Goodstuff.FM

I designed and built a website and custom content management system for Goodstuff, a podcast network I co-founded.

Responsibilities

  • UX Design
  • UI Design
  • Frontend Development
  • Rails Development

Back in 2013, Chris Enns, Adam Clark, and I got to­gether to cre­ate a pod­cast net­work. There were many tech­ni­cal chal­lenges to pub­lish­ing a net­work of pod­casts. A cus­tom CMS and web­site were the so­lu­tion.

Why a Custom CMS? #

One thing’s for sure, we needed a cus­tom con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem. In the past, we’d used WordPress, but the amount of work you have to do to bend it to pub­lish a pod­cast is not fun. Even more so when you’re try­ing to pub­lish a whole net­work of pod­casts.

The first thing Phil Duffy and I talked about when cre­at­ing On-Air (the CMS) was mak­ing it easy for mul­ti­ple peo­ple to pub­lish pod­casts eas­ily. On the other hand, you want those run­ning the net­work to give the right per­mis­sions to peo­ple us­ing the sys­tem.

Hosts and People #

On-Air al­lows you to eas­ily add new users. When adding them, you can pick spe­cific per­mis­sions for them whether they’re hosts of a show, or a per­son that has ap­peared on a show. In ad­di­tion, you can give hosts the per­mis­sion to add an episode to the Auxiliary feed, and host live shows.

The CMS built for Goodstuff took all the usual work that’s re­quired to pub­lish a pod­cast on the web and lets me fo­cus on sim­ply record­ing pod­casts. Not hav­ing to worry about re-en­ter­ing meta­data through iTunes’ con­stantly chang­ing in­ter­faces, mak­ing sure links are saved prop­erly dur­ing record­ings or even that the MP3 file is in the right lo­ca­tion on the web are all things I don’t have to worry about thanks to the CMS built by Tim Smith.

Chris Enns Co-Founder, Goodstuff Broadcasting, LLC.

Hosts and peo­ple also get a pub­lic pro­file where you can see their bio, links to their web­site and so­cial me­dia, and the list of broad­casts they host or have ap­peared on.

Shows #

Creating a new pod­cast is usu­ally a has­sle. iTunes and di­rec­to­ries like it, have a lot of re­quire­ments to be in­cluded. Most peo­ple don’t know much about RSS feeds, and pod­cast feeds are even more com­pli­cated.

We built the CMS so that an ad­min can fill out a few in­puts, se­lect cat­e­gories, add a host, and cre­ate an iTunes-ready feed in just a few mo­ments. You can even de­cide whether to mark the show as ex­plicit, and On-Air will add it to the feed so it shows up cor­rectly in iTunes.

When de­sign­ing the CMS, episodes and links were two things we re­ally wanted to get right. Filling out a form to cre­ate a new episode is easy enough, but up­load­ing the au­dio is where things get dif­fi­cult. You’d have to man­u­ally add de­tails like how long the episode was, and the size of the file. There’s also the is­sue of adding meta­data to the au­dio file like the name of the episode, the name of the show, the art­work, etc.

This was all made easy with On-Air (the cus­tom CMS) where you’re able to up­load a file, and it’ll read the file for length and size, then write im­por­tant episode in­for­ma­tion to the au­dio file.

On Air gives our hosts ex­actly what they need to cre­ate notes, up­load au­dio, and man­age their show on their own. The show man­age­ment in­ter­face is fan­tas­tic; sim­ple and in­tu­itive for both be­gin­ners and pro­fes­sion­als.

Kyle Roderick Co-Founder, Goodstuff Broadcasting, LLC.

The other big pain point was links. If you’ve ever hosted a pod­cast, you know that re­mem­ber­ing all the links that you ref­er­enced dur­ing a show can be quite the job. In fact, some shows pay a sep­a­rate per­son to col­lect them all. We wanted to make On-Air han­dle this bet­ter so that a hosts job was eas­ier. On-Air comes with an awe­some book­marklet that you just click on the web­page you want to save, and it’ll add it to the most re­cent episode.

Conclusion #

This is one of those pro­jects that I loved work­ing on. Although a per­sonal pro­ject, I learned so much about front-end de­vel­op­ment, think­ing through use cases for the CMS, and I learned a lot of Ruby on Rails from Phil. I learned so much, yet still know so lit­tle about the frame­work.

I’m thank­ful to Phil Duffy for all of his amaz­ing work. Without him, most of the back-end would­n’t be a re­al­ity. I’m grate­ful to Chris Enns, Adam Clark, and Kyle Roderick for giv­ing so much help­ful feed­back along the way.