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How to create a personal podcast feed using Dropbox and JustCast

JustCast is one of those services that once you realize it exists (I heard about it from episode #10 of Cortex), it’s life changing from a technology perspective.

Using JustCast, you can create your own podcast feed from a folder in Dropbox.

JustCast screenshot

To get started, you’ll need to sign up for JustCast.

  • The free tier of JustCast allows you to set up as many podcast feeds as you want, but only the 3 most-recent audio files will be shown in the feed. You also have access to basic stats such as subscriber counts and downloads.

  • The paid tier is $5 per month, and includes unlimited episodes along with advanced stats (such as subscriber counts and episode downloads).

In the sign-up process, JustCast will ask you to connect to Dropbox so it can create a “JustCast” folder within your Dropbox/Apps folder. JustCast starts you out with an example folder and a sample mp3 that you can remove, rename, or replace.

To create a new Podcast you simply create a new folder and then populate it with some audio files:

Dropbox/Apps/JustCast/[podcast name]/

Any audio files you place into this folder will be available as “episodes” within your own podcast feed.

Once you’ve created a podcast, you can edit its details. From the JustCast admin homepage, just click the “Edit” button next to your podcast and you can add a description, author details, artwork, and more. You can also set your podcast feed to be private.

Then, to get the RSS feed for your podcast, go back to the admin dashboard of your JustCast account and click the “Share” button for the podcast you want. It will give you an RSS feed that looks like this:

http://justcast.herokuapp.com/shows/your-name-example/audioposts.rss

Copy and paste that over into the podcast app you use on your iPhone and now you’re off to the races.

Why Use JustCast and Dropbox to Create a Personal Podcast Feed?

There are several excellent reasons, two of which include easy production of a small-scale show and easy creation of a personal podcast feed for audio files you download on your Mac, but want to listen to on your iPhone.

  • If you have a small podcast you’re producing for a small audience (small group, students, friends, family, etc), this would be a very easy way to publish and manage it. Though it may not scale well because of Dropbox’s restrictions on file hosting/sharing (too many downloads of a file in your Dropbox account and that file will get banned from being downloaded) it would certainly work well if you’re expecting roughly 100 or fewer downloads per day.

  • The main reason I love it is for creating a personal podcast feed with own content. If you ever come across audio files that you want to listen to on your iPhone / iPad (such as one-off episodes of a podcast you don’t subscribe to, or free downloads, etc.) then all you have to do is simply drop it in the folder you set up and refresh your podcast app.

Using JustCast to create your own podcast feed is significantly easier than side-loading audio files onto your iOS device via iTunes or dealing with Dropbox’s audio player (which doesn’t remember listening state). Moreover, it means you can take advantage of your favorite podcast player’s Smart Speed features, etc.

One thing to note is that .m4b (audiobook) files are not compatible, so you’ll need to rename them to have a .m4a (no conversion is needed). The b in .m4b means bookmarkable, but your podcasting app will have that feature for any type of audio file.


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