Taking to the air

Recently, a new feature popped up on WordPress, which is what I’ve been using to publish this site. They’ve added the ability to generate podcasts directly from posts, and I decided to give it a try, with the first episode going up on June 30.

While it’s entirely possible to read and record everything myself, production of a single podcast is a bit more complicated than just writing and formatting an article, so I’ll be using their AI voices to help. Overall, the reading isn’t half bad, although they do still have a tendency to misread somethings.

For example, the year 2021, when written that way, comes out as two thousand and twenty-one instead of twenty twenty-one. And sometimes, it doesn’t know what to do with non-English words.

For example, in one story, it pronounced the Spanish sauce “mole” like the English word for the burrowing mammal. Unfortunately, there is no accent in Spanish since the emphasis is already where it should be, on the “O,” so no clue that way. Oddly enough, in the phrase “holy moley,” which came later, it did pronounce it the right way but, obviously, spelling the sauce wrong wouldn’t work for the printed article.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to edit the text that’s copied into the sound file generator, which seems like a drawback.

Otherwise, it’s a fun process. I will record the intros and outros with background music and add incidental transition music and the like, but I’m leaving the heavy lifting to the AI because it saves me a lot of time.

Besides, the results are probably a lot more pleasant than people having to listen to my “Where the hell is he from?” accent for a full episode. If you don’t believe me, just listen, and, forgetting anything I’ve told you in this blog, tell me where I’m originally from. I just had too many different regional inputs growing up and somehow picked up on them all.

I am convinced that my hometown has no real accent because it kind of has all of them, and they wind up mixing and matching.

As for the podcast progress, I think I’ll start it out at once per week, and will be recording already existing articles from the blog. Of course, that’s how the system works. The podcast recorder will only pull and convert text from published articles.

At the moment, meaning July 5, 2021, the first episode is only available on Spotify, Pocket Casts, Breaker, and RadioPublic, but it should be available on Google podcasts some time soon.

Spotify seems to be the one that shows up right away, and the rest are listed in the order they were published over a couple of days. Of course, this whole process could speed up with subsequent episodes.

I never thought I’d have any interest in doing the podcast thing, but I don’t hate it so far! So this could be a short experiment or it could turn into something else. Stay tuned to this space for updates.

And yes, this is a short post, but it’s a holiday weekend in the U.S. as we celebrate our independence — officially, it was on Sunday, July 4, but people have been shooting off fireworks all week long and the Federal holiday is today, Monday.

But happy Independence Days in advance to the visitors from my top twelve countries which are, in date order, January 26, March 26, May 5, June 12, July 1, July 14, August 10, August 14, August 15, September 16, October 1, and October 3. I won’t mention any names. You can figure out who you are.

Image source: Kevin Campbell from Pixabay. (CC) Simplified Pixaby License.

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