Another free service is going the pay route. Gcast sent out an email recently announcing that in order to call in, users will need to pay a $99 fee to make mobile podcasts (Gcast still hosts podcasts for free, however). Twitter and Plurk were abuzz with talk of this. While I respect Gcast’s right to make a buck on this deal (and not to go broke in the process), it’s not a “mission critical” service for me at this point, and there are other options that I can switch to that will not involve a big investment. I had only done a handful of podcasts on Gcast at this point anyway. So what are my other options?

Utterli is a nice service that allows you to post pics, video, and phone calls from your mobile phone. They have recently dropped providing international numbers, due to the expense. I’ve posted a question on the forum about their revenue stream. They do carry Google ads on their site. Since I tend to embed in other sites, that’s not a big deal. Here is a sample phone cast from Utterli. It has a player that you can embed as well.

You may know about drop.io, for “dropping” files (dead simple), but one of the “extras” they’ve added since I started using it is a call-in number. This will create a phone cast, and like Utterli, there is a conference-call option. Here’s a sample from drop.io.

There are no ads on drop.io. They do have a premium service, but I don’t know if that’ll pay the freight for all of this. My suggestions are this:

  1. If you use a phone-casting service a lot, you should pay for it with a provider that looks like they can last for the long haul — there’s no sense moving around all the time. Buy yourself some peace of mind, and pony up the bucks, or have your school, a donor, etc. do it.
  2. If you are conducting mobile podcast activities more intermittently, go the free route as long as it lasts. See about getting a portable digital recorder (the sound quality is better).
  3. If you go the “free” route, understand that, without a revenue stream, the service won’t be free — or around at all — forever. Use the download option to “save” your work. Consider posting to your own server, or somewhere that will be in business for at least a while, for peace of mind. Both Utterli and drop.io will let you download in MP3 format. -ALICE MERCER

Utterli

drop.io

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Photo credit: Ocell on Flickr.