Danny Brown: A Call to Support
Updated: Jan 18
At its core, podcasting has always been about marketing. So it should come as more surprise that Danny Brown found his way into podcasting.
I first became aware of Danny when I found his assisting many others on Facebook groups with typical podcast problems like, "How do I get more Downloads?", and "I just bought a Blue Yeti and it sucks, what is a better podcast mic to use?" That led to Danny becoming about of renowned Captivate.FM as a support leader.
In this episode, you will hear answers to some of those typical podcast questions, find out Danny's take on Podcasting 2.0 and the value of having transcription on your show, and what Scottish football club he cheers for and why. As a fun bonus, we are going to attempt to use a new transcription service to see how it fares with Danny's Scottish accent and my Canadian accent. Check below the transcript to see Aidan's review of the new service.
Avrio: Feature-Rich, Except Where It Counts
Written By: Aidan Glassey
As a part of my role at The Soundoff Podcast Network, I handle the transcription of most of our shows. Until very recently, I had been using Poddin.io, but as you may have heard in this episode, they’ve recently shut down. This meant we had to find a new transcription service, and after digging through the mountains of paid services out there (and believe me, there are more than a handful to choose from), we landed on Avrio.com.
While searching, Matt asked me for a short list of features I’d like to see from a transcription service. I told him I was mostly looking for something that improved on Poddin’s shortcomings, as while Poddin was great in a lot of ways, it also made me tear my hair out on more than one occasion. And to its credit, Avrio does indeed fix many of Poddin’s problems- at the expense of adding a few of its own.
Let’s start with the good. First of all, Avrio has a positively stacked feature list. The basics are there, like automatic speaker separation, playback syncing so you never lose your place while editing, video integration, and a search feature in case it’s repeatedly transcribed a word wrong throughout the document. These are all things you’d normally expect from any transcription service, but the selling point of Avrio is the ways it goes above and beyond. It automatically detects questions in the transcript and places markers on them, which makes it extremely easy to pinpoint highlights of an interview or podcast. If you’ve got a video component, you can highlight sections and export them, with transcription included, right from the website with no additional work required. You can adjust playback speed, so if you have a particularly slow talker (or you just have ADHD and a need for speed like I do), you don’t need to wait for them to drag themselves through every sentence. These are some of the highlights for me, but the list goes on.
And here I have to compare it to Poddin directly, as well as several other transcriptions I’ve tried to use- compared to a lot of its competition, Avrio feels fast. With Poddin, I would almost always have to wait upwards of an hour for it to save the changes I’d made to the transcript. If I refreshed the page, all my progress would be lost to the void, and there was no manual save feature. Autosave only. Avrio, on the other hand, seems to save instantaneously. I’ve been using it for several days now, and not had a single issue with my work not being saved. There’s no lag on the site at all, either, which is a blessing. It also does a pretty great job of the actual transcription part. It seems to be mostly bang-on with picking up words accurately, even with varying accents. Danny’s Scottish accent didn’t give it much trouble, except on words where the Scottish change the vowel sounds, like “cannot” becoming “can-n’y.” It seems to struggle a bit with the placement of punctuation, but if you can find me a transcription service that doesn’t, I’ll kiss you on the mouth. Overall, everything feels buttery smooth… Except, unfortunately, the actual editing process.
Yes, we’ve reached the cons section. While Avrio does nail a lot of high-level features, it seems like they come at the expense of a bit of basic usability. Despite the near-instant load speed of the webpage, editing can be quite tedious, largely thanks to the way it’s laid out: You can only edit one word at a time. Let me say that again. In a transcription service, where you are looking at paragraphs of text at a time, you have to manually select each individual word and tweak it, then press Enter, then move on to the next word. Now, it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. The slick UI design of the website makes this pretty intuitive, and in reality it’s only one or two extra keystrokes compared to other services, but it did still slow me down enough in my editing to be worth noting. One or two extra keystrokes per word will add up when you’re working on an hour-long podcast.
There’s a difference, however, between slowing down your editing, and missing a key editing feature altogether. This is by far the biggest gripe I have with Avrio, and you may even be able to notice it in the recent transcripts: As far as I can tell, you cannot delete words. At all. When you want to make a change to the transcript, you must select an individual word. It will then bring up a text box containing that word, with a 30-character limit. It will not let you exit this text box if it is empty, and there is no other way to edit the transcript. I spent quite a bit of time digging around the site, because I couldn’t believe they would have missed something like this, but from everything I tried, the only way to remove a word is to replace it with a space. For example, if a speaker says “anyway,” but Avrio mis-transcribes it into “In a way,” you can change “In,” “a,” or “way” to “anyway,” but you cannot remove the other two words. You can only replace them with a space. So this example would go from, “I thought that was interesting, but in a way.” To, “I thought that was interesting, but anyway.” It’s not the end of the world, but it’s seriously jarring to see in the midst of a paragraph, and it seems like a colossal oversight to not have this feature present. I sincerely hope this is changed in the future.
Overall, it seems like Avrio’s developers focused too much on having a huge list of high-end features, and missed out on really nailing down the basics of editing. With that said, those high-end features are both impressive and useful, and I do think Avrio surpasses Poddin and many other transcription services because of their inclusion. The website’s loading and saving speed cannot be understated either. While the one-word-at-a-time editing system is a bit clunky, it’s something you can get used to, and I don’t imagine they could sacrifice it while maintaining the speed of the website, so it’s a worthwhile tradeoff. If they do someday add the ability to delete words properly, Avrio will be an industry-leader, but for now it remains simply adequate. If its pros appeal to you, then I’d recommend it highly, but if you don’t feel as though you need or want the tools it provides, I believe you can find better elsewhere.