken down by location, genre, etc.

So, now I am looking for my first partner in this endeavor. Are you a bookseller who regularly hosts author readings in your store? Are you an author has an upcoming reading in the Los Angeles area? Do you already have audio or video content of a reading that you would like to share? If so, drop me a line in the comments below or send an email to

Interview: Hayden Black from Goodnight Burbank

This interview was recorded as part of my Podcasting and New Media for Writers course currently on-going from the UCLA Extension Writers Program.

Hayden talks about his background in writing and his success in New Media with his shows, Goodnight Burbank and Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary.

Download this Video

Live Event Project – First Draft to Final Approval

Today was a work day at home, splitting the one large recording from last Wednesday’s LIVE event into individual parts, in preparation for building individual podcasts.

Working with my wife, we selected some appropriate music, chose and interesting reader to use as a test and prepared a First Draft podcast to deliver for notes. It is my intention to create a standard intro and outro for these podcasts and then assemble that with the audio from each individual reader.

Imagine my happy dance when the customer came back with NO NOTES on the initial podcast.  This doesn’t happen on many projects, regardless of the work being done, so I am feeling very good. I have already completed another of the sessions and will process the remaining 16 this week. We are heading out to a project in Missouri on July 7, so I want to have the project completed and invoice sent before we go.

I will post here as soon as the audio goes live on the client’s site, so you can finally hear what I have been writing about these last few weeks.

As far the future, there is another event by this customer which could use the same treatment we used for this project…recording, editing and podcast production…so I am going to pitch that project to them a little later this summer.

Another short project update…

My other project, Mortgages Made Simple with Rick Gundzik, just released its 3rd episode and a 4th is almost completed. We have settled into a nice rhythm and I am producing the show remotely — recording via Skype or Gizmo as a “double-ender” and assembling in my office here. It seems to be working well and we will probably be scheduling a live show, via, sometime in June July

Episode 2, in the can…

Mortgages Made Simple LogoRick Gundzik and I recorded Episode 2 of Mortgages Made Simple today, doing it remotely instead of in-person as we did with show #1. Rick lives about 45 miles away in Orange County, so getting together for every show really isn’t feasible, but through the wonders of Gizmo, we connected up and did a traditional “double-ender”.


This is a method where each participant records their own end of the conversation and then one person sends there file to the other for editing and mix-down. This gives you the highest quality recording, even when you can’t be in the same room. Rick recorded with a headset mic directly into Audacity while I recorded with my traditional podcast rig here in the office. He then bundled up his file as an MP3 and uploaded it to his ftp site. From there, I downloaded the files, laid them into Garageband and started editing. While there weren’t a large number of edits in this piece, I did have to compensate for the lag when using Gizmo. This lag causes odd pauses and such, so I had to adjust each track, Rick’s and mine, a bit to make it sound right.

Putting it together 

After that was edits, I added in 2 segments we recorded together last Sunday, added the intro and outro, output as MP3 and uploaded to the site for Rick’s approval. Once he gives me his notes, I will make any changes, then upload the final to be linked in the blog post on Sunday or Monday of next week to release the show.

Next podcasting project is a go!

I just got notice via email that my next podcasting project is a go! I will be recording a live literary event and then packaging that event into individual podcasts to be used as content and promotional material for the client’s web site.

The event occurs the second week of June, so I am already working on logistics, planning, etc. The technology side will be pretty simple, as I am only doing audio for this project, but I am going to have 2 recorders capturing everything as “belt and suspenders” protection to insure, as much as i can, a usable raw audio at the end of the night.

I am looking forward to this project, as it is great chance to stretch my podcasting wings, while also getting paid.

Watch this space for more information as the project develops!

Incoming Project off the starboard bow!

So, I happened across the possibility of doing some podcast production for a educational institution with which my wife and I have a relationship. They have an upcoming event in June and I have pitched recording this event in audio, and perhaps, video. As of a few minutes ago, it looks like this first big podcast production project is a tentative yes.

I think that following this project as it matures will be a great start for Careers in Podcasting. I’ll be able to share the “real world” in’s and out’s with you as we move through the process.

Stay tuned!