Toronto Mike

Podcasting 101: How Humble and Fred Get Heard

Humble and Fred Radio has been in the works for a while.  In late July, Fred Patterson was dismissed by Corus, and the planning began in earnest.  I managed to keep it completely on the QT until August 4th when I wrote Humble and Fred's Perfect Storm - A Radio Revolution?

It's a perfect storm of sorts. There is a plan for Humble and Fred, a future for the duo. No, I'm not about to announce they're the new morning show for < insert station here >, but they are on the brink of what I believe is a radio revolution.
Are you ready for Humble and Fred Radio?

We planned our attack over lunch, and shared the specifics with you all shortly thereafter.  Humble and Fred were to record a show every weekday and share it with the world.  That's where I came in.

Humble and Fred took care of the studio, perfecting the acoustics and setting up the mixing board and recording software.  In other words, Humble and Fred were responsible for content and creating the .mp3 file each day, but I was responsible for ensuring the masses could easily access and hear that file.  Here's how I did it....

The Savvy Will Subscribe
I wanted to take care of the savvy first.  The savvy would want to subscribe to the podcast, via iTunes or an Android or Blackberry app.  Luckily, there's an RSS 2.0 specification they all accept, although iTunes does recommend some additional iTunes-only tags.  This RSS feed is an XML file, so I wrote one, made it easy to update via the CMS and taught Freddie P how to update it each day.

That feed can be found at and was submitted to the iTunes Store for approval. We were approved and that's how we got our own iTunes Store page.

If you're listening to the podcasts, you know there was a delay getting Thursday's episode in there.  That's because Fred put the date as Thur instead of Thu.  That's how sensitive the XML file is, but everything was corrected and updated by Friday afternoon.

Speaking of the iTunes Store updating, that's one of the frustrations.  iTunes reads our XML file to update their store on a schedule only known to them.  So Fred might update the XML file at 1pm, but the iTunes Store might not update until 3pm.  I've learnt there's nothing we can do to force this iTunes Store update.  All we can do is update our XML file and ensure we're adhering to the RSS 2.0 standards.

The Less Savvy Just Want to Push Play and Listen
The XML file satisfies the savvy subscribers, but there are plenty of Humble and Fred fans who just want to click a play button and hear the show.  I licensed a Wimpy MP3 player for this purpose, and it lives at  After Fred updates the XML file that drives subscriptions, he updates this Wimpy player, dummy-proofed in the CMS, not that Fred is a dummy.  In fact, as I learnt when we launched, the man catches on quick!

The Wimpy player lets you list several episodes, so someone can just pick their episode from the list.  By default, it auto-plays the most recent episode, but you can pause it and come back to it anytime.  I'll often play episodes this way when I'm hacking away on the computer.

When All Else Fails
The XML file satisfies the subscribers and the Wimpy player satisfies most of the rest, but there needed to be one more catch-all that truly doesn't care what OS you're on, whether you can see Flash or not or what application you're going to use to play our MP3.  I've been blogging 9 years because I love the format.  Every entry gets a permalink that will never, ever change.  That's the spirit behind this catch-all for sharing the Humble and Fred podcasts.

After every episode is recorded, converted to MP3 and uploaded to our coreFusion server, that episode is given its own blog entry on  This permalink always includes a link to the MP3 file, so even if you can't see Flash on your device you can always download or stream the audio.  I've yet to encounter a set-up where this didn't ensure Humble and Fred got heard.

And that's how we do it.  It's a three-prong approach, and I'm quite proud of the design.  It's holding up very, very nicely, if I do say so myself.

I grew up listening to Humble and Fred on CFNY, and I've been trying to find a morning show I like as much since they left for Mojo Radio.  I'm honoured and tickled pink to be a part of Humble and Fred Radio, because it's the show I've been searching for this past decade.

The boys are back, and if you haven't heard them yet, you really have no excuse.  If you're listening, how do you access the audio?  If you're not listening, why aren't you?

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About Toronto Mike
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